Document 43C: Jean L. King to Congresswoman Barbara Jordan, 4 September 1973, Jean King Papers, Box 3, HEW Findings (Univ Mich.), Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

201 E. Liberty


Congresswoman Barbara Jordan
House Office Building
Washington, D. C. 20515

Dear Congresswoman Jordan:

    Thank you for responding to my request for help with the University of Michigan-HEW complaint. Congresswoman Martha Griffiths has indeed been of tremendous assistance throughout the course of this matter, and we have just sent her a thank-you note for these efforts, a note which is long overdue.

    I don't believe that I was clear enough in my request for help and with your forebearance, I will try again. The complaint against the University of Michigan was one of the pioneer complaints, filed in May of 1970. Since it dealt with the University of Michigan, it may still be viewed by some as primarily a Michigan matter. The significance of this complaint is that it prompted the first thorough investigation of sex discrimination in academia in the United States.

    Subsequent to the initial investigation and as a result of University intransigence, HEW withheld 3½ million dollars worth of contracts from the University of Michigan for some weeks during the end of the year 1970. The investigation which began in August of 1970 has continued sporadically for more than three years. Women all over the United States await developments at the University of Michigan in order to gauge the chances of success in their own local efforts. The effectiveness or lack thereof which the HEW shows vis-à-vis the University of Michigan will be critical in determining whether HEW indeed has any clout at all in enforcing compliance in other educational institutions, including colleges and universities in Texas.

    We have therefore appealed to each woman in Congress to inquire of the Secretary of HEW about the history and progress of this complaint so that he will understand that this is a matter of national concern. I hope you will find it possible, therefore, to write him about the University of Michigan complaint.

Yours sincerely,
Jean L. King


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