The 1980s - Part 1

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The Center for Feminist Studies was founded in 1983 to serve as a base for research and scholarly activity for feminist scholars from across the University, as well as to create an interdisciplinary minor in feminist studies. As Janet Spector remarked, "We probably had more feminist scholars at this university than anywhere else in the country. We had some key people, and Minnesota became a very attractive place for people doing feminist work, and many students came here." --From The University of Minnesota: 1945-2000, S. Lehmbeg and A.M. Pflaum, 2001.


Students from the Women's Studies Student Association (WSAA) participated in a conference in 1982 titled "Claiming an education; Finding our voice." Along with research presentations, there were workshops on incest and racism, and music and art exhibits.


Ann Marie Degroot (a member of WSSA and a conference organizer) commented: The real issue is that students' work needs to be listened to. Additionally, Janet Spector, chair of Women's Studies, stated that women's studies professors do not see themselves as dispensers of wisdom. Instead, they strive for an active intellectual exchange, and the conference replicated a professional academic experience. --From Students find a voice at women's gathering, Minnesota Daily, April 27, 1982.


Susan Lindoo became the director of Continuing Education for Women in 1983.


Shyamala Rajender filed a discrimination suit in 1973, while she was working in the University's Chemistry Department. She claimed that the University discriminated against her because of her sex and race when she applied for positions. In 1980, she received $100,000 in damages and attorneys' fees. Additionally, the Chemistry Department agreed that the next two hires out of five must be women.

A class action suit was leveled against the University; more than $10 million was paid to women who were victims of discrimination from 1972-1980. The settlement also called for a strong affirmative action program. Paul Sprenger, attorney for the plaintiffs, said he knew of no other similar class settlement reached in the country. --From U Sex Bias could cost millions, Margaret Zack, April 17, 1980.