Office of Affirmative Action Records
Scope and Content
The Office of Affirmative Action Records, 1977-2009 (bulk 1977-1988), consists of documents regarding the planning and implementation of affirmative action in Virginia and in particular at James Madison University. The collection contains letters between the University and the state and federal government as well as a number of charts, figures, and notes regarding the number of minority students and faculty at JMU and other Virginia state institutions.
The Office of Affirmative Action Records, 1977-2009 (bulk 1977-1988), is comprised of state and federal correspondence, documents, booklets, and reports regarding affirmative action at James Madison University and across Virginia. State and federal correspondence includes: photocopied letters from Governor Ellis B. Godwin, letters from former Secretary of Education Dr. Robert Ramsey, letters to the former Director of the Office of Civil Rights in the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, David S. Tatel, and letters to and from former University president, Dr. Ronald E. Carrier. Some of this correspondence includes guidelines for educational institutions concerning their implementation of affirmative action, and evaluations of the overall effectiveness of affirmative action throughout Virginia.The collection also includes a number of booklets, charts, reports, data, and financial costs concerning JMU and other Virginia state institutions as well as reports from the Office of Career Placement & Planning.
- Majority of material found within 1977-1988
- James Madison University. Office of Equal Opportunity. (Organization)
Collection open to research. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection. Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the James Madison University Special Collections Library to use this collection.
Copyright for materials authored or otherwise produced as official business of James Madison University is retained by James Madison University. Copyright status for other collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user. For more information, contact the Special Collections Reference Desk (email@example.com).
The Office of Affirmative Action at James Madison University was established in 1985. As an office, some of their responsibilities and goals included, but were not limited to:
- Developing and overseeing the University’s Affirmative Action Plan,
- Publishing the Affirmative Action Newsletter sent to administrators, faculty, and black students,
- Publicizing programs sponsored by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) for minority and white juniors, black graduate students, and minority faculty.
Before the Office of Affirmative Action was officially established, JMU had an Affirmative Action Officer in place to oversee minority student and faculty recruitment and make sure JMU was meeting intended targets as laid out in their Affirmative Action Plan, a plan required by Virginia state law to increase integration in schools of higher education. The idea of an Affirmative Action Officer came from the Faculty Women’s Caucus.
In response to the unequal balance in male and female faculty at Madison College, the Caucus established their own affirmative action committee in 1974. The committee was also created as a response to the overall lack of female faculty being appointed to higher administration positions. The committee was the Caucus’ way to fully address their concerns with administration and then president, Dr. Ronald E. Carrier. In 1979, the committee recommended that the University appoint an Affirmative Action Officer that would be committed to solving problems faced by minority groups at JMU and that the Caucus’ committee should serve as a resource to the appointed officer. Throughout the 1980s, the committee also recommend that it should advise the University administration and faculty concerning minority policies. Between the 1982-1984 school years, the committee recommended that a full-time Affirmative Action Officer be hired, even though Dr. John P. Mundy was serving as Affirmative Action Officer at this time. On March 15, 1984, Dr. Mundy was quoted in the University newspaper The Breeze as stating “We don’t want to keep them [women] in the lower levels [of administration and job positions], but they’re just not qualified to fill the higher paying positions” The article, titled “Administrator says women less qualified,” discussed the pay gap between female and male faculty members. Two weeks after the article was published, the Caucus sent a letter to President Carrier expressing their anger and disappointment about Dr. Mundy’s quote. This letter expressed the Caucus’ belief that JMU had the potential to be a great University but had a significant amount of work to do in order to become a model for other universities. The letter highlighted these points:
- The impact that Dr. Mundy’s quote in the article had on student views of female faculty and the damage it caused to student-faculty relationships.
- The need for a plan to sensitize all staff at JMU concerning women and minorities.
In addition to highlighting certain points, the letter also ends with recommendations to Dr. Carrier about the next steps to take, including:
- Officially clarifying JMU’s position regarding the qualifications of female faculty.
- Increasing female input concerning policies made regarding women and minorities.
- Ensuring that the Affirmative Action Officer actively listened to female faculty to find creative solutions to problems rather than stereotypical excuses.
- Establishing an Affirmative Action Office within the University that could pursue programs related to affirmative action for all student and faculty minorities.
The most important of these recommendations was the formation of an Affirmative Action Office at JMU. As another consequence of The Breeze article, Dr. Carrier replaced Dr. Mundy as Affirmative Action Officer with Dr. Elizabeth Ihle from the College of Education. As the new officer, Dr. Ihle oversaw the establishment of the Office of Affirmative Action in 1985. Dr. Ihle is briefly mentioned as the Affirmative Action Officer in the meeting minutes of the Board of Visitors on April 11, 1987 and was promoted from an associate professor to a professor in 1987.
The idea to develop an Office of Equal Opportunity was first discussed during the 1985-1986 school year. As one of their goals in 1985, the Office of Affirmative Action wanted to combine their services with those of Disability Services in order to create a streamlined office to deal with all the needs and challenges that students and faculty might come across at JMU. In 2005, the Office of Affirmative Action became the Office of Equal Opportunity.
0.5 cubic feet (2 boxes)
Language of Materials
The Office of Affirmative Action Records, 1977-2009 (bulk 1977-1988), consist of documents and correspondence concerning the planning and implementation of affirmative action in Virginia, particularly at James Madison University. Included are reports, data and correspondence from the University and state and federal government.
The collection is arranged chronologically then alphabetically where the dates are the same.
Transferred from the JMU Office of Affirmative Action, now JMU Office of Equal Opportunity, in three accessions: two in 1990 and the last in 1992. The accession numbers were 90-0501, 90-0829, and 92-0526; Pertinent documents were transferred from the Libraries and Educational Technology Records, UA 0008, in May 2018.
- African American Experience: 1980-1984; 1990-1992. Vertical File. Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA.
- Boxes 3 and 4, Office of the President: Board of Visitors, 1908-2001, UA 0010, Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA.
- James Madison University. “The History of the Caucus (1973-Present).” Madison Caucus for Gender Equality. Accessed February 13, 2018. https://www.jmu.edu/caucusgenderequality/history.shtml.
- Scarton, Tammy. “Administrator Says Women Less Qualified.” The Breeze, March 15, 1984. Accessed February 13, 2018. http://commons.lib.jmu.edu/i19801989/246/.
- Rummel, Rose Mary, Dorothy Boyd-Rush, Elizabeth Neatrour, Judith Blankenburg, Crystal Theodore, and Patricia Bruce. The History of James Madison University Faculty Women's Caucus, 1973-1984. Harrisonburg, VA.: James Madison University Faculty Women's Caucus, 1986.
The collection was previously assigned collection number AF 90-0501, Affirmative Action Collection, 1977-1986. During the 2018 update, the collection was reorganized from an alphabetical to chronological arrangement.
- James Madison University. Office of Equal Opportunity. (Organization)
- A Guide to the Office of Affirmative Action Records, 1977-2009 (bulk 1977-1988)
- Gabriel A. Walman, Selena St. Andre, Sarah Roth-Mullet
- 2009, February 2018, June 2018
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- February 2018: Updated by Selena St. Andre
- June 2018: Updated by Sarah Roth-Mullet