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Faculty Advisory Committee on Women papers

Identifier: ua-2002-0034

Scope and content note:

The papers of the Faculty Advisory Committee on Women include correspondence, legal documents, newspaper clippings, committee and meeting minutes, notes, meeting agenda, individual testimonies and Rajender conference materials and video tapes.


  • 1972-2001

Language of Materials


Use of materials:

Items in this collection do not circulate and may be used in-house only.


Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provision of the copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code). Requests to publish should be arranged with the University of Minnesota Archives.

Historical note:

Dr. Shyamala Rajender worked as an assistant professor in the University of Minnesota's Chemistry Department from 1966-1972 in a series of one-year appointments. After repeated failures to receive promotion to a permanent position, Dr. Rajender brought suit against the University of Minnesota in September 1973. She charged that the University had discriminated against her on the basis of sex and national origin (Dr. Rajender was born and raised in India). In her initial suit Dr. Rajender demanded $750,000 in compensation and a permanent job as an assistant professor in the Chemistry Department.

With the help of attorney Paul Strenger, the case was transformed into a class action suit in 1975. Phyllis Kahn, Florence Gleason, Silvia Azar, Bertila Herrera and Carol Gold joined Dr. Rajender in the initial class action suit. After an initial settlement offer was rejected, Dr. Rajender's case went to trial in April 1978. Following several months of unsuccessful negotiations, the trial resumed in November 1979. Just before a decision was to be rendered, the University agreed to settle; and in April 1980 Federal Judge Miles Lord mandated the creation of the Rajender Consent Decree.

Under the direction of Federal Judge Miles Lord, the Rajender Consent Decree created both a set of guidelines for the future hiring and treatment of women at the University of Minnesota and established a set of procedures for all of the University women involved in the class action suit. First the Decree formally prohibited the University of Minnesota to discriminate against employees on the basis of sex. Second it mandated that the University actively enforce Affirmative Action in each department until 1989. And finally, the Decree provided a legal framework for the resolution of all claims of sexual discrimination. Judge Lord appointed a panel of three Special Masters to hear and help resolve individual claimants cases.

By 1980 more than 300 women had filed suit under the Rajender Consent Decree. Current and former University employees came forward with claims of discrimination in six primary areas: promotion, tenure, salary, maternity leave, retirement and the issue of non-hire.

The Faculty Advisory Committee on Women was formed to provide claimants and potential claimants with faculty advisors. The FACW was comprised of faculty members familiar with the University of Minnesota's internal grievance procedures and with the terms of the Rajender Consent Decree. The Faculty Advisory Committee on Women provided a support network, served as an information source and advised claimants and potential claimants of their rights under the ruling of the Rajender Consent Decree.

Throughout the collection there are references to the Equal Employment Opportunity for Women committee. The EEOW was created for the purpose of monitoring the University of Minnesota's compliance with the Rajender Consent Decree. The EEOW was charged with the responsibility of reviewing the University's progress in implementing the terms of the Decree and consulting with University officials when problems in implementation arose.

The Rajender Consent Decree eventually brought more women into tenure track positions at the University of Minnesota. The Decree also helped sensitize University administrators to the issue of discrimination.

Dr. Rajender received $100,000 from the settlement - while her lawyers received $1.5 million. Despite her victory, Dr. Shyamala Rajender left the field of teaching. In 1979 she graduated with a law degree from Hamline University. She moved to San Francisco, California and now works as a patent attorney.


1.25 Cubic Feet (1 box)


The collection consists of the papers of the Faculty Advisory Committee on Women. It contains correspondence, newsletters and meeting agendas. The papers also contain the legal documentation of the Rajender Consent Decree and information concerning the Decree's legal and social ramifications at the University of Minnesota.

Source of acquisition:

Donated to the University of Minnesota Archives by the Faculty Advisory Committee for Women, Deb Hartley and Clare Woodward.

Related material:

Shyamala Rajender (biographical file)

Rajender consent decree (information file)

Equal Employment Opportunity for Women papers

Rajender case files

Faculty Advisory Committee on Women papers, 1972-2001
Greta Bahnemann
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Collecting Area Details

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