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Jean Jew Justice Committee (University of Iowa)



In 1985, Jean Y. Jew, an associate professor in the anatomy department of the College of Medicine at the University of Iowa, filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against the University of Iowa in U.S. District Court. Jew alleged that she had been victimized by a hostile working environment for twelve years and denied a promotion to full professorship on the basis of sex. Jew also filed a lawsuit in Johnson County District Court against her colleague, Robert Tomanek, charging him with slander and defamation of character. Jew won both suits. In June 1990, a jury found Tomanek guilty of slander and ordered him to pay Jew $35,000 in compensation. In August 1990, U.S. District Judge Harold Vietor upheld Jew's claims against the University. He ordered the University to promote Jew to full professor, compensate her with back pay, and provide an environment free of sexual harassment. When the University of Iowa decided to appeal the ruling, concerned faculty and staff members organized the Jean Jew Justice Committee (JJJC) in October 1990.

The JJJC was steered by Martha Chamallas, law professor and chair of women's studies, and Margery Wolf, a professor of anthropology. The JJJC had several aims. First, it hoped to pressure the University of Iowa into dropping the appeal. The committee also wanted to educate the University community about sexual harassment in the collegiate workplace and to build a coalition of faculty, staff, and community activists who would vocally oppose any form of sexual harassment at the University. And finally, the members of the JJJC wanted to demonstrate their support for a colleague.

The JJJC met frequently between October 1990 and February 1991. Members communicated privately with various high-level administrators. Publicly, they distributed informational leaflets, held university-wide forums, and published their views in local and regional newspapers. In November 1990, the University reached an agreement with Jew and dropped its appeal. As University administrators began to take substantive steps to rectify Jew's situation, the JJJC grew less active, though it maintained a small bank account. The JJJC ceased to exist as a formal body in April 1992.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Jean Jew Justice Committee records

 Collection — Box 1: Series 1 [Barcode: 31858069891830]
Identifier: IWA0444

The committee organized in 1990 to support Jean Jew in her sexual harassment lawsuit against the University of Iowa.

Dates: 1982-1999