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Susan Buckley papers

Identifier: IWA0983

  • Staff Only
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Scope and Contents

Scope and Content Note: The Susan Buckley papers date from 1975 to 2015 and measure 5.8 linear feet. The papers are separated into fourteen series: Biographical, Comparable Worth, Affirmative Action, Council on the Status of Women, Women’s Resource and Action Center, Anti-Pornography, Women Against Racism Committee, LGBT Issues, Sexual Harassment, Staff Council, Diversity, Pre-Vocational Training Program, Jean Jew Lawsuit, and Celebration of Excellence and Achievement among Women.

The Biographical series (1993-2005), includes speeches given by Buckley throughout her career and materials related to awards she received, including nominations. The series also contains three interviews with Buckley about her life and career.

The Comparable Worth series (1975-1993) contains materials that explore concept of comparable worth, the concept that women and men should receive equal pay for work that demands comparable skills, at the University of Iowa. The series includes some state laws relating to equal pay, two commissioned studies on the compensation systems at the University of Iowa, and internal reviews of the compensation system by the Council on the Status of Women, and an advisory committee. The newspaper clippings largely come from Iowa City and focus on the debate surrounding the University’s compliance with the principle of comparable worth. One 1993 article written by Buckley that explains the University’s comparable worth policy.

The Affirmative Action series (1977-2014) focuses on affirmative action at the University of Iowa. The series includes several of the University’s plans for affirmative action compliance, data, and an internal progress review. Additionally, the series contains several articles about affirmative action, especially as it pertained to women in the workplace, as well as several issues of About Women on Campus and Women in Higher Education. This series also contains several newspaper clippings and a verdict regarding a suit brought against the University of Iowa by members of its Dental Hygiene program. The suit claimed the University showed gender bias in its decision to terminate the program.

The Council on the Status of Women series (1982-2012) includes minutes, correspondence, memos, and other materials related to the activities of the Council on the Status of Women. The series contains two sub-series, Affirmative Action Subcommittee, and Child Care subcommittee. The Affirmative Action Subcommittee subseries includes meeting minutes and correspondence related to subcommittee activities, subcommittee reports, and inquiries into affirmative action progress in the colleges of engineering, pharmacy, and education. The Child Care Subcommittee subseries includes meeting minutes, correspondence, a survey of the child care needs of University of Iowa employees, and several reports and recommendations concerning local child care options. Some materials related to the Salary and Wages Subcommittee can be found in the Comparable Worth series.

The Women’s Resource and Action Center (WRAC) series (1982-1988) a summary of WRAC’s Action Studies program, speeches from WRAC’s 25th and 40th anniversaries, and materials related to a change in Iowa City’s Human Rights Ordinance.

The Anti-Pornography series (1984-1985) contains of materials related to anti-pornography activism. It consists of newsletters from National Anti-Pornography Civil Rights Organization, Women Against Pornography and feminist publications; handouts; and articles against pornography. The series also contains an anti-pornography ordinance from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Also included are several newspaper clippings about protests of pornography showings in Iowa City, Iowa and on the University of Iowa campus.

The Women Against Racism Committee series (1987-1990) focuses on the committee’s activities. It includes materials relating to workshops the group hosted and conferences its members attended. The series also includes planning materials and schedules from the Parallels and Intersections conference hosted by the committee at the University of Iowa in 1989. Additionally, the series contains several packets of published articles centered on anti-racism.

The LGBT Issues series consists of materials related to LGBT issues on the University of Iowa campus. It includes a survey of the campus climate from LGBT persons, materials relating to the Rainbow Task Force and the Rainbow Project that aimed to improve the campus climate. The bulk of the series relates to the research into, arguments about, and implementation of domestic partner benefits for same sex partners of University of Iowa faculty and staff.

The Sexual Harassment series (1986-2004) contains materials related to sexual harassment and sexual assault on campuses, especially as it to female faculty and staff members. The series includes materials related to the re-development of the University’s sexual harassment policy in the late 1980s and early 1990s such as correspondence and procedure proposals. The series also contains a 1993 campus survey of sexual harassment at the University of Iowa conducted by the Council on the Status of Women and the resulting report. There are also included several opinion pieces from the Daily Iowan questioning and defending the survey’s results. Additionally, this series contains, materials advertising the videoconference, “Sexual Harassment: An Academic Affair,” University reports concerning sexual harassment complaints, and outside literature and articles on the topic of sexual harassment in the workplace.

The Staff Council series (1990-1996) mostly consists of materials related to the activities of the staff council while Buckley was its president in 1990-1991. These include membership lists, meeting schedules, meeting minutes, and correspondence with members and University administration. The series also contains policies proposed by the council on topics such as parental leave, selection of deans, and responses to whistleblowers.

The Diversity series (1991-2006) consists of materials from a task force, discussion group and a committee aimed at increasing and welcoming diversity in the University of Iowa’s faculty, staff, student body, and curriculum. This series includes a binder of materials from the Diversity Action Committee as well as the group’s final report. It also contains several articles on topics related to diversity in academia.

The Pre-Vocational Training Program series (1993-1996) covers the years of the program when Buckley served as director. It includes promotional materials for the program, a grant proposal to benefit the program, and several articles related to women in the trades. This series also contains communication between members of the Pre-Vocational Training Program including Buckley, and Peter Nathan, the University of Iowa’s Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties.

The Jean Jew Lawsuit series (1985-1993) consist of materials related to the sexual harassment suit that Jean Jew, a professor in the Anatomy Department, brought against the University of Iowa in 1985. Jew also filed a suit against her colleague, Robert Tomanek, for slander. She won both suits in 1990. The series includes the deposition of Buckley and copies of verdicts for both Jean Jew v. The University of Iowa et al, and Jean Jew v. Robert Tomanek. This series contains news clippings, both local and national, relating to the case and academic publications about the suit. The series also has some materials of the Jean Jew Justice Committee, which was formed in 1990 to pressure the University to drop its appeal and also to educate the University community on issues of sexual harassment in the workplace. The Council on the Status of Women later created the Jean Jew Women’s Right’s Award in Jew’s honor. Buckley won the award in 1993.

The Celebration of Excellence and Achievement among Women series (1995-2014) includes programs, fliers, and planning documents for the Celebration of Excellence and Achievement among Women, and annual award ceremony held at the University of Iowa.


  • Creation: 1975-2015


Conditions Governing Access

The papers are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright held by the donor has been transferred to the University of Iowa.

However, copyright status for some collection materials may be 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 owner. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility and potential liability based on copyright infringement for any use rests exclusively and solely with the user. Users must properly acknowledge the Iowa Women’s Archives, The University of Iowa Libraries, as the source of the material. For further information, visit

Biographical / Historical

Susan Buckley, an activist for women’s and LGBT rights, received a Bachelors in Sociology from the University of New York, Cortland in 1972 and a Master’s in Sociology two years later from Purdue University. She arrived in Iowa City in 1974 where she would work for the University of Iowa for nearly 40 years.

Throughout her career, Buckley was an activist for underrepresented groups on and off campus. From the late 1970s to mid-1980s, she successfully advocated for the expansion of the Iowa City Human Rights ordinance and the University of Iowa Human Rights statement to create legal protection for people of all sexual orientations. She was a long time member the Council on the Status of Women, including involvement in sub-committees dedicated to affirmative action, salary and wage parity for women, and improved child care. Buckley also served as the president of the University’s Staff Council from 1990-1991, and advocated throughout the 1990s for domestic partner benefits for LGBT couples.

Buckley served as the Coordinator of the Action Studies program at the University of Iowa. She became involved in the Women’s Resource and Action Center (WRAC) in the 1970s and coached their softball team for over two decades. In 1983, she left her job as the facilities coordinator for women’s athletics at the University of Iowa to become WRAC’s director. Under her leadership, the Women against Racism Committee at WRAC hosted a national conference, Parallels and Intersections, at the University of Iowa in 1989.

In 1989, Buckley became the director of the University of Iowa’s Pre-Vocational Training program. The program focused on creating economic self-sufficiency in low income women by preparing them for careers in nontraditional occupations, technical and skilled trades. She was appointed Associate Vice President of Finance and University Operations and Director of Human Resources in 2002, was subsequently promoted to Vice President of Human Resources in 2009, and retired from the University of Iowa in 2015.

For her work at the University, Buckley was awarded the Jean Jew Women’s Rights Award in 1993, the Board of Regents Staff Excellence Award in 1998, and the Christine Wilson Medal for Justice and Equality in 2005. In 2015, the University of Iowa’s committee on the Celebration of Excellence and Achievement among Women renamed their Distinguished Achievement Award for Staff her honor.


5.80 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Women’s rights activist and former director of the Women’s Resource and Action Center in Iowa City who worked for the University of Iowa.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers (donor no. 1368) were donated by Susan Buckley in 2015.

Susan Buckley papers
Anna Tunnicliff
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Iowa Women's Archives Repository

100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City IA 52242 IaU
319-335-5900 (Fax)