Collection Scope and Content Summary
Special Collections and Archives, University of California, Irvine Libraries
Title: Karen Leonard files on equity issues for women in higher education
Leonard, Karen Isaksen, 1939-
Identifier/Call Number: MS.F.048
4 Linear Feet
(4 records cartons)
Date (inclusive): 1968-2018
Abstract: This collection contains files accumulated by Karen Leonard, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Anthropology at the University
of California, Irvine, documenting equity issues for women in higher education in California and their cases, actions, and
organizations. The material was compiled during Leonard's involvement in several equity rights organizations including her
work as co-founder of the organization Women at Irvine in the 1970s; co-chair and president of the UCI Chapter of California
Women in Higher Education in the 1970s and 1980s; member or chair of UCI Academic Senate committees on Affirmative Action
(including chairing the systemwide committee) and Privilege and Tenure in the 1970s and 1990s; Affirmative Action Coordinator
of University Council - American Federation of Teachers (UC-AFT) in the 1970s; and founder of the UCI Faculty Women's Association
in the 1980s.
Language of Material:
The collection is open for research.
Property rights reside with the University of California. Copyrights are retained by the creators of the records and their
heirs. For permission to reproduce or to publish, please contact the University Archivist.
Karen Leonard files on equity issues for women in higher education. MS-F048. Special Collections and Archives, The UC Irvine
Libraries, Irvine, California. [Date accessed].
For the benefit of current and future researchers, please cite any additional information about sources consulted in this
collection, including permanent URLs, item or folder descriptions, and box/folder locations.
Gift of Karen Leonard, 2018-2019. In 2021, 4 folders were transferred from the Department of Anthropology and added to the
This collection was processed by Sarah Glover, 2019-2021.
Karen Leonard, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Irvine, was hired at
UCI in the fall of 1972 as an Assistant Professor in Comparative Culture. Leonard formed the group, Women at Irvine, in 1973
after realizing how few women were on the UCI faculty. The group started meeting informally then developed into a broad and
public organization. Women at Irvine had a diverse membership, including faculty, graduate students, staff, and women from
the Irvine community. Members were dissatisfied with UCI's Affirmative Action plan and took action by collecting annual statistics,
setting hiring goals, and interviewing department chairs about their lack of progress in hiring women and people from underrepresented
The success of Women at Irvine led some of the women, including Leonard, to organize with women in other institutions of higher
education in California and lobby in Sacramento for Affirmative Action on campuses across the state. Women at UCI collaborated
with Fannie Rinn, a political scientist at San Jose State University, to organize a conference in December 1973 where the
California Women in Higher Education (CWHE) was initiated. They had a constitution, steering committee, co-chairs (Leonard
and Rinn), and they began to send letters and representatives to the appropriate legislative bodies and persons. CWHE also
helped women with grievance cases on various campuses.
Throughout her career at UCI, Leonard was a member and became chair of a number of Academic Senate committees. She was elected
to the Committee on Privilege and Tenure (CPT) 1975-1976; elected to chair but later resigned, 1976-1977. She became a member
of the committee again in 1990-1992 and was again elected chair, 1991-1992. Leonard was a member of the UCI Affirmative Action
Committee, 1993-1996 and chair of the committee, 1993-1995; and chair of the Statewide UC Affirmative Action Committee, 1996-1997.
Through the University Council-American Federation of Teachers (UC-AFT), the union for non-Senate faculty and librarians,
Leonard and other women at UCI were able to coordinate their efforts through Affirmative Action policies. Leonard was the
Affirmative Action Coordinator from 1973-1975 and coordinated union activities at all the UC campuses. During this time, UC-AFT
drafted a master plan on Affirmative Action for the UC system, compiled statistics on faculty terminations and negative personnel
actions, and criticized the UC system appeals procedures and their application to women and underrepresented faculty members.
They also set up a Grievance Committee and in 1977 adopted a procedure developed by California Women in Higher Education for
Leonard was one of six women who formed a collective and began designing a Women's Studies program for UCI in summer 1975.
Other founding members were faculty members Norma Chinchilla and Leslie Rabine, along with graduate students Rosalinda Gonzalez
and Linda Apodaca, and Judy Hoy, wife of John Hoy, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs. They put together a plan for Women's
Studies at UCI with Janet Williams and Francesca Cancian who served as consecutive Chairs in its early years.
California Women in Higher Education continued throughout the late 1970s and early 1980s lobbying in Sacramento and pursuing
grievance cases across the state systems of higher education. At UCI, they continued to work with UC-AFT to fight grievance
cases. A particularly high-profile case of discrimination against ophthalmologist Dr. Marjorie Mosier at the UCI School of
Medicine spurred the founding of a new organization focused on faculty women. In June 1987 a group of women convened to meet
with the Chancellor on Dr. Mosier's behalf, and in October of 1988, 18 women met and founded the UCI Faculty Women's Association;
by the end of November they had 37 members. Pauline Yahr took over the mailing list and the membership continues to be active.
Collection Scope and Content Summary
This collection contains files documenting equity and sex discrimination issues for women in higher education in California
and their cases, actions, and organizations. The records were accumulated by Karen Leonard, Professor Emeritus in the Department
of Anthropology at the University of California, Irvine, and compiled from the work she undertook as a co-founder of the organization
Women at Irvine in the 1970s; as co-chair and president of the UCI Chapter of California Women in Higher Education in the
1970s and 1980s; as a member or chair of the Academic Senate committees on Privilege and Tenure and Affirmative Action in
the 1970s and 1990s; as Affirmative Action Coordinator of University Council - American Federation of Teachers (UC-AFT) in
the 1970s; and founder of the UCI Faculty Women's Association in the 1980s. Materials include correspondence, minutes, reports,
statistics, policies and procedures, newspaper clippings, research, and other administrative files, as well as case files
and grievances from women at UCI and in California such as Dagmar Barnouw, Marjorie Mosier, Alice Laborde, and Therese Lynn.
The collection is organized in the following 5 series:
- Academic Senate committees, 1971-2012. 1 linear foot
- California Women in Higher Education (CWHE), 1969-2018. 0.5 linear feet
- Cases, 1968-2017. 1 linear foot
- University Council - American Federation of Teachers (UC-AFT), 1972-1995. 0.25 linear feet
- University of California, Irvine, 1970-2018. 1.25 linear feet
During processing the collection decreased from 5.5 linear feet to 4 linear feet, due to rehousing and the removal of duplicate
Related materials can be found in the following collection:
Subjects and Indexing Terms
Women -- Employment -- California -- Orange County -- 20th century
Women -- Economic conditions -- California -- Orange County -- 20th century