An inadequate biennial budget initially in 1969 (coupled with subsequent straining by the addition of sex discrimination in 1970 without any increase in the budget) has crippled the Commission's capacity to develop an ongoing public educational program on an effective scale. The bulk of public "education" by the Commission has therefore been restricted essentially to speeches, newsletters, and a comprehensive annual report. Discussion of three specific affirmative action projects in 1970 follows. These are illustrative of the type of public education - liaison type projects which the Commission needs to conduct in order to help eliminate racial, religious,
cultural, and intergroup tensions.
Real Estate Examination questions on Fair Housing: Upon request of Iowa Real Estate Commission, the Commission staff prepared six multiple choice questions on fair housing, which
were included on the annual state license examination for real estate brokers. The test was administered on May 1, 1970. The questions included housing regulations under the Iowa
Civil Rights Act, the federal Fair Housing Act of 1968, the Governor's Executive Order No. 9, and the Real Estate Commission's code of ethics (relating to equal opportunity in housing).
University Seminar on Intergroup Relations: The Commission's executive director and part-time research director assisted in the establishment of a semester-long academic seminar on intergroup relations at Iowa State University. Moreover, each lectured at the seminar for one class period, covering the legal history of the civil rights struggle in Iowa and the United States as well as the specific work of the Iowa Civil Rights Commission.
Statewide Conferences on Civil Rights Strategy: A total of 92 persons attended one or both of the two area human rights conferences held in Ames on June 13 and in Iowa City on June
27. The conferences were co-sponsored by the Iowa State Extension Service and this Commission. The conference charge was to explore the depth of human rights problems in Iowa now and in the future) with the goal of developing a coordinated strategy for the 1970's for professional agencies and organizations as well as interested citizens to deal more effectively with
problems of discrimination and intergroup relations on both the state and local levels.
Among the 21 general recommendations raised by the delegates, the following 13 recommendations pertain closely to the Iowa Civil Rights Commission. Implementation of these 13 recommendations could go a long way toward making the Commission's affirmative action role more effective.
The 13 recommendations were:
(1) The Iowa Civil Rights Commission needs restructuring to make it more effective in enforcing the law. (some consider the Commission now to be little more than an advisory committee)
(2) A one-or two-day training institute is needed for sharpening the skills of state and local commission personnel on techniques of initiating and processing complaints, as well as ferreting out discriminatory practices.
(3) Civil rights conferences -- both statewide and areawide -- should be held periodically to keep interested persons informed and to utilize their talents.
(4) Improved liaison between the State Commission and the 20 local commissions is necessary.
(5) A massive program to educate the public about human rights is needed (with the State Commission taking the lead in compiling the information -- but local groups must carry the ball in effectively disseminating the information in their own communities).
(6) The State Commission needs funds (a) to enforce the new sex-discrimination law; (b) to follow through on closed cases to see that there is continuing compliance; (c) to provide increased technical assistance to local commissions and other civil rights-oriented organizations on a regular basis; (d) to devise and implement a massive program of public education on human rights; (e) to increase its ability to ferret out discrimination on its own through detailed studies of the existence of discrimination and prejudice; and (f) to sponsor frequent civil rights conferences and training institutes -not only with civil rights practitioners but also with employers, educators, police, public administrators, realtors, etc.
(7) Organizations or individuals must keep abreast of civil rights issues, thus being able to "set the record straight" when civil rights problems arise and are either glossed over or blown out of proportion (for example, by the news media or by public officials).
(8) Organizations should act as continuing study groups so they can be constant watchdogs in favor of civil rights -for example, making annual surveys of minority employment in city government, schools, and private industry; making special studies on the possible operative discriminatory effects of the schools' use of the tracking system and the Iowa Basic Skills Test; etc.
(9) Encourage seminars (in small interpersonal sessions) in which police officers, minorities, and civil rights practitioners get together to explore their views of each other.
(10) A series of pamphlets on citizens' constitutional rights should be prepared, with emphasis on exactly what rights citizens have and the specific limits on these rights.
(11) Efforts should be directed toward making attitudinal changes among educators -- the State Commission working closely with the State Department of Public Instruction in the promulgation of statewide policy directives; and local organizations making personal contacts on the local level with school board members, school administrators, teachers, parent groups, etc. to implement the statewide policies effectively on the local levels.
(12) Civil rights groups should expand their concern beyond racial discrimination in housing to include active support for low-income housing through public and private organizations, as well as insisting on strict enforcement of the local health and sanitation codes.
(13) Civil rights commissions (state and local) should intensify their public relations efforts (through brochures, newsletters, press releases, letters-to-the editor, position papers, and public service announcements in the news media). -People just do not know what commissions can do, or are doing.