During the 1969 reporting year, the Commission performed a number of miscellaneous tasks of an informational, technical assistance, liaison, or catalytic nature to help accomplish its statutory responsibility of eliminating discrimination as well as racial, religious, cultural, and intergroup tensions. These included a myriad of speeches, appearances on panels, and radio and television appearances by the commissioners and staff members. The executive director also conducted in-service human relations training sessions for two local police departments and a local Iowa State Employment Service office.
Major publications by the Commission during 1969 included a reprint of the Iowa Civil Rights Act as amended with explanatory comments, a general brochure describing the Commission's jurisdiction and procedures, a black teacher recruitment brochure for distribution to school districts in Iowa and black teacher colleges across the nation, a simple leaflet for mass distribution to minorities outlining the protections of the Iowa Civil Rights Act, and a general newsletter. Requests for these specialized publications, general materials, and other information increased considerably during the past year. In this connection, the research specialist is in the process of systematically building a more comprehensive library of materials to be available for general distribution and to enhance the Commission's function as a state clearinghouse of civil rights information.
A new approach to regular dissemination of information on the Commission's activities was initiated in August. Commission staff members now prepare a weekly column for the Iowa Bystander (a Negro newspaper with statewide circulation) to increase the Commission's informational outreach to the minority community.
The Commission also sponsored a statewide conference in Des Moines in January to encourage interested individuals to become more directly involved (and knowledgeable) in civil rights. The conference was especially geared to the Commission's legislative goals, with general workshops also related to discussion of techniques on the state and local levels to ferret out discrimination and to cultivate intergroup understanding.
Real Estate Code of Ethics
Following a series of meetings with staff members of the Iowa Civil Rights Commission, the Iowa Real Estate Commission adopted a Code of Ethics setting forth standards on equal housing opportunity to be followed by real estate brokers and salesmen. This Commission drafted the Code and shared the printing expense for the nearly 10,000 copies included in the Real Estate Commission's annual mailing in November of license renewals to each real estate broker and salesman in the state. The Code spells out in detail eight specific practices that real estate brokers and salesmen should not engage in. While this Code itself may or may not have the force of law, the Real Estate Commission will turn reported violations of the Code over to the Civil Rights Commission for investigation under the housing provisions of the Iowa Civil Rights Act of 1965 as amended.
The Code provides that real estate brokers and salesmen should extend all of their services in good faith without discrimination to all persons, and should deny their services to a buyer or seller who insists on discriminating. Further, they should not use "Choose Your Neighbor" cards and other types of referral devices that can operate to keep a neighborhood closed to certain groups, nor can they ethically attempt to discourage the purchase of property by blacks in white areas or by whites in black areas. The Code also calls on real estate agencies to include a non-discrimination clause in all property listing agreements, to cooperate with public and private agencies in informing the public about equal housing opportunities, as well as to employ office and sales personnel without discrimination and to ensure that all employees comply with this Code on equal opportunity in housing .
Liaison with Local Human Rights Commissions
The Commission took several steps during 1969 to cultivate closer working ties with the various local human rights commissions, including a letter from Executive Director Hayes to each local commission chairman pledging the State Commission's cooperation and enclosing a packet of basic informational materials for their use. Mr. Hayes also met with the local commissions in Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Marshalltown, and Waterloo to explore areas of mutual concern. Earlier, the whole Commission held a joint meeting with the Mason City Human Rights Commission. The Commission has scheduled its first two monthly business meetings of the 1970 reporting year as joint meetings with the Marshalltown and Cedar Rapids commissions in December and January, respectively. Various commissioners and staff members also have lent assistance over the past two years to several local groups seeking civil rights ordinances, with the Commission's suggested "model" human rights ordinance being followed by about a half dozen cities.
Concerned with ferreting out and eliminating discrimination of all sorts in all phases of our society, the Commission undertook a number of studies during the latter part of the year. These included whether two widespread techniques of classifying students -- the tracking system and the Iowa Test of Basic Skills -- have the effect of discriminating against youngsters who are poor or from minority groups. Attention is also being given to the legality of fraternal organizations with whites - only membership qualifications continuing to receive tax exemption on their property. Private clubs and lodges are also being scrutinized to determine whether they are in fact operating on a private basis or whether they are catering in any way to the general public (which could make them subject to the public accommodations provisions of the Iowa Civil Rights Act).
Commissioners and staff members answer -- and make -- many calls to help keep the peace on the local level when intergroup tensions run high, especially on college campuses and when minority youngsters confront local police. The most recent example was the participation of the executive director in, the all-night conference of college, public, and religious leaders which resulted in the lifting of suspensions against sixteen black students who had seized the administration building at Loras College in early November. Of a somewhat different nature, the executive director also widely publicized this summer that a document called "King Alfred" was a hoax, being fiction copied from a novel rather than a valid document that could panic minorities. The document related a purported secret scheme under which governmental agencies would, in the event of widespread racial disturbances, "terminate once and for all the minority threat to the whole American society."