This fourth annual report is a summation of the activities of the Iowa Civil Rights Commission for the period of December 1, 1968 to November 30, 1969. The first changes in the Commission membership occurred in July of 1969 when four new commissioners took office. They replaced four persons originally appointed to four-year terms in 1965 (Professor Donald E. Boles of Ames, Mrs. Merle Full of Iowa City, Mrs. June Goldman of Forest City, and Rev. Philip Hamilton of Dubuque). The present Commission (listed on the previous page) represents a broad cross-section of the populace -- including four whites and three blacks; three Republicans, three Democrats, and one Independent; five men and two women; two Protestants, two Catholics, two Jews, and one unaffiliated. Commission officers are elected by the commissioners, and serve as officers for one year starting in July.
Alvin Hayes, Jr., a black attorney from Sioux City, became the executive director on April 1, 1969, following the resignation of David Mullin. The other permanent full-time staff positions
include: a compliance director, two field investigators, a research specialist, and three secretaries. In addition, a federal project has added to the staff on a temporary basis a field representative serving as project director and a secretary to conduct a statewide affirmative action employment project (which is funded through June 30, 1970). The unpaid commissioners meet monthly to formulate policy for the staff to administer. As often as practicable, these meetings are held in cities other than Des Moines as a means for the Commission to focus local attention on civil rights generally in these cities and to learn firsthand -- from community leaders and members of minority groups -- about civil rights problems peculiar to those individual cities.
The primary statutory responsibility of the Iowa Civil Rights Commission is to investigate and resolve complaints alleging discriminatory practices -- based on race, creed, color, religion, or national origin -- in the matters of employment, housing, or public accommodations. A supplementary function is to plan and conduct programs designed to eliminate racial, religious, cultural, and intergroup tensions. The Commission views the Iowa Civil Rights Act as requiring that a person neither be denied equal opportunity nor be given preferential treatment merely because of his race, creed, color, national origin, or religion. When other relevant considerations are equal or similar, a decision (regarding matters in employment, housing, or public accommodations) must not be based upon a person's minority status -- but upon his or her personal merit.
COMPLAINTS AND FILE MATTERS
As a matter of practice, the compliance activities take one of two forms, either a complaint or a file matter. A complaint is a written allegation of a violation of a specific section of the Iowa Civil Rights Act. It is a formal charge which requires that certain procedural steps be followed, including a formal disposition .
On the other hand, the Commission has classified as file matters those situations in which the disputes are settled preliminarily without the undertaking of a formal charge or a formal investigation. However, the same confidentiality requirements apply to file matters, as to complaints. A file matter generally arises when the aggrieved party requests the Commission's assistance in a matter involving possible discrimination, but chooses at the time not to commence formal proceedings until such time as there appears to be no viable alternative. Many times these file matters can be resolved satisfactorily upon consultation with one or both parties, following preliminary investigation of the facts. In other words, the Commission as an objective third party acts unofficially as a mediator. Of course, however, if such efforts prove unsuccessful, a complaint can follow (if the aggrieved party so chooses). Also included in the category of file matters are those situations in which the Commission has attempted to resolve disputes which, while they do not come under the Commission's specific jurisdiction for law enforcement purposes, nevertheless pose very real problems in the nature of racial, religious, cultural, and intergroup tensions.
GENERAL CASELOAD STATISTICS, 1969
The 1969 reporting year evidenced by far the largest caseload in the Commission's four-and-a-half year history, with the filing of 84 complaints and 93 file matters. The largest previous caseload was in 1968, when 40 complaints and 89 file matters were filed. Another indication of the ever-increasing caseload is the fact that the total of 84 complaints filed in 1969 alone was greater than the total of 77 complaints filed in the first three-and-a-half years combined (July 1965 - November 1968).
|TOTAL CASELOAD||COMPLAINTS||FILE MATTERS|
|Dec. 1968-Nov. 1969||177||84||93|
|Dec. 1967-Nov. 1968||129||40||89|
|Dec. 1966-Nov. 1967||41||17||24|
|Dec. 1965-Nov. 1966||38||18||20|
|July 1965-Nov. 1965||10||2||8|
A major reason for the increasing number of complaints is the Commission's affirmative action posture in ferreting out discriminatory practices on its own. The 1969 reporting year evidenced the opening of 40 Commission charges, which are complaints filed by the Commission itself usually in situations of apparent patterns of discriminatory practices. Of these Commission charges, 22 were in the area of employment (16 as part of the Commission's federally-funded affirmative action employment project), 15 in housing, and 3 in public accommodations. The total of 40 Commission charges was considerably more than double the total of 17 Commission charges filed during the 1968 reporting year. Only 4 Commission charges were filed in the previous two-and-a-half year period of July 1965 through November 1967.
The Commission processed a total of 106 complaints during the 1969 reporting year. Of these 106 complaints, 84 were filed in 1969 while the other 22 were filed before 1969 but unresolved on November 30, 1968 (the closing date of the 1968 reporting year). Sixty-four (64) of the 106 complaints were resolved during 1969, with the other 42 still under investigation at the close of this reporting period. The 42 unresolved complaints on November 30, 1969 (thus carrying over into the 1970 reporting year) include 32 in employment, 5 in housing, and 5 in public accommodations.
|No Probable Cause||21||14||1||6|
|STILL UNDER INVESTIGATION||(42)||(32)||(5)||(5)|
Of the 64 complaints resolved in
1969, 38 were conciliated, 2 were administratively closed, 21 were closed
for no probable cause, 2 were withdrawn, and 1 was closed for lack
of jurisdiction. The 64 complaints resolved in 1969 alone amounted to 1.16
times the total of 55 complaints resolved in the previous three-and-a-half
years combined (July 1965 - November 1968). Moreover, the Commission's increasing
effectiveness is evidenced in the higher proportion of complaints that were
conciliated in 1969 (38 of 64 resolved, or 60 per cent). Of the 55 complaints
resolved in the three-and-a-half years before December 1968, only 18 (or
33 per cent) were conciliated -- while 25 were closed for no probable cause,
3 were withdrawn, 6 were closed for lack of jurisdiction, 1 was dismissed,
and 1 was put in abeyance.
The other complaint resolved before 1969 involved a Commission cease-and-desist order (which was later overturned by a district court) in the only public hearing the Commission has ever concluded. One public hearing was commenced in 1969, but was immediately recessed while a last- minute conciliation was being reached.
Of the 106 complaints processed during 1969, 93 were complaints alleging discrimination on the basis of race, 4 because of religion, 4 because of creed, and 5 because of national origin. Sixty-one (61) of the 106 complaints related to blacks, 16 to whites (including 3 of the 16 involving Mexican-Americans), 2 to American Indians, and 27 to all minorities generally.
The Commission's total caseload of 84 complaints and 93 file matters filed during the 1969 reporting year involved 35 communities. Cases have arisen in a total of 52 communities (located in 39 counties) in the Commission's history (July 1965 to November 1969). See the appendix for a listing of these 52 communities including by individual community the number of complaints and file matters in the three areas of jurisdiction.