|Creator:||Brine, Pelton and Thompson V. The University of Iowa|
|Extent:||10.25 linear feet.|
|Repository:||Iowa Women's Archives|
|Summary:||Materials relate to the suit filed by 3 dental hygiene faculty members charging that the scheduled closing of the University of Iowa Dental Hygiene Program was discriminatory.|
The Board of Regents approved the development of a Dental Hygiene Program at the State University of Iowa (now the University of Iowa) in 1949; the first class of twenty-four students launched the program in 1953. Students spent two years in this early program and received a certificate in dental hygiene from the College of Dentistry. Students who wanted a bachelor's degree in addition to their certificate could earn a bachelor of arts or science degree with a general science major from the College of Liberal Arts. In 1964, a master of science degree program was started for dental hygiene students. After 1967 all program graduates received the bachelor's degree from the College of Liberal Arts. The Board of Regents approved a dental hygiene major in 1969, allowing students to receive a bachelor of science degree in dental hygiene from the College of Liberal Arts. By 1992 the Dental Hygiene Program was the only bachelor's degree program in dental hygiene in Iowa, and one of only six masters programs in dental hygiene in the United States.
In 1986, budget cuts in the College of Dentistry resulted in the loss of some full-time faculty in the Department of Dental Hygiene. In the fall of 1991, an ad hoc committee was formed to review the Dental Hygiene Program. The committee made a unanimous decision to recommend closure of the program; that same month the Iowa State Board of Regents voted to cut the program. The decision was made with the goal of trimming funds from the University budget over four years. Dental Hygiene faculty members were notified that they would be reassigned to other positions within the College of Dentistry.
In response to this decision, three tenured dental hygiene faculty members, Elizabeth Pelton, Nancy Thompson, and Pauline Brine, filed suit against the University claiming that the scheduled closing discriminated against the all-female program. They also contended that after they spoke out about the closing they were subject to retaliation in the form of demeaning treatment and salary raises below the average of the College of Dentistry. The plaintiffs asked for the continuation of the program and compensation.
In April 1995, the Brine, Pelton, and Thompson v. The University of Iowa and Board of Regents case was tried in federal district court in Des Moines, Iowa, before Chief Magistrate Judge Celeste Bremer. The defense declared that the charges of gender bias were unfounded, that the program no longer fit the University's central mission, and that the declining enrollment combined with a pressing need to cut costs, justified the proposed closing. Judge Bremer ruled that the University of Iowa and State Board of Regents were not motivated by gender bias in deciding to close the program; however, the University had retaliated against the professors and denied them their First Amendment rights. The jury awarded plaintiffs Brine, Pelton, and Thompson $227,000 in attorney fees and a total of $214,000 for unfair retaliation for speaking out. As compensation each professor was awarded $65,000 for emotional distress, between $4,000 and $7,800 for lost wages, and for the violation of their constitutional right to free speech $1 each. The jury was not given the option to rule on the status of the program.
The ruling was appealed by the University and overturned by a three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Brine, Pelton, and Thompson then appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, but the case was not heard. Judge Bremer upheld the University's decision to close the program. The final class graduated from the University of Iowa's Dental Hygiene Program in May 1995.
Alternate Extent Statement: 6 audiocassettes [AC1048-AC1053]
Photographs in Box 27
Arrangement: Appeal Documents, 1995-1996( Boxes 19-20) Background Information, 1985-1995 (Boxes 20-24, 27) Defendant Exhibits, 1995 ( Boxes 6-10) Formal Documents, 1991-1995 ( Boxes 1-3) Letters of Support, 1991-1995 (Boxes 25-26) Newspaper Clippings, 1991-1996 ( Box 26) Plaintiff Exhibits, 1995 ( Boxes 11-19, 27) Trial Transcripts, 1995 ( Boxes 3-6) Unidentified Exhibits, 1995 ( Boxes 10-11)
Access: The records are open for research.
Use: Copyright held by the donor has been transferred to The University of Iowa.
Acquisition: The records (donor no. 293) were donated by Elizabeth Pelton, Pauline Brine, and Nancy Thompson in 2002.
Preferred Citation: Brine, Pelton and Thompson V. The University of Iowa records, Iowa Women's Archives, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City.
|Repository:||Iowa Women's Archives|
|Address:||100 Main Library |
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, IA 52242
Browse by Series:
Series 1: FORMAL DOCUMENTS
Series 2: TRIAL TRANSCRIPTS
Series 3: DEFENDANT EXHIBITS
Series 4: UNIDENTIFIED EXHIBITS
Series 5: PLAINTIFF EXHIBITS
Series 6: APPEAL DOCUMENTS
Series 7: BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Series 8: LETTERS OF SUPPORT
Series 9: NEWSPAPER CLIPPINGS
This collection is indexed under the following subject terms.