“…that was why the institute was a very important move”


Professor Emerita of English and Comparative Literature

I was the chairman of the [English] department for three years, and I had been promised leave of a semester after my term. When the three years were up, I demanded my leave. It had not been in writing. I had a hell of a time getting it. I did finally get it. I had not been paid anything extra for doing this. Then I discovered, by sheerest accident—and it had to do with an entirely different case—that there was a salary discrepancy. Of course, as a chairman, I did know what all the salaries were, and I had a right to know. I discovered a certain discrepancy, and I mentioned this. I was told by the vice president, “Oh, well, that’s because he was chairman, so he got extra pay.” I said, “Oh, really? I didn’t.” He said, “But you must have. Everybody does. Everybody does.”

That was accidental proof. They never would have told me that originally. That’s the sort of thing. Of course, it went on much worse with other women, women in smaller departments, and women who were older, who felt so happy to be able to teach at a place like this that it would never have occurred to them to demand what they had a right to demand, and so they never did. There was a lot of that sort of thing, and Carol [Carolyn Heilbrun] knew, and I knew, and others. That was why the institute was a very important move.