Title: Defense of Women Unlimited Fund
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00081151/00001
 Material Information
Title: Defense of Women Unlimited Fund
Physical Description: Archival
Language: English
Creator: Women Unlimited
Publisher: Women Unlimited
Publication Date: 1978
Subject: Feminism -- Florida -- Gainesville   ( lcsh )
Feminists -- Florida -- Gainesville   ( lcsh )
Women -- Social conditions -- Florida -- Gainesville   ( lcsh )
Women -- History -- Florida -- Gainesville   ( lcsh )
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00081151
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

Full Text

Historical Perspective

Women Unlimited, Inc. is a not-for-profit organization involved in pursuing
equality for women and striving for the improvement of the status of women. It
serves the needs of the women in the Gainesville community through a variety of
educational and service opportunities. Two major contributions are WomanStore,
which is the only place in North Florida which offers books and other materials
by, for, and about women, and WomanNews, a monthly newspaper published to inform
the community about issues of importance to women. In addition, WU offers work-
shops and programs, provides information, counseling, and referral services and
supports women-made arts, crafts, music and literature.
In March of 1977, WU submitted a grant proposal for'funds provided by the
Comprehensive Employment Training Act (CETA) to develop potential for employment
of women and to provide additional services to area women. The project submitted
to CETA requested funds for an Executive Coordinator, to expand center activities
and to develop relevant programs and workshops, a Business Manager, to expand the
inventory of WomanStore and to institute a mail-order book business, and a Com-
munications Specialist, to develop the business management of WomanNews and to
lay the groundwork for a women's press. The grant was approved in March of 1977
by the Citizens Advisory Council, the City Commission, and County Commission as
a subgrant of public service employment positions under Title VI of the Compre-
hensive Employment Training Act. The three positions were posted in compliance
with existing regulations, interviews were held for all applicants, the positions
were filled, and funding commenced on July 8.
Various charges have been leveled at WU since that date by members of conser-
vative groups such-as the Florida Conservative Union, Citizens for Morality, and
Young Americans for Freedom. The main concern was the alleged violation of federal
regulations which forbid political activities for projects or participants funded
by CETA. As directed by the Department of Labor the County Administrator's
office conducted an investigation and found no improprieties. The D.O.L. also
conducted a review and concluded that while the organization qualifies as an
eligible user of CETA funds, the recommendation was made by a regional director of
the D.O.L. that two of the positions (Business Manager and Communications Specia-
list) lacked a public service objective and should be discontinued.
In light of this directive from the D.O.L. the attorney for the County Com-
mission recommended that they formally adopt either a broad or narrow definition
of public service and then review all existing grants and applicants in accordance
with that policy. (A narrow definition would have excluded groups such as the
Girl Scouts.) Instead, a special subcommittee was set up to review the WU grant
specifically. Subsequently, without any recommendation from this subcommittee,
and in flagrant disregard of a compromise plan submitted by the county attorney
and a recommendation to appeal the case to the D.O.L. by the county administrator,
the County Commission voted on Dec. 6 in a 3:2 vote (McGriff, Downs, Coward: Tur-
lington, Durrance) to discontinue the funding for the two positions in question.
Following that decision the County Commission adopted a broad view of public ser-
vice in their CETA guidelines, but WU was not afforded the opportunity of being
reviewed under that policy.
A request in Circuit Court by WU for a temporary injunction to halt the order
to discontinue the funds was denied on Dec. 14 by Judge Murphree, and a request
to the D.O.L. to suspend the order until a local or federal appeal could be made
by WU was also denied. The salaries were terminated on Dec. 16.
WU strongly objects to the selective definition of political activity, the
changing interpretations of regulations, the constantly shifting nature of the
charges, the interrogation given the Women Unlimited project but not to others.,
and now finally, the unwarranted and prejudicial discontinuation of two of the
funded positions without chance of appeal.

--_~.~___I_ .. .-_ --- I- 'l~

The sources of the initial charges, the irregularities in all aspects of the
handling of this case and comportment of the Commissioners themselves during the
proceedings all clearly indicate that a much larger issue than Women Unlimited
was on 'trial--namely the women's movement in general. It is not coincidental that
the group attacked was a group organized by and for women which by its existence is
threatening to individuals whose vested interests dictate maintaining the status
WU's goal is to raise $1200/month for 6 months (the length of time remaining
in the CETA contracts) via monthly pledges to pay mounting legal fees and partial
salaries to the women whose funding was discontinued. Your 6 month pledge in the
amount of your choice will constitute a commitment to reverse this reactionary

MAKE CHECKS PAYABLE TO: Defense of Women Unlimited Fund.

SEND CHECKS TO: Women Unlimited, 12 NW 8 Street, Gainesville, FL 32601


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