Oral History Interview with James E. Jones Jr. (2004-2005)

University of Wisconsin Law School Library
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00:00:00 - Introduction / Background

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Partial Transcript: Hello. I’m Kris Turner, a reference librarian at the University of Wisconsin Law School Library.

Segment Synopsis: Interviewer June Weisberger introduces herself and interviewee James E. Jones, Jr. Prof. Jones was born June 4, 1924 in Little Rock, AK. He was born about a mile west of MacArthur Park, near the state Governor’s Mansion. The University of Arkansas – Little Rock’s medical building was refurbished into the law school. His family was poorly educated but he wanted to change that and get an adequate education himself. He internalized this mentality for the rest of his life. There were no strictly gender-assigned tasks in the family—boys cooked and girls prepared firewood, etc. Each family member was expected to contribute fairly.

Keywords: Bill Clinton; Cherokee; John F. Kennedy; Little Rock, AR; MacArthur Park; Tennessee

00:12:25 - Education I

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Partial Transcript: Well, what about grade school, high school?

Segment Synopsis: Prof. Jones attended grade school and high school in Detroit. He moved between broken homes many times. He did well in school even though he was held back initially and had to attend one session of summer school. He took a very difficult intelligence test—among the first of its kind—in third grade. Prof, Jones read the Bible daily though he occasionally struggled with his religious beliefs. He attended Sunday school taught by his uncle, with whom he had a mutual dislike. Prof. Jones quit the family church and joined the Episcopalian denomination. During this time, he further developed his work ethic and became more involved in social activities. His interest in college also grew and he looked at his college options, all of which were parochial and segregated. Many attended Arkansas State but it was about 34 miles away in Pine Bluff, making commute difficult. Prof. Jones took advantage of library services and inquired about where to attend college. He was interested in chemistry, so the librarians provided him with resources on colleges that would suit his interests, including Lincoln University, among the best black schools in chemistry. Prof. Jones worked hard to save money for college; he worked ten hours a day, 7 days a week for three months prior. He matriculated at Lincoln University.

Keywords: Arkansas State University; Detroit, MI; Howard University; Lincoln University; Little Rock, AR; Mason-Dixon Line

00:32:14 - Education II / Navy service

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Partial Transcript: Part two of the first tape with Jim Jones and June Weisberger interviewing him.

Segment Synopsis: Prof. Jones resumes discussing college at Lincoln University. He had enough money to pay for one semester and for room and board for a month. Though the federal government had just introduced the minimum wage, it did not affect most jobs. Prof. Jones and his family were very poor. He could not afford to wear clothing typically expected of students. Prof. Jones was ambitious, planning to study chemistry and math, work, and play football. He was advised against such a busy schedule, but he wanted to try, especially since he had only a month in school guaranteed. He sought a job to no avail until he ran into a chemistry professor who asked if he would work for him as a lab assistant. The job waived his tuition and room and board, plus twenty-five dollars per month. Moreover, Prof. Jones made the football team.

Prof. Jones signed up for the military to save for finishing his education. He met with the draft board, who told him his draft number would not allow him to finish school. A recruiter persuaded Prof. Jones to join the Navy. He attended segregated naval training. He studied chemistry first thing in the morning, every day. His test scores in the Navy were exceptional, allowing him to attend Hampton Institute, where he learned electrical engineering. He was asked to commit to the Navy for over a decade, which was not his plan. He wanted to leave the Navy and return to school as soon as possible.

Keywords: Hampton Institute; Lincoln University; New York; United States Navy

00:52:57 - Education III

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Partial Transcript: Well what happened when you said "no" to the two-for-one deal?

Segment Synopsis: Professor Jones was in the Navy for almost 3.5 years total and left after almost a year overseas. The GI bill and money that he had saved up on his own made college affordable.

Eventually Professor Jones went back to Nebraska where he realized that he was no longer interested in chemistry. He decided to major in government and finished his degree in three years.

Professor Jones discusses his difficulty in choosing what to study in graduate school. He began to develop an interest in Unions.

Keywords: NYU; Nebraska; New York City

01:03:37 - Completing Graduate School and Attending Law School

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Partial Transcript: I think as of yesterday we got toward the end of your college career...

Segment Synopsis: Prof. Jones is awarded distinguished alumnus award at University of Illinois.

Wisconsin Law School is Prof Jones's next destination.

Prof Jones's work experiences the summer before attending law school.

Considerations in starting law school.

Keywords: Chicago; University of Illinois; University of Wisconsin Law School; Wage Stabilization Board; industrial relations

01:33:45 - Attending University of Wisconsin Law School

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Partial Transcript: What was your first year here like...

Segment Synopsis: Prof Jones discusses his experiences at University of Wisconsin Law School beginning with his first year.

Earning the Whitney fellowship for year one and year two law school tuition.

Not continuing with the law review.

Coursework at the law school and relating with law professors.

Being assistant to Professor Gus Eckhardt.

The Ph.D. program in industrial relations is introduced by the University of Wisconsin regents.

Graduating from law school and getting a job offer after four months.

Keywords: Gus Eckhardt; University of Wisconsin Law School

02:02:49 - After Law School

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Partial Transcript: Law school is coming to a close. What happens next...

Segment Synopsis: Graduating law school and interviewing for positions.

The Department of Labor offered him a job four months after graduating law school.

[Gap until 2:08:30]

AFL-CIO interview.

Job placement challenges.

Accepting Labor Department position.

Prof. Jones talks about his family.

After accepting Labor Department position, worked in the office of solicitor's division of legislation and legal services.

Edith Nancy Cook, daughter of Walter Wheeler Cook, worked in labor field and became Prof. Jones's mentor.

Casework and training as a junior lawyer.

Keywords: Department of Labor; Edith Nancy Cook; law school graduation

02:39:44 - Working in the Labor Department

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Partial Transcript: You first started with the labor department in 1956...

Segment Synopsis: Union regulation under the Eisenhower administration, legislation division worked on that in the office of the solicitor's -- Prof. Jones was one of five who worked on it.

Structure and function of roles within the Department of Labor.

Experiences working in the Labor Department as a lawyer.

Keywords: Department of Labor; James Mitchell; Labor Department

03:10:44 - Career as a Junior Member of Legislative Staff in Labor Department

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Partial Transcript: As I recall we were talking about your role in legislation, a junior member of the legal staff...

Segment Synopsis: Prof. Jones discusses his early career as a junior member of the legislative staff in the Department of Labor, his work on the Landrum-Griffin Act, and working with his supervisor Edith Nancy Cook.

Writing the minority report of the House of Representatives on the amendment to the Taft-Hartley Act dealing with the Denver building trades problem.

Keywords: Department of Labor; Edith Nancy Cook; Goldwater-Kearns Bill; Landrum-Griffin Act; National Labor Relations Act; Taft-Hartley Act; U.S. Congress; labor relations; legislative staff

03:42:09 - Working in the Labor Department II

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Partial Transcript: I was coming in working on weekends and at night...

Segment Synopsis: Prof. Jones continues the discussion of his responsibilities with the Labor Department.

Discussion of personal life in 1960.

First 100 days of the Kennedy administration within the Labor Department.

Drafting rules and regulations for the executive order. Writing committee reports. Contributions to affirmative action during the Kennedy administration. Acquiring expertise in civil rights rules through the experience--first assignment as a professional in the Labor Department.

Secretary of Labor testimony on FEPC, House Labor committee. Arthur Goldberg testified, on a bill introduced in Congress by the son of the former president, Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Achieved position of Chief of the Research Corporation in Labor Relations.

Keywords: Department of Labor; Labor Department; contract law; corporate law

04:40:28 - Labor Relations and the Office of the Secretary of Labor

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Partial Transcript: We left off during your department of labor years just when Arthur Goldberg went off to the Supreme Court as a justice and William Wirtz came in...

Segment Synopsis: Prof. Jones discusses his work within the Office of the Secretary of Labor.

Run-up to the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Howard Jenkins Jr. was appointed to the National Labor Relations Board and asked Prof. Jones to be his chief legal. Howard stayed for 20 years. Prof. Jones remained with the Labor Department and was eventually promoted.

Keywords: Arthur Goldberg; Civil Rights Act of 1964; Department of Labor; Howard Jenkins Jr.; Secretary of Labor; William Wirtz

05:11:58 - Promotion within the Labor Department

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Partial Transcript: You were telling about the title...

Segment Synopsis: Prof. Jones is promoted within the Labor Department.

Civil Rights Bill of 1963, Bobby Kennedy was the lead off witness.

Congressional recognition of the legitimacy of the president's executive order legislation on anti-discrimination. Roosevelt started it, a senator from Georgia passed the law, making it impossible for FEPC to continue to operate without specific appropriation by Congress.

Keywords: Department of Labor; House Judiciary Committee; Labor Department

05:31:39 - Civil Rights Work

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Partial Transcript: Would you say there came a time when you spent most of your time on civil rights legislation?

Segment Synopsis: Prof. Jones discusses the connection between his work and civil rights legislation.

Moved out of the solicitor's office and into a new office as director of a think tank in the same building. Jack Reynolds and Jim Gentry were his colleagues.

Another law position in the solicitor's office opened, and he then assumed that position as a lawyer for the Labor Department.

Keywords: Associate Solicitor for Labor Relations and Civil Rights; Civil Rights Act; Justice Department; civil rights

05:57:56 - Civil Rights Work II

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Partial Transcript: What emerged was the executive order. They passed title 7...

Segment Synopsis: Johnson rewrites the executive orders, all of the Kennedy executive orders plus some others. No longer needed Congress and inter-agency, because in original title 7, one of the major provisions--on employment--mandates the sharing of information between the agencies of coordination. Enabled the Secretary of Labor to delegate everything except the general rule-making.

Keywords: Johnson administration; Justice O'Connor; Secretary of Labor; Title 7; Vice President Humphrey; civil rights; civil rights legislation

06:08:10 - Working in the Labor Department III

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Partial Transcript: In 1967 Prof. Jones was appointed the Associate Solicitor in the Department of Labor...

Segment Synopsis: Prof. Jones discusses his time working for the Labor Department just prior to transition to academia.

Organizing the clerical staff and lawyers for improved efficiency.

Keywords: Allen-Bradley Case; Bessie Margolin; Department of Labor; Labor Department; labor relations

07:26:01 - Serving in Government and Being Recruited by Law Schools

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Partial Transcript: This is June Weisberger and I am sitting in Professor James Jones's office and we are continuing our conversation about his career, particularly the last couple of years when he was in the Department of Labor, and we are up to the point where there was a change in the administration of the presidency.

Segment Synopsis: Professor Jones talks about his tour of government duty during a new presidential administration.

President Nixon's administration begins, and George P. Shultz--who was Prof. of Industrial Relations at University of Chicago--is appointed as the U.S. Secretary of Labor. Jones is named Associate Solicitor of the Division of Labor Relations and Civil Rights, two of the most politically explosive elements in the Labor Department according to Schultz.
Jones writes a proposal to revise the Philadelphia Plan, a federal affirmative action program to racially integrate the building construction trade unions through mandatory goals for nonwhite hiring on federal construction contracts. The first plan had been declared an illegal quota program in 1968 but this revised version, backed by President Nixon, was approved by Congress a year later.

Several universities approach Jones about becoming a law professor, including Michigan, Cal Davis, Rutgers, and Wisconsin. Although he and his wife Joan, who was a computer programmer at NASA, had a successful life in Washington, Jones accepts a position to teach at UW-Madison – 75% labor law for the Law School and 25% for the Industrial Relations graduate program.

Keywords: Department of Labor; Executive Order 11246; George P. Shultz; James E. Jones, Jr.; Office of the Solicitor; Philadelphia Plan; Philadelphia Plan Revised; Robert Weber; U.S. Secretary of Labor; University of Wisconsin Law School; affirmative action; civil rights; quota; strict scrutiny

08:56:07 - Beginnings at University of Wisconsin Law School in Industrial Relations and Labor Law

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Partial Transcript: You entered Madison at such [an active] time...

Segment Synopsis: At the time of Prof. Jones's arrival at Wisconsin Law there were two women on the faculty and he was the first African-American faculty member. He was to teach 25% industrial relations (IR) and 75% labor law. At the time there was no IR tenure track. Spencer Kimball was dean of Wisconsin Law School at the time.

Nathan Feinsinger was the professor of labor law at that time, and Prof. Jones needed to wait until Professor Feinsinger's retirement before assuming that responsibility. Professor Jones originated the teaching of UW-Madison's first civil rights curriculum at the law school.

Employment problems of the disadvantaged was one of the courses Professor Jones taught, another course he taught was Employment Discrimination. He taught Administrative Law for three years. Attained tenure.

Professor Jones discusses the law departments, how they were structured, and the various job functions of each instructor, pay scales, and divisions of responsibility.

Professor Jones discusses the scrapping of the certificate program due to waning quality of the placements and an inadequate means of controlling it.

Discussion of Professor Jones's experience as Director of the Industrial Relations Research Institute (IRRI); first non-economist to serve in the position. Discussion of the various academic backgrounds of faculty and leadership in the Industrial Relations and labor law faculty, whether business and economics background, academic IR background, and or law background.

Professor of industrial relations for 24 years. Describes which courses he taught and how faculty decided with leadership and faculty which courses to teach outside the labor law field.

Served in the university senate for 12 years. Service on the athletic board for 17 years. Prof. Jones advocacy for athletes, including Title IX and academic eligibility rules.

Keywords: IRRI; Industrial Relations Research Institute; Madison; Nathan Feinsinger; Patrick Lucey; Spencer Kimball; University of Wisconsin Law School; civil rights; civil rights curriculum; labor law; professor of labor law

10:26:02 - Involvement in African Studies Discussions, Service on the Athletic Board, and LEO Program

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Partial Transcript: This may be a good session to talk about some of the key things you were involved in such as the LEO program, the Hastie Fellows program...

Segment Synopsis: Prof. Jones discusses his involvement in the discussions to decide on either an African Studies program or a department.

The Legal Education Opportunities (LEO) program was a part of a diversity outreach initiative at the University of Wisconsin Law School that Prof. Jones was involved in; initially it had no budgeted money.

When Governor Patrick Lucey assumed office he made pioneering decisions in the hiring of new regents.

Keywords: African Studies Department; Athletic Board; Bascom Professor; Governor Patrick Lucey; Irving Shain; Legal Education Opportunities Program

11:00:47 - Civil Rights and the UW Board of Regents Discussions

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Partial Transcript: The early days before the Civil Rights Act of '64 very few schools were using tests for student admission...

Segment Synopsis: Ad-hoc committee formed to come up with recommendations for minority students, 25 people on the committee incl. 4 regents, Prof. Jones, university professors, and more.

The insistence was not to lower the academic standards while not segregating. Prof. Jones advocated for educational value of enterprises as a central value.

Keywords: Board of Regents; Civil Rights

11:22:16 - LEO Program Students and the William H. Hastie Teaching Fellowship Program

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Partial Transcript: 7% who are high flyers are going to be lousy performers, and 77% who are lousy test takers are going to be adequate performers...

Segment Synopsis: Prof. Jones discusses the LEO students and their academic situations.

The William H. Hastie Teaching Fellowship Program proposal was written by Prof. Jones and involved the recruitment of minority teachers.

Prof. Jones's stance was that if it's an education problem don't blame the Milwaukee Public Schools system; hold the universities and their schools of education accountable.

The Hastie program is described in further detail to include benefits and fellows.

Keywords: LEO Program; William H. Hastie; William H. Hastie Teaching Fellowship Program

11:58:48 - Extracurricular Service on the Athletic Board and Public Review Board as well as Public Service

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Partial Transcript: This may be a good time to pick up some of the outside activities and some of the university activities like the Athletic Board and the Public Review Board.

Segment Synopsis: Discussion of Prof. Jones's service on the Athletic Board and Public Review Boards, implementing Title IX for women athletes, working with police and fire departments, and joining and working with the United Auto Workers Public Review Board.

Keywords: Athletic Board; Hastie Fellowship Program; Public Review Board; Public Service; Title IX; United Auto Workers Public Review Board

12:29:29 - Grievance Arbitration and the Arbitration Profession

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Partial Transcript: I know that you have done grievance arbitration. How did that play into your teaching and other issues related to that?

Segment Synopsis: Prof. Jones explains the arbitration profession and his involvement in serving as an arbitrator in Madison and in teaching arbitration as well as working in the general council for the federal mediation service in Washington, D.C.

Keywords: Industrial Relations Research Association; National Academy of Arbitrators

12:40:45 - Recruitment to Federal Positions

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Partial Transcript: How the Federal Impasses Panel got started was that Jimmy Carter sent for Prof. Jones in 1977 and asked if he was interested in being nominated and confirmed as the chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Segment Synopsis: Prof. Jones discusses the experiences of being offered federal positions such as the chairmanship of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the judgeship commissions.

Keywords: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; Federal Impasses Panel; Judgeship Commissions; President Jimmy Carter

12:55:28 - Reflection in Retirement

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Partial Transcript: This seems a natural bridge, although you have been formally retired since 1993, in fact you have kept your oar in the academic waters to this date. Do you want to reflect on your retirement when it first became a reality and through the years?

Segment Synopsis: Prof. Jones discusses personal health challenges, coping, and retirement options.

Economic aspects of retirement.

Keywords: retirement

13:03:04 - Writing an Autobiography

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Partial Transcript: We are talking about your rather comprehensive project of writing your autobiography.

Segment Synopsis: The discussion turns to writing an autobiography and the thought process and procedure that is involved.

Prof. Jones explains the focus of his memoir and the inspiration from his grandmother in shaping his life and career choices.

Growing up in Arkansas, attending high school, earning grades, finding a role as a student, contributing.

As a law professor, declining candidacy for state and federal judgeship.

Keywords: arkansas; autobiography; memoir; writing

13:24:08 - Highlights of Career in Government I

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Partial Transcript: ...how was it that the president ended up choosing me as the candidate...

Segment Synopsis: Prof. Jones discusses his career in government, the highlights and the substance of what he was doing.

Keywords: Executive Order on Affirmative Action; House Labor Committee; Kennedy Administration; Philadelphia Plan; equal employment provisions; labor relations orders

13:34:32 - Highlights of Career in Government II

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Partial Transcript: ...doing something that helps others...

Segment Synopsis: Prof. Jones discusses specific experiences that highlight his career, including working in government and academia.

Writing the rules and regulations of the Kennedy executive order on affirmative action as a journeymen legislative lawyer.

Representing Arthur Goldberg as Council, House Labor Committee.

Staff lawyer to write public sector labor relations for the federal government, 10988, during the Kennedy administration.

Revised Philadelphia Plan for the Nixon administration. An implementation of the Kennedy Johnson executive order contract requirements.

Keywords: Counsel of Record for Testimony; Equal Employment Provisions; Executive Order on Affirmative Action; House Labor Committee; Labor Relations Orders; Philadelphia Plan; Public Sector; Rules and Regulations

13:50:45 - Highlights of Career in Academia

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Partial Transcript: ...then I took off to academia...

Segment Synopsis: Discussion of career highlights in academia, including working with the Atlanta and Georgia Bar Associations, Southwest Legal Foundation.

Early publications on labor management.

Shortly after arriving in Madison, being recruited for the Regents Ad-hoc Committee on Minority and Disadvantaged Students.

Involvement in creating the African Studies department.

Assembling course materials for employment discrimination law.

Establishing the William H. Hastie Teaching Fellowship program.

Athletic Board membership, serving for 17 years; advocacy for academics in athletics and creation of women's athletics.

Hiring new law professors; labor law clinicals; editorial policy committee for Labor Law Group; recruiting faculty.

Teaching future lawyers.

Keywords: Atlanta and Georgia Bar Associations; Labor Law Group; Southwest Legal Foundation; UAW Public Review Board; William H. Hastie Teaching Fellowship; labor management

14:47:57 - The Future of Labor Law, and Philosophy of Labor Law

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Partial Transcript: This leads naturally into something I wanted to ask you about which is on the academic side...what do you see is the future of labor law?

Segment Synopsis: Prof. Jones discusses the future of labor law and how it deals in human rights for workers.

Efforts to ensure people having some security regarding their existence, some right to individual respect and worth.

The perceptions of religion and labor as life ideals.

Labor law as trying to improve the human condition as best as one can.

Edward C. Sylvester anecdote.

Keywords: Education in Labor Law; Human Rights; Labor Law

15:08:16 - Highlights of Career in Government III

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Partial Transcript: What he now sees as highlights in his various careers...

Segment Synopsis: Prof. Jones talks about his career highlights.

Publications about equal opportunity and administrative action Prof. Jones was involved with.

The 1967 Allen-Bradley case in Milwaukee.

The Wisconsin Law School program and similar programs.

Career as a federal lawyer, including involvement with the Philadelphia Plan revised.

Lyndon B. Johnson administration involvement.

Public sector revolution that the Kennedy executive order started. Civil Service reform of 1978.

Keywords: Allen-Bradley Case; Career Highlights; Government Career; Labor Department; Philadelphia Plan

15:25:09 - Highlights of Career in Public Service, and University of Wisconsin Law School Experiences I

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Partial Transcript: Question: Do you want to go on to do public service highlights?

Response: When I was being recruited by the law school, I hadn't given any thought to teaching...

Segment Synopsis: Discussion of highlights of Prof. Jones's career in public service.

Service in the United States Department of Labor.

Choice to stay in Department of Labor until retirement or consider some other approach. It was not a foregone conclusion that he was going to come to UW-Madison to teach.

Students making demands of the University of Wisconsin concerning Vietnam and black students.

Helping the regents craft their minority and disadvantaged students program.

"One of the most significant developments of [his] teaching career was the non-teaching public service part because the regents had the need to deal with something..."

Governor Lucey budget reductions by 10%. Potential budget reduction effect on the minority and disadvantaged students program, changes in how minority and disadvantaged funding was used.

Recruitment of staff to work on diversity issues at University of Wisconsin.

Development of Department of Afro-American Studies.

Establishing the special advisory committee for minority input into athletic issues at the Big 10 schools.

Keywords: Public Service

16:02:06 - University of Wisconsin Law School Experiences II

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Partial Transcript: When we got money for the M & D and closed the segregated house... through contact with the chancellor we got the first $36,000 of 101 money for the LEO program.

Segment Synopsis: Prof. Jones discusses the LEO program's funding situation.

Funding for the Hastie Fellowship Program.

Conversation with US President Jimmy Carter regarding a position in the US Presidential administration that Prof. Jones did not pursue.

Keywords: LEO Program

16:11:11 - Paths Not Taken

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Partial Transcript: We're up to the point about paths not taken; things you might have done but chose not to or had other priorities. What are some of those?

Segment Synopsis: Prof. Jones discusses career paths that he declined to follow.

Why Prof. Jones stayed in Wisconsin rather than pursue a career in the federal judiciary.

Recruitment by Northwestern, Cornell, Minnesota, Georgetown, Virginia, and Florida, and why he decided to remain at University of Wisconsin Law School.

Bridging the UW-Madison Industrial Relations program and the Wisconsin Law School Labor Law program at UW-Madison rather than doing so at University of Minnesota.

Declined to pursue opportunities to work at Western Electric, for trade unions, or in further government positions.

Promotion to Associate Solicitor of Labor Relations.

Decision to retire.

Keywords: Alternatives