The Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Project

Sort Interviews by Affiliation or Theme

Beth Rietveld Oral History Interview

Life history interview conducted by Janice Dilg.

June 11, 2014


“A Leading Voice for Women at OSU”  June 11, 2014  Location: Rietveld residence, Corvallis, Oregon.  Watch Video | Download Transcript (PDF)

In the interview, Rietveld discusses her upbringing in a conservative household, her development as an independent thinker, and her collegiate experience at the University of Illinois. From there she notes her first professional job at Southern Illinois University, her active participation in the National Intramural Recreational Sports Association, and the experiences of sexual harassment that she encountered as a member of that group.

Rietveld then shares the circumstances of her move to Oregon State University, the status of the recreational sports program at the time, the role that she played as Assistant Director - with particular attention paid to the expanded training curriculum that she developed for student staff - and her doctoral studies in College Students Services Administration.

The majority of the session focuses on Rietveld's association with the OSU Women's Center and the culture of activism that the center helped to foment across the university. In this, Rietveld recounts the crucial importance of the Faculty Womens Network in providing an early platform for women to discuss issues of importance. She also describes the Womens Center's efforts to combat its own history of homophobia and the collection of radical feminist groups that later emerged in response to issues of gender marginalization and sexual assault. Rietveld likewise recalls the efforts of the membership of the President's Commission on the Status of Women to address a whole host of issues including salary equity, campus climate for faculty of color, work-life balance, childcare, and personal leave.

The interview concludes with a discussion of Rietveld's involvement in professional organizations, including the National Women's Studies Association, which presented her with a Lifetime Achievement award. She also notes her interests in retirement, especially quilting, her desire to write a history of the Women's Center, and her encouragement to students of today that they find and express their own voices on issues that are important to them.