From the University Archives: COSNW and Shirley Angrist Collections

L-r Commission leaders Mrs. Kaufman, Professors Beach and Angrist

Did you know, March is Women’s History Month and this year marks the 50th Anniversary of Title IX? Two collections are open for research in the University Archives, The Commission on the Status and Needs of Women at CMU (COSNW) Collection, and the Shirley Angrist papers document the efforts made by faculty, staff, students, and alumni to address inequalities and discrimination women faced at Carnegie-Mellon University in the late sixties and early seventies.

The Commission on the Status and Needs of Women at CMU (COSNW) Collection

Title IX was enacted by Congress as part of the Education Amendments of 1972. Title IX prohibits discrimination based on sex in any educational institutions that receive any type of federal funding. In 1971 (one year before Title IX was established by Congress), the COSNW was established by President Guyford Stever in response to discussions between administration and women employees at Carnegie-Mellon University. The twelve representatives from the administration, faculty, staff, students, and alumni met over the course of six months to examine issues pertaining to women at CMU, and make recommendations regarding implementing Affirmative Action.

The Commission on the Status and Needs of Women at CMU (COSNW)The Commission held three public hearings, conducted individual and group interviews with students, staff, faculty, and alumni, and collected data on the work and educational conditions of women at CMU. Data were collected on the inequalities women faculty and staff experienced concerning salaries, fringe benefits, and rank, in comparison to their male counterparts. The commission's research on students revealed inequalities in admissions, treatment in the classroom, housing, and counseling services. The work of COSNW resulted in the establishment of the Equal Opportunity Office (OEO), which would address the issues of women and minorities at CMU. While the commission worked to increase equity between men and women at CMU, other issues such as race were not a major consideration. A series of anonymous letters sent to the Commission's Grievances Committee from “the Secretary” recounts the greater struggle women of color faced at CMU. In a letter from March 25th, 1971, the Secretary asks, “Is this being done to me because of the fact that I am a woman or because of the fact that I am Black?”

What’s in the COSNW Collection?

The COSNW Collection includes surveys and reports conducted by the Commission, correspondence focusing on the formation of Commission, clippings and articles related to discrimination, and reports of the Commission's findings. The collection also includes materials related to several other groups addressing discriminatory issues such as the Presidential Task Force on Women’s Rights and Responsibilities (1969), Women at CMU (1971), the Commission on Women’s Oversight Committee (1994).

The Shirley Angrist Collection

Shirley AngristThe Shirley Angrist Collection includes materials related to the work of Shirley Angrist, an Associate Professor of Sociology in the School of Urban and Public Affairs. In addition to serving as the Research Director of COSNW, Dr. Angrist conducted several research studies related to women’s issues at Carnegie-Mellon University and Margaret Morrison Carnegie College.

This blog post is part of the Tartan Community Archive Initiative (TCAI), which documents the history of underrepresented communities and community members at Carnegie Mellon University.

by Crystal Johnson, Community Collections Processing Archvist