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Donating Your Materials to the Carnegie Mellon University Archives

University Archives Most Wanted

The University Archives are responsible for stewarding the university’s history and legacy. In the past, we have done this largely by collecting and preserving records, materials, and artifacts created by departments, programs, and “notable” CMU faculty and alumni. We recognize that the University Archives fail to represent the experiences and contributions of many people.

As we work to repair the Archive and fill the holes left by the silences we’ve identified to date, we wanted to make public a list of task forces, commissions, reports, people, and events for which we are actively seeking records.  

Can you help us locate these records?

Human Relations Commission

In 1989 President Richard Cyert announced the formation of the Human Relations Commission (HRC) in response to concerns raised by Black student leaders about insensitivity and harassment of Black students on campus. This commission made up of faculty, staff, and students, was charged with investigating complaints about the rights of groups and individuals on campus.

Starting in 1989, the HRC investigated controversies on campus, gathered data, and produced a number of high-profile reports and recommendations on topics such as sexual harassment, racial discrimination, homophobia, and “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in the ROTC. The last reference we can find in the University Archives of their work is the fight for domestic partner benefits in the early 2000s. 
Despite the activity and influence of the HRC, we have no direct documentation of their work in the University Archives. 

Black Student Advisory Committee (BSAC)

Little exists in the University Archives about the Black Student Advisory Committee (BSAC). Like many groups, we know they existed and little else. Through the Thistle yearbook and the Tartan student newspaper, we know that a Black Student Advisory Committee was active from at least 1990 to 2002, but we do not know details about their activities, their membership, or their reception by campus and administration.

Records of SPIRIT

Records relating to SPIRIT’s history (originally the Black Student Organization) are among those most frequently requested records by students. SPIRIT has played an incredible role in Black students’ lives on campus for 50+ years, but the University Archives have very few records of their activities. As with other missing portions of Carnegie Mellon’s history, we rely on secondary sources like the Tartan to understand SPIRIT’s dynamic role on campus.

Records that document the LGBTQ+ student experience on campus
Carnegie Mellon’s first LGBTQ+ student organization (recognized by the student senate) was the Gay and Lesbian Alliance (GALA). Founded in 1986, GALA sought to create a welcoming place for gays, lesbians, and those questioning their sexual identity and/or gender. They also worked to educate the broader campus about homophobia and discrimination against gays and lesbians. In 1988 they successfully advocated for the addition of “sexual orientation” to the university’s anti-discrimination policy. Today, Carnegie Mellon has six LGBTQ+ student groups working to build a more inclusive and supportive campus for everyone within the gender and sexuality spectrums. But we don’t have any records from GALA or any of the more recent LGBTQ+ student groups, dating back as far as 2000. 

**UPDATE** In 2022 the University Archives collaborated with the Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion to transfer records from the SOHO House, an office space LGBTQ+ student organizations have used for decades. The large collection of clippings, posters, correspondence, banners, photographs, and other ephemera are housed in the Univeristy Archives. Currently, we are looking for ways to collaborate with the CMU LGBTQ+ community on organizing and describing them for public access. Contact the University Archives with any questions or collaboration ideas. 

"Report to the President on Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Issues at Carnegie Mellon"

Published in January 1991, the only evidence we have of it is in a in a letter from Bill Elliott to the student group Carnegie Mellon OUT.

"A Question of Academic Freedom Final Report on Academic Freedom from the Faculty Review Committee

This report was believed to have been published in 1984, and is mentioned in issues of the FOCUS Faculty and Staff newsletter as well as "Academic Freedom Be Dammed" a book published in 1986 by Dorothy Rosenberg and James L. Rosenberg.