Now Available | The JoAnn Winsten Papers

The JoAnn Winsten papers document her advocacy work on behalf of the University’s administrative staff. An administrative assistant and later director of administration of the Applied Physics Department until her retirement in 2017, Winsten served on the Commission on the Status of Women, the University Senate and the Columbia Administration Staff Association (CASA), among other subcommittees and task forces. The Winsten collection offers the administrative staff or non-faculty member perspective, which is often underrepresented in our institutional records.

The Columbia Administrative Staff Association (CASA) was formed in 1971 to deal with the specific problems of the administrative staff and middle-level management, and, in the words of an officer of the organization, “to bring modern management to Columbia.” That same year, the University Senate established the Commission on the Status of Women. While at the time, President William J. McGill was trying to complete a new Affirmative Action Plan to be submitted to the Department of Health, Education and Welfare.

The JoAnn Winsten papers capture what happened next. Her records follow the work of these campus groups from the late 1970s to the early 2000s. The records cover such issues as salary equity, fringe benefits, retirement plans, professional development, parental leave or workload relief, child care, sexual assault policy and procedures, personnel grievance procedures, and staff representation on the University Senate committees. 

At the Sixth Columbia Artists Exhibition, which featured works by faculty, staff and affiliates on view in Low Rotunda, 1990. JoAnn Winsten, director of administration, department of applied physics; Panay Reyes, business manager, department of biological sciences; Luise Kaish, professor painting and sculpture; Ene Sirvet, staff associate, library administration, and organizer of the exhibit, and Margaret Holland, Butler Library preservation office. Photo by Joe Pineiro, University Photographer. Scan 5545. Office of Public Affairs Photograph Collection, University Archives.

There are two other personal collections which help to document the University’s evolution on issues related to hiring women and affirmative action. Former physics professor C.S. Wu was a member of President McGill’s original advisory committee that developed the approved by HEW, Affirmative Action Plan of 1972. The C.S. Wu papers document those early efforts.

The Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action records include the papers of Rosalind Fink, who was appointed in 1980 as the first director of the University’s Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action. She served in that position for 14 years. During her term as director, Fink took a leading role in formulating the sexual assault policy, making the campus wheelchair accessible, conducting grievance investigations, developing University policies which combatted discrimination, supporting the organizing efforts of gay members of the community, and encouraging search committees to include women and minority candidates when looking for faculty members and administrators.