The Senate is a University-wide legislature, representing faculty, students, and other constituencies. It makes policy on a range of issues that affect the entire University or more than one school, including educational programs and priorities, the budget, academic freedom and tenure, the conduct of research, the libraries, information technology, Columbia's external relations, student sexual misconduct, rules governing political demonstrations, and the welfare of faculty, students, and research officers. Trustee concurrence is required for acts of the Senate.

The Senate has 108 voting seats, with 63 reserved for faculty,
24 for students, 6 for officers of research,
2 each for administrative staff, librarians, and alumni, and 9 for senior administrators including the president, who chairs monthly plenaries.

All members of the Columbia community
are welcome at these meetings. See "Introduction to the Senate."


The Senate Rules Committee is now conducting a review of the Rules of University Conduct, which govern political rallies and demonstrations. The last time the committee amended the Rules was in 1989, and the University has not used the external hearing procedure spelled out in the Rules for trying serious violations since 1993, despite some disruptive demonstrations in the interim.

As part of its review, the committee held three town hall meetings in the fall of 2014 (two on Morningside, one at CUMC), and has received a number of proposals for reform. On December 1, 2014, the committee voted unanimously to intensify its review. It will report on its work early in the spring semester, and present any recommendations for changes to the Senate for further discussion and a possible vote before the end of the 2014-15 academic year.

Here are some relevant documents:

The Rules of Conduct

A Brief Legislative History of the Rules

Transcript of a town hall meeting on October 17, 2014

Transcript of a town hall meeting on November 10, 2014

Spectator story of December 1, 2014: “University Senate Rules Committee Votes to Review the Rules of Conduct.”


Sen. Soulaymane Kachani (Nontenured, SEAS), Vice Provost for Online Education, spoke to the Senate at the December 11 plenary about Columbia Online, the portal for online courses, MOOCs and other initiatives at the university. Photograph by Jessica Raimi.

Community Engagement Panel
on Private Prison Divestment
Tuesday, January 20, 6:00-7:30 p.m.

106 Jerome Greene Hall (the Law School)

Sponsored by ACSRI


The University Senate’s ties to the ACSRI, described in the committee’s founding documents in 2000, include an annual committee report to the Senate and a role in the appointment of the ACSRI’s student members for the Senate Student Affairs Committee. Almost every year since 2000 an ACSRI chair or other member has addressed the Senate. On April 3, 2014, Sara Minard, a faculty member, spoke about ACSRI deliberations on a proposal for divestment of Columbia’s holdings related to fossil fuels. In 2014-15 the newly appointed ACSRI chair, Prof. Jeffrey Gordon of the Law School, is scheduled to speak to the Senate on February 6.

Here are some relevant links:

Petition statement from Barnard Columbia Divest calling for divestment of Columbia’s holdings related to fossil fuels

ACSRI response to the BCD proposal

Proceedings of a conference held at the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law on November 24, 2014: Should Universities and Pension Funds Divest from Fossil Fuel Stocks?

Announcement of the founding of the ACSRI, February 25, 2000

ACSRI's 2014-15 agenda

Gender-based misconduct
and sexual assault:
Some background documents

The new Gender-based Misconduct Policy for Students was announced on August 15. On September 23, the university released a report providing aggregate data on sexual assault at Columbia (Gender-based Misconduct Prevention and Response Report). In November, the university released an FAQ document on faculty and staff reporting requirements for gender-based misconduct.

The University Senate held a town hall on gender-based misconduct and sexual assault on April 16 (transcript here), following a town hall organized by undergraduate students and deans on March 13. Here are some background documents on the issue. 

Honors and prizes nomination form
Use this form to nominate candidates for Columbia University honorary degrees and the University Medal for Excellence.

Online handbook for creating and modifying educational programs

University policies adopted by the
Senate in recent years


Orientation materials are available here.

The next plenary meeting will be Friday, February 6, 1:15 p.m.,
104 Jerome Greene Hall (the Law School).

Anyone with CUID is welcome.



All at 1:15 p.m.

Friday, February 6
104 Jerome Greene Hall

Friday, February 27
104 Jerome Greene Hall

Thursday, April 2
104 Jerome Greene Hall

Friday, May 1
1501 International Affairs

Agendas of past Senate meetings with links to documents.

Tuesday, September 30

Friday, October 24

Thursday, November 20

Thursday, December 11



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