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.

For more information, see "Introduction to the Senate."


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Applications for student media credentials for Columbia University are being accepted now. Download the application form for credentials for
media outlets
or for freelancers.

The next deadline will be in early fall.

For further information, please contact senate@columbia.edu.


Wm. Theodore de Bary, 1919-2017

Wm. Theodore de Bary, John Mitchell Mason Professor of the University and Provost emeritus, who served as the Senate’s first chairman of the Executive Committee, died July 14 at age 97.

On April 23, 2010, the anniversary of the events in 1968 that led to the formation of Columbia’s Senate, he spoke at a Senate panel concerning its founding:

“My journey to the University Senate started one day in late April of 1968 when I was working in my Kent Hall office trying to finish up a book the completion of which had long been delayed by a decade of service as chair of the University Committee on Oriental Studies, setting up the core courses on Asia, and then by two terms as chairman of the Department of Chinese and Japanese, which in the ’60s became expanded to the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures. I was glad in 1968 to be free of administration for a while, and was determined not to be distracted by the disturbances going on just outside my window.

“In the midst of this, I had a visit from a former student of mine, George Keller, who had since become the editor of Columbia College Today. He told me about an ad hoc faculty group who were meeting in Philosophy Hall, hoping to serve as intermediaries between the administration and the students occupying Low Library. I started attending those meetings, which didn’t get very far because Mark Rudd and the SDS insisted that Kirk and Truman resign as a precondition of negotiations.

“This was no surprise to me. Before Rudd launched his attack on Low Library, he took his band of SDS radicals down into Morningside Park to stage a demonstration against a proposed Columbia and community gym in the park. When he emerged by the stairway from the park and reached Morningside Drive, he was holding a banner aloft inscribed “To rebel is justified.” Perhaps few who saw the photo shot in the Spectator the next day understood whose battle cry this was or how portentous the slogan was.

“It came from Mao Tse-Tung, originally in a call to his revolutionary cadres in the 1930s, but [was] reiterated in a speech celebrating the Communist victory in 1949, a major speech entitled “Stalin Is Our Commander,” honoring Stalin as the leader of world revolution. And that’s who Mark Rudd was quoting….”  [READ MORE]

The next plenary meeting will be on Friday, September 15, 1:15 p.m., location to be announced.

Anyone with CUID is welcome.



Fridays at 1:15 p.m.
Locations to be announced.

September 15

October 20

November 17

December 8

February 2

February 23

March 30

April 27

Click on dates of past Senate meetings for agendas with links to documents.


September 23

October 21

November 18

December 15 (Thursday)

February 3

February 24

March 31

April 28

Here are agendas of
Senate plenaries
from prior years.


At the final plenary of the 2016-17 Senate session on April 28, the Faculty Affairs Committee announced a new statement of the procedures it follows when it investigates faculty grievances. Based on the accounts of grievances in the University Statutes, the Senate By-laws and the Provost's Faculty Handbook, the statement describes the relevant rules, as well as the customs the committee has developed over the years in this work.