Student Affairs Committee Annual Report 2004-5
Student Affairs Committee: Co-Chairs: Matan Ariel (GS) and Nathan Walker (TC). Members: Chetan Bagga (CC), Rebecca Baldwin (Nursing), Rachel Bell (TC), Bethany Chase (SW), Leni Darrow (SCE), Diana Delgado (ARTS), David Fraccaro (UTS), Eduard N. Ghanem (ARCH), Emmanuelle Henry (Law), Stacey Hirsh (SEAS), Sean Kelly (SEAS), Angela Macropoulos (Journalism), Varun Munjal (CC), Adam Michaels (BUS), Coilin Parsons (GSAS/H), Brian Pompeo (PH) Noah Raizman (P&S), Kacy Redd (GSAS/NS), Ali Sami (SDOS), James Schmid (BUS), Jennifer Schnidman (CC), Amy Lynne Schoeman (SIPA), Holly Snow (Barnard), and Kira von Ostenfeld (GSAS/SS). Other non-Senators who sit on Senate committees: Melanie Flamm (BC), Alissa Gafford (GS), Aaron Lord (P&S), Scott Olster (GS), Chris Riano (GS), and Sean Wilkes (CC).
The high productivity of the Student Affairs Committee (SAC) is a direct result of the collegial, professional, and diligent student leaders throughout the entire University. This dynamic team continues to develop proactive resolutions and innovative proposals to address the student concerns. The body of this Annual Report will provide a brief summary of each issue that was addressed in the Student Caucus during the 2004-5 academic year.
The Agora Project, led by Noah Raizman
and Nathan Walker, is an online collaborative space and networking tool
designed to foster collaboration between scholars in the
The Agora would create an unified web interface for students, integrating CourseWorks, Cubmail, SSOL, bulletin boards and a customizable university calendar using the open-source
The Alumni Affairs committee of the University
Senate focused largely on finding out what alumni really want from their
University, and we discussed ways in which we could do this. Over several
months, the SAC worked with Eric Furda, Vice President of Alumni Affairs and a
member of the committee, to develop a survey that will be released to all alumni
this summer. The Alumni
Affairs committee, via its student representative, Senator Jen Schnidman CC 06, also worked together with the Student Affairs committee to foster a stronger relationship between students and alumni. One important result of this new relationship is the fact that two Student Senators will be members of the newly formed Columbia Alumni Association.
Throughout the year the student caucus was led by Co-Chairs Matan Ariel (GS ’06) and Nathan Walker (UTS ’05, TC ’08). Matan Ariel, Sean Kelly (SEAS), and Brian Pompeo (PH) served on the Executive Committee and after the Trustees approved the Teachers College’s Senate voting rights, Senator Pompeo stepped down from Exec and Senator Walker was appointed. At its April 1st meeting, the Student Affairs Committee selected Adam Michaels (BUS) and Holly Snow (BC) as Co-Chairs for the 2005-6 academic year and members of the Executive Committee.
In order to better communicate with the student body, the Student Affairs Committee launched a subsection of the Senate website dedicated to the student Senators. This site, designed by senator Jennifer Schnidman CC 06, includes three sections: (1) who we are – a profile of each member of the student caucus; (2) initiatives – issues talked by the Senators; and (3) elections – explaining how students from various schools can get involved with the Senate. To view the site log onto: <http://www.columbia.edu/cu/senate/studentaffairs/>
The students remained an active part of the
Education Committee during the 2004/2005 academic year. Students sat on
sub-committees to investigate the new MS in Business Research degree in the
In addition to standing obligations to review
new degree programs, Senator Adam Michaels (BUS) worked with members of the
committee to influence education outside of the walls of
In response to controversy, the Student Affairs Committee collaborated
with the Faculty Affairs Committee in shaping the process of appealing
grievances to the Provost. A joint Faculty Affairs and Student Affairs report
to the Senate on
The discussions in the Housing Committee this
year have focused on the role of housing in recruiting new faculty. Time
was spent discussing what
International Students and Scholars Officer (ISSO)
An international student brought the issue of fees imposed by the International Students and Scholars Officer (ISSO) to the attention of Senator Amy Schoeman (SIPA) and then to the Student Affairs Committee. The student believed the mandatory $100 Trainee Administrative Fee was excessive and students were not given enough notice of it. The head of the ISSO issued a statement explaining why the fees were instituted. He said that the fees were a result of an order issued in January 2003 by the Department of Homeland Security that required universities to update their SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) database, which tracks personal and academic information in for non-immigrants in F-1 and J-1 status. So to meet the requirements greater required time and resources were needed and in order to cover the cost the office felt the need to issue the fee. The director maintained that this information was given to students. Both the student and the head of the ISSO were invited to attend a SAC meeting, but neither attended. SAC has taken no action on this issue.
Libraries and AcIS Committee
Members of SAC participated on Libraries and AcIS Committee
that reviewed important issues related to students. (1) Open Access
Resolution: This year the libraries committee passed a resolution in
support for open access of scholarly research. The spirit of the resolution was
to allow for research to be shared more openly. It suggests that the publishers
have more rights in their own works and that barriers to access of research be
considered. (2) Human Rights:
Manhattanville - Task Force on Campus Planning
The Task Force on Campus Planning worked hard in 2004-05 to
Manhattanville - Expansion Forum
In a continuing effort to broker discussion between the Columbia administration, students, and community members on the subject of the proposed campus expansion into Manhattanville, CC ’06 Senator Varun Munjal arranged a panel inviting two activists within the Manhattanville community and two representatives of the administration to discuss some of the more contentious issues surrounding the plans. Presentations from the panelists were followed by questions from audience members. With the help of the Office of Government & Community Affairs, this event was placed within a longer series of Columbia-sponsored events designed to inform students about the administration’s plans for the Manhattanville area.
National Tuition Endowment
In the fall of 2005 the Student Affairs Committee launched a national campaign to lobby congress to establish a National Tuition Endowment. Leading scholars in higher education and economics have reviewed this proposal and agree that over $30.7 billion could be generated by capturing the waste in the federal aid system. The NTE proposal has received national attention, including publications in NCHELP briefings, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and numerous college newspapers.
In addition, Baranda Fermin
(non-senator TC ’05) presented the research on the NTE in January 2005 at the Quality, Cost, and Access Dilemma in Higher
Education seminar, sponsored in part by the Association for Institutional
Research. Thanks to the generous support
of Provost Brinkley and Barnard’s President Shapiro, General Counsel Michael
Feierman, and Dean Dorothy Denburg 7 students will present this research at the
Pell Institute’s Annual Student Financial Aid Research Network in
After numerous complaints about the design of the University diploma, the Student Affairs Committee established a task-force to redesign the University diplomas. During the 2003-4 academic year, the task-force met with the diploma vendor, gathered input from various student governments, created possible new designs, and conducted a University-wide electronic polling of students. 6,045 students participated in the poll, and the results showed an overwhelming support (90%) for a new design. At the end of the 2003-4 academic year, the University Senate passed a resolution calling upon the administration and Trustees to “seriously consider changes in Columbia diplomas, including the ones developed by the Diploma Task Force and presented to students in the University-wide poll” and for “the Diploma Task Force [to] continue to participate in deliberations on the new diplomas until the design is complete.” Throughout the 2004-5 academic year, members of the Task Force repeatedly contacted the administration in order to participate in the process. The administration has obtained the service of an outside designer to look into the proposal, and recently the Task Force was asked to review new mock-up diplomas. No design, however, has yet been presented to the Trustees. To view the full Diploma Task Force report and relating information, please visit <http://www.columbia.edu/cu/diploma/>
Sexual Misconduct Policy Task Force
This year the task force finished up its
Status of Women
The Commission on the Status of
Women is chaired by Kim Kastens and Christia Mercer. The Commission
has two initiatives that directly affect students. The first is
increasing child care for faculty, staff, and students. The second is
addressing graduate attrition rates. The Commission was able to acquire
TC Voting Seat
In October 2004 the University Trustees approved the April 2004 Senate Resolution to create a voting-seat for the students of Teachers College. The TC representatives urge the Senate to adopt guidelines for voting seats as it relates to student population; as is, the current distribution of student seats is unequal among schools.
In order to evaluate and improve the
relationship between the student population and
the Columbia Trustees, the Student Affairs Committee—in an effort led by SEAS Senator Sean Kelly—requested that a sub-committee of the Executive Committee be established. After initial research of peer institutions conducted by Chris Riano (GS, non-Senator), the sub-committee held its first meeting with several Trustees in February where Chris Riano, Matan Ariel, and Nathan Walker were in attendance. There was a positive response to the idea of creating stronger ties between our two bodies.
Some of the sub-committee’s recommendations, such as allowing Senate attendance in the Trustee Plenary meeting for a substantial portion of the meeting, were already implanted in the March meeting. Additionally, during the Trustees retreat in March 2005 it was suggested that there be a sub-committee of the Trustee’s Committee on Education with the direct mandate of working on student affairs. We hope in the coming year to continue making positive steps towards our improving these interactions.