Proposed: December 8, 2000
Adopted: December 8, 2000
President George Rupp, the chairman, called the Senate to order shortly after 1:15 p.m. in 301 Uris. Fifty-two of 88 senators were present during the meeting.
Minutes and agenda: The minutes of October 27, 2000, and the agenda were adopted as proposed.
--The following Columbians received important awards in the past week: Leon Lederman and
Henry Mischel both received the Engineering School’s Pupin Medal for Service to the Nation; Vittorio Castelli received the Egleston Prize for Distinguished Engineering Achievement; Bill Campbell ‘62 received Columbia College’s Hamilton Award.
--The Columbia varsity field hockey team, playing in only its third season, has won the ECAC title. The men’s soccer team, winning some big games at the end of the season, narrowly missed an NCAA bid. The women’s cross-country team has earned a berth in the NCAA championships.
--Two other Columbians, Jacques Barzun and Kenneth Koch, have won National Book Awards.
--The Provost has announced the search committee for the next University Librarian. The chair will be Prof. Richard Bushman; the other members are Jean Ashton, Hilary Ballon, Peter Bearman, Walter Bourne, Caroline Bynum, Bradford Garton, Paul Glosterman, Curtis Kendrick, John Masten, Henry Pinkham, Stephen Rittenberg, Edward Shortliffe, Nicholas Turro, Jeremy Waldron, and Kate Wittenberg. The goal is to have a new University Librarian by the time Elaine Sloan retires next summer.
--In response to a question from Sen. Fran Pritchett (Ten., A&S) at the previous meeting, the President asked Kenneth Knuckles, Vice President for Support Services, to report on the Columbia Housing Assistance Program (CHAP).
Mr. Knuckles said CHAP is an attempt to aid community development by encouraging home ownership for Columbia employees in the upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone, which the University helped to create in 1993 and where more than 2000 housing units are slated for development in the next few years. Full-time employees are eligible for a forgivable loan of $10,000 or 5 percent of the purchase price of the home, whichever is smaller. The loan is forgiven at the rate of 20 percent a year. For homes in central Harlem the benefit is enhanced to the lesser of $15,000 or 7 percent of the price. The buyer must occupy the home, which may be a condo, a coop, or a private house accommodating up to four families. After a slow start, the program has loaned some $80,000 (of a total of $300,000 budgeted for this purpose) to six Columbia employees for home purchases. Special provision has been made for limited-equity coops, an arrangement-¾common in New York since the late 1950s¾in which the owner has to share the proceeds of any sale with the cooperative. For these units, whose prices are significantly below market, the loan will be $10,000, or 50 percent of the price, whichever is less (for units in central Harlem, the loan limit is $15,000 or 50 percent of the price). A recent marketing forum on campus for a limited-equity coop now under construction on 116th Street and Lenox Avenue drew 250 people. Several Columbia employees have applied for units in the recently completed Morningside Park Condominiums on Morningside Avenue. Mr. Knuckles said the program has been a success and will continue to grow.
Sen. Eugene Litwak (Ten., A&S) commended the program, but wondered if it might be misunderstood as an attempt to gentrify Harlem. Mr. Knuckles agreed that fear of gentrification is an old angst in Harlem, which has surfaced again with the current construction boom. But the CHAP program grew from a finding that some 1500 employees, with annual incomes between $20,000 and $70,000, live in upper Manhattan, and many of them want to live closer to work.
He said the program has been well received by key officials, including Congressman Charles Rangel and Borough President Virginia Fields.
Sen. Lars Tragardh (Fac., Barnard) asked if Barnard and Teachers College employees are eligible for CHAP. The President said it was not, but the program could be expanded to include Barnard and TC if their leaders committed their own funds.
The President acknowledged the unease of Harlem residents about gentrification, but stressed that CHAP has been developed with strong support from people in Harlem, and is one of the few benefits targeted specifically for lower-income employees. He said he thought the addition of limited-equity coops would provide a vital boost for the program, enabling people to own homes for much less. Mr. Knuckles added that the prices of units in the Lenox Avenue development will range from $4,500 to $15,000.
Sen. Pritchett asked if there are safeguards to assure that affluent employees could not take advantage of the program. The President replied that no policy of this kind can exclude a class of people. But the scale of the incentives offered will do little good to anyone hoping to turn a major profit and a lot of good to someone buying at the low end of the housing market.
Sen. Litwak called for wide publicity for CHAP and the differences between it and the kind of gentrification that is so worrisome to Harlem residents.
Sen. Phyllis Garland (Ten., Journ.) asked what efforts are being made to notify employees about the program. Mr. Knuckles said a CHAP coordinator is available in Human Resources several hours a week, a mass mailing went to employees 18 months ago, and information about the program is available at the Human Resources website.
--The President said he had decided to declare a pause in the construction of a second Social Work School building on the north side of 113th Street, in order to allow an intense and collaborative review of a whole range of options, both for the design of that building and for alternative sites for a Social Work building. The process will be quick, involving consultations with community members and political officials, and resulting in a decision in about six weeks.
--The current capital campaign is coming to an end, and a celebration is planned for major donors in conjunction with the Trustee meetings on December 1 and 2. The campaign has been an extraordinary success, having surpassed its $2.2 billion goal to reach $2.74 billion with six weeks to go.
Sen. Allison McDermott (Stu., SW) said many fellow students at Social Work had spoken to her about the pause in construction of the school’s new building. She asked if her constituents would have a chance to voice their concerns. The President said he was working with Dean Feldman of Social Work to find ways for school representatives to become involved in the intense deliberative process to take place in the next few weeks.
Sen. Barry Allen (Research Staff, HS) asked if the present consultations will have ramifications for future projects at other sites. The President said Columbia has been successful in recent years in collaborating with the community on its building projects. The prime example is the Broadway Residence Hall, which included such changes to accommodate community concerns as a public library on the first floor and the preservation of townhouse facades on 114th Street. He said some of the trouble with the 113th Street site may have resulted from community frustrations with the tall building the Manhattan School of Music decided to build on 122nd Street. The President said Columbia, which must proceed with other projects after the present one, must do what it can to keep community frustrations from growing further.
Sen. Sharyn O’Halloran (Ten., A&S), a member of Physical Development, said the committee has not been regularly apprised of important impending decisions on capital projects, and has therefore been handicapped in playing its advisory role on physical development issues.
The President replied that Peter Marcuse, the chairman of Physical Development, has been getting updates from Vice President Emily Lloyd on the issues in the current pause, which was initiated on November 13. Sen. O’Halloran agreed, but noted that the committee was not previously kept abreast of significant initiatives, including the decision last summer to renovate 130 Morningside Drive, the partly occupied building on the “Pharmacy” site, near Amsterdam and 122nd Street.
The President said many constituencies want an uninterrupted dialogue on University policies, but there are only a few people to conduct that dialogue with them. He said he took Sen. O’Halloran’s point, but repeated that Prof. Marcuse has been kept informed on recent issues.
Report of the Executive Committee chairman: Sen. Paul Duby (Ten., SEAS), the chairman, reviewed topics discussed by the committee on November 14 that were also on the present agenda. He added the following points:
--The Senate staff has started discussion listservs for faculty and for officers of research.
--The Executive Committee decided to wait before deciding whether to establish a formal mandate for the ad hoc Senate group that is now learning about Fathom.com. Later, it may be appropriate to begin a broader inquiry into Columbia’s online learning initiatives. There will likely be Senate discussion of these issues in December.
--A new draft policy on e-mail privacy may be available soon, for the Executive Committee (and possibly other committees) to review.
--Sen. Duby had asked Sen. Debra Livingston (Ten., Law) to be standby chair of the Rules Committee, which maintains and revises the rules governing rallies and demonstrations. The committee has not met for several years. He also requested and received Senate approval for a list of changes in committee assignments that had been distributed at the door.
--Report from Honors and Prizes: Sen. Debra Wolgemuth (Ten., HS), chair of the committee,
summarized its mission, and reported on efforts to improve the selection process for the honorary degrees given at Commencement. The main innovation will be to start deliberations much earlier, in the spring term, more than a year before the degrees are awarded. The current process, lasting only a few weeks in the fall term, has hampered the collaborative efforts of the Senate and Trustee nominating committees. Sen. Wolgemuth also said the Columbia faculty is uniquely qualified to recommend the very best candidates for honorary degrees in the academic disciplines, and she appealed to colleagues to submit nominations.
--Discussion of the Provost’s annual letter to the Senate: The letter had been available at
the door for the October meeting and had since been distributed to all senators.
Sen. Richard Bulliet (Ten., A&S) said the faculty caucuses, which he chairs, have expressed concerns about salary issues, and asked how they could communicate with the Provost’s Committee on Salary Equity, which has reconvened this fall. If there are no senators on the committee, would the Provost be willing to appoint some? The Provost said he wasn’t sure whether there are now any senators on the committee, but he had no objection in principle to including senators.
Sen. McDermott asked how Social Work students could participate in the search for a new dean of that school. The Provost said there is a student on the search committee, and an open letter will solicit suggestions for candidates for the position. The search committee will also meet with faculty from the School, and perhaps with students as well.
Sen. Bulliet asked for details about plans to provide high-speed internet access to IRE apartment buildings. The Provost said that the program is now limited to buildings on Claremont Avenue and Riverside Drive, where individual tenants can choose to pay for the services. One purpose of the experiment is to reduce congestion in Columbia’s dial-up modem pool. The University has sought competitive bids for the service.
Howard Jacobson, the Parliamentarian, said Time-Warner, the cable company, is now upgrading its wiring system in the neighborhoods that it serves to allow for high-speed internet connections. Another company, RCN, is providing some competition.
Sen. John Broughton (Fac., TC) asked if there had been any inquiry into the safety of such cable installations, which he understood are not subject to regular fire regulations. A recent underground fire on Morningside Drive near 120th Street had spread into apartment buildings through the cable system. The Provost said administrators overseeing Columbia’s own high-speed wiring project would be better prepared to answer this question than he.
Sen. Avery Katz (Ten., Law) asked the Provost to elaborate on plans for a new Columbia K-8 school to be built on Broadway just below 110th Street, particularly the work of the proposed faculty and external advisory committees and the goal of establishing links with public schools.
The Provost said the first town meeting about the school unexpectedly attracted some 300 people, and 150 volunteered to help. The external advisory group will consist of experts in education from Columbia and around the nation. The faculty group will offer advice on curriculum, architectural plans, and tuition reduction models for affiliates. The Provost also said Columbia is trying to join forces with neighboring public school districts, particularly in the Manhattan Valley area to the east. The Columbia school will offer programs to help with teacher certification, with technology applications, and with summer programs. He said half of the students will not be Columbia affiliates, and at least 10 percent will have full financial aid.
Sen. Joan Ferrante (Ten., A&S) urged school planners to consult with leaders of other private schools, which are so oversubscribed now that they will not see the Columbia initiative as a threat. The Provost said Gardner Dunnan, who is leading the school initiative, was headmaster of the Dalton School for more than two decades, is in touch with other New York private school directors, and is also looking at other private schools around the country.
Sen. Luciano Rebay (Ten., A&S) called attention to the distinction at the start of the Provost’s letter between significant issues that deserve mention to the Senate and routine matters that do not. He said the Provost had never informed the Senate in 1989 about the decision to sell the Casa Italiana to the Italian government. Was this because he didn’t think the matter was significant enough to mention?
The Provost said he did not remember whether he had written to the Senate in 1989, but if he had he would certainly have mentioned this transaction prominently. He said his current letter was already long, and without an attempt to exclude routine issues, it would have been of little use. He said that if significant new issues emerge in coming months, he will announce them.
The President made a point of order that issues bearing on the Provost’s current letter are relevant to the present discussion; the question of what the Provost told the Senate 11 years ago is not.
--Report from Research Staff senators Barry Allen and Stephanie Neuman: Sen. Neuman,
who represents officers of research at Morningside and Lamont, announced that she and Sen. Allen, who represents colleagues at Health Sciences, have made a preliminary attempt to communicate with the research community across the University. At an information-gathering luncheon meeting on November 15, 18 colleagues discussed a preliminary agenda that included the following issues:
· The possibility of establishing a Senate committee focusing on the interests of research personnel. Roughly 1,000 Columbia employees belong to the Senate research staff constituency, which has two voting representatives in the University Senate; some 900 tenured faculty, by contrast, have 42 voting seats. There are also 15 nontenured faculty seats, and 22 student seats.
· Uniform criteria for research appointments and salaries.
· Appropriate titles for research personnel.
· Sufficient computer access for officers of research.
· The possibility of expanding Senate representation for officers of research.
Sen. Neuman mentioned three results of the meeting: a discussion listserv will be established soon for researchers, which may be a useful way to bring this highly dispersed group together; she and Sen. Allen will propose an hoc committee on research affairs (analogous to a now defunct committee on administrative staff affairs), which might become a standing committee later on; and a small committee of researchers is studying how researchers at peer institutions are appointed and promoted. Finally, Sen. Neuman expressed satisfaction at the supportive response of colleagues.
Sen. Allen elaborated on two issues raised at the meeting:
· There was serious concern about whether Columbia research titles¾associate research scientist, research scientist, and senior research scientist¾have parity in the eyes of NSF, NIH and other granting institutions with titles of competitors for research dollars.
· Another lively issue concerned promotion procedures for researchers: whereas researchers based in academic departments are supposed to go though promotion procedures analogous to those of faculty, researchers based in centers or institutes have no standard promotion protocols.
Sen. Allen said one question for an ad hoc committee to consider is whether researchers should have their own committee to address issues like grievances of constituents, or whether standing committees, like Faculty Affairs, should expand their mandate to include such issues.
Sen. Letty Moss-Salentijn (Ten., SDOS) expressed unease about the term research community, which she said includes faculty as well as officers of research. But she agreed that Columbia research titles need to be reviewed and clarified for the outside world, and suggested a series of titles analogous to professorial titles¾like assistant research professor, associate research professor, and so on. Sen. Moss-Salentijn said her rough notion has always been that researchers are nontenured professors, whose redress for grievances should be in Faculty Affairs.
Sen. Allen replied that research officers are excluded from Faculty Affairs. He added that the question of status can be particularly complex for people like himself, who was affiliated with the Biology Dept. at Morningside some years ago, then migrated to Health Sciences. Like a number of other research officers, he serves in a faculty role on a Ph.D. committee based at Health Sciences, but is not considered faculty at Health Sciences, since he doesn’t teach in the medical school. Sen. Allen hoped that an ad hoc committee could sort out these tangled issues.
--Resolution to establish a new institute at Reid Hall: Sen. Moss-Salentijn, chair of Education,
moved the resolution. She accepted an amendment, offered by the Parliamentarian, to include the Statutory provision that the establishment of an institute must be authorized by the President. The Senate adopted the resolution without discussion or dissent.
The chairman adjourned the meeting at around 2:35 p.m.