University Senate                                                                                  Proposed: April 30, 2004







President Lee Bollinger, the chairman, called the Senate to order after 1:15 pm in the auditorium of Schapiro Engineering (CEPSR). Seventy-four of 101 senators were present during the meeting.


Old business

Determining that 65 incumbent senators (more than three fifths) were present at the start of the meeting, the president called for immediate action on two resolutions requiring three-fifths majorities for passage that had awaited action since December.

--Resolution to use gender-neutral language throughout the Senate By-laws

(Student Affairs, Commission on the Status of Women): The president read the resolution aloud; there was no discussion; the Senate adopted the resolution without dissent.

--Resolution to add one student senator to represent Teachers College (Structure and Operations, Student Affairs): The president read the resolution aloud; there was no discussion; the Senate adopted the resolution without dissent.


Minutes and agenda

The agenda was adopted as proposed. The minutes of February 27 were adopted with two revisions requested by Sen. James Neal, University Librarian, in his comments on the Libraries Committee resolution on open access in scholarly communication.


President’s report

--Update on Manhattanville: The president reported only that Columbia would be presenting Manhattanville plans in mid-April at an open meeting of Community Board 9, the start of an extensive public review process for the project.


Executive Committee chairman’s report

Sen. Paul Duby (Ten., SEAS), the chairman, thanked the Senate staff for its work in preparing the busy agenda for the present meeting.


He called attention to a sheet containing Senate dates for next year that was available at the door. He noted that this was an earlier announcement than the Senate had managed for some years, and he asked senators to use the information to reduce conflicts with other commitments next year.


In a brief review of the March 22 Executive Committee meeting. Sen. Duby said he hoped to secure permission to speak for the author of a proposal to bring ROTC back to Columbia that had been distributed for the present meeting. After that he would present a resolution authorizing the Executive Committee to appoint a task force to study ROTC.


--Update from the Task Force on Campus Planning: Sen. Duby asked Task Force co-chair Sharyn O’Halloran (Ten., SIPA) to comment briefly on the group’s recent work, including a report that had been distributed for the present meeting.


Sen. O’Halloran summarized the report, which approved the general outlines of the physical plan that Columbia has developed so far for Manhattanville, without taking a position on each piece of the plan. She said the administration has been responsive to the work of the task force over its first year. The group’s approach is now to step back and ask about long-term uses for Manhattanville space, beyond the construction planned for the first phase, which includes a new School of the Arts and a new science building. Will the social sciences receive the same in-depth study that has been devoted to the natural sciences? Sen. O’Halloran noted academic planning efforts now under way in Arts and Sciences departments and in the schools, but added that the Task Force has not received data it has requested since last summer on benchmarking studies of other institutions, and wants a more concrete sense of the current planning effort. She said this uncertainty is the main concern of the Task Force.


Reports from committees

--Structure and Operations: Sen. Karl Kroeber (Ten., A&S/Hum.), standing in for chairman Richard Bulliet (Ten., A&S/SS), said the committee at its last meeting had not acted on ideas for new procedures for applying the super-majority voting rule to assure sufficient participation without requiring three fifths of the Senate to be in the room. But it recommended certain procedural adjustments, including placing such votes at the top of the agenda, as the president had done earlier in the present meeting.


Sen. Kroeber also reported on a clarification of the status of post-doctoral research fellows. He said that, through an oversight, this group of research officers was not included with other post-docs in the enlargement of the research officer delegation to the Senate that the Senate approved on November 1, 2002. Sen. Kroeber said the committee was now reporting its decision to rectify that omission, and no further Senate action was necessary. The clarification will now go to the Trustees for final approval.


            --Report from External Relations on a wage disclosure provision for the University’s Code of Workplace Conduct on labor standards for Columbia’s licensees: Sen. Eugene Litwak (Ten., A&S/SS) said a student group, Students for Environmental and Economic Justice, has proposed an amendment to Columbia’s Code of Workplace Conduct for its licensees, requiring them to provide regular reports of wages. Columbia belongs to the Fair Labor Association, one of the main groups monitoring labor conditions of companies licensed to supply apparel to universities, and the FLA already has access to wage information, but the new proposal would assure regular reporting. He asked permission for members of SEEJ and for Honey Sue Fishman, director of business services in the office of student services, who manages Columbia’s dealings with licensees, to answer senators’ questions about the proposal. He said such discussion could familiarize senators with the issue, which External Relations might present to the Senate next month in the form of a resolution.


Sen. Bulliet asked what use the University would be expected to make of wage information that might turn out to be complex.

SEEJ member Nathan Treadwell (Nonsen., Stu., CC) replied that the wage information would go to the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC), another monitoring agency that Columbia suscribes to, which knows the relevant benchmarks for assessing the data. The data would also be available to the University.


Sen. Samuel Silverstein (Ten., HS) said discussion of this kind was not useful without a specific proposal from the committee.


Sen. Litwak said such a proposal had been circulated in the form of an addition to Columbia’s code of conduct, but he said External Relations was presenting it now for preliminary discussion, not for action.


The president suggested that, given the size of the present agenda, the Senate should move on, and wait for a committee recommendation before taking up this issue.


            --Report from Student Affairs on the Agora Project, and other issues: Student caucus co-chair Nathan Walker (Stu. Obs., TC)  said the caucus would report on its Agora project, as well as on on two other resolutions that the caucus had passed in a meeting just before the plenary.


Joined by other student senators at the podium and projecting slides onto the screen from his laptop computer, Mr. Walker said the Agora project was a yearlong student initiative to use the University’s online resources to seek a transdisciplinary integration of knowledge available at Columbia. The name of the project derives from the Greek word agora, or gathering place.


Sen. Coilin Parsons (Stu., GSAS/Hum) added that Agora would be an online forum bringing together people from all over the University in new ways. The only such forums now, aside from the University Senate, are institutes with scholars from different Columbia schools. But institutes rely on already established relationships among scholars. Agora will encourage new  relationships. The group decided that in order to make Agora a comfortable, productive space, it will remain within the boundaries of the Columbia community, and will not include other scholars or alumni.


Sen. Parsons said the Agora initiative would be part of a plan to create a web portal with a unified log-in page, based on people’s log-in and password. This would provide access to the online tools people are already using, including e-mail, libraries, course works, student services, a university calendar, the center for career education, and Agora.


Sen. Parsons showed a slide with a basic scholarship profile of a Columbia person.  The first five details provide simple information from the University directory, but each person’s profile can be as deep as he or she wants, including research interests, a curriculum vita, publications, etc. He said it would also be possible to conduct searches using these profiles.


Sen. Noah Raizman (Stu., HS) gave an example of a search in Agora, combining two research interests, which provided a half-dozen profiles on the screen. Another approach would be to invite people with similar interests to join a new project. Someone interested in, say, HIV research, could link to professors throughout the University, or students who have traveled in countries with the AIDS epidemic, and create a page where these people can come together, with a message board, opportunities for chats, links to other sites, a calendar function, and a capability to conduct polls of people in the project.


Sen. Bulliet, speaking as a member of Alumni Affairs, said excluding alumni would be a disservice to them but also to current students, who may be alumni by the time they have mastered Agora.


Mr. Walker said the reason the population to be served in the proposal was limited was that the data source for the project was the Columbia University directory. He added that his committee would take this point seriously.


Sen. David Bayer (Fac., Barnard) cited two design concerns, based on a previous experience at Barnard. One was about pitfalls of unified log-in and a single portal.


Mr. Walker repeated that two student resolutions that were to be part of the present report would instead be brought up under New Business: a resolution about reallocation of housing, and another asking the Senate to formally recognize the will of a majority of students who are graduate teaching and research assistants to be represented by a union.


New business

The president decided to change the order of the items under New Business, seeking action first on relatively uncontroversial initiatives.


--Resolution to Establish the Kavli Institute for Brain Science (Education): Education Committee chair Letty Moss-Salentijn (Ten., SDOS) moved the resolution, which was seconded.


Sen. Carol Lin (Nonten., NS), a member of the subcommittee that had reviewed the proposal, expressed strong support for the initiative, but strong disappointment that the institute had already been announced in the University Record before the Senate had completed its review.

The president said this was a fair point.


Sen. Salentijn, prompted by the parliamentarian, added a “whereas” clause specifying that the president had authorized the establishment of the institute, in accordance with the Statutes.


The Senate approved the resolution without dissent.


            --Resolution on Housing for the School of General Studies (Housing Policy): The president agreed to a suggestion from Housing Policy Committee chairman William Harris (Ten., A&S/SS), to test whether this resolution was uncontroversial enough to go next.


Sen. Matan Ariel (Stu., GS), a member of Housing Policy, explained that the resolution will not change the number of housing units allocated to any school, but it calls for concentration of some of the GS allocation in one place to enable the school to foster a sense of community.


Sen. Robert Kasdin (Admin.), Senior Executive Vice President, asked if the committee’s deliberation had included the administrators responsible for managing the University housing stock. If it had, he said he would support the resolution.


Sen. Ariel said William Scott, Deputy Vice President for Instutitional Real Estate, was an administrative observer on the committee, and had participated in all deliberations on this issue.


President Bollinger asked what the practical effect of passage of the resolution would be. Sen. Ariel replied that it would designate several floors in two buildings—600 West 113th Street and 601 West 112th Street—for GS student housing. The exact locations would be determined in discussions between the Office of Institutional Real Estate and student affairs administrators in GS. He understood that the resolution, if passed, would become University policy.


The president asked if that was a legal consequence of passage of the resolution or a wish.


Howard Jacobson, the parliamentarian, said the first of the resolution’s two resolved clauses seemed appropriate, recommending that the administration find solutions to the housing needs of GS students. The second seemed extremely specific, identifying particular locations as spaces solely for GS students. He didn’t know if committee discussions had been that specific, but said the recommendation might affect overall numbers in housing allocations and was also somewhat unusual in focusing exclusively on one school.


Sen. Harris said there had been extensive committee discussions, which included Mr. Scott. He added that the present resolution was a much-moderated version of an earlier proposal. Sen. Harris said the IRE director has no fundamental problem with the resolution in its current form, though he does have different ideas about the best sites for clustering GS students. Sen. Harris said the resolution accounts for this difference in the second resolved clause, after identifying its two preferred sites, by adding “or an alternative location to be agreed upon by the General Studies Dean of Students and by the Director of Institutional Real Estate.” He didn’t see how such a conclusion could be controversial: the effect of the resolution is to encourage the administration to look after GS housing, with a view to improving student morale.


Sen. Henry Pinkham (Admin.), dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, said he understood that GSAS and GS students are commingled in University housing, and expressed surprise that the resolution was designed to serve only one of these groups. He was also surprised to be learning about this resolution for the first time at the present meeting. He didn’t know when the resolution had been distributed, but said that under the circumstances a vote on this resolution would be hasty.


Sen. Harris replied that Housing Policy had followed correct procedures in presenting the resolution, which had also been forwarded to the Senate by the Executive Committee. He said the interests of other student groups were also carefully considered, and protected.


Sen. Pinkham said he did not think the resolution was controversial, but he wanted the Senate to give due consideration to the interests of GSAS students. Sen. Harris asked if Sen. Pinkham wanted to amend the resolution. Sen. Pinkham said that if he had more time he might have suggested amendments.


Sen. Eugene Galanter (Ten., A&S/NS) moved to table the resolution—that is, to postpone it to another meeting. The motion passed, with a few nays.

After some discussion, Sen. Duby recommended referring the motion back to Housing Policy.

Sen. Ariel asked for guidance from the Senate in understanding what Housing Policy should do with the measure when it is referred back to the committee.


Sen. Ariel mentioned an additional resolution on housing allocation that the student caucus had endorsed at its meeting just before the plenary. The president replied that no such resolution had been distributed. He decided to move on to the next agenda item.  


--Revised resolution on principles of open access in scholarly publishing (Libraries): Sen. Jeremy Waldron (Ten., Law), Libraries chairman, presented a revised and slightly shorter version of the resolution he had presented for discussion in February. He said the 10 “whereas” clauses outline the crisis all universities are facing in the pricing of scholarly publications, which he attributed in part to the monopoly position of publishers who control the copyright in scholarly works. Copyright is typically assigned to publishers by individual scholars, who hold it by virtue of an exception to the “work for hire” rule, which assigns to the employer the copyright in works produced under the auspices and with the support of an employer.


Sen. Waldron said the resolution’s 10 principles offer suggestions for addressing this crisis, focusing on the spirit in which scholars decide about assigning copyright in their works and proposing an ethos to govern the circulation of scholarly works. These are produced in universities for the sake of scholarly communication, are taken outside the universities to a commercial publisher who adds a bit of value and sells it back to the universities at prices they can barely afford. Partly as a consciousness-raising effort, Sen. Waldron said, the Libraries Committee is asking scholars to think of their work as a trust, produced with a sense of responsibility to their community. This core philosophy is stated in principles 2 and 3.


Sen. Waldron characterized the resolution as foundational, a series of largely advisory principles expressive of a certain spirit or ethos.  He said the last few of the 10 principles—like the last of the 10 commandments—are more normative than the rest. For example, principle 6 suggests, without stating a rule, that scholars should not normally assign copyright in a work to a publisher who will make it more difficult for the work to circulate freely. 


What is the practical effect of such a resolution? Sen. Waldron hoped it would provide the basis for a shared understanding that could serve as Columbia’s first step in a campaign that is already being waged on a number of different fronts by Sen. James Neal (Admin.), University Librarian.


In response to a question, Sen. Waldron elaborated on principle 9. He said the University, in its promotion procedures, should recognize the issues involved  when a prestigious journal rejects a work by a young scholar because he or she refuses to give the journal the copyright. 


Sen. Richard Bulliet (Ten., A&S/SS) said he would vote against the resolution, which he said derives from a specific problem in a small subcategory of scholarly production—represented by the group of bandit publishers Sen. Waldron had mentioned. While this problem is a grave concern to the library system, many professors are involved in textbook publishing, which has nothing to do with these publishers or with university libraries, but that provides a substantial part of their livelihood. He said the suggestion that scholarly knowledge is a trust, and that scholars should to the best of their moral ability work for free was repugnant to him, as an overly broad response to a narrow problem.


Sen. Ariel asked if the resolution has the power to oblige anyone to do anything, or was it just a statement of moral principles.


Sen. Waldron said the intention of the resolution is to state moral principles and to begin the process of establishing a shared understanding.


In response to Sen. Bulliet, Sen. Waldron said the Libraries Committee had deliberately refrained from mentioning textbooks in its resolution. He added that he did not want to minimize what appeared to be a genuine difference of opinion. He supposed this disagreement would extend to principle 5 of the resolution—that scholars’ desire to profit from their intellectual property rights, while not in itself discreditable, should not weigh in the balance against the development of procedures to ensure fair circulation of their work in the scholarly community.


Sen. Harris seconded Sen. Bulliet’s critique of the resolution. He expressed puzzlement over a number of the principles, particularly #6, urging scholars to retain copyright in their published work. Sen. Harris said he had always encouraged publishers of his books to take the copyright for themselves, because if there were an infringement of copyright, he would prefer to have the infringer face a battery of the publisher’s lawyers.


Sen. Waldron said this is a case of competing values—that of efficent enforcement in case of an infringement of copyright (which he saw as unlikely) against the more systemic values of circulation. The costs are not trivial, he said. He acknowledged that the most egregious offenders are a small subset of publishers, but added that the problems are deep and complex.


Sen. Samuel Silverstein (Ten., HS) asked if the intent of the resolution was to deal with journals, and not books. Sen. Waldron said the resolution was mainly about serials, but also about books.


Sen. Neal said that what historically had been a problem mainly of scientific and medical journals has broadened in the last decade to include the social sciences and the humanities, particularly as this kind of publishing has migrated from scholarly to commercial presses. In the last few years the impetus to maximize profits has pushed more publishers to produce books as well as journals. The current inflation rate in book prices, as well as the condition of the American dollar, has recently meant annual increases of 20-30 percent. In addition, as content has migrated to electronic databases, the distinction between journals and books has blurred. There is also double-digit inflation in the prices of these electronic publications. So what was once a particular issue with journals is now a more generic problem.


In search of preliminary agreement on the issues the committee had raised, Sen. Silverstein offered as a friendly amendment the suggestion that the resolution confine its focus to serials for the time being, and deliberate further about other aspects of scholarly publication.


Sen. Waldron appreciated the suggestion, but said the committee would want to consider such an amendment more thoroughly.


Sen. Silverstein noted that the membership of the Columbia Board of Trustees now includes Harold Varmus, who with colleagues has begun a public library of science. Sen. Silverstein said the University should do whatever it can to encourage publication in journals that do not restrict copyright and that make all articles generally accessible to the scientific community at the time of publication through the public library of science. A key issue is the cost of publishing, and it may be necessary for the university to commit resources to encourage faculty to publish through the public library of science. The cost of publishing through the public library of sciences is about $1500 per article; by contrast, an article in Nature, which routinely takes the copyright, is not generally available at the time of publication, but costs almost nothing to publish.


President Bollinger asked if the Senate wanted to vote on the measure or think about it some more. He interpreted the response as calling for more time. Sen. Waldron said there was no need for an immediate vote.


Sen. Michael Adler (Ten., Bus.) suggested referring the issue to meetings of the various faculties around the University.


The president thought this was a good idea. Sen. Ira Katznelson, Acting Vice President for Arts and Sciences, suggested including the University’s current copyright policy, adopted in 2000, in any distribution of materials for faculty discussions of this issue.


--Proposal to bring ROTC back to Columbia (Sen. Eugene Galanter, Executive Committee): The president said the agenda included a report on a proposal to return ROTC to Columbia, to be followed by a resolution authorizing the Executive Committee to establish a task force to study the issue. He proposed bypassing the report and going straight to the resolution. His sense was that the Senate already thinks this issue is worth studying. But for a discussion of the issue now, two hours would not be enough, and ten minutes would be ridiculously inadequate.   He proposed putting the resolution up for discussion. It was moved and seconded.


Sen. Bradley Bloch (Alum.) said the historical aspects of the work of such a task force prompted him to ask if there could be alumni representation. The president said the Executive Committee would consider that request.


Sen. Brian Pompeo (Stu., PH)  said the Student Affairs Committee had agreed unanimously to request an amendment to the resolution, calling for three Senate committees to appoint the members of the ROTC task force, as follows: Faculty Affairs would appoint three faculty members, Student Affairs would appoint four students, and Education would appoint four members, two faculty and two students.  Sen. Pompeo moved the amendment.

Sen. Bulliet asked if the students would accept the addition of one alumnus appointed by the Alumni Relations Committee as a friendly amendment to their amendment.  Sen. Pompeo agreed to the additional amendment.


A senator asked how the amendment’s procedure for appointing members differs from standard procedure. Sen. Duby said the standard procedure is for the Executive Committee to consult with other committees, ask for nominations, and then select the task force.  He would not object if other committees want this job.


Sen. Waldron asked whether there was a reason not to pursue standard procedure other than the aim of having a majority of students on the committee.


The president asked for a voice vote on the amendment, with uncertain results, so he asked for a count of raised hands. Thirty-two were found to be in favor; there was no count of the nays, but the number was smaller, perhaps half as large. The president said the amendment was adopted.


Sen. Bayer said the resolution to study ROTC was couched in neutral language, but outside the Senate meeting it might be interpreted as implicit support for what he called the campaign of lies that the national administration is waging in the war in Iraq. Sen. Bayer said he would prefer to wait a year before adopting this resolution, until there has been regime change in Washington.


The president replied, for the record, that nothing in his comments should be taken as implying anything other than a neutral position on the issue at hand.


Sen. Galanter objected to the motion because of the amendment, which he considered intrinsically political. Since he didn’t know what the politics were, he did not know how to vote.


Sen. Pompeo said the motivation for the amendment was not political, but apolitical. Students wanted to assure a diversity of perspectives by drawing the members from more than one source.


The president doubted that the amendment proposed the best way to assure diverse viewpoints; such an effort requires some coordination. He suggested trying the amendment’s approach but thought committees making independent selections might end up with a strong majority on either side. He said the Senate does not want a task force that is seen from the start as biased.


Sen. Galanter suggested instructing the committees to seek balance in composing the committee. The president offered an interpretation of the amendment that the separate committees would work with the Executive Committee to ensure such a balance.


The Senate then adopted the amended motion by voice vote, with a few nays.


--Disagreement about procedure: Sen. Parsons said there should be two additional agenda items under New Business—student resolutions on housing allocation and on unionization. Sen. Duby said no resolutions were brought to the Executive Committee, though he said that students had notified him of the unionization resolution. But he said no such resolution had been distributed in time for everyone to be aware of it.


In response to a question from the president, Sen. Duby said that the Executive Committee, at its meeting on March 22, had not added either of these resolutions to the Senate agenda. He invited Howard Jacobson, the parliamentarian, to comment on the unionization resolution.


Mr. Jacobson said there is a kind of due process for notifying senators of impending resolutions: the Executive Committee sets the Senate agenda, then distributes packets to inform all senators of what’s on the agenda. Neither of the resolutions Sen. Parsons had referred to was on the agenda. The ordinary course for such resolutions first announced on the floor of the Senate is referral to some committee.


Sen. Duby said all committees have a right to make a report for discussion, but the student caucus, during its report earlier in the meeting, did not address the two issues that are the subject of its later resolutions. A resolution cannot be brought to the floor without notice to all senators.


The president said the discussion was over, and moved on to the last agenda item.


            --Resolution to Establish an Executive Master of Science in Technology Management in the School of Continuing Education (Education): Sen. Moss-Salentijn, before introducing the program, spoke in support of Sen. Lin’s earlier comments about the Kavli Institute. She said this is not the first time the Senate has been in the position of voting on a proposal that is a fait accompli. She urgently requested that the Provost’s office provide proposals to the Education Committee early enough so that the Senate can act before the program is made public.


Sen. Moss-Salentijn said the proposed degree would replace a successful certificate program. The proposal had encountered serious objections from the Department of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research (IEOR) and the dean of the School of Engineering (SEAS). The proposal was then withdrawn; later a revised version was presented.


Sen. Moss-Salentijn said Education had met with the vice dean of SEAS, Morton Friedman, to discuss the School’s objections. Finally, the committee voted unanimously, with one abstention, to approve the program.


One reason for this decision was that the proposal met the requirements for an M.S. degree. Second, the School of Continuing Education (SCE), approved by the Trustees in October 2002, is allowed to grant M.S. degrees. Finally, a unit objecting to a new SCE program must demonstrate an overlap or duplication, and Education decided that that had not been done.


Sen. Salentijn asked Sen. Ira Katznelson, Acting Vice President for Arts and Sciences, to tell the Senate about a meeting the day before that included herself, himself, two SEAS deans, and CE dean Frank Wolf.


Sen. Katznelson said the meeting made clear that although some SEAS faculty retain reservations about the proposed program, some of which are shared by the dean, SEAS itself does not object formally to the creation of this degree.


He said one set of reservations about the program is general, philosophical, a sense that the Senate should never have approved the creation of the SCE as a place to give M.S. degrees.


Sen. Katznelson said the SCE offers an enormous opportunity to open up the university to students who could not qualify for Columbia’s regular programs. Such an outreach program, provided at a good level of quality, is a remarkable good for Columbia, which now has about 2,500 CE students. Harvard, by contrast, has some 13,000. Sen. Katznelson hoped to be able to close this gap.


Sen. Katznelson said that program development in the CE School involves not only the office of the dean, but a faculty executive committee drawn from a wide range of Columbia disciplines. He said the present proposal has been reviewed over two years by the CE executive committee, himself, the provost, and the Senate Education Committee.


Sen. Bloch, an SEAS alumnus, said he had learned that while SEAS did not formally object to the program, it has strong concerns, and that the IEOR Dept. has formally objected. His own concern was based not on objections to the mission of the CE School but on the possibility of overlap or duplication of current IEOR programs. He said SEAS is concerned in the same way the Law School might be about a new M.S. in law and taxation in the CE School. Sen. Bloch thought the resolution should be tabled (postponed) to encourage the continuation of current discussions that remain unresolved. 


Sen. Katznelson said that under the rules that established the CE School, it is the right of a school, but not a department within a school, to object to a new CE program. IEOR has objected, but SEAS has not. If a school does object, the rules require the provost to review the program. Provost Brinkley has conducted such a review, and determined that the proposed M.S. does not supersede or seriously overlap with any IEOR programs.


Sen. Katznelson said every major university with a CE program faces the issue the Senate is now debating. While there are subject overlaps, the CE mission is sufficiently different, including the students recruited and admissions requirements, to justify the risk.


Sen. Duby, speaking as a representative of the SEAS faculty, complained that there was no consultation whatsoever with faculty. He said Dean Wolf consulted with various people in good faith, but not the right people.


Sen. Duby said the SCE does not have its own faculty, in the sense of officers of instruction appointed by the Trustees; in SEAS, by contrast, the faculty makes major academic decisions. He said the main faculty objection involves the admission standards for the CE program.


The president said the SCE is a great service to the world. It connects many more people to the university, and is a source of potentially large revenues. Other major universities have pursued this path, but Columbia initially hesitated, before deciding to proceed. He thought going forward was a wise course.  But he said the University has to come to terms with an important issue—the freedom within the School to develop courses that may to some extent draw students away from traditional programs, or confuse the public.  He said there will be far less of this than people fear, but there will be some.


The president said the University has to accept this state of affairs as the nature of the beast. He said it is also not a good idea to give a faculty in related areas a veto power over new CE proposals. He said Sen. Bloch had raised the right analogy, and that an M.S. in, say, law and taxation in the SCE, is what Columbia should be prepared to accept. He said this is the direction Columbia is now pursuing, and the University should accept it, given some choices it made in recent years.

Sen. Galanter asked if some prefix or suffix in the name of the degree might be sufficient to distinguish it from other M.S. degrees. Sen. Katznelson said he had explored this idea with people from IEOR, but it had not solved the problems. The program nevertheless has a distinctive title, with the word “executive” in the name of the degree.


Sen. Katznelson said each program developed in CE should make it a little easier to develop the next program.  He urged what he called distinguished departments like IEOR to take a position of high self-confidence, a sense that no one will confuse a CE program with theirs. He said M.S. programs in the CE School are a prudent risk to take on behalf of Columbia.


Sen. Kelly distinguished between external and internal confusion about Columbia programs. He said serious internal confusion is unlikely, but perhaps not external confusion. Sen. Katznelson said peer institutions that have created CE program have not suffered from identity confusions about their various programs. He said there are degrees of ambiguity and occasional misrepresentations, but Columbia will do all it can to distinguish CE programs from others.


The Senate then approved the resolution by voice vote, with a few nays.


Sen. Parsons objected again to the president’s refusal to add the two new student resolutions to the agenda.


The president adjourned the meeting at around 3:15 pm.


Respectfully submitted,



Tom Mathewson, Senate staff