University Senate Proposed: January 30, 2004
MEETING OF DECEMBER 12, 2003
President Lee Bollinger, the chairman, called the Senate to order shortly after 1:15 pm in the Davis Auditorium of the Schapiro Engineering Building. Fifty-four of 100 senators were present during the meeting.
Minutes and agenda: The minutes of November 14 and the agenda were adopted as proposed.
Report of the President:
--Campus planning: In what has become a monthly update on campus planning, the president said he had met earlier in the day with Assemblyman Keith Jackson and with leaders of the Amsterdam News. The president’s general feeling was that the campus expansion effort is progressing; an important question is, how will it relate to Columbia’s neighbors, particularly the Harlem community?
The president hoped to be able to make a significant public statement about the progress of deliberations by around the end of January, when Columbia will begin a political effort to seek regulations that will enable it to pursue a Manhattanville development.
At the same time, the University is pursuing some short-term opportunities for space it already owns on Morningside and Washington Heights. The urgent need for science facilities in the next 3-5 years has focused attention on the northwest corner of the Morningside campus.
Longer-term efforts to plan for St. John the Divine are now in a hiatus.
--Academic planning: A group of senior administrators including Provost Alan Brinkley, Health Sciences Vice President Gerald Fischbach, Executive Vice President for Research David Hirsh, and Acting Arts and Sciences Vice President Ira Katznelson is planning for the sciences.
The president has just formed a task force on globalization, which he characterized as Columbia’s most critical issue in the next decade. The group will expand to include an equal number of outsiders.
--Budget issues: Columbia appears to have weathered the recent economic downturn reasonably well, compared to peer institutions, although the budgetary returns aren’t all in for next year. There appear to be sufficient resources to fund some interesting initiatives, and there may be more in the near future.
Report of the Executive Committee chairman:
--Town hall meeting on Manhattanville: Sen. Paul Duby (Ten., SEAS) said the Executive
Committee wants to hold a town hall meeting early in the new year to discuss Manhattanville, perhaps at the end of a regular Senate meeting, and perhaps in concert with an information fair the administration is planning on this topic. Any member of the Columbia community can speak at the town hall meeting.
--Task force on sexual misconduct: Sen. Duby said the task force roster is almost complete, and he hoped to provide a final list during the Christmas break.
--Columbia diplomas: At its meeting on December 8, the Executive Committee had discussed a student proposal to redesign the basic Columbia diploma. The student caucus is soliciting suggestions; its recommendations will need Trustee approval and will certainly not be adopted in time for Commencement 2004.
--Staff changes: Desiree Bermani, a member of the Senate staff for the past three years, has resigned to pursue other opportunities.
--Changes in committee assignments: The Senate approved a list of late changes in committee assignments.
--Holiday party: Sen. Duby reminded senators about the holiday party in the Senate office after the meeting.
--Resolution to Add One Student Senator from Teachers College: Sen. Duby noted that 60 senators (three-fifths of the current membership of the Senate) were needed to vote for the resolution, which would change the Senate by-laws. But only 53 senators were present.
Several senators suggested ideas for circumventing the three-fifths requirement. None persuaded Howard Jacobson, the parliamentarian, who stressed that three-fifths of all incumbent senators must be present at the meeting where the vote is to take place.
The president called for discussion of the measure. Nathan Walker (Stu. Obs., TC), a co-chair of the Senate student caucus, presented the resolution. He addressed the question, Why should students from an institution with its own separate charter participate as full voting members in the Senate of Columbia University? Mr. Walker said that TC is Columbia’s graduate school of education, enrolling 5000 students. Like any other Columbia faculty, TC offers no degrees of its own but recommends candidates for Columbia degrees.
In addition, Mr. Walker said, TC students are subject to Columbia’s Rules of Conduct governing rallies and demonstrations, and are also involved in a number of other facets of University life, paying to use Columbia health services, libraries, and athletic and religious facilities. TC students cross-register, enroll in dual degree programs, and earn Columbia certificates.
The resolution also fits with current policy on affiliated institutions, Mr. Walker said. The TC faculty, like the Barnard faculty, has two voting seats in the Senate, and Barnard students have one voting seat as well. Why not TC students?
In the course of a year and a half of working on the present resolution, Mr. Walker said, he and fellow TC students Rachel Bell and Jeffrey Sult have recognized the value of the contribution TC students can make to the Senate. They are the teachers, the principals, and policymakers in neighborhood schools. He urged senators to consider their perspective in formulating plans for Manhattanville. And just as Columbia is now rebuilding its relations with the surrounding community, TC seeks to rebuild its relations with Columbia. Some TC people have sometimes called 120th Street the widest street in the world; the presence of a dozen TC people at the present meeting was a sign of that effort to bridge that gulf, Mr. Walker said.
There was applause. With the permission of the president, Janice Robinson, General Counsel of Teachers College, conveyed the enthusiasm of TC President Arthur Levine for the resolution.
A senator asked why TC students were not granted Senate voting privileges from the outset. Mr. Walker said TC’s separate charter may have been a reason. The president noted that Barnard also has a separate charter, but its students have a voting seat in the Senate. Mr. Jacobson noted that Barnard’s affiliation with Columbia is much closer in a number of ways, including the tenuring of faculty.
Sen. Richard Bulliet (Ten., A&S/SS) expressed disappointment as chairman of the Structure and Operations that yet another measure commanding general support had failed to pass because of Senate voting rules. He asked for a suspension of the rules.
Mr. Jacobson said the requirement of a three-fifths vote for changes in Senate by-laws is contained not only in those by-laws but also in the University Statutes. He said Structure and Operations could consider amendments to those rules. He said he did not know of a resolution supported by a large majority of the Senate that did not pass eventually.
Sen. Bulliet said problems like these contribute to a
perception of the Senate as dysfunctional.
The Senate could change its by-laws to allow for a simple majority to decide on by-laws changes—though that change would itself require a three-fifths majority. He suggested that a chairman, setting aside petty empiricism, could declare that he sees three-fifths of all incumbent senators in the room.
In response to a question from Sen. Karl Kroeber (Ten., A&S/Hum), Mr. Jacobson said the present proposal would add a seat to the Senate; no one would lose a seat.
Sen. Jeremy Waldron (Ten., Law) proposed a resolution “that this meeting of the Senate expresses its support for the resolution to add one seat for a TC student, and looks forward to its favorable consideration at a meeting at which the appropriate number of senators is present.” By voice vote, the Senate unanimously supported this resolution, which itself required a suspension of the rule that resolutions proposed for the first time on the Senate floor must be referred to a committee before they can be brought to a vote.
--Resolution to Use Gender-neutral Language Throughout the Senate By-laws: Mr. Walker presented this resolution. Those present agreed without dissent to express the sense of the Senate favoring this resolution, as they had with the TC resolution.
--Report on Manhattanville from the Task Force on Campus Planning: Sen. Sharyn O’Halloran, co-chair of the task force, gave its third report since its founding last spring.
She said the group has focused on three issues this fall:
1. A study of the economic impact of a Columbia Manhattanville development, prepared by the Appleseed consulting group. Sen. O’Halloran referred to a portion of this report, describing current conditions, that had been distributed in the Senate packet. One table showed that the area currently supports some 1100 jobs; New York City is the leading employer, with 321 (28 percent) of the jobs, followed by the Alexander Doll Company. Columbia ranks sixth, with 51 jobs. Another table shows the types of businesses in the neighborhood: those providing automotive services are the most numerous, with 31.
Sen. O’Halloran provided a few demographic details about neighborhoods near the proposed Manhattanville site: about 50 percent of the households in the Grant Houses, on the south side of 125th Street east of Broadway, are below the poverty line, with incomes below $12,000. In Morningside Gardens, just to the south, the median income is $60,000, with a 3 percent poverty rate. Low-income residents in the area tend to have low English literacy rates. In parts of the area as many as one third of the residents do not speak English well.
This sketch of the area highlights three community needs: entry-level jobs for unemployed workers, opportunities for low-wage workers to upgrade their skills, and basic adult education.
2. Academic planning efforts. So far Columbia’s School of the Arts is the only academic unit with a place assured in a Manhattanville development. Beyond this little has been settled. In productive conversations with Provost Brinkley, the task force has discussed the kinds of information needed to decide on academic uses of the area, and has stressed the need for transparency. The provost has sent a letter to each Columbia school seeking its academic vision; the responses may show a cluster of functions that might relocate to Manhattanville, thereby enabling further reallocations of existing space.
3. The need to disseminate information on Manhattanville: While some advisory groups have learned something about ideas for Manhattanville, there has been little public dialogue. This is particularly worrisome, Sen. O’Halloran said, since other broad ideas, such as Community Board 9’s 197-A plan for the larger area, are now being discussed publicly. There is now a sense in the task force that the University, to manage this process effectively, has to start making its position public. While understanding the administration’s need to retain flexibility, the task force thinks the University is now between a rock and a hard place.
Current thinking is for the administration to present an information fair, perhaps over a three-day period, that might culminate in a Senate town hall meeting, either as part of a regular plenary meeting or separately. A joint approach of this kind could provide information and start discussion. The week of January 30 is the target date. The task force would like to confirm this format and timetable in the next two or three weeks, Sen. O’Halloran said.
Sen. Samuel Silverstein (Ten., HS) asked for clarification of sometimes overlapping areas presented in the Appleseed report. Sen. O’Halloran and Jeremiah Stoldt, director of special projects for the Office of Facilities Management, explained that the overlap is unavoidable, because the census data is drawn from slightly different areas that are not precisely congruent with Columbia’s proposed development area, which has very few residents in it. In addition, the Appleseed study was trying to measure possible “secondary” effects of a Columbia development on a larger surrounding area.
Sen. Sally Findley (NT, Public Health) suggested that Columbia could provide a vital community service not only through job opportunities but by applying its leverage to protecting the health of the surrounding community, where asthma and other ailments are serious problems. For Columbia to make common cause with community residents against such environmental hazards as the city’s bus barn near 132nd Street and the waste treatment plant slightly to the north could be a win-win situation.
Sen. O’Halloran said the task force has noted that the Manhattanville area has the highest asthma rate in the city, and the bus depot appears to be the culprit. This problem is serious not only for people living nearby now, but also for Columbia people who may live and work there later on. She noted that sustainable development is one of the key objectives of the Manhattanville plan. She understood that the environmental issue in Manhattanville is now a key discussion item between Columbia and the city.
Sen. Linda Beck (NT, Barnard) said a more urgent worry than air pollution for some community members is the fear that they will lose their homes if Columbia moves into the neighborhood.
Sen. O’Halloran said “secondary displacement” that might be caused by a Columbia development in Manhattanville—quite apart from gentrification caused by broader Manhattan housing trends—requires continuing study. She said this is an important concern, which the University has to address.
Sen. Bulliet asked what fraction of the 1100 jobs in Manhattanville are held by neighborhood residents. Sen. O’Halloran wasn’t sure, but thought that most of the public-sector jobs, and a majority of the jobs overall, are held by people who live elsewhere.
Sen. Silverstein asked if it was the position of the committee that the bus depot is the area’s principal polluter. Sen. O’Halloran said that in studies conducted so far, in which other variables are held constant, proximity to the bus depot seems to the most frequent indicator for asthma in the immediate area.
Sen. Silverstein was skeptical of the idea that that bus depot could cause more pollution than the West Side Highway. Mr. Stoldt said that the building in the recent study of asthma effects is 3333 Broadway, a Mitchell-Lama development just uptown from the bus barn at 133rd Street. Asthma rates are significantly higher in 3333 Broadway than in 560 Riverside, for example, which is just as close to the West Side Highway. But he said the question requires more study.
Sen. Findley mentioned another air pollution study of the area, which she said is now compiling a large quantity of useful data. Mr. Stoldt said he would be interested in seeing this study.
Sen. Barry Allen (Research, HS), an area resident, listed two other reasons for local pollution problems: the number of auto repair shops, and the topography of the proposed site, which is a kind of trough where pollutants can collect.
Sharyn O’Halloran said the prominence of sustainable development among the planning principles expresses the importance Columbia attaches to pollution problems in Manhattanville.
Sen. Leni Darrow (Stu., CE) asked if Columbia people with health conditions might get worse if they moved close to the West Side Highway in Manhattanville. The president said he had not heard of such a problem. Another concern is noise, from construction and other local conditions.
Another environmental issue, he said, is the wind, which can be strong in Manhattanville.
--Resolution to Establish a Ph.D. in Sustainable Development (Education): Sen. Letty Moss-Salentijn, chair of Education, invited Prof. Jeffrey Sachs to present the program.
Prof. Sachs said the purpose of the program is to harness the social and physical sciences in an effort to address a range of serious problems that are not being adequately addressed in the traditional disciplines. Without this interdisciplinary sapproach, it will be impossible to tackle such problems as the AIDS pandemic, the 3 million children dying of malaria this year in sub-Saharan Africa, the 60 million people drinking arsenic-laden water in Bangladesh, or deforestation in the Congo, Southeast Asia, and the Amazon.
Prof. Sachs said that in his own home discipline—economics—dissertations are not even being written on topics like these. The present proposal has emerged from SIPA and the Earth Institute, two academic units part of whose purpose from the beginning has been to foster indisciplinary scholarship. The curriculum of the program, which has already attracted attention beyond Columbia, will focus on the social sciences, but with a deep concentration in one of four physical science disciplines: physical earth processes (mainly climate), environmental engineering, ecology and conservation science, and public health and health sciences. The advisory committee would include social and physical scientists, and the degree would be based in the Department of International and Public Affairs (DIPA).
Sen. Jorge Otero-Pailos (NT, SAPP) asked how the proposed Ph.D. relates to a program in sustainable development being developed by Prof. Joseph Stiglitz. He also noted that sustainable development is an important theme in the Architecture School now, particularly in connection with cultural heritage and preservation, and he asked if Prof. Sachs had considered this.
Prof. Sachs said the program developed by Prof. Stiglitz is also interdisciplinary, but entirely within the social sciences. He expressed interest in the work in sustainable development going on at the Architecture School. In his proposed program, he said, the methods sequence features spatial analysis, an area that may overlap in promising ways with architectural scholarship.
Sen. Silverstein asked how the proposed program differs from a Ph.D. program in physical science with a concentration in social sciences. Prof. Sachs said students in both the social sciences or the natural sciences have expressed interest in a Ph.D. with a concentration in the other discipline, and his proposed program could accommodate both groups.
But the basic proposal is for a Ph.D. in the social sciences, with a sufficient scientific knowledge to be able to read the literature critically in the relevant discipline. The curriculum includes a year of graduate-level science.
Sen. Findley said the goal is not only scientific literacy but an ability to conduct a conversation in a common language across the disciplines. Prof. Sachs thanked her for stating the program’s purpose better than he had.
Sen. Michael Adler (Ten., Bus.) asked about the program’s budgetary implications. It takes a sympathetic dean to want to incur another cost center, he said.
Lisa Anderson of SIPA said she was a sympathetic dean. She said a careful effort had been made to anticipate and provide for the costs of the program. In addition, two existing SIPA programs, in economic policy management and in environmental science and policy, are master’s programs with paying customers that will provide revenues to support the new Ph.D. program.
Sen. Ira Katznelson, Acting Vice President for Arts and Sciences, said he had conducted a careful study this fall to identify funding for the present proposal that would not drain resources from other Ph.D. programs. He said the proposed area of research and teaching has already generated significant interest and support. Also built into the program is a reserve fund to cushion ups and downs in the first three years. Finally, Arts and Sciences will also conduct a systematic fiscal and intellectual review of the program at the close of year 3.
Sen. Eugene Litwak (Ten., A&S/SS) asked about limits of the proposed program, which seemed to focus exclusively on developing nations. What about the industrialized world? Another remarkable fact, he said, is that an enormous amount of collaborative research is taking place already, but almost entirely outside the Arts and Sciences, in Public Health and professional schools. He invited Prof. Sachs to comment on the future of the social sciences, particularly in light of his Ph.D. proposal.
Prof. Sachs stressed that his program is about the whole world, not just developing countries.
He agreed that a lot of research is taking place, but he worried that it is not happening in the Arts and Sciences. In a recent search for articles on deforestation in leading economics journals, he found one in the last 13 years. The social sciences need to confront this challenge, he said.
Sen. Litwak thought a Ph.D. program is a limited way to attack the issue Prof. Sachs had raised. He called instead for a rethinking across the University of possibilities for collaboration.
President Bollinger reminded Sen. Litwak that the globalization task force gearing up now will address the University’s direction in different disciplines in a comprehensive way. The planning initiative now under way in the natural sciences will address connections with other parts of the university. There will also be a planning effort in the humanities in due course.
Prof. Sachs said the Earth Institute is grappling daily with some of the challenges Sen. Litwak had raised, and he would be happy to discuss them further with him.
A senator asked what career path graduates of the proposed Ph.D. program might follow. Prof. Sachs expected Columbia to lead a broad movement to address global issues in sustainable development. The new interdisciplinary approach, which may become a discipline in its own right over time, will provide ample job opportunities in academic centers, international institutions, and government, he said..
The Senate unanimously approved the proposal by voice vote.
--Resolution to Establish an M.A. Program in Climate and Society (Education): Sen. Moss-Salentijn presented the program.
Sen. Bradley Bloch (Alum.) asked what the basis was for establishing a program in climate and society, as opposed to climate and architecture or climate and some other field. How will thinking about this pair of topics change in five years?
Sen. Moss-Salentijn took the point. She said there is a perceived need for this program now. As thinking changes, the program may adjust, although there may be new programs as well. She also saw no reason why a program couldn’t focus on this particular problem for as long as the approach is useful; if it’s no longer useful in 10 years, there’s no reason not to close it down.
Many new “M.A. Only” programs were established with just such a trajectory in mind, she said.
Sen. Otero, noting that architecture instruction in this country started in departments of geology and mines, eventually branching out and forming separate schools, said there’s a case to be made for experimental programs. At the same time, it is important to be aware of steps already taken in the direction of the new experimental field and to include them in the curriculum.
Sen. Adler said the program appeared not to be thought out. He could not understand its admissions standards or its target audience. He said that unless a new master’s program is based in a separate school, it will inevitably remix and recombine programs and students that are already here.
Prof. Sachs said the present M.A. program emerges from three world-class Columbia centers for climate science: the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences (DEES), the Goddard Institute of Space Studies, and the International Research Institute for Climate Prediction.
Dean Anderson spoke in favor of the program.
Sen. Findley said the proposed program will help to provide students with the grounding needed to bridge disciplinary boundaries.
Sen. Darrow said the Education Committee subcommittee that reviewed the proposal saw clear links to the theme of globalization.
The president thought the benefits of bringing together Columbia’s highly significant research enterprise in climate science with the work of social scientists were self-evident. He said the profound questions about how the University should decide to divide the issues of the world should be asked over and over again as disciplines and schools evolve.
By voice vote the Senate approved the resolution with one nay and one abstention.
Resolution to Establish the Doctor of Nursing Practice (Education): Sen. Moss-Salentijn reminded the Senate of the history of deliberations on this proposal, which included one entire Senate meeting agenda and a good portion of another in the fall of 2002.
Those discussions brought to light a number of reservations about the proposal that was before the Senate at that time. The Education Committee has since received two documents: the newest set of guidelines for clinical doctorates at Health Sciences, which Education has accepted as a working document, and a reworked program proposal that met all previous objections.
Sen. Moss-Salentijn said her committee now thinks the academic program merits a clinical doctorate. She added that the committee was asking the Senate to vote on this academic program, not on nurses’ clinical activities, or the setting in which they will be allowed to practice. Those issues are for the nursing and medical professions to resolve, she said.
The president said the proposal has been with the Senate a year and a half, and the proponents may feel that they have been tortured. He said the Senate had properly insisted on a full review of the program at Health Sciences, which the proposal has now had.
Sen. Debra Wolgemuth (Ten., HS) expressed thanks to Sen. Salentijn for her long service on this issue. She also asked Sen. Salentijn to distribute the revised guidelines for clinical doctorates to all senators. Sen. Wolgemuth, a member of the medical faculty, had never seen them, nor had she heard any discussion of them at meetings uptown, including questions about the guidelines for nursing practice vis a vis medical doctors. She said these issues deserve serious discussion.
Sen. John Brust (Ten., HS) said one reason the proposal was sent back before was that it was misleading, even though the Education Committee had approved it. For example, he said, what was described as a “residency” was nothing of the sort. He said the new proposal speaks of a full-time residency. He did not know what that meant, and he had only seen the new proposal for the first time when he walked into the present meeting. He did not think it was appropriate for the Senate to vote, taking on faith what the Education Committee recommended, when the Senate found the last time around that it could not.
He asked whether the Doctor of Nursing Practice, like the Doctor of Medicine, would require passage of parts 1 and 2 of the national boards?
Sen. Moss-Salentijn said she agreed with Sen. Brust about the term “residency,” which in medicine and dentistry refers to training that comes after the degree, not before, as in the DrNP. She urged the nursing faculty to use another term.
But she also said the clinical doctorate before the Senate is for nursing practice, not medical practice, and therefore it is not reasonable to demand that nurses take the medical boards.
She again distinguished the academic program of the DrNP, which she said deserves a doctorate, from the practice of graduates of the program. That issue does not need to be voted on by the Senate, but should be discussed between the professions, she said. She understood that Sen. Brust might consider this distinction a form of weaseling.
Sen. Brust said the end result may be someone who calls himself or herself doctor, hangs up a shingle, and practices medicine, misleadingly.
Sen. Moss-Salentijn said nurses have given assurances that that won’t happen.
Sen. Brust said they are going to practice medicine, independently.
Judy Honig, a nonsenator and a dean at the Nursing School, received permission to speak. She said nurses are already licensed, as nurse practitioners, to do many things that the DrNP will properly train them to do, with experiences that are mentored, clinical, and rigorous. The Nursing School is standardizing, regulating and monitoring the training.
She said the term “residency” is not uncommon in other disciplines. The DrNP residency is a focused, supervised, scholarly clinical experience that will span a year.
Sen. Suzanne Bakken (Ten., Nursing) said that Health Sciences Vice President Gerald Fischbach had called a retreat a few weeks earlier, where he reaffirmed his support for the DrNP, and said that the proposed program meets the revised guidelines for clinical doctorates.
Sen. Moss-Salentijn asked the president to close the discussion. There was no objection.
The president said that if the resolution is adopted, the administration will still have to bring it to the Trustees for final approval.
The Senate then approved the DrNP by voice vote, with one nay and one abstention.
There being no further business, the president adjourned the meeting shortly before 3:30 pm.
Tom Mathewson, Senate staff