University Senate                                                                      Proposed: May 6, 2005







President Lee Bollinger, the chairman, called the Senate to order shortly after 1:15 pm in 501 Schermerhorn. Sixty-four of 98 senators were present during the meeting.


Adoption of the agenda: Sen. Paul Duby (Ten., SEAS) suggested that the Senate take up the by-laws amendments proposed by the Research Officers immediately if and when three-fifths of all incumbent members are present. With this understanding the agenda was adopted as proposed.


Adoption of the minutes: The minutes of February 25 were adopted as proposed.


President’s report: The president thanked the Ad Hoc Arts and Sciences Committee on Grievances, which had released its report the day before on recent charges of classroom intimidation against some faculty members in the Department of Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures (MEALAC). He also thanked people who had participated in the committee’s inquiry, as well as the community at large for handling the issues seriously.


The president said the committee had a number of findings on Columbia’s grievance procedures. The administration had already been studying this matter for some time and expects, within the next two weeks, to announce revised grievance procedures.


Among other issues the University must address over time, the president mentioned academic freedom, on which he had lectured a week before, and on which the ad hoc committee and others had made statements as well. He stressed the importance to the Columbia community, and to higher education as a whole, of conducting this discussion repeatedly.


Executive Committee chairman’s report: Sen. Duby reminded senators that the last regular meeting of the year had been moved from April 29 to May 6 and invited them to join the annual Senate procession at Commencement.


Interaction with Trustees: In recent years Senate representatives have not been included in the March Trustee meetings, which have been retreats. But this year, after a useful meeting between the Senate and Trustee executive committees on February 10, he and Sen. Matan Ariel (Stu., GS) were invited. Trustee Joan Spero said Trustees had established a subcommittee for the purpose of improving communications with students. Board chairman David Stern introduced both Senate representatives, and ran an informative and interesting  meeting. 


The Executive Committee devoted most of its March 25 meeting to a discussion of the work of the ROTC TF with its co-chairs, Sens. James Applegate (Ten., A&S/NS) and Nathan Walker (Stu., TC). The group decided to proceed with a broad discussion at the present plenary, which will inform efforts to prepare a resolution for the last Senate meeting. 


Sen. Duby determined that 61 of 98 senators were present, two more than three-fifths of the full membership, and called for taking up the researchers’ by-laws amendments right away. 


Resolutions to Add Researchers to Six Senate Committees (Structure and Operations): Howard Jacobson, Senate parliamentarian and a member of Structure and Operations, presented the resolutions in the absence of the committee chair, Sen. Vielka Holness (Admin.), and Sen. Jeremy Waldron (Ten., Law). He said the resolutions had been before the Senate at previous meetings, and presented an amended version of the one on the Rules of Conduct. He said Structure and Operations believes that researchers should be on all six committee.


After brief discussion, the Senate decided to vote on all the resolutions separately.


Structure and Operations: Without further discussion the Senate then voted, by asking for negative votes and absentions first, on the resolution to add one research officer to the Structure and Operations. There was no dissent, so the resolution was determined to have passed.


Alumni Relations: By the same method the Senate voted without dissent to add one research officer to the Alumni Relations Committee.


Budget Review: By the same method, the Senate, with 62 members now present, voted without dissent to add one research officer to the Budget Review Committee. 


Rules of Conduct: By the same method, the Senate favored the amended resolution to add one research officer to the Committee on the Rules of University Conduct.


Education: Mr. Jacobson noted that the resolutions to add one research officer to the Education and Executive committees had a narrower eligibility requirement than the other four resolutions: the researcher has to be a senior professional research officer, with a title equivalent to that of a tenured faculty member.


Sen. Letty Moss-Salentijn (Ten., SDOS), chair of Education, said she would vote against the resolution. She said a number of members of her committee also opposed this resolution on principle. She said education is not part of the mandate of researchers. The small subset of researchers who are actually participating in education should be added to the faculty. 


Sen. Kacy Redd (Stu., GSAS/NS), a graduate student in biology, said she had worked in six labs, and in three of them she had worked closely with post-docs, research officers who play a central role in the teaching of graduate students.


Sen. Eugene Litwak (Ten., A&S/SS) said that in his discipline, social sciences, 80 percent of the research work is learned in practice, not in the classroom. He said researchers play a vital role, in the social sciences as well as the natural sciences, in what people are proud to call a research university.


Mr. Jacobson noted the view of Structure and Operations that the Education Committee already has two administrators, one alumnus, and one librarian—groups that also are not involved in teaching—and that if these groups are represented on Education, researchers should be too.

Sen. Sally Findley (Nonten., PH) supported the inclusion of researchers on Education because the collaboration of teaching and service efforts is vital to the functioning of the University.


Sen. Eugene Galanter (Ten., A&S/NS) agreed with Sen. Salentijn, saying that there really is a distinction between the kinds of work faculty and researchers do.


Sen. James Applegate (Ten., A&S/NS) disagreed with Sen. Salentijn. He said that in his lab, astrophysics, research officers play an important mentoring role for both graduate and undergraduate students, and this is a significant educational function.


Sen. Redd elaborated on her earlier point. She said the last three years of her five-year doctoral program—the most important ones—are spent mostly in the lab, where the training is done mostly by post-docs.


Sen. Daniel Savin, chairman of the Research Officers Committee, paraphrased the by-laws, noting the Education Committee’s mandate to receive ideas, recommendations, and plans for educational innovations. He said researchers have been fulfilling these roles, designing degree programs and courses, and mentoring students outside the classroom.


Sen. Duby agreed with Sen. Salentijn. He said there are other groups who are contributing to the University, including adjunct and clinical faculty, who are not recognized in the University Senate. He suggested that senior researchers should strive for tenure of title, an arrangement at the Medical Center for some faculty.


Sen. Savin thought Sen. Duby was confusing researchers with other groups that, unlike researchers, are not Senate constituencies. Sen. Savin also expressed interest in the idea of tenure of title for researchers.


Sen. Maya Tolstoy (Research Officer, Lamont) said she thought other groups, like adjunct faculty, should also have a voice in the Senate. She added that education, in a real way. is part of the mandate of everyone in the University. She concluded by asking opponents of the resolution why they think researchers make less of a contribution to education than the other non-faculty representatives on the committee. 


The president said it was time for the Senate, 64 of whose 98 members were now present, to vote. Using the same counting method as for the previous resolutions, the secretary determined that 10 senators opposed the resolution, leaving no more than 54 positive votes for a resolution that needed a supermajority of 59 senators, The resolution failed.


Executive: Sen. Savin argued that adding a researcher to the Executive Committee is a natural consequence of the Senate decision in November 2002 to increase the voting delegation of researchers from two to six, which altered the original design of the Senate, which provided for only token representation for all groups besides faculty and students. 


Sen. Findley asked if the gender balance among researchers and faculty would have the consequence that excluding researchers from the Executive Committee would amount to excluding women. Sen. Savin said he was only of only two men on the nine-member Research Officers Committee.


Sen. Frances Pritchett (Ten., A&S/ Hum.) asked how the Executive Committee functions at its current size, and asked if there might be disadvantages in enlarging it.


Sen. Duby replied that the present membership—13—works well.  Meeting attendance is strong. He argued that the committee should represent the faculty and the students, along with the president and the provost. The Senate was set up mainly to enfranchise faculty, and its proportions assure that tenured professors almost constitute an majority, and do constitute a majority in combination with the nontenured faculty. The founders also envisioned a significant role for students. He concluded that the Executive Committee should not be enlarged, partly because of a risk that other constituencies will then demand seats. For this reason, he said he would vote against the resolution


Sen. Suzanne Bakken (Ten., Nursing) favored adding a researcher to the Executive Committee. She said researchers are important to the Columbia enterprise, particularly at Health Sciences.


Sen. Michael Adler (Ten. Bus.) supported the resolution in the name of inclusion.


Sen. Savin said enlarging committee membership by one seat would not be a numerically significant change. He added that researchers are seeking a broader role in a university senate, not a faculty senate, and researchers can provide a useful complementary perspective.


In the vote that followed, 8 senators opposed the resolution, leaving the number of favorable votes no higher than 56, three short of the 59 needed for a three-fifths majority for the measure.


Committee reports:

--Commission on the Status of Women (Prof. Christia Mercer, co-chair): Prof. Mercer reminded senators of the one-page summary of the case for day care that had been distributed at the previous meeting. She said the Commission’s main goal this year was to assess the need for child care around Columbia, and to propose solutions. So the group collected preliminary data, learning about different options, and finding out about Columbia’s peers.


They learned that there are 333 pre-school children of officers (not graduate students or support staff), and only 174 child care places for them. For children 1-15 months old, there are only 20 places, almost all of them reserved for Teachers College employees.


In its comparative research, the Commission discovered Bright Horizons, an experienced  consulting group that has advised MIT, Yale, Princeton and others. It typically does a full assessment of child care needs through interviews and surveys, counting the children, learning their families’ income levels, and projecting how many children will show up at the door for different day care models. 


Prof. Mercer was pleased to report that Provost Brinkley had just signed a contract with Bright Horizons, and for more extensive services than the Commission had requested. She anticipated that in about six months, the Commission will use the data Bright Horizons will have collected as the basis for a request for a child care progam.        


Sen. Matan Ariel (Stu., GS) said many of his constituents, like graduate students, are parents. Was the Commission accounting for this group? She said the provost is asking Bright Horizons to assess child care needs of students and other groups as well as faculty.


Sen. Rebecca Baldwin (Stu., Nursing) pointed out that children born to students don’t choose whether they’re born to students or faculty, and should be given equal opportunity to participate in any available day care or schooling opportunities.  Prof. Mercer agreed.


Sen. Applegate, a former member of the Commission and an author of the pipeline report produced under Prof. Jean Howard’s leadership, suspected that a main reason for the precipitous drop in the percentage of women in applicant pools for faculty positions in all disciplines was inadequate child care. He thought success in this effort could bring a lot more female applicants..


Prof. Mercer said several peer institutions—MIT, Princeton, Yale, and others—have recognized this major leak in the academic pipeline for women. She recalled coming to Columbia 14 years old with two children, one three months old, naively expecting to find child care  The experience had been difficult. She noted MIT’s recent decision, in recognition of the difficulties women face especially in the sciences, to devote the first floor of their new computer science building to day care (a program run by Bright Horizons). She said a new day care program, either in the new science building or in one of the areas vacated by science departments moving into the science building, would  be an important gesture. 


Sen. Findley mentioned the emphasis in Commission discussions on the need for on-site child care, especially for junior faculty at a crucial stage in their careers. Prof. Mercer said this need is particularly acute for women in the sciences.


Sen. Bradley Bloch (Alum.) asked Prof. Mercer to outline the next steps. She said Bright Horizons will conduct a complete survey and identify nearby sites for day care centers. One possibility is Knox Hall. Bright Horizons will supply cost and use projections that the Commission couldn’t do. With that information the Commission can make a knowledgeable proposal to the administration.


Sen. Bloch asked, as a member of the Physical Development Committee, how the Commission will interact with Columbia facilities and space planners. Prof. Mercer said Provost Brinkley and Bill Scott, VP for IRE, have been actively involved in planning discussions.


Once the projections are in hand, Prof. Mercer said, the Commission will have to think carefully about the next few steps.  She said Columbia will certainly not be able to afford to build day care spaces for every single child who needs them.


Sen. Adler asked if Columbia could proceed with a day care plan for itself without the provisions for the community that have attended the Columbia School project.


Prof. Mercer said this issue is one reason why the facts and figures are so important. They will help planners to consider different models. The ideal is a lovely day care center, but such programs, whether run by Bright Horizons or Tompkins Hall or the Greenhouse, now cost $1000-1200 per month. This is a big bill for an assistant professor. A more affordable model, which she saw as a graduate student in Germany, was cooperative day care, enabling some parents to help out regularly for a discount on tuition. She said options like these might make it possible for people from the community to participate. But the Commission has to understand the needs of the Columbia community.


Sen. Walker proposed to move on to take up issues of particular importance to Student Affairs.


Responding to Sen. Peter Platt (Fac., Barn.), Prof. Mercer confirmed that the census of 333 children includes Barnard and Teachers College, and that Barnard and Teachers College people would be counted in constituencies involved in day care.


New Business:

--Resolution Concerning “Open Access” (Libraries and Academic Computing): Sen. Pritchett, standing in for committee chairman Jeremy Waldron (Ten., Law) said the resolution before the Senate was partly a matter of consciousness raising about open access as well as an opportunity for the Senate to affirm a moral commitment to that principle. She asked Sen. James Neal, Vice President for Information Services and University Librarian, to elaborate.


He described a broad international movement that is trying to reduce barriers for faculty, students and researchers around the world, to secure access, and to break through current economic pressures as well as national legislative initiatives that are making it more difficult for scholars to access the fruits of our labor.


Sen. Neal said much of the open access movement has revolved around the “author pay model.”  A Columbia trustee in fact has advanced this idea through the creation of the Public Library of Science. But open access involves many more issues. He said the goal of the resolution is not a set of prescriptive measures but to set a foundation for action and advocacy on, for example, the recent commitment by the National Institutes of Health, to make the products of research available to those who have paid for it—the American taxpayers.


Sen. Neal said journal editors are realizing that after a period of time the literature they’re producing should not be embargoed any longer, but made available on the public web.  Scholars in many disciplines are depositing their research papers on disciplinary pre-print servers, following the precedent set by physicists and mathematicians in the late 1980s. Universities like Columbia are putting up institutional repositories making the digital work of students and faculty available and searchable on the public web.  Scholars should negotiate publishing contracts allowing them to put their own work up on their own individual web sites, available to scholars and students around the world. 


Sen. Neal also mentioned “orphan” works, many of which are still in copyright (published after 1923) but no longer have economic viability. For others it is no longer possible to identify the owner.  Even though still covered by copyright, such material can under open access be made available for education and research. 

Sen. Neal stressed that open access is not in conflict with peer review or copyright ownership or . author compensation.  Individuals can be compensated under open access. But after a period of time some of that material becomes available to scholars and students around the world.


Sen. Neal said the resolution sought Senate endorsement of this general direction in the scholar community, a broader awareness of this initiative across the university, and a foundation for action and advocacy in scholarly and information policy circles.


President Bollinger asked if the resolution committed the institution to anything at this point  beyond saying that open access is a good idea and should be pursued. Sen. Neal said it did not.. 


The president suggested that if the resolution is controversial, it should be perhaps be voted on at another meeting. He asked for discussion.


Sen. Redd said she didn’t fully understand the issue.


Sen. Neal said libraries have been paying a lot of money for journals for a long time. Open access enables libraries to provide them more freely on the web after a period of use.  Those who get grants from the Federal government are being asked to make their publications available twelve months after publication. Digital rights management systems are locking up a lot of this content unfairly. There are concerns about new copyright laws in Washington that really are eliminating the public domain and making it much more difficult to provide access to this material for the scholarly and educational communities.  Open access is working to make more research produced in the academy available for use in the academy and not to turn it over to commercial publishers.


In response to a question from Sen. Galanter, Sen. Neal said the open access movement has convinced Elsevier, one of the major scientific journals, to give authors the right to put up their individual papers on their personal web sites. 


The president understood the resolution to endorse the idea of open access, recognizing that there are tradeoffs, but not to commit Columbia to pursue this idea at the expense of every other value. 


By voice vote the Senate unanimously endorsed the resolution.


Old business:

--Revised Resolution to Establish a Procedure for Student Grievances (Student Affairs, Faculty Affairs): Sen. Ariel said the resolution had been slightly revised since the last plenary.   He stressed that it does not in any way go against procedures already in place, but provides an appeal procedure in cases where school procedures have been exhausted. He said the current resolution was a joint effort of faculty and student committees. He said it would be a true honor if the Senate were to accept the principle of student involvement in the creation of grievance procedures.


President Bollinger understood the resolution as proposing a university-wide grievance procedure that, if passed, must come to the university administration, which must decide whether to endorse it and take it to the Trustees. His view was that the Trustees should sign off on such a procedure. He added that extensive work is under way on grievance procedures in every school across the university.  Some are done and up on the web; others are undergoing final revisions.    Generally speaking, school faculties are driving this process. The president said deans have a considerable stake in university-wide procedures and have made clear that they want to participate in their creation.. 


Without taking a position on this issue, the president reported serious faculty disagreement with the idea of students on panels reviewing claims of faculty misconduct.  He said grievance processes across the university are still works in progress, and will take shape in a few weeks.


Sen. Ariel offered the clarification that the resolution does not tell schools how to conduct grievances.  It only describes a procedure for appealing to the president and provost.  So there is no infringement of the rights of deans.


The president said deans may say not want their students’ grievances against faculty to end up in a university-wide procedure. He also expressed concern about possible parallel procedures. 


 Mr. Jacobson understood that grievance and discipline issues have always been addressed in school-based procedures, except when the Statutes have carved out an exception, like the Rules of University Conduct governing demonstrations and rallies.


President Bollinger asked about sexual misconduct policy. Mr. Jacobson  said each school could choose whether to adopt this policy, and the Law School (and perhaps others) opted out.

The president established that a law student therefore cannot go to the “University” with a charge of sexual misconduct.


Sen. Walker said the relevant precedent is the Rules, not sexual misconduct. The other model is the University Senate role in investigating faculty grievances. He said the pressing issue now is that Columbia is a divided commuity, with students using the media to criticize faculty. This is an indication of trouble. He said the resolution supports the efforts schools have made to articulate their own grievance prodedures. The resolution covers those rare instances when the Executive Committee would have to decide whether to take up an appeal. 


Sen. Walker added that the current resolution offers the only grievance procedure written in the last six months that has included students in the creation.  It was also a joint effort of students and faculty. He said it would be a painful outcome for Columbia students if the resolution fails because of a belief that students should not participate in policymaking. It is saying that the student input doesn’t matter. I’m hoping that won’t be the result of our deliberations.


Mr. Jacobson thought the Rules are not an apt example because they are an amendment to the Statutes, a carveout from the normal system.  


Mr. Jacobson also expressed a reservation about the role of the Senate Executive Committee in creating a group. If a faculty member is accused of something under the grievance procedure and it’s serious enough, he or she may want to grieve under the University Statutes, and the grievance procedures call for the faculty member to grieve to the Faculty Affairs Committee.  If the conduct is very serious and a decision is made to terminate a tenured professor, the process for adjudicating the charges (extremely rare) once again involves the Faculty Affairs Committee. The result of this process is a conflict of interest, putting Senate committees in effect on both sides of the same issue.


Sen. Bloch asked for clarification of what happens to Senate resolutions once they’re adopted. His own understanding was that Senate action go directly to the trustees without needing administration approval first. His second point was to warn of the need for coordination of various efforts to build grievance procedures, so that the pieces fit together.


The president said his point had been that the administration has to make a recommendation about any Senate resolution headed for the Trustees. 


He said the question of coordination was important to him, and his sense was that deans want to participate in this process. He said a community consensus is essential on this issue. He noted that decisionmaking in the university is necessarily fractured.  So the Senate’s consideration of a university-wide procedure is entirely appropriate. He just saw a need for some more university-wide consultation. He called for patience and reflection and inclusion in that discussion.   He was troubled by the possibility of a new controversy about the nature of grievance procedures, pitting the Senate against the schools. 


Marsha Wagner, the ombuds officer,  said the vice presidents of Arts and Sciences and of the Medical Center seemed to have been left out of the resolution. Sen. Ariel answered that those vice presidents are also deans of their faculties.


Sen. Baldwin suggested that the present resolution might not be necessary if more students had been involved in the current redesign of grievance procedures. As it is, the Senate procedure is the only example of significant student involvement. There are recent examples that the appearance of impropriety is as damaging as impropriety itself, and student involvement as in the Senate procedure is a unique way to address that problem.        She suggested that it the present resolution does not pass, consideration should be given to redoing all of the school procedures with students in mind., not only for the sake of future student grievants, but for the sake of the university and its appearance to the outside world

The president said it is important that schools develop their grievance procedures autonomously, without invervention from the university. He also acknowledged the importance of the question of student involvement. He suggested further conversations between the Senate and deans. 


Sen. Coilin Parsons (Stu., GSAS/Hum.) said there is uncertainty about what university-wide procedures are in effect.


The president said the current process goes to the provost and the president in some cases. The Senate is asking whether there should be a kind of intermediary role for the Executive Committee at the university level. He said he was completely open to that possibility.


Sen. Galanter said that at the faculty caucus meeting before the Senate he had said that efforts to set up grievance procedures are being founded on a particular accidental event.  He had recommended pausing and considering carefully whether the Senate should take structural measures that might complicate the activities of the deans. He thought he had heard a general sense of agreement with what he was saying.


President Bollinger proposed a reading of the resolution that it seems like a good idea, but that before making a final judgment and submitting it to the Trustees there should be discussions between a Senate delegation and deans in search of a consensus. After that the Senate could make a final decision 


Sen. Ariel asked if the president would use his influence to make sure no new grievance procedures are announced before such meetings take place with the deans.


The president said he could not do that. He said school procedures could always be changed. But it was critical to the institution for schools to announce their grievance procedures now.


Sen. Mohr offered two resolutions: one supporting the participation of the student representatives in decisions on grievances at the university and school levels, the other on the present resolution.  He said  he wanted to avoid the misimpression that a vote against the present resolution is a vote against students.


Sen. Jen Schnidman (Stu., CC) reminded the Senate that the present initiative had been on the agenda for four months now, first as a report and now as a resolution. In its original form, students sought student representation on the ad hoc committee that has now just finished its work, but that idea was dropped because students were told it was too late. She added that the president’s present proposal would have similar consequences. If the Senate presents its procedures after the schools have done theirs, their proposals will be ignored.


The president said he respected the point. But he sketched an alternative: the Senate approves the present resolution and sends it to the Trustees, but the schools oppose it as it goes to the Trustees.


Mr. Jacobson said  Section 25 of the University Statutes says actions of the Senate will be final unless the president shall advise the University Senate not later than the next regularly scheduled meeting that the Trustee concurrence is necessary. President Bollinger added that he felt he had to include the Trustees on the issue of university-wide grievance procedures.  


Sen. John Brust (Ten., HS) said passing the resolution and rejecting it were both unsatisfactory options, the latter because of the anti-student message it would seem to send. Splitting it into two measures as Sen. Mohr had suggested would only lengthen the discussion. He therefore moved to table the resolution.


Mr. Jacobson explained that motions to table are not debatable or amendable. They do not kill the motion under discussion, but postpone it to some future time, at which time the Senate can vote by simple majority to bring it back for action.


Sen. Walker asked  how much of a postponement Sen. Brust had in mind—till May or longer?


Sen. Brust said he didn’t know how long it should be delayed, but it was clear at the caucus meeting and in the present discussion that there are many ramifications to be worked out.

The Senate then voted on the motion to table the resolution to adopt a new grievance procedure until such time as the Senate decided to bring it back by majority vote. The motion was defeated by a vote of 26-19.


Sen. Ariel quoted the final sentence of the ad hoc committee report that had been released the day before:  “We need to reaffirm that sense of collective responsibility which is vital for the well being of every community of scholars and to nurture the mutual respect required to sustain us in our common quest for the promotion of learning and the advancements of knowledge.” Sen. Ariel stressed the term “collective responsibility.” 


The question was moved and the Senate voted on the resolution to establish a new student grievance procedure. It passed by a vote of 25-17-2.


The president proposed to use his offices to arrange meetings with other constituencies, but said the Senate had chosen to use this procedure. He repeated that he had advised the Senate that this resolution  would have to go to the Trustees, given current circumstances at the university.


Sen. Ariel said students would be happy to accept the president’s offer of discussion in the next few weeks.


Sen. Karl Kroeber (Ten., A&S/Hum), a member of the Faculty Affairs Committee, also welcomed the opportunity offered by the president for discussions with deans.


--Preliminary report of the ROTC Task Force: As the discussion was about to begin, another group entered and said it had reserved the the room for the rest of the afternoon.


The president decided to call a special meeting sometime during the next week or so.


He adjourned the meeting shortly after 3 pm.


Respectfully submitted,



Tom Mathewson, Senate staff