University Senate Proposed:
President Lee Bollinger called the Senate to order shortly after in 501 Schermerhorn. Fifty-two of 93 senators were present during the meeting.
Minutes and agenda:
The minutes of
Report of the president. The president said the University was now completing a very good year. He said some top priorities are successful retention and recruitment of faculty, wonderful educational experiences and enhanced prospects for students, a happy staff, happy alumni, and having lots of money. All but the last of these goals had been achieved for the present academic year, the president said.
One major gain this year has been the growth of the
mind/brain/behavior initiative, with neuroscience beginning to bring together
related units from the Morningside and
On the problem of space, the president said that the
northwest corner science building was progressing well, with a design by the
architect Rafael Moneo, and that there remained some space to be developed near
The president said
The capital campaign, now in its “quiet” phase, will be
publicly launched in the coming year. The total to be raised and the alumni
leadership for the campaign are not set yet, but the president’s preliminary
estimate was a fundraising goal of some $4 billion. It would be the largest
capital campaign in
The president said
Remarks by William
Campbell, chairman of the Board of Trustees: Introducing Mr. Campbell, the
president mentioned his
Mr. Campbell thanked the president, and expressed delight at
meeting with the Senate. He said he had
a great love for
Mr. Campbell said he particularly enjoys the transparency of the working arrangements of the Trustees, as well as the president’s broad conception of the advice and expertise that Trustees can provide for the University. He said that sense of engagement means a lot to him. Last spring, with some hesitation, Mr. Campbell accepted the president’s offer of the board chairmanship.
Mr. Campbell said that watching what President Bollinger has gone through in the last few years has been an extraordinary experience. The president has been criticized over some decisions on priorities. In some cases he had to move up lower-ranking priorities to address emergencies. But over time he has managed to get the University to operate better. Mr. Campbell said he was impressed with recent changes, and with the quality of the current senior staff—and he mentioned several administrators. Some recent improvements address problems that are too often overlooked, he said.
On the question of the role of the board, Mr. Campbell mentioned the advice of Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, who reminds him at regular intervals never to forget that the board’s job is to hire and fire the chief executive. Mr. Campbell said he agreed with this advice, adding that the board must use all the power and influence and fiduciary responsibility and advice that it can provide to give the administration the best chance to succeed.
Mr. Campbell said he is often asked to change various University operations, but that’s not his job. His job is to put in place a group of 24 Trustees who can work successfully on committees, contributing their expertise to assessment of University operations so the president can function more effectively. In some cases the Trustees may be able to persuade the president to move priorities ranked 8-10 up to 2-4—but not often, because most of the planning is balanced..
Financial oversight is an important role, Mr. Campbell said. He acknowledged that fundraising, an important part of the president’s job, is not in his own genes. He learned this the hard way, when he had travel to Asia and other parts of the world to raise money to shore up his failing company Go (a software venture much less well known than his successful operation, Intuit).
But Mr. Campbell said the president had imparted to him some
of his fundraising acumen, which had helped in his efforts with fellow board
members. At the same time, Mr. Campbell
said, a simple spreadsheet will show that the return on dollars already in hand
can be as important as the new dollars
Mr. Campbell acknowledged the contributions of alumni
senators Bradley Bloch and Paul Thompson to bringing the new Columbia Alumni
Association into being. He said
Mr. Campbell said recent research for
Mr. Campbell said the CAA is one of a number of frameworks the University is now putting in place, efforts that won’t be appreciated until after President Bollinger is gone. He said Trustees are doing benchmarking studies to determine what other broad areas to address. He said his purpose here was not to give a sales pitch, but to convey that the Trustees oversee the whole University—not just certain schools—and are participating actively. He wanted the Senate to understand this mission clearly.
Mr. Campbell said the Trustees have carried out a reorganization of their committee structure proposed by board member Esta Stecher, general counsel and a managing director of Goldman Sachs. Previously the Trustees’ Educational Policy had tried to take on academic issues on a global basis in one-hour meetings once a quarter. Now the Trustees have separate subcommittees working on academic affairs, student life, administrative matters, and honors and prizes, which then come together to share information. Now the Trustees typically spend three hours on academic and pedagogical issues. Mr. Campbell said that if they can’t be brought up to speed on what’s going on academically in the University, they shouldn’t be Trustees.
Mr. Campbell concluded by saying that his relationship with President Bollinger is both professional and personal. They spent a lot of time together while Mr. Campbell was preparing to take over as board chair, working to make sure the board would do the things the president wanted it to, and making sure that the president felt that it was a university that he was running, not small groups of Trustees. Mr. Campbell invited questions.
The president said Mr. Campbell’s brief survey of the work of the Trustees made clear how important this dedicated group of people is to the University.
Sen. Michael Adler (Ten., Bus.) asked about the management
The presidetn added that the Trustees have professionalized the management of the portfolio and insulated it from general board and administrative kinds of governance. In previous decades, endowments were often managed by people with no financial expertise at all, he said.
Mr. Campbell noted some recent controversy about the amount of money some fund managers have been making from universities. But he repeated that institutional portfolios have to be run by investment professionals.
Mr. Campbell briefly addressed a second question from Sen.
Adler about prospects for a women's football team at
Sen. Peter Platt (Fac., Barn.) asked about Barnard's role in the new alumni organization. Mr. Campbell said a serious effort had been made to enlist Barnard in the Columbia Alumni Organization, but without success so far.
The president added that
Sen. Bradley Bloch (Alum.) asked about the relationship among the Senate, the president, and the Trustees in policymaking. Mr. Campbell noted the Senate's policymaking role, and said the president listens to the Senate, as well as to the Trustees. He said Trustees have been careful not to caught up in their own decision making, but to insure that the president runs the University.
Mr. Campbell said the president had asked him to use the present meeting to open a dialogue with the Senate. He said there was not a question of Trustees wanting to have a relationship with the Senate—they already have a relationship. He said Trustees have to be listening in every way to input about the University’s direction. He said he reads all the documents he receives from the Senate, and the Trustees are thinking about issues raised by senators and others, and not just standing apart managing an endowment. He hoped for a closer dialogue.
Sen. Adam Michaels (Stu., Bus.) asked about the
possibility of assuring the participation of younger members of the
Mr. Campbell said this procedure is capable of finding qualified young candidates for the board. He noted also that the Trustees' Educational Policy Committee has a subcommittee on student life, chaired by George Van Amson, who meets regularly with students. Mr. Campbell said he too had met with students earlier that day. Another channel of communication is Trustee breakfasts with students. Mr. Campbell concluded that Trustees want feedback from students, but those discussions are different from Trustee discussions about MEALAC, Manhattanville, the undergraduate curriculum, faculty recruiting, diversity, and so on. He said a measure of experience is needed for membership on the board.
President Bollinger asked for two more quick questions.
In response to one question, Mr. Campbell said he had
studied governance practices among
In response to the second question, Mr. Campbell recalled a
meeting in the president’s office shortly after he came to
Mr. Campbell said it is essential with Manhattanville for
the University to proceed in a way that will change longstanding perceptions of
But the challenge of getting through the approval process,
To applause, the president thanked Mr. Campbell for spending time with the Senate.
Report of the Executive Committee chairman: Speaking for all senators, Sen. Paul Duby (Ten., SEAS) also thanked Mr. Campbell. He said this was only the second time in his two decades in the Senate that a chairman of the board had addressed a Senate plenary, and the first visit was very brief. He emphasized that the Senate has the same goal as the Trustees, without the financial responsibility of course. Senators are the people in the trenches, he said—the faculty, students, and researchers. They all want to make the University a better place. He called for more interaction and exchanges of ideas, in plenary sessions as well as committee meetings.
Mr. Campbell welcomed the suggestion of further interaction. There was more applause.
Sen. Duby resumed his report. He thanked senators for a busy and successful session, with improved attendance, and the completion of deliberations on student sexual misconduct policy and significant revisions to the new University policy on research misconduct.
Sen. Duby reminded senators of their annual opportunity to march together at Commencement, followed by a reception in the Senate office. He gave special thanks for the contributions of student senators, particularly those about to graduate.
At the last Executive Committee meeting, on May 1, Sen. Duby said there was extensive discussion of the External Relations Committee report that Sen. Sharyn O’Halloran (Ten., SIPA) would be presenting in a few minutes, and a decision that it was too early for the Senate to vote on the proposed Designated Suppliers Programs. So for that agenda item, senators are being asked just to hear the report, and comment afterwards.
--Resolution on Summer Powers: The Senate passed the resolution without discussion.
Report of the Advisory Committee on Socially Responsible Investing: Prof. Charles Hailey
of Physics, standing in for committee chair Merritt Fox, reminded senators that the ACSRI,
created in 2000, has 12 members: four faculty, four students, and four alumni, who are
nominated by the various deans and the faculty, the alumni office, and the student caucus of the senate. The committee’s function is to advise the Trustees on socially responsible investment opportunities. The committee typically sets its agenda in the fall, when it also holds a University-wide hearing to get input from the community. This spring, after hearing from faculty experts on relevant issues, the committee approved 51 recommendations on various proxy resolutions for the consideration of the Trustees. Committee approval requires a simple majority vote of the 12-member ACSRI.
Prof. Hailey said the most time-consuming issue this spring,
taking up perhaps three quarters of the committee’s time, was a proposal from a
[At this point Prof. Hailey’s statement became inaudible on the tape for a few minutes]
Prof. Hailey read from the committee’s statement on the
divestment decision, including the announcement that the committee will conduct
further study of corporate behavior in the
Prof. Bollinger said that in the interest of time, the Senate would forego discussion of the ACSRI report. He thanked Prof. Hailey, and there was applause.
of Science in Construction Administration (
of Science in Sports Management (
--Master of Arts and Film Studies (School of the Arts).
[The discussion of all three programs was inaudible on the tape of the meeting].
The Senate voted to adopt all three resolutions.
Report from External Relations on the Proposed Designated Suppliers Program
Sen. O’Halloran, chair of External Relations, spoke to the report, and provided a PowerPoint presentation. She reminded senators that External Relations has the primary jurisdiction in overseeing the enforcement of University codes of conduct. This year, the committee was asked by Students for Economic and Environmental Justice (SEEJ) to review a proposal to adopt the Designated Suppliers Program.
She said the report had been a highly collaborative effort, and she thanked the Student Affairs Committee for helpful comments. She particularly thanked student caucus co-chair Adam Michael, Sen. Frank Cohn (SW), and UTS student observer David Fraccaro. She also thanked administrators who provided technical expertise.
Sen. O’Halloran said the purpose of
Sen. O’Halloran reviewed the background for the current
debate. She said
Sen. O’Halloran said contracts are negotiated on an
individual basis, taking into account individual situations and market traditions,
thereby helping to ensure competition and efficient production and distribution
across those markets. Finding out whether
a supplier is adhering to the codes is like a game of telephone:
The DSP is designed to make sure monitoring and enforcement are effective and consistent. It works on a system of prior accreditation, rather than ex-post monitoring. The WRC, the sponsoring agency, will actually oversee those contracts to make sure they meet all the conditions of the DSP. The result is a consolidation of production into fewer firms, but then more intensive monitoring.
The committee’s own assessment was that the DSP represents a serious effort to improve oversight that is consistent with our core values. However, the actual implementation of the DSP as now formulated raises legal, economic and logistical concerns, Sen. O’Halloran said.
The legal concerns arise in situations where universities are in a competitive situation with each other and they take action in concert against certain manufacturers. The assumption is that universities do not compete with each other over their logo apparel at the retail level. But there may be competition between universities in the upstream markets, for the services of licensees. If the licensee doesn’t give the factory a sufficient price to cover the DSP costs, the WRC, acting for the universities in the DSP, can ask the licensee to renegotiate, in effect setting not only the floor for a living wage, but also the actual price of the suppliers’ products. The DSP would also require participating universities to enter into very similar contracts. These situations could be viewed as price fixing for anti-trust purposes.
Economic concerns about the DSP partly involve the consequences of a living wage. A living wage will increase prices, and prices will affect demand. If the labor cost component of the product rises from 10 to 20 percent, producers will try to substitute capital for labor, reducing the number of jobs. Universities must understand the implications of such trade-offs.
If the WRC is the ultimate arbitrator of a fair price in each contract, Sen. O’Halloran said, it will control wages in each market. One concern is that the WRC could use this leverage to actually equalize the cost of production across the markets, driving out competition.
There’s also concern about production quotas, if the licensees have to verify that two-thirds of the output of each designated supplier is logo apparel. It’s not clear why a factory would limit itself to such a production quota, which would make it vulnerable to market fluctuations. So it is possible that suppliers and licensees may choose not to join the DSP, Sen. O’Halloran said.
In addition, the WRC and the
A DSP will also certainly mean a loss of revenue for
universities, Sen. O’Halloran said. At
Sen. O’Halloran said External Relations found that the University’s current codes are sound and don’t need to be altered, but that monitoring has to be improved. The committee sought a balanced approach, opting to contribute to the ongoing dialogue about implementing the DSP while recognizing the legal, economic, and logistical problems involved. The committee also calls for a letter from the Dept. of Justice assessing the anti-trust risks of a DSP.
In addition, External Relations recommends alternative
approaches, noting that if the DSP doesn’t go forward, monitoring problems
still have to be addressed. Among the possibilities are intensive monitoring of
just the top 5 suppliers, and creating a “no sweat” logo that might provide market
incentives for compliance with our codes.
Better reporting on compliance rates would also be useful. It is not even possible now to know whether
Sen. O’Halloran also called for a debate on the DSP. She had hoped to hear law professor Mark Barenberg, a WRC board member and DSP proponent, debate the proposal with Prof. Jagdish Bhagwati, but it proved impossible for the present meeting. She hoped to have such a discussion in the fall.
Senators applauded Sen. O’Halloran’s presentation.
In response to a question from a senator, Sen. O’Halloran elaborated on the review of anti-trust issues arranged by the Office of the General Counsel. She referred senators with further questions to Michael Feiler of the General Counsel’s office, who was present at the meeting.
President Bollinger said he considered it extremely
Secondly, the president acknowledged the difficulty of
defining the threshold, though he did not think it outweighed the importance of
the principle. He expressed discomfort
with the term “living wage,” which he said has connotations that
Thirdly, President Bollinger said there must be effective monitoring
to ensure that
Finally, on anti-trust issues, the president said the University must not take action that would expose it to anti-trust liability, but while that determination is being made, it should explore the possibility of participation in the DSP.
In response to comments from Sens. Bloch and Frank Cohn (Stu., SW), the president said there appears to be serious difference of opinion on anti-trust liability, which has to be sorted out.
Annual committee reports: In the interest of time, President Bollinger proposed to accept remaining annual reports without discussion, with the exception of the report of the Commission on the Status of Women.
on the Status of Women: Commission co-chair Carolyn Mutter, a research
officer and the assistant director of the International Research Institute for
Climate Prediction, identified two main topics that have occupied the group’s
attention this year. The first one is the continuing assessment of childcare
needs being led by Jean Howard, Associate Provost for Diversity Initiatives. In
the study’s current stage the consultant, Bright Horizons, is considering
policy options for the University. Dr. Mutter alluded to some specific
recommendation in the Commission’s report, but said that in general the group
thinks the issue is a serious one, but one that needs the careful assessment
now under way. She said the Commission
hopes to see serious community involvement in the childcare issue, and thinks
Related issues that the Commission considered were the challenge of sustaining diversity, as opposed to a hiring policy of recruiting targeted individuals as diversity candidates, and the more troubling question of the University’s continuing efforts to analyze its performance in this area. What are the base lines? How will the University measure progress from these base lines? How is the data acquisition distributed across departments and divisions?
The second main topic for the Commission this year was
student attrition in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Mutter said
the group hoped to present a report on this subject on the Senate Web site
later in the year.
Senators applauded Dr. Mutter’s report, and the president thanked her. Hearing no other requests from committee chairs to speak, the president adjourned the meeting shortly after .
Tom Mathewson, Senate staff