University Senate †††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Proposed:
The meeting began at around in 104 Jerome Greene Hall. Fifty-four of 95 senators attended the meeting.† The tape began during the presidentís report, after the agenda and the transcript of October 27 had been adopted. †
BOLLINGER: . . . and I think weíve made a lot of progress on a number of
fronts. Itís a very good time for the university: launching this capital
campaign and having the prospect of a lot of space, and a lot of excitement
with Nobel Prize winners and wonderful things on campus. The
I think I will leave my remarks at that and turn this over to the Executive Committee chairmanís report. Paul?
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE CHAIRMANíS REPORT
SEN. PAUL DUBY (Ten., SEAS, Executive Committee chairman): Thank you, Lee. My report will be brief because the Executive Committee meeting was quite brief. We had some general discussion of what was expected in the reports of Faculty Affairs and the reports of the student caucus at this meeting.† And then of course we did set up that agenda.
There is one other thing, however, that I want to remind the senators of. †By the University Statutes, six trustees have to be elected to the board after consultation with the Senate. Because of the confidentiality of the process, of course, this is usually done through the Executive Committee.† And a few years ago we established with the administration a procedure by which the members of the Executive Committee will recommend a few names.† The trustees will have their own list. There will be some discussion between the two groups, either by phone or in a meeting.† There is a list now that is maintained which I think by now has half a dozen to ten people who are both acceptable to the trustees and to the Senate.† And this is the time we usually do that.† So in December we would like to exchange names. †
So what Iím asking obviously all senators, is that if you
know of a person you think would make a very good trustee for
So thank you, and I guess thatís my report. One more
thingóthe two chairsówe have co-chairs of the Faculty Affairs Committee, and I
donít see them in the audience. One of them is flying back from
PRES. BOLLINGER: Iím sure thereís no objection to that, so we go immediately then to the committee reports and Student Affairs.† Chris? [Pause]
SEN. CHRISTOPHER RIANO (Stu., GS, student caucus co-chair): So, everybody, welcome. As you all know, I am Christopher Riano, one of the co-chairmen of the student caucus. †And this is Kimberly Gaston. Sheís student senator from Social Work.
Within the Student Affairs Committee weíve been discussing a
lot of issues that have come up this year, especially pertaining to the student
body.† And before you youíll see two
reports, one regarding the free speech discussions that weíve been having at
SEN. NANCY WORMAN (Fac., Barnard): Why donít you start by telling us a little bit about your discussions? I think that might generate some questions.
SEN. RIANO: Absolutely. I can start with the free speech one since thatís the one that Iím a little bit more familiar with.† Itís interesting because a lot of the debate, especially on campus, is obviously surrounding students, because this issue keeps bubbling up. And if you go to the student population, itís very interesting because there is not necessarily an answer, or a definitive answer that weíve been able to come up with surrounding the idea of free speech. As you see in the packetóand this is one of the interesting things that I was able to findóthis is something that has been discussed especially within this body for over 30 years. Thereís a standing resolution within the University Senate from 1970, if Iím correct, that surrounds the debate that went on after. . . Hayakawaóthank you, Provost Brinkleyóand the debate that centered around that after that incident occurred, I believe in 1970. And like I said, the standing resolution, standing Senate policy still 30 years later, regarding the idea that free speech must be maintained within the university, and that students should be able to invite who they wish to the university.† And in general the discussions have looked at that question, and there is somewhat of a majority consensus, which I think is important, that students should be allowed to invite guests to the university.
A lot of the questions that weíve been encountering, that we donít necessarily find a majority consensus on, are where exactly free speech stops, because we have to look at both partiesí free speech, the free speech both of the invited speaker but also of those students who might not necessarily agree with what the invited speaker may be representing. †And these are the kinds of questions weíve been looking at. †Should invited guests have to have a question-and-answer period? Can we impose that upon them? And thereís not been really a consensus. The general idea is no, because thatís a limitation on what they can say, but a lot of people feel very, very, very, very strongly about this, because thereís been this idea that we should be creating an environment where certain viewpoints are respected, and certain speakers are seen as actually infringing on that safe environment that we hope to create within the Columbia community. †
SEN. KIMBERLY GASTON (Stu., SW): ††And on the issue of Manhattanville, I think,
itís a† similar debate thatís going
on.† There are clearly students in the
student body who are not opposed to the
While the majority of the students are not so much against the idea that Manhattanville is happening, the expansion is happening, it comes across that this is the best plan for everyone.† And I think that thatís the issue that students have the most opposition to, that itís not the best idea for everyone, for students or for the community in some sense, and I think that studentsí opposition comes in terms of the administration, when they go to the administration that theyíre looking for more of an open, honest and transparent response in regards to the expansion, and that if that were the case, that maybe the whole concept around the expansion would be more readily accepted by the student body and by the community.†
SEN. RIANO: Mr. John Johnson?
SEN. JOHN JOHNSON (Stu., Law):† I thank my colleagues up there for the
presentation.† Part of the reason Iíd
like to interject at this point is that the free speech end was a particularly
charged discussion at the
And so certain things that I wanted to make sureóand that were reflected in the reportóbut just a highlight that came through this discussion was that just to be recognized that in many ways free speech is not always to be viewed as an unqualified right.† It is fair to other considerations to come into play, especially when dealing with a private university, because of the sort of responsibilities that come in an academic setting.† In particular, just to figure out how it is to balance when there is the risk of an individual or a speaker who could unfortunately polarize or potentially alienate an individual, and what in terms of a consensus that comes from it is that while the ideal is to have a place where anybody can feel welcome to speak, it becomes the role and responsibility of the university to make sure that it has the least damage on the community, or at least to send a message of good will through the community that people will invite speakers with some degree of good faith.† I just wanted to share that discussion that occurred.
SEN. PAUL THOMPSON (Alumni):† Not at
As someone whoís suffered from people trying to limit free speech, I feel very strongly that (a) the legal question may be interesting, but not determinative in terms of the university.† And (b) that a university that tries to find ways of only not irritating people with thoughts is going to be a pretty washed-out affair.† And so I would encourage those who feel strongly about the strongest maintenance of free speech to speak up strongly.
SEN. PETER STRAUSS (Ten., Law):† Thereís a difference between these two resolutions thatís quite striking and in a way troubling to me.† The free speech resolution, I think, nicely recognizes what is a dilemma, a situation with two sides to it, and to the extent it takes a position, takes a position that is not hard to disagree with, not hard to agree with.† I want to be careful about my double negatives. And my question for Chris would be whether in the view of the student caucus, there is any change that you want in the text of the resolution concerning free speech that this body adopted 35 years ago,† 36 years ago; whether it would make some sense for this body to reaffirm that resolution, even without change. It addresses similar kinds of issues.
What I find troubling about the other memorandum is its repeated assertion of distrust.† I donít know, this is an us versus them memorandum in a way that the first is not.† I donít know what our administration can do to lead students to trust it.† Perhaps nothing.† The doubts being expressed are, you know, the kind of doubtsóIím sorry to put it this way, but I willóthat children often express about their parents.† And parents, Iím one of those, have a hard time doing anything other than grimacing and carrying on and hoping that one of these days their good faith will be recognized.
I donít have any doubt, I completely share with you, and I believe President Bollinger and the administration also shares with you that the lessons of the Ď70s, somewhat different lessons, were real lessons about Columbiaís need for relations with its greater community, that it is important to be as transparent and forthcoming as we can be, and that the promises we make are promises that we have to keep.† But I donít know what in the world it is possible to do about an attitude that simply says, Well, youíre making these promises, but I donít believe youíll keep them.
SEN. RIANO:† On the first issue, one of the things that I found very interesting when we looked at this at firstóI sort of sequestered my caucus, and said, you know, We will not leave this room until we come up with some sort of idea about free speechóitís how similar, without even seeing the free speech resolution from 1970, the resolution ended up being from our caucus here in 2006. And I still think itís a very uncanny situation where we do have such a similarity between the two.†
I, speaking on behalf of myselfóno, let me take that back.† I think that the majority of my caucus has continued to say itís critical for free speech to be maintained, and itís critical to allow students to invite who they wishócontroversial, non-controversial, in total.† The question arises, and it is a minority in my opinion, with the students that donít necessarily believe that. But itís a very vocal minority, and itís a minority that I think itís important that we consider their view, where they say that certain types of speech are actually damaging to the ideas and the kind of environment, the educational environment that we try to foster here at Columbia, where different ideas are accepted, and itís an inclusive one instead of one thatís exclusive.
I donít know if one of the students from my caucus would like to expand on that.† Tiffany† Davis?† I know that you are one of the people that necessarily could have taken the other position.† Iíd love for you to have a chance to expand on that.
SEN. TIFFANY DAVIS (Stu., CC): ††OK.† Calling people out, Chris!
SEN. RIANO:† I warned you that I would do that today.†
SEN. DAVIS:† Well, my issue on free speech is actually to me a very simple one.† I do believe in free speech, However, I do disagree with the methods that were employed to bring Jim Gilchrist here.† It was insulting to very many students from various diverse backgrounds, and it was not an educational event.† It wasnít to educate.† The point of the event was just to lash out at people. That was evident in the agenda, which was shady, and also in the reaction of the crowd.† I think that the resolution, while it does say a lot about free speech and I agree with it, it does seem to attack the protesters.† †Before we even investigated the situation, there were statements that were released that were not necessarily true to the event, as those who were putting forth these ideas were not actually at the event.† I was one of the students who was there and saw firsthand what actually went down.† So I think that while we do respect free speech, I think itís also important to make sure that we protect the students here.
CHICHILNISKY (Ten., A&S/SS):† I just wanted to bring a brief point to bear
that doesnít particularly fall on either side of the equation that is being
discussed here, but could be important.†
And Iím not talking about the Ď60s.†
I donít know anything about the í60s.†
I wasnít here.† I wasnít even in
SEN. JAMES NEAL (Admin., University Librarian):† My name is Jim Neal, senator and University
Librarian, and a member of the board of the Freedom to Read Foundation.† The censorship of library collections have
often been fought under the free speech provisions of the Constitution.† You can be assured at
SEN. RICHARD BULLIET (Ten., A&S/SS):† Richard Bullett, department of history.† Of course there were two speech events that led up to this resolution.† One of them was the one thatís specifically being talked about, the other was the invitation given to President Ahmadinejad of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and then the invitation could not be carried out for essentially logistic and security reasons, at least so far as it is reported.† But there was a great deal of negative reaction among students and faculty to the report that he was going to speak, and I think a great deal of pressure was experienced in opposition to that.
In past years, when Iíve been director of the Middle East
What I wonder is whether any future invitation to someone of that, letís say, news media notoriety would be extended, or whether we really do stand by our principle that even the people who are most unattractive can be invited because they tell us things that we cannot find out in other ways.† ††††††††††† For example, Iím not suggesting that we invite a member of the al Qaeda central committee because heíd have a hard time getting a visa.† [Laughter]† But I am concerned that in the climate of fear that has been established in this country since 9/11 in the particular bailiwick I am interested in, thereís a sense that certain people cannot be listened to.† For example, you cannot go out and buy a copy of a videotape from al Qaeda.† You simply canít find a place that will sell it.† And I know this because I provided the videotapes for all the networks because I had been given one by CNN, and I said, Can I distribute it?† And they said, Itís not ours, you know, itís the producerís.† I didnít think the producer was going to object.† So Iím just concerned that we really do need to reaffirm what is stated in the 1970 resolution, and I hope that we not only reaffirm it, but that we actually believe it.† Thank you.
PRES. BOLLINGER:† Let me say a number of things about these issues and what has been said, and recognizing at the beginning that these are very, very big questions and not matters that can be fully responded to in comments of five minutes.† The question has been raised not only by Dick, but by others, Is there in effect in practice, or in some kind of formal, official terms, an effective bar against inviting speakers to the campus, based upon the objectionable content of their views?† And the answer to that is emphatically, there is no such bar, in practice or officially within the university.† Some people have argued in the debates over the past few months that there ought to be such a bar, that there ought to be a norm or rule within the university that someone who denies the Holocaust or is invited simply to offend members of our community, that there should be a norm that we live by that such invitations not be allowed.
My position has been and is that that is not the policy of
the university, should not be the policy of the university in official terms or
in unofficial terms or in practice.† Itís
a debatable issue, debatable in Constitutional terms, as has been pointed out
under established Constitutional law.†
The First Amendment does not apply directly to
I could spend a lot of time discussing why I think the norms that we do have, and that Iíve tried to reaffirm here, are preferable to the alternative.† I happen to have written a book about things like this and many articles, and given many speeches.† So Iíve given a lot of thought to this.† But it is a debatable position.† Reasonable positions can be established.
Now, I want to say something about the Ahmadinejad circumstances because I think itís important.† Iím just going to very quickly repeat what I have said in public several times.† The first I learned of the invitation to the president of Iran was when Lisa Anderson, Dean Anderson of SIPA, called me on Wednesday morning and said that she had met with the president of Iran along with some other faculty, and in the context of that had extended an invitation to him to come and speak on Friday morningónow this is Wednesdayóon Friday morning, and that he had accepted.† The question was, Would the university want to make this a university event?† This is the dean of a school of international affairs contacting the president, saying that an invitation had been extended to a person, and asking whether or not the university wanted to take this on in addition as a university event.†
I said I would think about it and proceeded to do that.† Any day at the university is a busy day, Iím happy to say.† This is an incredibly busy period of time, and I forget all the things that were pressing in at that moment.† And so I just want you to think about what itís like to be considering whether one of the most reviled people on the planet, and a person of considerable influence and power and actions and so on, is going to come to the campus and speak in 48 hours.† Itís not an easy thing to undertake, but I said we would do that.† I also felt and believe to this day that it is within the power and responsibilities of a dean to decide who to invite for that school.† So that I fully supported the choice of Dean Anderson to invite the president of Iran to speak, whatever my views about him, and about his views and his role in the world, and so I believe that within the context of the university, the university must give great, great deference and respect to schools and departments in inviting speakers to come.
The question for me was, Would I want to make this a university event?† I believe that in terms of inviting speakers within the university context as a dean or a department chair or a faculty member functioning as a professor or faculty member or a dean or a president or a provost, when you are functioning in that way, I believe there are very important limits on your ability to invite speakers.† One very important limit is that you cannot invite speakers to promote a particular political position.† This is an academic institution; we are bound by a scholarly ethos.† I believe there are professional norms associated with what we do, and one of those professional norms is that we will not try to use our positions for advocating or advancing a political, ideological agenda.†
So it would be wrong for the president, for me, to invite speakers solely because I wanted to try to advance a particular political agenda, whatever that might be.† I believe that we must make decisions in inviting speakers based upon our academic responsibilities which are teaching, research, understanding the world, and so on.† Within that framework, I believe there ought to be no content judgment or bar, going back to the very first point I made. But I do think that we need to maintain our responsibilities as an academic institution.
So I had to consider in a very short space of time whether
this, from the standpoint of the university, could be done in an academic way.
And thatís, I think, a complicated question, and just to give one clear
example, I would not want to invite someone in this particular instance without
the opportunity for questions and comments.†
And I have no interest in just providing a sort of open platform to
anyone in the world who wants to come to
In any event, within the space of 24 hours, we could not
engage with the consulate and with the president of
That is the context of that decision.† I remain completely confident that principles were abided† by and believe in the norms that surrounded the decision.† Would I, as a university, part of the World Leaders Forum, invite Ahmadinejad to come and speak at the university?† I might.† I havenít entertained the idea fully, but I would not regard it as something out of the question or something barred by this.† I think his views seem to have been fairly straightforwardly presented at the Council on Foreign Relations.† Iíve talked to people who attended that and read the newspaper reports, and there does seem to be a skepticism, perhaps a denial, of the Holocaust.† I mean, frankly this is either sort of unfathomable ignorance or a kind of brazen wish to insult.† So I couldnít disagree more with this person about this, and a number of other things expressed.† And yet I do think itís very important for students and faculty in our community to be able to hear people who have positions of power, and can affect the world, and I think I trust our students completely to be able to make judgments about the people, the weight of their arguments, and so on.
With respect to the Minuteman controversy.† I cannot speak about the particular event in the sense of what happened because of the disciplinary proceedings in the university, and the president has a role of a final appeal, and therefore I cannot talk to that.† Iíve already spoken to what I think are the norms that guide this.† I would like to emphasize, based upon what I said a moment ago, that while I do think that departments, schools, the president, the university, must avoid using the institution for a political agendaóI know thatís complicated.† I mean, I donít want to elide the difficulties of that distinction.† Nevertheless, I think itís a very important oneówhen it comes to students, I think that student groups on campus can act for political purposes within their free speech, academic freedom rights.† And, of course, faculty can say whatever they want in public debate and public discussion, public issues, and that is fully, fully protected in the sense that we will take no action whatsoever against a faculty member.†
I do not believe that applies to a president.† I think a president can be dismissed for taking positions in public, on public issues that the trustees find they do not think ought to represent the institution.† So I think there are differences within that. †But student groups can invite speakers for political purposes, and I think there are basically noóvery few, if anyórestrictions on this.† There might be some we can discuss that might fall under classic exceptions to free speech.† I think that there cannot be disruption, what becomes disruptionóall those are important questions.† I think thereís a right of protest. When protest becomes disruptionódifficult.† I think that when outsiders come in and do wrong things, attack our students, whatever, we do whatever we can, which is to investigate and declare them persona non gratis, and therefore they cannot come on our campus again. Thatís the limits of our power.† We will cooperate with any prosecutorial agencies that declare or determine that there may have been a crime committed.† All of those things I think are important.†
One thing that has come up is that in public statements I
have expressed strong disagreement with the president of
With respect to Manhattanville, and Iím going to stop now,
the only thing I would say is that Iím surprised by the memo, by the
letter.† And I would just welcome the
student caucus to come and meet with us and to talk through particular
issues.† And I realize and appreciate
that the memo at several points says that, people may agree that there ought to
be expansion, Columbia needs it, it could help the community and so on, but
perhaps the ways in which itís being done could be done better.† Terrific.†
Weíre always looking for ways to do this better. This is one of the most
important things that will happen for
As you know, I believe this is a great thing for
SEN. SHARYN OíHALLORAN (Ten., SIPA):† [Inaudible]†
SEN. BRADLEY BLOCH (Alum.):†
Thank you.† On these two issues I
first want to concur with my colleague Paul Thompson with respect to the free
speech issue.† I am not surprised, but
still profoundly disappointed that there is a vocal minority within the
With respect to Manhattanville, Iíll speak as chair of the Physical Development Committee and as a member of the Manhattanville task force.† I, too, in looking at this memo hereóthis is highly emotive.† The verbs are all: the students are concerned, the students feel, the students are concerned, the students feel.† The University Senate is not the emotion-making body of the university.† It is the policymaking body of the university.† And emotion is often a very weak and transient platform from which to make long-term policy.† And what is missing conspicuously from this document, aside from a few short references to the community board, is the extensive, systematic outreach that this university and members of the senior administration have conducted to reach out to the community, to engage the community in dialogue.† The establishment of the Local Development Corporation and the involvement of local elected officials and so forthóall of that seems to be absent here.† And so I would suggest that if there are students that feel that the process can somehow be improved, that they actually focus on first doing the work of analyzing the current process and seeing if they can find ways in which there can possibly be any more dialogue with the community than the very, very substantial dialogue that has already taken place.
SEN. GASTON: Could I respond to that?
PRES. BOLLINGER:† Sure, absolutely.
SEN. GASTON:† So, point well taken.† This report was meant to be a qualitative
assessment of what generally students are feeling.† And in general the students that have come to
me are part of student organizations or individually very active in the
community. Several of them, and itís mentioned in the report, attend the
Community Board 9 meetings, they do the research, and students are very aware
of the facts.† I think itís not so much
the facts that students are concerned with, and I think thatís why the report
comes across as more emotive, because itís not the statistics thatís being
argued.† Itís, as was mentioned before, the
issue of distrust.† And to speak to that,
students are stakeholders of this university, and what do other businesses do when
their stakeholders express feelings of distrust?† They listen.†
And I think that the issue is that students donít feel that their voice
is being heard.† And
SEN. WORMAN:† Although I am a tenured professor, I have to say that I must be also very childish, because I, just using your rhetoric, I found the presentation last month lacking in transparency, quite obfuscating.† I was note taking.† I had a hard time finding any facts there.† And so I actually share the studentsí perspective, and I donít appreciate the rhetoric of, you know, the childishness of the students or their emotionality.† Of course this is an emotional issue.† And I do think thatóI mean, I work on rhetoric. Thatís where I live and breathe.† I do think that a change in tone would help a lot.† And I think that the presentation, the sunnyness of the presentation, and the fact that a lot of the difficulty of the process was suppressed is not helpful.†
And I think a lot of people would feel much less alienated if the way the administration were presenting this was as a difficult process, one that is going to disenfranchise a lot of people.† And, you know, if that were an open aspect of this building project, I think we would all feel, at least some of us would feel, a bit differently about it.
SEN. JOHNSON:† I feel a need to clarify, especially at the reference to concerns about future Supreme Court justices.† Iím here to represent my constituency from the Law School, and I think in many reasons the discussion reached the point it was is because of the ability to take issue with certain subtleties in this conversation that isnít just as simple asówe all recognize the importance of free speech, but also being able to take it to the point to recognize that there might be some subtleties that apply to an academic campus. But once again, I think the takeaway point, and maybe I wasnít clear in stating this, is that we want it to be the idea where anybody can come to speak to a campus, but at the same time, itís one thing to say that anybody should and can come to a campus; itís another thing to recognize that the university has a responsibility to do what is necessary to make that happen in a way that itís beneficial to students.† So that can mean a speaker comes and says whatever a speaker wants to say, but what happens afterwards?† What happens to make sure that students donít feel that theyíre not welcome here because a speaker has come off a certain way, or [that students] get death threats after an incident took place such as the one that took place with Gilchrist.†
Iím not dense when it comes to the history ofópreviously the
roles were reversed politically as to who was being censored.† Iím aware of that.† A fine colleagueóor a fine alumni of the Law School
and fraternity brother of mine, Paul Robeson, ended up being blacklisted
because his speech was being censored and taken out of context.† So I recognize that, and I think many of the
SEN. ROBERT POLLACK (Ten., A&S/NS):† I wasnít at the presentation, and I canít comment on it. †I prefer not to measure my emotionality against either students or faculty or administration. But I am a teacher, and I would like to suggest as a constructive suggestion that in the listing of what Sharyn said the university hopes to do with the 125th Street corridor was an opening that was not mentioned.† And that is, instead of insisting on recognizing the role of Harlem in arts and in entertainment, we are an educational institution, and the question I would ask us to consider is whether the university is properly accepting its obligation to learn academically from Harlem, from its history, from our shared history beginning in slavery, and the degree to which the university is prepared to do the sort of inward look that, say, Brown University has recently done.
Professor Patricia Williams and I have just started a university seminar on slavery and memory, the idea being in that case not to redesign Manhattanville, but simply to hope that as we are citizens of the same city and the same neighborhood and share the same history, those parts of that history which are so embarrassing as to be denied or forgotten may be resuscitated by us jointly with the citizens of our neighborhood.
PRES. BOLLINGER:† Let me just add a few comments, very quickly again.† I think it is important to recognize that just because we have a lot of free speech rights under our own norms in the university doesnít mean that they should be fully exercised in a good community.† That is, speakers can be invited in order to hurt other people. Thatís not something we particularly want to happen.† So even though there may be a right, we should all hope that we have the ways to interact as a community in order to have the kinds of approach, of ideals, of what we look for in academic life.
Second point is that, I have certainly tried to say from the
very beginning, we are as a university trying to move into
I donít know of any other university, except one or two perhaps, that is undertaking this kind of venture, and so we ask the studentsóI ask the students, Be part of it with us and tell us what you think ought to happen, and, you know, you may be surprised.† We are already thinking about many things to do with collaborating with artistic, cultural institutions, participating in their culture as well as their participating in our culture:† the agreement to be part of a public high school and to provide academic support for it and to give the land is part of Manhattanville, with a special set of opportunities for children from upper Manhattan and Harlem in particular to be part of this; the ways in which the design has been put forward, the way Renzo and SOM have been thinking about this, all extensive work to try to be part of the community.†
So along with things like clinics, legal aid clinics that have been set up, and medical clinics that can and will be set up, and job training that we can help to foster, and affordable housing, there are just so many things that are elements of this, and we invite the students who want to be part of this to be part of it.
SEN. KAREN GREEN (Libraries):† Iíd like to comment on each one of these issues if I might.† The first, regarding the report that Ms. Gaston submitted,† what struck me was that on the second page you led off saying that ďmembers are actively involved with the community and had regular attendance at many of the local Community Board 9 meetings. Reports taken at these meetings indicate,Ē etc.† But then the rest of the report concentrates solely on what the students believe, and you donít back up the studentsí sense of distrust with why itís based on what youíve learned from the community.† I found myself perplexed by the end of the report as to what your distrust was based on and whether you were speaking specifically for yourselves or whether you† were taking the voice of the community as a basis for your distrust, and I feel that it would have been more persuasive perhaps if I had had a sense of what this miasmic feeling was based on.† So thatís all I wanted to say about that.
Chris, I donít know if I misheard or misunderstood your preliminary remarks when you said that you are considering whether to impose question-and-answer sessions, and whether that would be a limitation of free speechóa concept that I found quite intriguing, the notion that somebody asked to defend and elaborate on their views would be considered to be oppressed in some way.† Iím a medievalist by training.† The university for me is something born out of dialectic, and I think itís our obligation to encourage our students to enter into debate, into discourse with people who come to speak. But itís also the obligation of the university to educate the students to do that in a constructive, in a rational, in a non-violent manner.† So I think that Iím glad to hear President Bollinger say that he endorses no bar on people who should be invited to the university. I agree.† I would have been interested myself to have heard the president of Iran speak and even more interested to have heard the questions that would have been then extended to him.† Additionally in the case of Mr. Gilchrist.†
So I think in the case of policies on free speech, we have to think about fostering dialectic, debate, discourse in the university and how that enhances the educational experience weíre offering.† Thanks.
SEN. RIANO:† Just very quickly, if I could respond.† I personally think thatís very true.† In my own opinion, and I know Iíve expressed this many times, I think that especially as a student at the university, a perpetual student at the university, I think the way Iíve always learned, at least for myself (and Iíve heard the same from other students) is when my ideas have been challenged and Iíve had to come up with my own reasons to support what I think or to change what I think. And the reason that that hasnít necessarily translated as thatís what all students think is, if Iím group X and I want to invite this specific person, is it right for the university to enforce that I have to force them to open it up to questions and answers if they donít want to?† And some of the students have come up with that perspective of that as a limitation by itself on that personís speech and that personís right to come and say as a guest of the university whatever they feel.
So while I may have a personal opinion, I canít necessarily alwaysóI have to take into consideration kind of the opinion of the whole, I guess, or the opinion of the majority.† But thank you very much, and also thank you everybody for your comments.† I guess that these are not finalóoh yes, Ms. Kimóbut we appreciate it.† This is good.
SEN. GASTON: So
to just respond. This report is primarily to bring out the voice of the
students, not the community.† And while I
included that piece because the students, a lot of them live and work in the
PRES. BOLLINGER:† Thank you. ††It was a very good discussion, and certainly was for me. One, just one point of clarification.† I donít want anyone to think that I would be in favor of imposing on student groups a question-and-answer obligation.† I do think thatís part of an academic choice by departments and so on as to how they want to structure an academic event, but I personally would not favor a policy that student groups have to have a question-and-answer period.† I understand the point of view.† I just donít want to be misunderstood on my own views on it.
Terrific.† Letís now move to the Faculty Affairs.
SEN. POLLACK:† Is this mike on?† Good.† I am reporting off a document which I hope you all have and can pull up so I donít have to read it.† The president just before spoke of the free speech or rights of faculty as maximal even if not optimal at this university, and that we are the most protected constituency with regard to being able to say in private and public anything we wish.† But as the co-chair of the Faculty Affairs committee, I have found that we must operate under a countervailing principle of confidentiality, which in fact inhibits us from saying anything we might wish to say, not for fear of retribution but in order to protect the privacy of those faculty who come to us with a grievance based on what they perceive to be a failure of or a misapplication of a university process involving faculty.
So while we are not empowered to adjudicate the decision, we are empowered to observe the degree to which process has been followed, and where it hasnít to make recommendations for redress. Because of confidentiality, we canít come back to you with a report of the names of people or the specifics of any of the cases in ways in which you might identify the people and feel there would be any reason for any professor thereafter ever to come to us again.† So please bear with us in this intentionally masked document.†
What we have done here is to present about six different issues which arose in the course of the last year while dealing with grievances by faculty.† I would be happy to discuss any of these.† My co-chair Penny Boyden was away, walked in, told us she couldnít find a parking space, and left.† So I am duty bound to be the reporter of the committee.† But Iím happy to do that.† I donít think itís practical to have a Senate resolution today about what to do on any of these matters, but I do think it is necessary for the Senate as a whole to find a way to consider whether any of these matters need to be brought before the Senate for Senate action, and Iíll go through these matters and hope that the Executive Committee will, after some discussion, know which if any to put on an agenda for future moving if anything in the direction of a Senate act. Today I think itís information.†
I donít think this has happened too frequently in the past, but Penny and I and the committee all agreed that we are a body reporting to this body, and we owe you the information we can give you.† So in [the] order that theyíre there, and Iíll just summarize them briefly, we did receive, bizarre as it may sound, a grievance which contained within it a tape, secretly taped by the grievant of an administrator. And some of us on the committee felt that that tape should be thrown away, and some of us felt it should be saved for use in case no other information were available to adjudicate the case.† So we saved the tape because that was the vote of the majority of the committee, didnít use it, didnít need it, donít even know where it is. But it rankles with some of us on the committee, and I think we all agree the Senate should consider whether the Senate has a rule, whether the university trustees have a rule, and if they do, what that rule is for the use of secretly taped information in any proceeding at the university.† Just for the record, itís my understanding that in certain cases Human Resources will allow secretly taped information to be part of its process.† Personally I think thatís a disaster.
Then we did find a series of events going on at the Medical School, none of which we understood, and Iím happy to say in almost all cases neither did the provost attempt to explain them in any way, but to say they represented faulty process or absence of process, and in all cases, but one or two, the committee and the provost reached an amicable agreement on future resolution of those matters.† But in one or two we didnít.
In no case was the provost or anybody else in the administration recalcitrant or difficult where we disagreed. †I would say itís a difficult matter to disagree with oneís provost, but things remain, I think, welló†
SEN. ALAN BRINKLEY (Admin., Provost): [Inaudible; laughter].†
SEN. POLLACK: †Where you stand is where you sit, Alan.†
So that first one is very straightforward, I think.† If this Senate resolved that taped secret information is OK, I guess I have other things I could better do.
The matter at the
This is a process which is in process, and Iím not about to guess how it comes out. But some of the procedures attached to salaries were really attached to the source of salaries, and there we had complete agreement. So that at uptown schools where the normal appointment is twelve months, we discovered cases where a faculty member would be reduced from twelve to nine months under conditions which could not be otherwise construed but [as] potentially punitive.† And we have I think the provostís agreement that this is a subject to abuse, and heís agreed to solicit our help as his office sets up guidelines for this.
We did discover a practice, no longer permitted so far as we know, of a faculty member being allowed to bring in his or her salary as a gift to him or her, delivered to the department chair or administrative assistants without passing through the universityís grant processing machinery, a giant sausage factory called RASCAL.† As a result, it doesnít take a lot of imagination to see possibilities for abuse, possibilities for corruption, but most importantly possibilities for the university itself not knowing the sources of the money paying for its faculty.† So we believe that that is no longer permitted, and we hope the whole university soon is told so publicly.
And finally there is a case we wish to report on which we were unable to reach agreement on with the provost, on a very delicate and tendentious matter, which I hope the president and the provost will speak to because we are, some of us, not even the recipients of the largesse that we speak about.† That is, there are people kind enough to make gifts to the university in perpetuity for the purpose of naming a chair to a professor in their name or in their honor. And we believe we understand, and I hope the provost will correct me if I get it wrong, that the current university position is to interpret the meaning of the donor as the meaning contained in the document accepted by the trustees when they announce the giving of the chair inside the minutes of a trustees meeting, and that no other ancillary information or sources of information or sources of any sort that might speak to the donorís real intentions are part of the process of approving whether or not a given faculty member is appropriate for the intentions of the donor of the chair.† So we find ourselves in suspension on this matter, and in continued conversation with the provostís office, and we would welcome a large consideration of that matter because it seems to me, and Iím sure anyone who has, as I have raised, that kind of money knows that it is toxic to fund raising to have any doubts cast about whether the money you give goes to where you want it to go.†
So that in closing is our report.† Iíd only say once again that you have to be patient with me.† Iím not the kind of person who likes to not tell you things. But I canít tell you more detail in any of these cases than Iíve already given.† And I want to close by saying that this is a new way to meet a provost, and it has been sometimes difficult but never boring, and Iím very glad to be part of this process.† Thank you.
PRES. BOLLINGER:† Any questions, comments?
SEN. BLOCH:† A couple of years ago I floated very informally the idea of establishing within the Senate a medical affairs committee.† When I say floatedónot to the entire body, but just to a few, the various people that I was talking with.† And Professor Pollack when you talk about sort of the confusion in terms of understanding the complex grant and salary and pay structures associated with the uptown campus, I would submit that this is one example of why such a committee that would focus specifically on issues involving the uptown campus, whether it has to do with faculty structure or expansion or what not, might be beneficial given the fact that this is the policymaking body of the university, if we think about establishing a structure by which we as an institution can increase our understanding of what is going on uptown so that when these sorts of issues arise we can act in a more informed manner.† So I just bring that idea back up perhaps for the consideration of the larger body.
SEN. POLLACK:† Itís, as you say, up for consideration.† My choice would be to just be specific as possible. That is, the current Faculty Affairs committee has far more tenured faculty from uptown than downtown. I am as a professor of biological sciences since 1978óGod help meófully aware of the funding protocol for both [the] uptown and downtown campus, having been a faculty member at two medical schools before coming here.†
I donít think our burden is ignorance, and I donít think our burden is lack of specificity because some of us are downtown.† I think the burden is that the uptown campus per se, Dean Goldmanís place, Vice President and Dean Goldmanís place, does not have the oversight structure inside its own administration that we have downtown. †I donít think the Senate should fix that.† I think that the dean knows that, and I think as he has arrived things are starting to look a little bit sharper.† But the universityís management is the universityís business.† Our job is to see whether what it says itís doing is what itís actually doing, and I think we do that quite well.† I donít think weíre over our heads in the detail.† I think that Dr. Mohr and I and Penny Boyden and a few others are very hard to be put into a position where we donít understand. Itís not what we donít understand.† Itís what we do understand, and I donít think we need a bifurcation of committees to understand it better.
SEN. BRINKLEY: Well, I donít think I can leave unanswered the claim that my view of how to assign endowed chairs is restricted to the narrow legal language of the resolution presented to the trustees. Thatís absolutely untrue, untrue as a principle, and untrue as the practice in the case that youíre referring to.† As you know, †this was a chair that was assigned and then disputed by a member of the faculty who came to you.† And there was a disagreement between the view of the faculty member and the combined view of the trustees, not the trustees of the university but the trustees of the estate from which the endowment came, the General Counselís office, the University Development and Alumni Relations office, and me.
We looked at every document.† We listened to every argument.† And we did not make this decision.† First of all, the decision to assign a chair is not mine.† The decision to assign a chair is lodged in the department or school where the chair resides, and so there is a very high level of deference to the decision of the faculty awarding the chair.† In this case there were disputed facts about the intent of the donors, and my view was simply that in a dispute of this kind which could not be resolved, we had to rely on the normal statutory ways in which chairs are awarded.†† And so I donít want to leave unanswered the view that I take this very narrow legalistic view of awarding chairs.† We take very seriously the intent of the donor, whether or not itís expressed in the gift agreement.† But in this case, the intent of the donor, whoís been dead for several years, is not attainable and we have to rely on the data thatís available to us, which in this case was quite conflicting.
SEN. POLLACK:† Iíd like to just respond this way.† I think the trusteesí action closed the case† And Iím not asking for that to be reopened, nor am I asking for a reconsideration of your decision, nor, and I apologize for this, nor did I mean to say all you did was look at one thing and decide.† On the contrary, your description is accurate, and I think we all breast-stroked our way to advance the amount of paper and conversation on this one.† No one acted precipitously or trivially, I think.
I would like to raise the question then for the future whether there might not be some formal guideline for my committee, if not for anyone else, that says what you just said.† And if there is one and we donít know it, I apologize for taking everybodyís time. But we found it a vagueness situation, and itís the vagueness that I thinkóI donít knowóI have members of the committee here who might want to speak to this.† It was the irreproducibility that troubled us more than anything else.† So if we could be, as you said in other venues, given the reassurance of some boundary conditions set in advance of a future issue, it would make the grievance on such an issue a lot easier.† What you just said is a very good boundary, but we could not find that stated in advance of this grievance.† Thatís part of the problem.† And I really think the most productive use of everybodyís time would be to consider the optimal degree of prior description of intentions so that we do not have to guess.
SEN. JAY MOHR (Ten., CUMC):† Iíd just like to amplify that point. Several of us on the committee attempting to undertake fact finding went beyond the existence of the documents and pursued some of the individuals who were actually involved at the time the chair was originally assigned.† One who has recently deceased.† And we learned from this individual that the interpretation that we had put and the plaintiff put on the awarding of the chair was different from what the department chairman decided and what was, through the trustees, accepted.† So it was an unsettling setting for us to be able to discover what we thought was some contradictory evidence, and then be trumped by others who were not in possession of this evidence, and in particular to be admonished that we werenít supposed to make contact with such individuals, and actually be misinformed that the individual which whom we made contact was deemed to be a donor.† No, he was actually a recipient of one of the donorís actions.† So we felt uncomfortable that we were unable to resolve this matter in what seemed to be an equitable fashion.† But I think we couldnít argue that the one signed document was open to a variety of interpretations, and the interpretation that was put on it most recently and on the first awarding appeared to be justifiable in a legal sense, although it looked to us as if it was a bending of the intent of the donor in the award on the first and second occasion.
ANOTHER VOICE:† [Inaudible.]†
SEN. BRINKLEY:† There is a grievance process, well established, lodged in the office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action.† And that is where all salary grievancesóall discriminatory salary grievancesóare meant to be taken.† So there is a process, and that is the appropriate place for those grievances to go.
SEN. POLLACK:† Can I just answer that?† That that would be the paradigm for me of the question Iím asking the Senate in the name of my committee to consider. That is, our purview as stated in the university regulations is very broad, and can be read to say that we should have the authority to look at these grievances.† I think that the committee is only wishing to know what in fact is our purview so that we do not mislead a faculty member into thinking we have authority we donít have.† I think that is a matter of responsibility to junior faculty which I take very seriously, and I donít know what else to do about it but to ask for guidance.†
SILVERSTEIN (Ten., CUMC):† A comment and a question. The comment is 2that
there is no formal mechanism uptown by which those of us who represent the
The question I have is, it seems to me that you indicate some sort of a sense of the Senate resolution is what your committee would like to have. But I donít have any sense of who is going to prepare that resolution.
SEN. POLLACK:† I didnít say that, and I wasnít thinking that.† I actually, since youíre asking me, I did say and was thinking that to the extent the provost and his office can provide us with guidelines, itís hard to imagine any that we couldnít live under. We just need clarity so we can say to a faculty grievant, We can or we cannot take the case.† If there is a sense of the Senate, it would be to my mind that you decide only that no professor on a faculty committee be asked to do something without the authority to do it.† Iíd just like responsibility and authority to be coterminous.† Where theyíre set is up to not me.
SEN. MOHR:† Another voice:† Just to amplify that point.† Itís clear in the
SEN. POLLACK:† I guess thatís it.† OK, thank you.
PRES. BOLLINGER:† Thank you very much.† The only statement I would make is that I want the record to reflect that it is the policy of the university always to follow the intent of the donor, and I take Professor Pollackís statement to be, We might very well think about further means of gathering evidence of the intention of donors so that over time we are better able to live by the principle that we do live by.† In fact, I have never once, here or anyplace else, seen this university do anything other than follow the intentions.† Sometimes as with any statutory interpretation itís very hard to determine, and itís always perhaps a good idea to think about ways of garnering evidence to ensure that that actually happens.
I think thatís it.† Thank you very much.† Thatís the end of the meeting.
Tom Mathewson, Senate staff