University Senate Proposed:
Adopted as amended: February 1, 2008
President Lee Bollinger, the chairman, called the Senate to order shortly after in 501 Schermerhorn. Fifty-one of 100 senators were present during the meeting.
Minutes and agenda: The minutes of November 15 and the agenda were adopted as distributed.
President’s report: The day before, at a meeting of three City
Council committees, the university and community groups presented their
He recalled that the rezoning proposal had met with a
negative vote of 32-1, with one abstention, in the first step of its
application process, at Community Board 9. But this was not a categorical
rejection; an accompanying statement indicated that if
From CB9, the application went to the City Planning
Commission, which approved
If the vote is favorable,
Meanwhile, the president said, planning for the buildings and academic programming are continuing, along with the fundraising. He expressed excitement about what Manhattanville will mean for the university over time.
City Council about specific changes.
Sen. Wang asked if Planning Commission changes to the
plan—particularly the idea that proposed sites for labs on Broadway and
residential buildings on
The president said the administration knew from the start
that the plan would undergo changes, some because very good ideas would be
offered, and others because that’s the nature of political negotiations. The City Planning Commission wanted some
residential buildings going up Broadway, not just laboratory and academic
The president said one reason for proposing Manhattanville for a new campus was the sparsity
of residential development, with some 132 units, a total of about 300
Executive Committee chair’s report: Co-chair Paul Duby (Ten., SEAS) urged senators to stay after the meeting for more refreshments.
With the president unable to attend the December 5 Executive Committee meeting, members addressed questions to the provost. Topics included the settlement of the student hunger strike in November and the task forces on undergraduate education and on globalization.
Sen. Duby and student caucus
The rest of the plenary was in executive session, Sen. Duby said. He invited Senate reps to report on Trustee committee meetings (Finance, Public Affairs, Physical Assets, Educational Policy).
Sen. Sharyn O’Halloran (Ten., SIPA), respresenting
Budget Review, said the Trustees Finance Committee had discussed the quarterly
budget update, as well as initial parameters for next year’s budget. There was also an update on the performance
of the endowment from Narv Narvekar,
president of the Columbia Investment Management Corp. Mr. Narvekar had
also attended a meeting of the Senate Budget Review Committee a couple of hours
before the present meeting. Sen.
O’Halloran commended the president and Senior Executive Vice President
Sen. O’Halloran said Sen. John Johnson (Stu., Law) went as proxy to the meeting of the Trustees Public Affairs Committee, which addressed the role of the Columbia Web site in addressing both internal and external audiences.
Sen. Johnson said there was also some discussion of initiatives on climate change resulting from the generosity of Trustee Jerry Lenfest.
Sen. O’Halloran said she had represented the Senate at
public hearings on Manhattanville. There was pushback from community activists,
but she said productive recommendations will result from conversation between
the Council and the Planning Commission about the best plan for both the
The president mentioned two people who played key roles in
the rezoning effort: former mayor and SIPA faculty member David Dinkins and
Congressman Charles Rangel. Rep. Rangel
had authorized the president the day before to convey his support for the
At Sen. Duby’s request, Budget
Review co-chair Richard Bulliet (Ten., A&S/SS)
spoke briefly about Mr. Narvekar’s visit that
morning. He mentioned the news that
Someone asked if
On the other hand, Sen. Kachani
The president said he was not an expert in investment issues, but said the basic reason why the current organization of investment operations was set up was to create a kind of firewall between it and the rest of the institution, including the administration and the full board of trustees.
To assure that the money remains within the university, he
said, it’s necessary to have a certain number of trustees and non-trustees in
authority, on the managing board, and certain people who have ex-officio
positions, like the president. But the
whole idea is to get the investment management into a professional form.
Otherwise, what happens is that every trustee, every administrator, every
member of the
The president said he had seen the pitfalls of this approach at various universities. This is why the professionalization of the investment operation at the end of George Rupp’s presidency and the start of his own was so important. The president concluded that not even the trustees, generally speaking, have detailed breakdowns of this information, though he wanted to double-check this point.
In response to a question from Sen. Samuel Silverstein (Ten., CUMC), Sen. O’Halloran said the IMC does actively manage some endowment funds, but mainly hires and manages others who actively invest the money in different ways.
Sen. O’Halloran said that
In response to a comment from Sen.
Sen. Silverstein asked the president to comment on recent news that Harvard will provide full financial aid—free of loans—to families with annual incomes of up to $180,000.
The president said he hadn’t seen the details of the Harvard
plan. He said
This latest Harvard move presents a real challenge for
The president said the recent gifts from John Kluge--$200
million for financial aid for the College, $200 million for other parts of the
university, and other gifts the president hoped Mr. Kluge would make
still--will help a great deal in the future.
There is also an ambitious capital campaign goal for financial aid. But at the moment, he said,
In response to a comment from Sen. Silverstein, the
president agreed there would be debate about whether
The president said he has asked every
Sen. Silverstein suggested the idea of a monograph or other publication laying out both the challenges and opportunities in financial aid for the long term.
Advisory Committee on Sexual Assault: Maura Bairley, director of the Office
of Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Education and co-chair with
Sen. Adler asked why the sample size for a survey of students summarized in the materials Ms. Biarley had distributed to the Senate was so small.
Ms. Bairley said she would answer this question after
providing a brief overview. She said PACSA was created by the Senate in
February 2006, and held its first meeting in September 2007. It met again in
December, and will meet again in February. The members are a mix of faculty from
The first meeting reviewed existing resources, as well as the history of efforts to address sexual assault on campus. Committee members requested further information on the incidence of sexual assault on campus, research on perpetrators of sexual assault, and an audit of current educational efforts.
Ms. Bairley identified seven charges to the committee listed
in the founding Senate resolution. Some
have to do with oversight of the disciplinary procedure on sexual assault and
with assuring that the university is complying with the Clery
legislation. But the committee has
chosen to focus on prevention, with the
best practices from the field of public health that are being used in
communities and university campuses across the country. It feels confident that the elements are in
The focus on prevention includes a collaboration with a national expert, Lisa Fujie Parks, an MPH based in the Bay Area who’s been consulting for New York City and New York State on comprehensive prevention strategies, looking at the root causes of sexual assault and helping Columbia actually reduce the number of sexual assaults, rather than continuing to improve its response to sexual assault after it has occurred.
The second meeting considered both primary prevention efforts—keeping sexual assaults from occurring—and what is known in the field as secondary prevention, which is really intervention to reduce the harm for victims of sexual assault.
Ms. Bairley mentioned a university-wide secondary prevention campaign to be launched in January—the Talk Campaign, a well-designed initiative to decrease the stigma and barriers for people who have been sexually assaulted. Ms. Bairley said her office has strong but underutilized resources. The goal is to make sure people are being informed about available services in a developmentally and culturally competent way.
The committee also reviewed the annual National College
Health Assessment survey, a standard instrument that studies the general health
behaviors of undergraduate and graduate students at 300 colleges and universities, including
One of the lessons of the committee’s work has been that measurement of sexual assault on campus has been seriously incomplete. There are snapshots from survey results, or numbers of students who used peer counselors, or numbers who came to primary care and were diagnosed with a sexual assault. But there has been no comprehensive, specifically crafted research strategy about looking at sexual assault incidents. The committee may choose to try to tackle this problem, a decision Ms. Bairley said she would support.
In answer to the question earlier from Sen. Adler, Ms. Bairley said the response rate for both undergrads and graduate students to the NCHA survey, according to Melissa Kenzig, director of health promotion for the university, was fairly good for this instrument—about 30 percent for undergrads, slightly higher for grad students.
Ms. Bairley said there are also Clery Act data providing the number of official reports of sexual assault within university environs, but those numbers are starkly different. For example, in the NCHA survey 3.1 percent of undergraduate students (at least 60) were projected to have experienced attempted sexual penetration against their will last year, but the Clery number in that category for the Morningside campus was 5. Ms. Bairley said the goal of secondary prevention efforts like the Talk Campaign is to close that gap. One measure of success would be an increase in the number of official reports.
Ms. Bairley said that last year five students filed complaints with the disciplinary procedure for sexual assault. Four of the five complaints were adjudicated, with findings that two students were in violation of the sexual misconduct policy.
In discussion of the consultant’s presentation, Ms. Bairley said, the committee wanted more information about the role of alcohol in sexual assault and about perpetrators of sexual assault.
The literature on sexual assault has tended to focus on victims. This doesn’t help a great deal with prevention efforts, which need a better sense of who is committing the assaults, and what might be effective interventions in reaching these people. The committee will be studying these issues during the next two meetings.
In response to questions from Sen. Silverstein, Ms. Bairley
As for differences between sexual assault rates for undergraduates and graduate students, she said most sexual assaults are committed by students who know each other, and the social conditions of undergraduate life are particularly supportive of sexual assault in some ways. So it’s not surprising that there’s less less reported sexual assault among graduate students.
Ms. Bairley’s own hypothesis, borne out not so much by research as by her own professional experience, is that there will be less “acquaintance” assault among older students, but there may be more intimate partner violence—a problem that is little understood.
Ms. Bairley guessed that the fraction was minuscule, perhaps less than 10 percent, which is again consistent with research. It’s believed that approximately ten percent of victims will report sexual assault. She said the Talk Campaign will reveal some interesting reasons why that is. The campaign is trying to speak in a different way to students, encouraging them to report sexual assault incidents more with a view to getting help and moving through their experience, instead of engaging in a formal adjudication process.
Sen. Applegate asked about the role of alcohol in sexual assault. Ms. Bairley said research shows that a major barrier in reporting sexual assault is fear of judgment or punishment if alcohol or other drugs were being recreationally and consensually used by the victim.
In response to another question, Ms. Bairley said the vast majority of student victims of sexual assault were assaulted on campus by other students.
Ms. Bairley also mentioned the need to engage faculty more fully in the prevention work. She asked the Senate to help strategize about how to do that job better.
The president thanked Ms. Bairley for her work. He said it’s completely unacceptable to have any sexual assaults; that there are so many is shocking, a condition that must be publicly condemned.
Committee on Socially Responsible Investing: Professor Geoffrey Heal of the
Though they are not obliged to, the trustees have accepted 97 percent of the ACSRI’s recommendations.
Prof. Heal identified two types of issues for the committee. One is shareholder resolutions filed with companies at their annual general meetings. Anyone who holds more than $2000 worth of shares can put a resolution on the agenda. Activist groups press resolutions about company policies on climate change, on diversity, human rights, wages in developing countries, animal rights, and a whole range of other issues. The ACSRI then recommends voting positions on these resolutions to the trustees.
Aside from proxy resolutions, the committee takes up special issues, such as the proposal from a campus group two years ago to divest from companies doing business with the government of the Sudan. The committee recommended that proposal to the Trustees, who adopted it.
Last year a campus group called attention to the record of
Chevron Texaco on oil spills in the jungle areas of
The agenda will be similar this year, Prof. Heal said, with perhaps 200 proxy resolutions.
In addition, the committee must continue to monitor
companies in the
In addition, the Investment Management Company has asked the ACSRI to look into the issue of tobacco. It was the university’s policy since before this ACSRI was established not to invest in tobacco stocks. The IMC has asked for a clarification because the definition of tobacco stock has become more complex in this age of diversified conglomerates: some companies that produce cigarettes and also have significant other activities. A large part of the tobacco industry is now overseas so there are many major non-U.S. tobacco companies. What may sound like a hair-splitting exercise is actually important in deciding what precisely a tobacco company is.
This year the ACSRI will engage with Chevron again, not on
Prof. Heal said ACSRI will also be taking up issues
associated with Dow Chemical, which bought Union Carbide some years ago,
assuming its assets but also its liabilities. The worst of these is the legacy
of the chemical disaster in
The committee will also hold a conference or workshop in February or March with counterpart committees from other universities established within the last few years. So far they’ve all operated independently. The idea is to compare notes and perhaps take common positions on some issues. The more shares there are behind a resolution, the more influential the vote, Prof. Heal said.
Finally, the committee will try to systematize its judgments with voting guidelines for certain classes of proxy resolutions.
Sen. Rosner asked how issues about certain industries, such as the lead industry, might be brought to the attention of the committee. Prof. Heal said the ACSRI holds a town hall meeting every fall, inviting every member of the community to raise issues of this sort. He also invited senators to raise issues with him or with committee staff.
The dilemma of whether to divest from a company that is doing something particularly obnoxious or to engage with its management is an interesting one, Prof. Heal said.
The president thanked Prof. Heal for his report.
Sen. Paul Duby on effort reporting issues: Sen. Duby said he was speaking for himself, not the Executive Committee. He recalled that Sen. Daniel Savin (Research Officers) had raised questions about effort reporting with the president at the October meeting, which were referred to EVP for Research David Hirsh. At the same time, a number of faculty colleagues were also worrying about effort reporting. Sen. Duby tried to convince Dr. Hirsch to attend the present meeting and answer questions, to relieve some of the anxiety.
What Sen. Duby was able to get was the statement that was distributed at the door, which he considered useful. Dr. Hirsch and Naomi Schrag, AVP for Compliance, were a bit reluctant to meet with the full Senate, Sen. Duby said, but they agreed in a meeting in Dr. Hirsh’s office, to meet in the coming week with a small group.
Sen. Duby recalled his alarm when he saw a statement at the start of the training course in effort reporting, which said that if a certification is found to be falsified, the government may bring criminal charges against the individual certifying the false effort. But when he read Article 21 of government regulations on effort reporting—the block quotation on the first page of the statement AVP Schrag had distributed—he received a completely different and more reassuring message—that it is often difficult to separate teaching, research, administration and other responsibilities, and that an honest estimate of effort allocated to each of these activities is acceptable.
Sen. Johnson asked for a clarification of effort reporting.
Sen. Duby explained that the university is getting a lot of money for research from the federal government, which requires investigators to certify that the money was indeed spent for the right purpose. This is really a responsibility of the administration, Sen. Duby said, but individuals who are paid from grants have to certify that indeed they did spend the time as indicated.
Sen. Duby said his own grant
activity is extremely simple, but for many
Sen. Duby cited the confusion about effort reporting as an example of communication with faculty that was not what it ought to be. He also said that a number of issues need discussion, but won’t get it before the January 15th deadline for effort reporting certification. He mentioned two examples. One involves the officer of research whose effort is committed 100 percent to a government grant; this person cannot do any work for the university because that will inevitably reduce the fraction of grant effort.
A similar problem arises for faculty members who have a very significant amount of their salary coming from government grants, Sen. Duby said. If a professor whose ratio of grant to university effort is 80/20 takes on some small additional duties for the university, he or she must do four times as much work on the grant to keep the ratio constant.
Sen. Duby said he would ask EVP
Hirsh how other universities are responding to this situation. He said the reason
Sen. Duby invited questions.
Sen. Silverstein said the government really doesn’t
Sen. Silverstein repeated that there is tremendous misunderstanding of these issues. If federally funded research were conducted mainly through contracts and not grants, he said, many investigators would find great difficulty. The research is conducted mostly through grants, but the flexibility of grant accounting is enormous, but not infinite. And the kind of oversight that universities have had from the auditors is a kind of accounting that does not address the way in which researchers work. He repeated that the topic was appropriate not for public Senate discussion but for a small committee.
The president invited Sen. Duby to assemble a small Senate group to talk to EVP Hirsh, and perhaps CUMC Dean Lee Goldman and A&S VP Nicholas Dirks—some group from the administration that is responsible for the faculty and programs that do science.
Resolution to Establish the Institute for Religion, Culture and Public Life (Education).
Education Committee chair Letty Moss-Salentijn (Ten., CDM) said the committee had approved the proposal, but also had concerns that she wanted to raise. The main one was that a number of initiatives around the campus touch on or overlap with the proposed activities of this institute. The committee decided not to let this reservation delay Senate action, but it also decided to meet with the leadership of the institute later to make sure that its activities become more inclusive of similar campus groups.
In the last few days, she said, she had been made to realize how broadly and deeply the issue of religion is playing on the campus.
In response to a question, Sen. Moss-Salentijn understood that the institute’s $10 million endowment, which might provide about $500,000 a year in operating expenses, would be administered by Arts and Sciences.
The Senate then voted without dissent to establish the institute.
The president wished senators a good holiday, and adjourned the meeting at around 2:30 pm.