Proposed: April 29, 2011
MEETING OF APRIL 1, 2011
President Lee Bollinger called the Senate to order shortly after 1:15 pm in 104 Jerome Greene Hall. Seventy-five of 101 senators were present during the meeting.
Adoption of the agenda. Sen. Daniel Savin (Research Officers) said that the proposed new confidentiality guidelines had been discussed during the 2009-10 Senate session. They therefore qualified as Old Business, and should be taken up before New Business at the present meeting.
The president said he wanted to postpone discussion of the confidentiality guidelines until the next plenary, given the importance of the ROTC issue. He asked Sen. Savin to take this question up with Executive Committee chair Sharyn O’Halloran (Ten., SIPA).
Sen. Savin said that if the sponsor of every other agenda item issue besides ROTC didn’t object to being pushed off the agenda, then he wouldn’t object.
Sen. O’Halloran said she had no objection to the deletion of her regular report from the agenda.
The president announced one additional agenda item, from Education: a resolution to change the name of the School of Continuing Education.
The Senate approved the amended agenda by voice vote.
Adoption of the minutes. The Senate adopted the minutes of March 4 as proposed.
President’s remarks. The president addressed three issues:
--Manhattanville. Plans for Manhattanville were proceeding well, not only in the design and academic planning of new buildings, but also in fundraising. The president anticipated announcements in the coming months of major new gifts for Manhattanville projects. He reminded senators that every Manhattanville initiative helps the rest of the university by freeing up desperately needed space.
--Global centers. The president reported progress in the effort to establish global centers around the world. The 6-8 global centers now in the works were designed not to be branch campuses, he said, but to support the work of faculty and students on global issues.
--ROTC. The president said the issue of ROTC, on the agenda for the present meeting, was important, particularly given the history of this university, but also that of higher education. He said anyone about his age at moments like this must feel glad to have lived long enough to see a potential change in the world. He stressed that he was not making a recommendation about this particular issue. But the context was now very different from what it was when he sat in this very room, close to the back, in 1968. He recognized that there were strong feelings about ROTC, and he stressed the need for a civil discussion on the merits, in which everyone feels respected, whatever their position. He said the quality of this discussion would say a great deal about Columbia’s capacity to address serious issues. He believed that there were two appropriate bodies for handling issues of broad concern to the University: the Senate and the Council of Deans. But from the start he had said the Senate was the right body to take on ROTC. He said the ROTC issue affects different Senate constituencies to different degrees, but it does have university-wide implications. He appreciated the Senate's work, which he characterized as an extremely positive process. He said Columbia had not followed the path of some other institutions, which have simply announced decisions on ROTC. Such an approach may be right for those institutions, the president said; Columbia has chosen a process of engagement.
Sen. Ruaridh MacLeod (Stu., TC) asked to speak, but the president did not recognize him.
Resolution on Columbia University’s Relationships with the Armed Forces of the United States of America. Sen. O’Halloran, referring to PowerPoint slides projected overhead, offered an overview of the Senate deliberative process on ROTC and of the resolution now before the Senate, along with a summary of important facts about ROTC. Discussion would begin with statements pro and con from two faculty senators, followed by statements pro and con from two student senators, followed by open floor debate.
Senate deliberative process. Sen. O’Halloran thanked everyone who had helped bring the ROTC issue to the floor. She was proud of this process, which had been highly constructive. It had involved a four-pronged approach, with three open hearings, targeted to different university constituencies; a solicitation of email statements, with many responses from faculty, students and administrators; a large student opinion survey, involving the five Columbia schools whose students had participated as cadets in off-campus ROTC programs in the past five years; and support for other university events, including a faculty debate on ROTC sponsored by the Institute of War and Peace Studies, a presentation by student senators to the Faculty Council of the Medical Center, and a forum for all university faculty on March 30, followed immediately by a special Arts and Sciences faculty meeting on ROTC.
Sen. O’Halloran said there had been an open, clear discussion of the merits, along with a conscientious effort to disseminate information about the present proposal throughout the university. She said the Senate process was anything but rushed: the Senate likes to talk, and tends not to rush through issues.
Expectations for the latest round of deliberations began when Barack Obama became president, with the hope that Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell would be repealed. There were preliminary discussions about what shape a new review would take. Shortly after the vote to repeal DADT in December 2010, the ROTC task force was formed, with wide participation in the selection process. Both student and faculty task force members had done outstanding work.
Sen. O’Halloran said the ROTC task force met its deadlines, presenting its report at the March 4 plenary. There had also been significant debates among Barnard and, later, A&S faculty. The Senate process had included significant discussion in the committees of early drafts of the resolution now before the Senate, and numerous suggestions for amendments were accommodated. Endorsements came from the Executive, Faculty Affairs, and Students Affairs committees, and on the morning of the present meeting, from Education.
The resolution before the Senate. Sen. O’Halloran stressed that the process had built a strong coalition of support for the resolution, with an understanding of key nuances involved. The first point, requiring great care, was that the Senate would be granting discretion to the administration to explore possibilities for new relationships, without mandating participation. She said there remained too many uncertainties about whether ROTC could actually come back to Columbia, too many contingencies to be negotiated, and it was crucial not to box Columbia in.
At the same time, Sen. O’Halloran said, there would have to be constraints on any new arrangement with the Armed Forces involving ROTC, which would be subject to Columbia’s administrative, logistical and legal concerns. This was also a crucial point, because of a strong sense that Columbia must control the terms under which ROTC might return. She said there should also be a chance to modify any arrangement than no longer served mutual interests.
With this approach, the drafters of the resolution wanted to provide explicit assurances that faculty rights and privileges would be maintained. The resolution cites relevant University Statutes on the right of the faculties to control academic credit, faculty appointments, academic governance, and space allocation. These faculty rights should never be infringed for any program whatsoever, she said. She said similar conditions apply to relationships with ROTC at such peer institutions as Princeton, Harvard, and Penn.
Finally, Sen. O’Halloran said, the resolution provides for regular means of Senate review. In addition to regular five-year reviews of programs by the Education Committee, the Senate can also appoint special committees to review programs that may require additional scrutiny.
Facts about ROTC. Sen. O’Halloran affirmed the following:
1. An ROTC cadet is a civilian and a student, not a military officer, until they are commissioned after graduation. They have the same academic freedoms as every other student. As for the question raised at the previous plenary about possible infringements on the academic freedom of cadets through prohibitions by ROTC commanders against course research on documents made available through WikiLeaks, Sen. O’Halloran said this issue has nothing to do with someone’s status as an ROTC cadet, but everything to do with their ability to gain security clearance in the future. The restriction applies not only to cadets, but also to SIPA students planning work in the CIA, and anyone else who seeks security clearance from the government.
2. Funding. ROTC funding is not a college scholarship in the normal sense because it involves post-collegiate obligations. There are similar arrangements at the Medical Center, with programs that provide funding for the education of doctors, dentists, and nurses in return for service. In addition, the Business School has company-sponsored fellowships that require students to work for the sponsoring firm after graduation. And the Law School participates in the Judge Advocate General program, which requires service as a military lawyer in exchange for $65,000 of funding for legal training.
3. Academic arrangements at peer institutions. The Princeton or Harvard/MIT model for ROTC closely parallels what the resolution envisioned for Columbia. It provides no academic credit for ROTC courses. Decisions on credit reside with the schools. For example, after deliberations by the Committee on Instruction, Columbia chose to give credit to ROTC cadets, but only Physical Education credit, of the kind varsity football players receive. In addition, ROTC instructors usually hold something like an adjunct appointment, but this decision resides with the appropriate faculties. And all decisions on space reside with the schools or departments.
Pro and con statements on the resolution (about five minutes each).
Bette Gordon (NT, Arts), against:
Columbia students currently have every right to participate in ROTC, and to receive financial benefits as a result. Indeed, many students already participate in ROTC and even receive Columbia College credit for some of that participation, as Sharyn said, through the physical education department. This relationship has worked well for several decades thanks to the cross-town arrangements with other institutions in the New York City area.
Contrary to the misleading information provided by the task force, cross-town arrangements are not unusual, but in fact are common mechanisms for ROTC participation. Columbia is in no way the exception. Of the 81 schools in New York State offering Air Force ROTC, all but six have cross-town arrangements. Of the 89 schools in New York State offering Army ROTC, all but 13 have cross-town arrangements. Of the top ten research universities, listed in US News, almost half of them who offer ROTC have cross-town arrangements. The punitive inconvenience of traveling to other institutions is no greater than that endured by all students who participate in athletic, community service or internship programs which require their travel throughout the city.
There has been some misrepresentation of the status of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, which is often adduced as a rationale for immediately changing existing relations with ROTC. The DADT repeal act of 2010 did not actually repeal DADT policy; rather, it set repeal of the policy in motion. The Congressional Research Service summary of the law states that “the act provides for repeal of the current Department of Defense policy concerning homosexuality in the Armed Forces to be effective 60 days after the Secretary of Defense has received DOD’s comprehensive review on the implementation of such repeal. The president, secretary and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff certify to the Congressional defense committees that they have considered the report and proposed a plan of action that DOD has prepared the necessary policies and regulations to exercise the discretion provided by such repeal and that the implementation of such policies and regulations is consistent with the standards of military readiness and effectiveness, unit cohesion and military recruiting and retention. The act also provides that until such time as the above conditions are met, the current policies shall remain in effect.” Secretary Gates has not indicated if or when he might consider certifying that the full integration of openly gay and lesbian service members in the military is compatible with military readiness and effectiveness, unit cohesion, and military recruiting and retention. Nor has he set a timetable for doing so. DADT remains in effect and the military continues to enforce the policy. Indeed, at least 250 service members were discharged in the fiscal year 2010 under the DADT policy, according to Service Members United.
Until such time as DADT has been fully repealed and the discriminatory policies against gays and lesbians have been eliminated, there is no reason why Columbia University should reconsider the status of ROTC on campus.
Many people have expressed strong concern about the transformation of the pedagogical environment that uniformed cadets will effect. The symbolic presence of the uniform is not merely a matter of personal choice, but is also shaped by the international conventions of warfare. For many students, and particularly those from countries where the military, whether American or not, is associated with the destruction of civil life, the presence would be inhibiting, if not traumatizing.
The curriculum for training future military officers potentially contradicts the norms of free and unfettered critical inquiry. The university’s core mission includes the provision of an environment in which dissent, critique and independent thought are paramount. Conversely, the nature of the military is built on uniformity, hierarchy and obedience to a chain of command. Columbia maintains high ethical standards with regard to the conduct of its scholars who are engaged with human subjects. These standards should not be abrogated and training preparatory to human destruction is incompatible with those standards.
Given that students are already able to participate in ROTC; that the repeal of DADT has yet to lead to the actual amelioration of the U.S. military; that there is a widespread and profound dissensus among faculty and students; that only 19 percent of students eligible to respond to the survey on ROTC did so, making it a poor instrument for assessing support; that the process of evaluating a possible change in the status of ROTC at Columbia has been widely thought to be overly hasty, somewhat biased, with the oversight of the task force in the hands of those who have publicly and repeatedly avowed their support for expanded relations with ROTC, and thus the process has been without total neutrality.
There is insufficient consensus on campus as to the terms and conditions under which the university would consider changing the status of ROTC on campus. Therefore, the Senate should reaffirm the status quo, and Columbia’s current welcoming attitude towards veterans and other members of the Armed Forces; defer considering any resolution on Columbia’s relations with ROTC until such time as these issues have been resolved.
James Applegate (Ten., A&S/Natural Sciences), in favor:
The armed forces of the United States of America are an essential, permanent, and unique part of American society. From its creation the US military was subject to civilian control. It is founded on the ideal that the maintenance of our armed forces is the collective responsibility of all Americans and our nation is best off if defended by citizen soldiers. These ideals have eroded deeply since the Vietnam War, and the civilian-military gap is now so wide at a university like Columbia that the two sides at times speak to each other only with difficulty.
It is in this context that we consider the possible return of ROTC to Columbia. Our nation has decided that we want our junior officers to be college graduates when they receive their commissions and their military service. The programs of the Reserve Officers Training Corps at our colleges and universities are the most important mechanism by which this goal is achieved, producing more officers than the service academies.
The history of ROTC with Columbia or earlier such programs extends back well before the second World War. During World War II more than 23,000 naval officers were trained at Columbia, a record rivaled only by the US Naval Academy in Annapolis. This training program became the Columbia Naval ROTC program after the second World War. Columbia parted company with NROTC in 1969 during the Vietnam war. About half of our peer institutions did so as well, and about half retained ROTC programs and have them today. The passions of the Vietnam era have subsided and that is a very good thing, but some of the academic issues brought to light at that time remain with us. The issues which drove Columbia and the Navy apart are relevant now as they were then. In modern language these are the issues that involve credit towards courses towards a Columbia degree, retaining Columbia’s control through standard academic procedures, Columbia retaining control over faculty appointments, and Columbia retaining control over space and other resources.
These problems were resolved at peer institutions which retained ROTC through the Vietnam era, and this has led to the Princeton/MIT model for ROTC, the model that we foresee at Columbia. Our discussion on the return of ROTC to Columbia is based entirely on this model and the simple idea that what has worked at peer institutions can work here.
The process that brought us here today began as a student-led initiative in 2003 that ultimately was brought to the Senate in the 2004-2005 academic year, in which I was a faculty co-chair of a task force. Ultimately the Senate voted on a resolution to bring back ROTC. That resolution was defeated by a 53-10 vote. That no vote was a strong opposition to DADT. The repeal of DADT, which was signed by Congress and passed into law last December, the implementation of the repeal is in the hands of the executive branch. Columbia University took a principled stand against DADT in 2005 and voted no by an overwhelming margin. We trust the President of the United States and the Joint Chiefs of Staff to act in good faith in implementing the repeal. Therefore, the time to act is now.
The resolution before you was the result of an extensive process which began when the repeal was signed into law. The resolution reaffirms Columbia’s control over core academic issues such as academic credit, faculty appointments, and resources. The educational mission of Columbia University is to best prepare our students for the challenges that they will meet once they graduate. ROTC is an important part of meeting that academic mission.
The students who participate in Columbia ROTC will provide our military with young officers who have an excellent liberal education, some of whom may rise to positions of leadership in our military. But only a very small fraction of Columbia students will ever participate in our military. But virtually all of our students will be active participants in American democracy and will be those civilians who exert the civilian control over our military that is characteristic of our system. This civilian control over our military places a burden on those who exercise it to use our military in a responsible manner and be sufficiently well educated and knowledgeable of military affairs in order to be able to do this. This places a burden on educational institutions like Columbia to expose its students to things military. ROTC is an important part of that as well, and simply sitting in a classroom, even if it is with someone with a military uniform, may be a difficult thing to do, but it is an absolutely essential thing for you to do. Having a difficult discussion in a class is part of what we are about. We are about debating ideas, not debating individuals, and this is an important contribution as well.
In the end, the military you know the best, to the one that you’ve met in your classes is the one you commit with only the most careful judgment and only as a last resort, and ultimately surely is the one that you use the least. Thank you. [Applause]
Liya Yu (Stu., GSAS/Social Sciences), against. Sen. Yu did not read a speech. She began with a question about ROTC: What’s in it for Columbia?
She said Columbia was developing a global vision for the future, setting up global centers around the world, as President Bollinger has mentioned earlier in the meeting, radically reshaping its identity both within the U.S. and in the world at large. She believed that bringing back ROTC, as one single nation’s military institution, would contradict Columbia’s vision for the future.
First, Columbia’s student and faculty body had changed from the 1950s and 1960s when ROTC was last on campus. There was a now a large proportion of international students and faculty, as well as new global centers in Jordan, India, China, and France.
Sen. Yu said that if there was another war sometime in the next 50 years, how would Columbia defend its position of having supported education of one singular military institution? What if there were another Vietnam, or another war in which the Columbia population disagrees with the U.S. government? Would Columbia kick ROTC off campus again?
Sen. Yu offered a thought experiment: If Columbia brings ROTC back and educates this country’s military personnel, shouldn’t it also educate Jordan’s military personnel to solve the Middle East conflict? India’s military personnel to help stabilize the situation with Pakistan? China’s military personnel to stabilize relations with Taiwan and Japan? Sen. Yu admitted she couldn’t fit the global center in France into this scheme, but said the president might be able to.
In response to Sen. Applegate’s point, Sen. Yu proposed bringing military personnel from the U.S., Jordan, India, China, and France together in one classroom to talk.
Sen. Yu asked how supporters of Columbia’s global centers around the world would react if Columbia were to accommodate only one nation’s Armed Forces.
Sen. Yu said that if Columbia did not want to extend academic credit or faculty status to an ROTC program, and if the program was essentially extracurricular, for a handful of students, then what was the point of the partnership, other than symbolism?
Sen. Yu asked what effect the symbolic partnership would have on Columbia’s new international identity. If senators vote in favor of the resolution, can they say with clear consciences that it does not contradict Columbia’s commitment to becoming a globally representative body? Are they aware of the unforeseen consequences for Columbia if the U.S. embarks on another war?
Sen. Yu congratulated the ROTC Task Force for doing a marvelous job, but expressed disappointment that grad students and faculty had not been polled. She asked senators to take as much time as they needed, for the sake of the future of the institution, to debate this issue.
Tao Tan (Stu., Bus.), in favor.
My name is Tao Tan. I’m an alumnus of Columbia College, a student at Columbia Business School, and the chair of the Student Affairs Committee. To begin with, I think the Senate has reasons for pride. We’ve handled this extremely important issue fraught with the weight of history in a comprehensive, civil, and deliberative manner that does credit to us all.
Over the past few months we’ve heard many articulate and thoughtful ideas. Would we surrender Columbia’s autonomy? Is an ROTC program categorically incompatible with our non-discrimination policy? Would ROTC militarize the university? I’d like to share my thoughts with you on just a few of these today.
First, an ROTC program is governed by the same academic criteria as all the others, namely faculty governance, credits, appointments and space allocations. If these programs return, they can only do so on our terms. This is not a point for negotiation; this is a precondition. All programs here are subject to faculty oversight, and ROTC is no different.
Second, discrimination, including discrimination against our colleagues who identify as transgender, is an invidious and loathsome thing. I believe, however, that an ROTC program is compatible with the principles and values of our commitment to non-discrimination. Our policy forbids those forms of discrimination provided that they shall not abridge the university’s educational mission. And for that reason we have Barnard College, which discriminates on the basis of gender; the College of Physicians and Surgeons, which discriminates on the basis of creed against committed euthanasianists; and our football team, my beloved Lions, future BCS champions, which discriminates against individuals with medical and physical challenges. But as we believe that women’s education, non-maleficent education, and physical education are part of the university’s educational mission, we welcome these programs as fully compatible with our non-discrimination policy. And ROTC is no different.
Third, I do not believe ROTC will militarize this university. Has ROTC militarized any university? What does that word even mean? Do you consider Cornell, Penn, Princeton and Harvard militarized? Students in ROTC programs are students like all others in all respects on the campus, in the classrooms, in the laboratories and in the libraries. ROTC cadets usually do not wear uniforms and do not become military officers until after graduation. Programs resembling ROTC already exist at Columbia. Students in the College of Physicians and Surgeons and the College of Dental Medicine receive free educations and military training through the F. Edward Hebert Armed Forces Scholarship program in return for a period of military service. Teachers College partners with West Point in the Eisenhower Leadership Development joint MA program that brings dozens of uniformed officers—uniformed officers—to campus annually. As I walked by Teachers College this morning on the way to this meeting, I did not feel an ominous chill emanating from that bastion of intolerance and militarization.
Far from militarizing Columbia, these relationships enrich our community, and ROTC is no different.
I call upon you today to put behind us the disagreements of our common past, and look forward to our shared future. I believe it is in our interest to look at opportunities for Columbia to embrace. The fact of the matter is that the U.S. military will always need officers, and I believe it would be a benefit for both our country and Columbia if these officers were educated here as well as at West Point and Cornell and Texas A&M. Because these officers in the formation of their character will go on to affect the shape of things to come. One of the earliest advocates for the abolition of slavery was a Columbia-educated major general named Alexander Hamilton.
I am not arrogant enough to make sweeping claims that Columbia graduates will change the world. So I shall simply tell a deeply personal story. My father’s earliest memories are of the Chinese labor camp where the communists had imprisoned his family in the 1950s, and I was born in a neighboring coal mining town. My family emigrated from China in August of 1989, which you will notice is shortly after June of 1989, because the U.S. government, including the Department of Defense, agreed to fund my father’s Ph.D. It is due to the generosity of this country, which is now my country, and its people, who are now my people, and its higher education system, of which I am now both student and alumnus, that I have the privilege of standing before you today. An ROTC program that reflects the generosity of this country and its people, and the vigor of its higher education system, strengthens the social fabric of our society and should be welcomed at Columbia.
Eight years ago I was fortunate enough to come to Columbia College. The liberal education and the liberal values I received there define who and what I am. They inform my values, they orient my moral compass, they encompass my beliefs, they shape my approach to leadership and service, and they will be a part of every decision, every action, every endeavor in which I engage for the rest of my life. And the people whom I have to acknowledge as stewards of that education and the value it espoused are you, the faculty, who in the words of I. I. Rabi are the university.
The effect you have had on me, this liberal education and its extended values, is genuine and profound. It can also benefit future officers of the armed forces. I am not a sociologist, or a psychologist, or a political scientist. I am a schmuck from New Jersey. I love Columbia University and I love my country. I’m not going to claim that Columbia can liberalize the military because I don’t have the academic background to expound what that means. I’ll simply say that the military is not a faceless, monolithic identity. It’s made up of individuals, and any individual fortunate enough to pass through our gates receives the benefits of our education and the influence of our values.
I ask you not to shirk from this important responsibility. We owe it to our current generation of students and future generations to come and to heal this divide and continue to educate all who come, whether future writer or soldier, and to learn the languages in the liberal arts and sciences. We can, we should and we must, as we have for the past 257 years, continue to define the shape of things to come. Thank you.
Floor discussion. Sen. Ronald Breslow (Ten., A&S/NS) proposed a couple of thought experiments. One was to imagine an ROTC program for faculty. He said he probably wouldn't join, but it would never occur to him that he could tell colleagues that they could not join. He said it was a fundamental human right to pursue one’s own ideas without being squelched by others. He said some students at Columbia who want to join ROTC have that same basic right. Someone else can always say, Let them go to Fordham. But should people with unpopular ideas on the Columbia campus—Republicans, say—be required to go elsewhere?
Another thought experiment was to imagine that Columbia had become completely conservative, and someone decided that young Democrats should go to Fordham to pursue their unpopular ideas. Should Columbia tolerate only ideas that it approves of? A liberal university in a liberal society must support the right of people to hold different ideas, Sen. Breslow said. Requiring people who want ROTC to go elsewhere contradicts Columbia's commitment to diversity.
Sen. Sheena Iyengar (Ten., Bus.) supported the addition of an ROTC program precisely because Columbia wants more of a global presence. Just as Columbia would not want to prevent people from different cultures from meeting in its classrooms, it should make sure to include people who want to join the military in that dialogue. One common criticism of the military is that it lacks understanding of different cultures. How can it achieve this understanding if it is barred from participation in a more global community? Sen. Iyengar said it was in Columbia’s interest to have military cadets on campus to help change the attitudes of the military and the nation.
Goehr motions to amend and postpone the ROTC resolution. Sen. Lydia Goehr (Ten., A&S/Hum) said her question at the previous plenary about ambiguity in the idea of Columbia “participating” in ROTC had been misstated in the minutes. But her main concern was her uncertainty about the Senate’s mission at the present meeting. There had been pro and con arguments about whether Columbia should have ROTC back on campus, but she thought the purpose of the resolution before the Senate was to open discussion as to whether or not ROTC should be brought back. The resolution already seemed to favor bringing ROTC back. She asked permission to amend the wording of the resolution, whose presentation had been somewhat biased because Sens. Applegate and O’Halloran had already spoken in favor of it.
Sen. Goehr said bias was evident in the language of the resolution: “That it is in the interests of Columbia University to continue to constructively engage with the armed forces of the United States and to educate future military leaders subject to administrative, logistical and legal concerns.” In place of this language, she offered what she characterized as neutral wording: “That Columbia University ought to consider whether it is in their interests to change the status of the present relationship that Columbia has with ROTC.” Sen. Goehr offered another example from the resolution—“That Columbia University welcomes the opportunity to explore further mutually beneficial relationships with the Armed Forces of the United States including participation in the programs of the Reserve Officers Training Corps”—and proposed the following: “That Columbia University is open to investigating whether there may be mutually beneficial relationships with the Armed Forces of the United States.” As written, Sen. Goehr said, the proposal was already in favor of something that is meant to be merely open for discussion, making it impossible to vote on the resolution in its present form. In addition to her amendment, Sen. Goehr also proposed to table the resolution until such time as its language was properly neutral, as she said Sen. O’Halloran had been claiming it was meant to be.
There was a second to Sen. Goehr’s motion.
The president said Sen. Goehr had made an important point. He said the real question before the Senate was whether or not ROTC should be invited back to campus subject to certain conditions of academic control, and he thought it would be right to have further discussion on this point. But the real meaning of the resolution, if it was going to be helpful to him and to the university, was, Are we at a point in history where we’re prepared to have an ROTC program back on campus? This was the issue that the Senate should address and vote on. He recognized that Sen. O’Halloran and the ROTC Task Force might have a different view.
Sen. O’Halloran also appreciated Sen. Goehr’s point. She said there had been a lot of feedback on the language of the resolution, and many wanted a stronger statement. But there was general agreement that it was absolutely necessary to allow a dialogue to begin. It was also considered necessary to recognize that Columbia has many mutually beneficial relationships with the military now. Not to recognize these connections was in some way not to appreciate the contributions that the 300 military veterans already here provide for Columbia.
Sen. Goehr said that if the Senate was now voting on a proposal to bring ROTC back, then that was a new proposal. It was not the opening of a discussion. If the Senate was simply voting on whether it should have a discussion, then it should have the discussion before making a decision.
The president asked for the view of the ROTC Task Force.
Sen. O’Halloran said the idea—very common in legislation—was to delegate authority to administrative and executive agencies (in this case the president and the provost) to act on the Senate’s behalf. That was the purpose of the language of the resolution. The Senate could not negotiate a contract, and was therefore not in a position to ratify a specific deal.
Prompted by the president, Sen. Goehr confirmed that she had made a motion to table. She added that she had also proposed to amend the language of the resolution so she could know what she was voting on.
Sen. Mazor asked to make a point of order. He said the motion had not been seconded. He also asked who was empowered to determine whether amendments to the resolution were friendly.
The president said it was clear that the present amendments would not be friendly.
Sen. Goehr again read the changes in language she had already offered.
The president said it would be impossible to type and distribute this amendment. He asked if it was an adequate paraphrase to state that the university should consider whether to engage in discussions to decide whether to invite ROTC back.
Sen. Goehr said the point was “to consider whether we ought to have a discussion.” This was what she had been told was the purpose of the resolution—not to bring ROTC back by this vote.
There was a second to Sen. Goehr’s motion to amend the language of the resolution.
The president asked if the Senate understood clearly enough what the amendment proposed, or whether the amendments had to be in writing.
Sen. Iyengar asked if she could move to table the amendment.
Howard Jacobson, the parliamentarian, explained that tabling a measure could mean postponing it to a date certain, or it could mean killing it. Which meaning did the tabler have in mind?
Sen. Goehr said the purpose of her motion to table the main resolution was postponement.
Till April 29. The president stated his understanding of the rules that the Senate could only vote on a motion to postpone the discussion till April 29. He understood tabling to be for cases where there's some other urgent business to take up, which was not the case here.
Mr. Jacobson agreed, but said parliamentary procedure does allow a motion to totally kill the motion on the floor.
The president asked for discussion on Sen. Goehr’s motion.
Sen. Breslow said that Sen. Goehr had made a motion to continue what the Senate was already doing. He said the whole idea of the present meeting was to vote on a particular policy by voting for or against a resolution.
Another senator called the question on Sen. Goehr’s motion. There was a second.
Mr. Jacobson said a motion to call the question requires seconding and a two-thirds vote, and is non-debatable.
Vote on motion to call the question on Goehr amendents. After some confusion, 54 senators—more than two-thirds of those present—voted by show of hands to close debate.
The president said the Senate would now vote on Sen. Goehr’s motion without further debate. He proposed to reframe the motion as one to continue discussion.
Sen. Goehr restated this interpretation to say the motion was to open discussion.
Vote on Goehr amendments. In the vote that followed, only 16 supported Sen. Goehr’s motion, which required a majority. The motion to amend the resolution failed.
The president called for discussion of Sen. Goehr's motion to postpone the main resolution until April 29, so that discussion could take place now.
There was an attempt to call the question, with a second.
Sen. Philip Genty (NT, Law) raised a point of clarification, asking whether another motion to table the main resolution could be introduced, even if the present one failed.
President Bollinger said a later motion to table could be brought.
Sen. Yu asked to reserve enough time for discussion.
Another senator called the question.
Vote to call the question on Goehr motion to postpone the ROTC resolution. From the show of hands that followed, the president determined that the Senate had voted to close debate on the motion to postpone. He said that if the Senate was to follow procedures, it had no choice but to move on to a vote on the motion to postpone.
Vote on Goehr motion to postpone the ROTC resolution. The president determined from the show of hands that the motion to postpone the main resolution till April 29 had failed.
Vote to call the question on the ROTC resolution. Sen. Soulaymane Kachani (NT, SEAS) called the question for the main resolution.
In the show of hands that followed, the president determined that fewer than two-thirds of those present supported the motion to call the question. Discussion of the main motion resumed.
Silverstein amendment, accepted as friendly. Sen. Samuel Silverstein (Ten., P&S) thought there was substance in Sen. Goehr's concerns about the resolution. As a member of the Executive Committee who had participated in drafting the resolution, he thought it could be improved by omitting the first Resolved clause, and going right to the next one: “Be it resolved that Columbia University welcomes the opportunity to explore mutually beneficial relationships with the armed forces of the United States, including participation in the programs of ROTC.” He said this clause was the substance of what the Senate was debating. He proposed his change as an amendment to the resolution. He said he would welcome either omission or adoption of the last two Resolved clauses, depending on which approach senators saw as most friendly.
Sen. O’Halloran said she did not see this amendment as changing the substance of the resolution.
She asked if anyone regarded the amendment as unfriendly.
The president said that if no one objected to the amendment, it would not be necessary to vote.
Sen. Rebecca Jordan-Young asked for clarification. Sen. Silverstein said he was also proposing to remove the word “further” from the start of the what had been the second Resolved clause (“Be It Further Resolved”) and from the text of that clause (“to explore further mutually beneficial…”). The president understood these changes to be friendly.
Mazor amendment. Sen. Ron Mazor (Stu., Law) proposed to strike the words “space allocation” from what was now the second Resolved clause.
Mr. Jacobson asked if Sen. Silverstein had also asked to delete the last two resolved clauses.
Sen. Silverstein said he had not.
Sen. Mazor agreed to hold off on his amendment, but said he wanted to make it later,
Another senator asked to make a friendly amendment.
Pollack amendment. Sen. Robert Pollack (Ten., A&S/Natural Sciences) said he understood Sen. Silverstein to say it was neutral to him whether those last two paragraphs remained or were deleted. Sen. Pollack offered, as a friendly amendment, to delete them.
Sen. O’Halloran objected to this amendment.
Sen. Mazor repeated that his motion took precedence over Sen. Pollack’s.
The president said Sen. O’Halloran did not regard Sen. Pollack’s amendment as friendly. He asked Sen. Pollack if he still wanted to propose his amendment.
Sen. Pollack said that based on his understanding of what Sen. Silverstein had recommended, he would move to strike the first, third, and fourth Resolved clauses of the resolution. The president asked if there was a second for Sen. Pollack’s motion.
Sen. Mazor repeated his point of order that his motion preceded Sen. Pollack's. He said he did not support Sen. Pollack’s amendment, but wanted to make a narrow change.
The president asked Sen. Mazor to proceed.
Sen. Mazor said the Senate does not normally weigh in on the implementation of policy. He thought the words “space allocation” would tie the hands of administrators negotiating the implementation of ROTC. He said the two previous major policy recommendations, from Mansfield and Tien in 1969 and 1976, came down hard on what Columbia should and shouldn’t do. Now, decades later, Columbia should take a more fluid approach, giving negotiators more of a free hand in determining how campus resources are used.
The president appreciated this point. He said that if ROTC were invited back to campus, and it wanted to return—and he thought one service branch did want to come—Columbia would not want to proceed without retaining full academic control. He thought Columbia could proceed on the assumption that this paragraph was a given. He offered his assurances on this point. He said Columbia administrators would retain their responsibility for allocating space on campus.
The president said he thought the Senate would be using too much time and effort debating these issues. He said that taking Sens. Mazor’s and Pollack’s amendments and what he understood to be the sense of the group (even of those who opposed the resolution), he hoped the Senate would take his word for it that if the University decided to go forward, it would proceed on this understanding. Was that acceptable?
Sen. Jerald Boak (Admin. Staff, Morningside) said he wanted to talk about the issue the Senate was there to talk about.
The president said he was trying to get to that.
Another senator called the question.
Sen. Silverstein said that since the president had given assurances on the points Sen. Pollack had raised, he considered Sen. Pollack’s amendment friendly, and seconded it.
The president asked if Sen. Mazor was in accord with this change.
Sen. Ronald Mann (Ten., Law) said he was calling the question so the Senate could have the discussion it was there for.
The president said that was his goal as well. He asked if the Senate was done with the amendments.
Pollack amendment accepted as friendly. Sen. Silverstein said the Senate could always revisit the issues in the last two Resolved clauses.
Sen. Andreas Hielscher (Ten., SEAS) said he was at a loss about where the Senate was in the process. If the group were to start wordsmithing every single sentence, it wouldn't get anywhere.
Mazor amendment withdrawn. Sen. Mazor agreed to withdraw his amendment.
Resumption of discussion of ROTC resolution. Sen. Boak said he had not taken a scientific poll of his constituents, but he had had only positive or neutral responses to the present Senate initiative. He said he had grown up in a military family and a military town, and had seen firsthand the positive effects of officer training—in a service academy or an ROTC program—on young men and women throughout their lives. He thought that any Columbians who want to serve their country as a vocation after school and who are willing to put their lives on the line for the privilege of being an American and serving their country should be supported in the same way that diverse attitudes and vocations are supported generally at Columbia.
Sen. Rebecca Jordan-Young (Fac., Barnard) made three points.
1. Students could already join ROTC. Columbia already had the largest population of veterans of any university of its kind, as well as a large number of students in the Reserves. The issue, she said, was whether Columbia wanted to endorse ROTC as a university and move it to a different level than currently.
2. One analogy in Sen. O’Halloran’s otherwise excellent introductory presentation was problematic. She likened using classified information made available through WikiLeaks in a course assignment to posting inappropriate pictures on Facebook. Sen. Jordan-Young said that a scholar expects students investigating a topic that includes information available in the public domain that is accessible without illegal action or deception to use that information. She said the principle of free academic inquiry could run into real conflict with restrictions imposed from outside the university on the use of this kind of information. Sen. Jordan-Young rejected the analogy between scholarly work and inappropriate personal conduct.
3. Sen. Jordan-Young objected to some aspects of Sen. Tan’s presentation earlier in the debate. She appreciated his statement that discrimination against transgender people is loathsome, but objected to the sarcasm of some of his other comments. In particular, she said, his examples of discrimination at the university revealed a serious lack of understanding of the phenomenon of discrimination. She said discrimination must be understood in a context, not simply of exclusions, but within broad-based hierarchies and systems of power. The history of Barnard College must be understood in a setting of systematic exclusions of women from higher education and continuing exclusions of women from a range of public domains. Similarly, transgender people continue to be systematically, programmatically, legally excluded in many ways. Sen. Jordan-Young said it was an open question whether in fact Columbia itself had made a strong stand against discrimination towards transgenders in the same way that it had stood against discrimination based on sexual orientation. It was not an open question whether ROTC discriminates against transgendered people; it certainly does.
Sen. Jordan-Young concluded that it would be against Columbia’s sense of purpose as a university to further institutionalize its relationship with the military and ROTC in particular.
Sen. Philip Genty (NT, Law) said the key issue for him and many Law School colleagues was Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. In February, 75 faculty signed a letter, as faculty have done repeatedly in recent years when the military has come to recruit at the Law School. By federal law, the Law School is required to allow that recruiting. The statement applauded the passage of the bill to repeal DADT in Congress, but objected that the hiring at the recruiting session was still discriminatory. Sen. Genty said DADT was still in effect. He would have preferred to wait until the repeal was actually implemented by the Armed Forces. He appreciated that many university senators, particularly students, were eager to act on ROTC this year, before there was major turnover in the Senate. He had asked Senate leaders for language in the resolution on the actual implementation of the repeal of DADT. In the absence of such language, he could not support it.
The president offered some clarifications. He said he had been involved in this issue as long as anyone in the room, both as a law school dean and a president, and he cared deeply about it. He said Columbia could not have a program on the campus that discriminates against students on the basis of their sexual orientation. That was Columbia’s policy. He said he would assume for the purposes of this resolution that this issue was resolved.
Sen. Andrew Springer (Stu., Journ.) asked if there could be a friendly amendment to that effect.
The president said he had just offered such a friendly amendment.
Sen. Springer said the amendment should perhaps be written down because other senators apparently didn’t trust the president. Sen. Springer said he did trust the president.
The president asked if his statement was acceptable to Sen. Genty.
Sen. Genty asked the president if he would add some language about DADT.
Sen. Savin asked the president for his promise that the administration would wait for the implementation of the repeal of DADT before starting discussions with the Armed Forces.
The president said he did not want to make a promise about a discussion. He believed that the current process was headed definitely towards the elimination of DADT. He thought this was a realistic view, and having this discussion about ROTC at this time with the Armed Forces was right for the university, given what he saw as the course of history. He also thought it would actually aid in the elimination of DADT to be holding the discussions. He said many universities had been strong on the issue of DADT, and law schools had taken particularly strong stands on placement offices and recruiting. Universities should take some little credit as part of the society helping to eliminate DADT. But he repeated that he wouldn’t want to say that he wouldn’t engage in discussions. If the general sense of the university was that the historical moment was right to proceed in this direction, then he thought the discussions could take place with a sense of confidence about the destination. What Columbia could not have was a program or institutionalized system that included active discrimination violating Columbia’s policy.
Herbert Gans, a former senator and current member of External Relations, began to speak. Sen. Tan asked whether a non-senator could speak without unanimous consent. The secretary said Senate By-laws allow non-senators on committees to speak to issues that their committees are involved in presenting. External Relations had actively discussed ROTC. The president asked Prof. Gans to proceed.
Prof. Gans said he found it ironic that at a time when Secretary Gates and Admiral Mullen had said the U.S. would not get involved in the war in Libya, and when militarism in U.S. foreign policy seemed to be declining in popularity, all of a sudden Columbia was embracing militarism. Prof. Gans thought this course was wrong for the university.
Sen. Boris Gasparov (Ten., A&S/Hum) spoke for a moment as a former artillery officer in the Soviet army. He achieved his rank on the strength of four years of training in college, which he said was mandatory, but he was lucky to have it, because it freed him from active military service. Sen. Gasparov said he knew the kind of instruction involved in ROTC—highly technical training by able, professional people. He explained briefly what to do after one’s nuclear division drops a tiny tactical nuclear bomb behind enemy lines, causing devastation within a range of only a few miles. One lies face down for a prescribed number of seconds, then jumps to one’s feet in a heavily oiled uniform and rushes forward to choose artillery positions to provide cover for the tanks, which are already far ahead. He recalled that such exercises used land maps of West Germany.
Sen. Gasparov said Columbia’s committees on instruction would consider courses in military training—in tactics and technical matters—which are highly professional, beyond reproach. There would also be no grounds for opposing the candidacy of a qualified, competent person with the right academic credentials for a faculty position in this university. He concluded that each piece of the process of incorporating military training into the curriculum, like the decision by students to participate in the program, was sensible and respectable, even honorable. But Sen. Gasparov asked about the impact of incorporating this kind of mentality and training on liberal arts education at large. Wasn’t it the responsibility of educators to consider the consequences?
The president said the Senate was now at risk of losing a quorum as people were starting to leave. He said that if there was a will to act, the moment was approaching. A number of people had their hands up, and he was going to call on several. He asked speakers to be succinct.
Sen. Silverstein asked whether some language about DADT should be added to the resolution. The president said he was just not going to let DADT undermine discussions with the military. Columbia would not have a program that was inconsistent with its fundamental policy about invidious discrimination. But he said language could be added.
Sen. Springer said he was one of a group of senators who believed that war is sometimes necessary. He said that while some disagree with the idea of providing military training in a campus environment, others support it. It was no more appropriate to ban military instruction on campus than to ban a biology curriculum because it includes the concept of evolution.
Sen. Eszter Polonyi (Stu., GSAS/Hum) asked what other programs were being referred to in the remaining Resolved clause about “mutually beneficial relationships with the Armed Forces.” She thought existing programs, as well as contemplated future programs, should be specified.
The president understood Sen. Polonyi to be saying that Columbia must be careful, in this moment of change, not to rush into ill-considered relationships.
Sen. Polonyi made a further proposal that any future relationship with the Armed Forces be subject to the ethical standards stipulated by the Institutional Review Board.
Sen. O’Halloran said the last Resolved clause, which had since been friendly-amended away, provided for Senate review procedures on future arrangements with the military. She said it would be illegal to impose guidelines of the kind Sen. Polonyi had outlined. Columbia would lose its federal funding.
Sen. Saverance summarized the resolution as it stood. He asked if the deletion of the last two Resolved clauses had been accepted as a friendly amendment. The president said those changes were accepted as friendly, with his assurances and then his general explanation.
Sen. Saverance understood that only one Resolved clause remained. The president agreed, noting the sense of context that Columbia would not tolerate any continuation of DADT.
Sen. Goehr asked what would happen in the near future if the resolution were to pass with its friendly amendments. Would that mean that ROTC would definitely come back, or would it mean that the president, with a group of people, would enter into negotiations with the U.S. Armed Forces, with the trust of the Senate that he would uphold the key ethical standards? If the president would be pursuing the latter course, Sen. Goehr suggested that he appoint a committee of people of varying opinions to help in the discussions. Who would take part in these discussions? Sen. Goehr said that though the Senate had rejected the neutral language she had proposed, the next step would still be no more than just opening discussion.
The president said that if the resolution were to pass, there would be a general understanding that there’s a favorable sentiment for the university—for himself on behalf of the university—to find out whether the Armed Forces were interested in setting up an ROTC program on the campus. He would then discuss this step with the Council of Deans. He might also want to consult with some other people on campus. But he saw Senate action as a powerful statement. As for an advisory committee, the president said he would consult with the Senate Executive Committee so that everyone could see that the negotiations were consistent with the present discussion.
In response to Sen. Gasparov’s statement, Sen. Pollack said that if the U.S. were to fall into a condition similar to that of the former Soviet Union, having members of the Armed Forces on the Columbia campus would be the least of our problems. He said the Senate was vested in the fairness of the university, of the Constitution, and of the presidency of this institution. The president was taking on a great responsibility here, but Sen. Pollack believed he would deliver.
The president said the meeting had now reached a point where the Senate risked losing its Executive Committee chair to another obligation.
Sen. Tan said there had been a motion from Sen. Mark Cohen (NT, Bus.) a few comments earlier to call the question.
The president said he had not heard that remark. He said he thought the Senate had held a terrific discussion, and he would now like to see a vote. Was there a desire for a vote?
Sen. David Hajdu (Ten., Journ.) said he was very much against voting at this point, because he wanted to report on the present discussion to the Journalism faculty, and get a sense of their views, so he could come back prepared to represent them, and not just himself.
The president thanked Sen. Hajdu for that expression, but said he was sensing the desire for a vote, without an attempt to call the question. He called for a vote.
Vote on the ROTC resolution. The Senate then voted by show of hands to approve the resolution, by a margin of 51 to 17, with one abstention. There was applause.
Resolution to Change the Name of the School of Continuing Education to the School of Professional and Cross-Disciplinary Studies (Education). The president said the resolution came from Continuing Education and from Arts and Sciences EVP Nicholas Dirks and reflected the sense that the change was needed in order to capture the sense of what the school is doing and to make it more integral to the academic enterprise of the university.
Sen. Soulaymane Kachani (NT, SEAS) asked if there had been a conversation with the Business and Engineering schools and SIPA about the name change.
Christine Billmyer, dean of Continuing Education, said there had been conversations with all the deans and with the faculty.
The president asked if schools were amenable to the change. Dean Billmyer said the deans had indicated that the school's name needs to change, that no school owns the title “professional.”
The president understood that the deans were amenable to the change. Acknowledging that he was rushing to bring the meeting to an end, he said that if the Senate were to approve this name change, and it turned out that other schools really objected to it, the Senate could reconsider it. He called for a vote. The Senate approved the resolution by voice vote without dissent.
The president adjourned the meeting at around 3:30 pm.
Tom Mathewson, Senate staff