University Senate                                                                     

Proposed: September 23, 2011




President Lee Bollinger, the chairman, called the Senate to order shortly after 1:15 pm in 107 Jerome Greene Hall. Fifty-one of 101 senators were present during the meeting.

Minutes and agenda. The agenda was adopted with one addition—a short statement from Sen. Lydia Goehr (Ten., A&S/Hum) after the president’s report. The minutes of April 1 were adopted as proposed.

President’s remarks. The president said the academic year now coming to an end was a very important one for the university. He said it was the best of times but also a difficult time. Columbia was trying to be the greatest university that it could possibly be. One of its impressive features was that every unit was continually trying to improve. But all of these efforts require more resources than Columbia can supply. This struggle can become frustrating when Columbia is almost as good as other institutions which have significantly more resources. At the same time Columbia has made enormous progress in fundraising and the amount of space available. It’s a magnificent institution that gets better every year but still doesn’t have as much as it needs.

Next year, the president said, the university will have to think more about this dilemma. He anticipated improvements in 2011-12, partly because Columbia was still coming out of the recession. It had felt the impact of the recession, but less than some peer institutions, partly because it had fewer resources to lose, and was less dependent on the resources it lost. But the endowment was now doing very well, and the president thought fundraising would improve. The university had extended its capital campaign and raised the goal. In addition, capital campaigns consist of pledges in important measure, a guarantee that money will be coming in the future. In addition, the reality of additional space for the university was coming closer. The president said the institution may need to examine some of its activities, and make some trade-offs to enhance certain parts of the institution.

            ROTC. The president stressed two points about his announcement a week earlier of an agreement with the Navy to forge a new relationship with ROTC. The first was that ROTC would not return until Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was eliminated. The second was that the academic issues would be the focus of attention for a faculty committee, under the guidance of the provost. The president said Provost Claude Steele was now setting up that committee.

These were clear commitments, the president said. While there might be some ambiguity about the process, he did not think it was meaningful at this stage. He added that the process was ongoing, in two senses. On the positive side, the institution should be thinking about how to build on this beginning. But it should also be watchful about its principles and its standards. No one should think the issue was now closed or that there was nothing more to say about it.

Statement from Sen. Lydia Goehr. Sen. Goehr read the following statement:

"This statement has been co-authored and signed by almost a hundred members of the faculty. We’d like to note that on April 2nd a report by student senator Tao Tan was posted on the website of the organization Advocates for ROTC entitled “ROTC at Columbia, An Advocate’s Path”. In the report Tao Tan took credit for what he termed a “mission accomplished” and described his step-by-step involvement in the appointment of task force members shaping the polling process, and guiding the decision-making, in what he also called “behind-the-scenes sausage-making.” He acknowledged receiving “assistance and guidance” from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA), and mentioned by name its program officer for media, Michael Pomeranz.

"Although many aspects of his report trouble us greatly, we are most concerned that ACTA was in any way involved in the recent Senate process. ACTA is an organization that opposes the teaching of ethnic studies, African American studies and sexuality studies, which tries to intervene in tenure decisions, and which is actively involved in encouraging an ROTC presence on university campuses. Mr. Tan’s report suggests to us a conflict of interest given that the Senate task force was supposed to be impartial, representative and accountable exclusively to Columbia students and faculty. Given present concerns with conflicts of interest, we’d like to know how precisely ACTA was involved in the process leading up to the vote on April 1st. What exactly was the guidance and assistance given?

"We do not request immediate responses today, but only following an impartial and thorough inquiry overseen by President Bollinger to determine whether or not there were any procedural improprieties suggested by Mr. Tan’s report. We request that the answer be made public and fully transparent. The statement read today will shortly be distributed in the next couple of days in its more detailed form, along with signatures, to the President, the Senate, and other relevant persons and groups of the university, along with copies of Mr. Tan’s account. Since his report was recently removed from the Advocates for ROTC website, we will provide copies if and when requested to do so."

Sen. Goehr said she had 50 copies of the statement and Sen. Tan’s report, which she then had distributed.

The president said he had not seen this statement. He said the Senate would receive it and then decide what to do about it. He understood the statement to be a challenge to the process the Senate had followed in its ROTC deliberations. Therefore the Senate should decide how to respond. He said this subject might also be appropriate for consideration by the faculty committee on ROTC to be appointed by the provost. He thought it would be fair to let Sen. Tan speak.

Sen. Tan thanked Sen. Goehr for the opportunity to respond on the record and in public. She offered no objection to his responding immediately.

Sen. Tan said he wanted to provide an answer for the Senate and for all the faculty who had signed the statement. He offered the following summary of his relationship with the American Council of Trustees and Alumni: A good friend since college, Michael Pomeranz, had received a fellowship at ACTA in the past year. His job as program officer was basically to read the newspapers and the blogs of every major university. Every once in a while Sen. Tan would call him up and ask him for an update, including news on how other universities were handling key issues. Sen. Tan said this had been one of a number of useful sources of information for him. He said he had certainly received no material support from ACTA, or any research assistance. He had conversations with Mr. Pomeranz, in which he learned something about what was going on.

Sen. Tan said he wasn’t sure what the reference to the Advocates for ROTC website was about. He had posted a note, but it was on Facebook.

Introducing the next item on the agenda, the president said he would have to leave the meeting at 1:55. He suggested moving the action items before the committee reports.

Executive Committee chair’s remarks. Executive Committee chair Sharyn O’Halloran (Ten., SIPA) reported on the following issues:

Name change for the School of Continuing Education. The Senate had approved a name change at the April 1 plenary, but with the understanding that it would come back to the Senate if there were various reservations about the proposal. Since April 1 there had been deep consultations, involving different parts of the university. Under the leadership of the Education Committee, Sen. O’Halloran said, there would be further review, followed by some constructive suggestions, either over the summer or in the fall.

            Smoking policy. This issue would be coming back to the Senate in the fall.

Fringe benefits. Sen. O’Halloran said senators had by now had a chance to read recommendations proposed by the administration task force on fringe benefits. There had been several town hall meetings on the subject. The task force would be meeting again soon, but there remained opportunities to provide feedback.

            Conflict of interest policy. An ad hoc Senate committee was working in collaboration with the Law School, the Business School, and the Arts and Sciences on an interim report that might come out in June, followed by a final report in the fall. The goal is to provide a framework and guidelines which each of the schools can apply to its own issues of disclosure, transparency and accountability in the external activities of its faculty.

New business.
Proposed guidelines on confidentiality. Sen. Daniel Savin (Research Officers) presented the guidelines for the Structure and Operations Committee. In the winter of 2007, he said, a journalism student asked for minutes of the External Relations Committee from the 1970s on the subject of alleged CIA ties to Columbia. There was no policy at the time for the release of these confidential minutes, and the student’s request was denied. In the fall of 2009 Structure and Operations drafted and presented a new set of confidentiality guidelines to the Senate for discussion. There was a good deal of feedback from that discussion, from the Student Affairs, Research Officers, and Faculty Affairs committees, and from individual senators during the past two academic years.

Sen. Savin briefly compared the proposed guidelines to the current ones, which date from the beginning of the Senate. He said there would be no changes in policies on plenary meetings, which have always been open to the entire Columbia community, with a goal of promoting transparency and participation in university governance.

Sen. Savin said that under the current policy committee records are sealed forever. He said the reason for secrecy was to advance committee work fruitfully without publicity. But he thought eternity was an excessive term of secrecy. He said the Trustees have a 50-year embargo on their deliberations, which the present proposal would adopt for Senate committees.

Sen. Savin said the current policy says nothing about the management of confidential information presented to a committee. The new proposal assigns responsibility for deciding whether information presented to a committee should remain confidential to the presenter, or his or her successor in that position.

Sen. Savin said the current guidelines provided an incomplete list of issues requiring confidentiality: recruitment of senior administrators and trustees, and honors and prizes. The proposed guidelines offer a fuller list, including grievances, budgetary and financial issues, university real estate dealings, personal or corporate data, certain data on public safety, and more.

The current policy appeared to require committees to operate in executive session unless they vote otherwise, but it didn’t clearly say so. The proposed new guidelines make this point explicit. So a committee may decide to open up its meetings.

Sen. Savin said the current policy calls for two sets of committee minutes: a public set, including committee votes, and a confidential set—a workload that was beyond the capacity of the Senate staff. The current proposal calls for an annual report on each committee’s work, but also for public agendas, to be published after meetings, so people can get a better idea of the work of each committee.

The proposed guidelines retain current provisions leaving individual committee members free to state their own positions and consult with their constituents, as long as they don’t release confidential committee information. But the proposal offers the first guidelines for handling requests for access by scholars or other senators to committee records.

The president began discussion by offering two comments, from contrary points of view. On the one hand, there may be people who have been around Columbia and the Senate for more than 50 years, and whose statements long ago in committees should be protected for the rest of their lives. On the other hand, the president expressed skepticism that Senate committee deliberations could be so sensitive as to need a 50-year embargo. He wondered whether a much shorter period—perhaps 25 years or less—made more sense.

Sen. Savin said that after extensive discussion in Structure and Operations, the sense was that 50 years was an adequate interval to allow people who feel one way at 18 and another way at 50 to continue to serve without being embarrassed for youthful indiscretions. A 50-year interval would at least bring such students close to retirement before their committee files would be revealed.

The president noted that a student could hypothetically end up being president of the United States, and his or her youthful comments in committees could be disclosed.

Sen. Savin said committees could address doubts that their deliberations are really so sensitive by opting to open their meetings.

The president asked if a committee could decide to seal its records for 5 or 10 years.

Sen. Savin said this issue was not addressed in the current policy. He invited Howard Jacobson, the parliamentarian, to comment.

Mr. Jacobson said he would have to look again at the language in the current policy that was changed. Sen. Savin said that language did not get changed. He added that many faculty serve at Columbia for more than 25 years, which would make a 25-year embargo too short.

Sen. James Neal, the University Librarian, said there is an infrastructure, a process, an expertise at Columbia called the library. It is responsible, through the university archives, for working with units across the university, including the trustees, to implement a records management program that takes on the long-term management of the papers and works with the unit to define which records will be open, which ones will be confidential, and for how long those records will be kept that way. The library also works with organizations all over the world which deposit their papers at Columbia. He suggested working with the university libraries, which have the expertise for this work, rather than leaving it to the responsibility and the availability of the Senate staff.

Sen. Savin said Structure and Operations had thought that the people best able to determine whether or not the material should stay confidential are the ones who are actually in the meeting when the minutes are taken. Sen. Neal agreed that these people could make that determination, and the documents would be handled accordingly by library staff.

Sen. O’Halloran suggested exploring a records management process in offline conversations.

Sen. Ron Mazor (Stu., Law), chair of Structure and Operations, said he had favored openness in committee deliberations, shorter embargoes, and generally easier disclosure. But he came to realize that a 50-year embargo allows trustees and other important individuals to speak to Senate committees without having to censor themselves, and assures Senate access to important information. At the same time, Sen. Mazor had learned in President Bollinger’s Constitutional Law class as a senior in Columbia College about the importance of access for scholars and journalists. He said the current proposal has a declassifying mechanism for non-senators, including an appeals process for rejected information requests.

Mr. Jacobson called attention to a list in the proposed guidelines (Section C of kinds of information that would need to be confidential, including student and employee information and information about capital programs. This list would be useful in evaluating requests of scholars and journalists for committee records.

The president ascertained that the Senate was ready to vote on the proposed guidelines, with the understanding that they were working rules that might be revised later.

Sen. Neal said he would vote against the guidelines.

By show of hands, with some nays, the Senate then voted to approved the proposed guidelines, with three abstentions.

Resolution Concerning Summer Powers. The president read the resolution and invited discussion.

Sen. Savin said he had asked for language in the summer powers resolution a year earlier to include those constituencies that do not sit on the executive committee: research officers, librarians, alumni, and administrators. He now proposed the following amendment: “In matters pertaining to Senate constituencies with no representation on the Executive Committee, the Executive Committee will consult with the senators from these constituencies.”

At this point President Bollinger left the meeting, and Sen. O’Halloran took over as chair.

Mr. Jacobson said Sen. Savin’s provision could be formally adopted as an amendment or it could be simply understood as the current practice of the Executive Committee.

Sen. Savin said he would appreciate the formal adoption of his amendment.

Sen. Goehr asked for an understanding that certain sensitive issues would not be decided over the summer.

Sen.O’Halloran said such a provision would not be consistent with normal summer powers.

Mr. Jacobson said his experience was that there was a strong preference in the Executive Committee not to exercise summer powers.

Sen. O’Halloran said emergency summer powers are exercised rarely. The normal practice is to consult widely. Her hesitation was about carving out particular groups for consultation.

The amendment was moved and seconded.

By show of hands, the Senate then voted 30-12, with 6 abstentions, to adopt Sen. Savin’s amendment.

Sen. O’Halloran asked Mr. Jacobson to review the language of the amendment.

The Senate then voted, by show of hands, with three abstentions, to adopt the amended resolution.

New business
--Certificate in Psychoanalytic Studies (Education). Education Committee co-chair Letty Moss-Salentijn (Ten., CDM) said the certificate would be offered through the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and be taught by Columbia’s Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research. It consists of six courses, or 24 points, and would be only open to students pursuing a doctorate in the departments in the Humanities and Social Sciences. She said a growing number of these students want to gain a strong background in psychoanalytic concepts of mind, culture and science. This was not a clinical or a stand-alone program.

Sen. John Broughton (Fac., TC) expressed enthusiasm about the proposal. He asked if there had been consultation with the clinical psychology program at Teachers College. He also asked if the proponents had been aware of the programs on psychoanalysis at NYU and the New School.

Sen. Moss-Salentijn said a subcommittee had reviewed the proposal. She stressed that the proposed program, in contrast to the TC program, was not clinical.

Sen. Nancy Friedland (Library Staff), a member of the Education subcommittee that had reviewed the program, said its purpose was to provide a foundation in the literature of clinical psychology. She said the subcommittee had discussed a comparable program at Emory University. But she did not have an answer about the Teachers College and NYU programs.

Sen. O’Halloran said the Senate could ask the committee to look at the proposal again, or to follow up after Senate action.

Sen. Breslow expressed concern that the certificate might be misunderstood as representing a clinical background. Why have such a certificate? Sen. Breslow said its limitations should be made very clear.

Sen. Moss-Salentijn said this was not a serious issue.

Sen. Friedland added that there only a few courses in the proposed program even address clinical subjects. The rest are electives that are closer to each student’s main discipline.

Sen. O’Halloran added that there are clear licensing requirements for clinical practice as a psychoanalyst.

Sen. Breslow asked again about the purpose of the certificate. There are no special certificates for studying other subjects—Greek history, for example. There remains the risk of abuse with such a certificate, he said.

Sen. Eszter Polonyi (Stu., GSAS/Hum) said that in many humanities disciplines, psychoanalysis is used as a methodology primarily for analyzing documents. There is no clinical value to this research. She thought the resolution made clear that research and instruction in the humanities and social sciences neglect the clinical aspects of psychoanalysis.

Sen. Breslow remained unsatisfied on this point.

Sen. O’Halloran understood that certificates of this kind are a way of flagging certain expertise along with a doctorate, and are useful in the job market.

Sen. Polonyi said the psychoanalytic perspective offered a historical method.

The resolution was moved and seconded. By show of hands, the Senate then voted to approve the resolution, with three nays and four abstentions.

Committee reports.
Alumni Relations. Sen. Gerald Sherwin (Alum.), co-chair of the committee,
said the committee had met with a number of people who have a major impact on alumni throughout the university, including Donna MacPhee, VP for alumni relations; Fred Van Sickle, EVP for Development and Alumni Relations; Michael Griffin, who directs alumni clubs; and Kenneth Prewitt, who’s in charge of Columbia’s Global Centers. The committee had also met with Trustee Richard Witten, and would be meeting with Trustee Lisa Carnoy.

The other co-chair, Sen. Dan Libby (Alum.), said the committee seeks ways to strengthen the lifelong connection between the university and its alumni. This year the group had focused on alumni career services and career education. He and Sen. Sherwin had participated on a task force with alumni directors and career service directors across the schools.

In 2011-12 the committee would focus on Columbia’s global centers, and the contribution that alumni can make to that effort, particularly helping faculty and students have as full an experience in global centers as possible, through internships and research and job opportunities.

            Budget Review. No report.

Education. Sen. Moss-Salentijn said the committee had submitted its report, but she
asked committee member Alex Frouman (Stu., CC) to address one of its sections.

Sen. Frouman spoke about the issue of releasing course evaluation data to students, which the Student Affairs Committee would pursue in 2011-12. He said all Columbia schools currently conduct course evaluations at the end of the semester, but only a fraction of them release this information to students. He said a number of peer schools release such information to students. The Education Committee would consider whether and how to adopt such a policy at Columbia, after considering best practices elsewhere. The committee would also consult key stakeholders across the university, including graduate students who are also teaching courses.

            Elections Commission. Report distributed.

            External Relations. No report.

            Faculty Affairs. Committee co-chair Robert Pollack (Ten., A&S/NS) said he and co-chair Letty Moss-Salentijn had not submitted a document. He said grievances, the kind of business that takes up most of the committee’s time, are confidential. These are matters of faculty affairs, academic freedom, and tenure, and the committee’s charge is to solve problems quietly. Bringing them to the Senate would represent a failure of those deliberations. There had been no such failure this year.

Sen. Pollack said the committee was also looking issues of salary equity and job parameters. There was also an ongoing study of conflict of interest policy. Finally, the committee had an interesting, novel, and useful relationship with the office of the provost in the formation of the recommendations for fringe benefits. The committee didn’t make policy, but was invited to discuss the implications of the recommendations in a way that allowed it to represent faculty positions to the provost. Now that the recommendations were public and the president had addressed the issue before the faculty of Arts and Sciences and probably other faculties, Sen. Pollack thought his committee had an obligation to make one addition to that discussion, because the provost had not yet sent the final recommendations to the trustees, some of which would have difficult impacts on the lives of faculty.

Sen. Pollack said the problem was posed at the last A&S faculty meeting as buildings vs. people. This was a reference to the expansion into Manhattanville, the expansion of square footage in the Northwest Corner building, which would cost money that wouldn’t be available to the fringe pool, and would therefore add to the burden of the cutbacks in tuition and health benefits. But Sen. Pollack saw the faculty issue as more complex.

Buildings are necessary, but not sufficient, for a university, Sen. Pollack said. When he graduated from Columbia College almost exactly 50 years ago, he had received his start from Richard Neustadt in Contemporary Civilization, Robert Belknap in Lit Hum, Jack Beeson in Music Humanities, and Meyer Schapiro in Art Humanities, all of whom taught in an interdisciplinary core—pure teaching with no research component. This enterprise would not wind up in Manhattanville. But Sen. Pollack said those courses did in fact raise a building of sorts in him. And he thought he built that sort of building in the students he now taught in Frontiers of Science.

Sen. Pollack concluded on behalf of his committee by asking the provost and the trustees to assure that the building of physical buildings would not unnecessarily inhibit the building of those intellectual buildings by faculty.

Sen. O’Halloran said the administration task force on fringe benefits would be meeting again to consider input received at the various town hall and faculty meetings.

            Housing Policy. No report.

            Information Technology. Committee chair Julia Hirschberg (Ten., SEAS) referred to slides during her summary of the group’s two main projects this year, which she said were explained in more detail in the annual report, which had been distributed.

E-reader technology and e-content. Following up on its main project of the previous year, the committee talked with a number of hardware and content vendors interested in supporting innovation in education.

The IT committee also considered Columbia’s own efforts along these lines, meeting with several people from the Libraries, which are doing an enormous amount of work in developing e content and also in supporting various kinds of access by various types of devices. The committee learned a lot from these meetings, and urged other groups to ask the Libraries for guidance through the maze of available possibilities in e-technology.

The committee also learned about efforts in Columbia schools. Business would be conducting a summer trial of two courses using an e-content provider called Kno, with hardware that actually resembles a textbook. In the Medical School, every intern now seems to have an iPad, which provides access to a lot of medical data that they can just carry around as they visit their patients.

The committee’s own recommendations were highly specific to Columbia. Technologies and content were changing rapidly, and no single approach would be likely to suit all Columbia schools. But for the students the technological revolution was under way. So every Columbia school would have to figure out some solutions. The committee’s main recommendation was that every school should appoint someone to manage the use of e-technologies. The committee also suggested some exploratory steps for that person to take. Sen. Hirschberg said that if people don’t start soon, they may be overwhelmed by the changes, and be desperate to catch up.

Data governance. The committee formed three subcommittees to address the following problems:

  1. Policies, Procedures and Training. There are many rules on data security at Columbia that few people know about. This situation raises serious educational and legal issues.
  2. Data Quality and Management. There is a lot of overlap but little consistency about storage procedures for Columbia’s many databases. These variations make it difficult for different parts of the administration to work together.
  3. Privacy, Compliance and Security. It’s very difficult to find out who actually owns data and how sensitive it is.

Sen. Hirschberg said people from a wide range of schools and administrative sectors participated in deliberations on these very important issues. To applause, she singled out for special thanks Norberto Govin, of the Office of Institutional Research and Planning, who helped assemble these subcommittees.

Sen. Hirschberg said the committee’s main recommendation to the provost was that Columbia should create a permanent data governance committee to deal with these three kinds of issues. She said this problem was critical for the university, and there was no other single body addressing it now.

            Libraries. Committee co-chair Samuel Silverstein (Ten., P&S) said the committee would have a formal report in the fall. It held its third annual joint meeting with the Education and IT committees. He said the Medical School library was still not under the governance of the Columbia University Libraries, a topic the committee planned to take up next year. He said the Libraries Committee had also been concerned about data and data management, as well as about the National Science Foundation’s new regulations requiring a lot of boilerplate at the front and back of grants. He expressed appreciation to the Libraries for posting the boilerplate that Rice University had thoughtfully put on the web to satisfy many NSF regulations.

Sen. O’Halloran expressed a personal interest in finding that boilerplate, because composing her own on a recent grant application had been time-consuming. She said it would be helpful to have that information available.

            Campus Planning and Physical Development. Sen. Breslow, the chair, said he would present an annual report in the fall.

            Research Officers. Sen. Savin, the chair, said he would present a report in the fall.

            Commission on the Status of Women. Sen.O’Halloran urged senators to review this report, which had been distributed. It addressed recommendations of the administration task force on fringe benefits, and raised the issue of coverage for in vitro fertilization.

            Structure and Operations. The report had been distributed. Committee chair Ron Mazor identified two issues: the confidentiality guidelines that the Senate had just passed, and the question of an official position on the presence of media at Senate meetings. The latter would be an issue for next year.

Sen. Mazor noted that the roster of the Commission on the Status of Women has more members on its roster than the group’s mandate allows. He understood that this issue was being cleared up in the Executive Committee.

            Student Affairs. Committee chair Tao Tan (Bus.), the committee chair, presented the annual report, with PowerPoint slides. He listed three main goals for the year now ending:

    1. To develop support for initiatives to improve the student experience and the quality of education.

--Graduate student center. Students presented a report at the September 24 plenary calling for a new center; a resolution endorsing the report won unanimous Senate support. Funding for the center was announced on January 11. In addition, student senator Mi Wang (GSAS/NS) took the student report to CUMC administrators and won approval to add a space specifically for graduate students in the new Vagelos Center uptown.

--Facilities fees. Students worked out an agreement with Dean Carlos Alonso—also announced on January 11—to eliminate facilities fees for GSAS students in the Humanities and the Social Sciences, which had grown 22 percent in the past five years. The savings amounts to about $700 of pre-tax income, a significant amount to a doctoral student.

--Intercampus shuttle. Students worked on a plan to improve intercampus shuttle service, with help from the Education Committee. A report was issued on February 9, intensive negotiations began in March, and the shuttle schedule was reconfigured, with implementation expected in the fall.

CUIT student developer initiative. Sen. Kenny Durell (CC) spearheaded an effort, with a key assist from Sen. Julia Hirschberg, to persuade CUIT to tap the extraordinary computer science talent in the student body. A new arrangement will be announced in the fall to enlist students in CUIT’s efforts to develop and refine computer applications used every day by the Columbia community.

    1. To play a leading role in addressing major policy issues.


Smoking. Deliberations on a new policy governing smoking on campus have taken two years. Student Affairs, led by Sen. Frouman, negotiated a compromise solution, adopted by the Senate in December, of restricting smoking to no less than 20 feet away from campus buildings. Sen. Tan acknowledged that a number of people in the room might prefer a full ban, and he said they might be right. But the typical pace of change in university policy is gradual. Students were happy to support such a pace in this case.

ROTC. This was the most important issue of the year, Sen. Tan said. He said he would not claim credit—either for himself or for Student Affairs—for the outcome of the Senate’s ROTC deliberations. But he was proud that the Columbia Senate reached out and engaged the community in deliberations, inviting feedback. Some peer institutions had reached similar decisions on ROTC without much consultation. The Senate ROTC Task Force received 120 well-written statements from students, faculty, staff and alumni. Hundreds of people showed up at our public hearings—500 at the last one, possibly the largest open event in the history of the Senate. There was also a survey of 11,000 students. In every respect the Senate process had been participatory, deliberative—a goal the students had sought from the beginning.

    1. To set and maintain the highest professional standards to ensure professionalism and effectiveness for the Student Affairs Committee in years to come.

Board of visitors. Student Affairs wanted to form a self-perpetuating board to provide independent, non-executive advice to coach and advise the present student Senate delegation. Students found people so dedicated to the Senate that they are willing to provide time and energy to mentor current student senators on management, leadership, and conduct. An example was former Student Affairs chair Christopher Riano (GS ‘07), who drove from Washington, D.C., very early that day in order to attend the last Student Affairs meeting of the year. The board would eventually grow to nine members, with six appointed so far.

Next year’s SAC leaders. Sen. Tan announced the election of Sens. Adil Ahamed (Bus.) and Alex Frouman (CC) as next year’s Student Affairs co-chairs.

On a personal note, Sen. Tan said he felt the same thrill walking through the 116th Street gates earlier that day as he had felt almost exactly eight years earlier, when he arrived as an admitted Columbia College applicant for Days on Campus. Among his experiences as a graduate and undergraduate student, and briefly a Columbia employee, he would particularly treasure his two years in the Senate.

Sen. O’Halloran thanked Sen. Tan for his leadership of the Student Affairs Committee, and looked forward to working with his successors. She thanked all senators for their service and, shortly before 3 pm, declared the Senate adjourned for the summer.

Respectfully submitted,


Tom Mathewson, Senate staff