University Senate                                                                    

Proposed: November 12, 2010




President Lee Bollinger, the chairman, called the Senate to order shortly after 1:15 pm in 407 Low.  Fifty-eight of 101 senators were present during the meeting.

Minutes and agenda.  The minutes of September 24 and the agenda were adopted as proposed.

President's report. The president said the year was now in full swing and going very well. The trustees at their October meeting had taken the major step of approving the first building in Manhattanville, the Mind Brain Behavior Institute in the Jerome Greene Science Center. In a small ceremony, the president noted that Columbia President Seth Low had held a small ceremony in 1895 to lay the cornerstone of Low Library, one of the first buildings to rise on the new 17-acre Morningside Heights campus.  Before the end of  November 2010, 115 years later, the first faculty from Arts and Sciences and SEAS will move into the Northwest Corner building, the last one built on this campus.  The president said that building points to the corner of the new campus in Manhattanville, which is also a little more than 17 acres.

So Columbia was now launching a new campus at the beginning of the 21st century as it completed construction of its main campus. The new project would take several decades; it would be the responsibility of the current administration in the early stages, but would have to be completed by a future generation. The president said that, with some mistakes along the way,  the Morningside campus was one of the greatest academic spaces in the world.  It was now up to the institution over a long period of time to accomplish something similar, but more in tune with the sensibilities and intellectual needs of our time. 

Columbia units planning to move to Manhattanville include the School of the Arts, which already is using facilities in Prentis on the south side of 125th Street, but will also have the small “lantern” next to the Mind Brain Behavior center.  There will also be an academic conference center now known as the “bowtie” building.  The president said SIPA had long-range plans to relocate there, and the Business School has short-term plans to move out of Uris and into the heart of  the Manhattanville development.  A $100 million gift from B-School alumnus Henry Kravis was recently announced. Earlier in the week the president had addressed the B School board of overseers.  He said the board was completely dedicated to raising the funds to move the Business School to Manhattanville.

With the university poised to cross the $4 billion mark in its capital campaign, and then to continue the momentum to support various key academic initiatives, the president anticipated some major advances for the institution in the near future and longer-term future.

The president added that he had agreed to stay at Columbia for at least another five years.  He said he made that decision because he believes in what the university is doing, and that it has as much potential as any university.  It was already one of the truly exceptional institutions in the world, and had every opportunity to be as good as anything on the planet at thinking about new knowledge and teaching younger people how to get there.  The president said he was completely committed to the institution, and proud and happy to be doing his job. He thanked everyone present for all they do for the institution as well.

Executive Committee chair Sharyn O'Halloran (Ten., SIPA) thanked the president for continuing, adding that his work at Columbia had been extraordinary. She said the president and the Senate had been able to develop a strong collaborative relationship that had allowed the university to move forward on a number of important policies. There was applause.

Sen. O'Halloran summarized issues the Executive Committee was currently considering.
Community Benefits Agreement.  Sen.O'Halloran, who also served as co-chair of External Relations, asked her co-chair Liya Yu (Stu., GSAS/SS) to comment on the committee's deliberations on the Manhattanville Community Benefits Agreement.

Sen. Yu said a subcommittee on the CBA had met once.  She said that although Columbia had provided the money called for  in the agreement, it could not tell the Local Development Corporation what to do with the money. However, Columbia can prepare for any requests that will come up for in-kind benefits such as access to libraries and athletic facilities.  But it was also important to make sure that Columbia’s identity and reputation are being communicated to the community in the right way, that the CBA is doing all the good that it is meant to do, and that it is perceived to be doing that as well.

            Proposal for an ROTC color guard.  Sen. O'Halloran said that the Executive Committee at its October 15 meeting had taken up a proposal from Columbia students enrolled in off-campus ROTC programs to provide a color guard for regular flag ceremonies on the Morningside campus. She then read part of a statement that the committee had approved on this subject: “The Executive Committee believes Columbia should allow the participation of all Columbia students—indeed all members of the Columbia community—in campus ceremonies honoring the flag, subject to any logistical or administrative considerations.  For example, we ask participants in such ceremonies, particularly in the early morning hours, to exclude music and other sounds that have potential to disturb other members of our community.”  

The president commented that issues related to ROTC were fraught with complications, most notably the conflict between “Don't Ask, Don't Tell,” the current law prohibiting homosexuals from serving openly in the military, and the university’s antidiscrimination policies. He said there was a widespread sense that DADT appeared—happily—to be destined to go away.  He thought many members of  the Columbia community want to participate in ROTC, and the university should support them to an extent that is consistent with Columbia's values.  His own view over the years had been that the University Senate was the appropriate body to discuss issues connected to ROTC.  He said everyone was aware of the Senate debate and decision on ROTC in 2005.  Now, he said, the Executive Committee had formulated a way of thinking about ROTC-related issues with respect to honoring the flag that he considered very sound.

            Administration task force on fringe benefits.  Sen. O'Halloran, a member of the task force, said Linda Nilsen, assistant VP for benefits in Human Resources, would update senators later in the meeting on the open enrollment period for 2011 benefits. Sen. O'Halloran said the task force was hard at work studying data on fringe benefits and thinking about the values of the institution and ways in which Columbia can maintain sustainable benefits packages.  She thanked the administration, particularly VP Nilsen, for her work with the task force.

            Tobacco policy.  Sen. O'Halloran reminded senators of the plenary presentation a year earlier of new recommendations on smoking policy from Michael O'Neil of the office of Scott Wright, VP for Student and Administrative Services.  The recommendations would be presented again to External Relations shortly, and may be forwarded to the Senate after that. She thought this subject had benefited from community deliberations.

            New senators and a new student nominee to the Executive Committee.  Sen. Tao Tan (Stu., Bus.) announced the nomination of Sen. Scott Saverance (SIPA) to fill the student seat on the Executive Committee from which Sen. Andrew Springer (Journalism) had recently resigned.

The Senate then elected Sen. Saverance to the Executive Committee without dissent.

The secretary then read the names of six senators elected since the last meeting: Lydia Goehr, Boris Gasparov, and Stathis Gourgouris, all tenured Arts and Sciences professors in the Humanities; Graciela Chichilnisky (Ten., A&S/SS);  Tim Qin (Stu., SEAS undergrad), and Paul Brenner (Stu., SEAS grad).  He also announced the addition of Erica Richmond, a new student observer from Union Theological Seminary.  At the end of the list, there was applause.

Committee reports.
Campus Planning and Physical Development. Sen. Ron Prywes (Ten., A&S/NS), the previous year's committee chair, said the annual report had been distributed, and he would add only a few comments, before turning the floor over to EVP for Facilities Joseph Ienuso.  Sen. Prywes said the committee was concerned about how the Northwest Corner would be occupied, since only eight professors were now moving in there, and there was room for 18.  The committee had learned in a meeting with the provost that there were plans to put more faculty in the NW Corner, but Sen. Prywes stressed the importance of hiring new faculty for the building (not just having current faculty move into it and vacate their present spaces) and also of deciding how the building would actually be run.  He said the committee would follow up on this issue.

Sen. Prywes mentioned other significant new projects, including the William Campbell sports complex at Baker Field, plans to add a medical education building and close the south end of Haven Avenue to make that part of CUMC feel more like a campus, and the graduate student center, which had been discussed at length at the previous plenary, and which he considered an important priority. 
Sen. Prywes said that the final report of the Task Force on Campus Planning, completed at the end of the previous year, had made significant recommendations for a series of committees bringing the Senate and the administration together in deliberations to determine what will happen in Manhattanville, as well as in space opened up on Morningside by units moving to Manhattanville.  He said it would be important to establish a committee structure that would be satisfactory to both the Senate and the administration.

Sen. Prywes mentioned the table of projects in the annual report, showing that the Trustees had approved barely half as many significant capital initiatives the previous year as in the years before that.  This dropoff might be attributable to tough economic times. At the same time, there were some very large projects coming along now, so the university had not paused for long.

Sen. Prywes finished by saying he had stepped down as committee chair, and Sen. Ronald Breslow (Ten., A&S/NS) had succeeded him. To applause, Sen. Breslow praised Sen. Prywes's work as chair. 

            Report from EVP for Facilities Joseph Ienuso.  EVP Ienuso, referring to slides and a    video presentation, offered updates on two projects.

Northwest Corner science building.  The first group of faculty members (11 assignments as of October 21, he said) would be moving into the building by the end of November, accompanied by construction and IT people who would try to assure a smooth transition for the new occupants. A similar effort would prepare the new library to open at the start of the spring term.

Mr. Ienuso showed various views of the building, including the lobby at the corner of 120th Street and Broadway, which would provide a new entrance at the north edge of campus; the new digital media center, in which several departmental science libraries will be consolidated; and a 154-seat lecture hall. 

Mr. Ienuso displayed a technology called Building Information Modeling (BIM), which enables engineers to render a building one system at a time and to eliminate mistakes normally made in the field, saving time and money. He said BIM could be used not only in the design and construction phases, but also in operating a finished building.

Turning to Manhattanville construction, EVP Ienuso showed the boundaries of the development zone: Broadway on the east side, 12th Avenue on the west side, the MTA site at 132nd Street on the north end, and 125th Street on the south side. He showed the buildings Columbia was planning to build in phase 1 of its development plan, and some possible uses further into the future. He stressed that all of this land had been rezoned, so that Columbia could now proceed with future buildings “as of right,” without further review.

Mr. Ienuso said it sometimes felt as if winning permission to build in Manhattanville had taken forever, but by another measure the whole process had gone very quickly. The city process was complete in December 2007, the state process in May 2009, and the Court of Appeals ruling allowing Columbia to pursue eminent domain in June 2010.

Mr. Ienuso showed the space cleared for construction of the Jerome L. Greene Science Center since December 2009, about half a city block.

Sen. Tan asked if any of the renderings Mr. Ienuso had shown would be made public.  Mr. Ienuso said they were already public in the sense that he had presented them in public numerous times. But he doesn't typically share the renderings.  One reason is that designs change, and sometimes a design image becomes fixed in people's minds even though it may be changed at a later planning stage.  The result can be misunderstanding and many questions later on.  He said the model he had just shown would certainly look slightly different in two weeks.

Sen. Daniel Savin (Research Officers) asked when renovations to his building—Pupin Hall, built around 1925—could be scheduled.  Mr. Ienuso said the current plan was to start with the building envelope. A three-year process of replacing all the windows had begun. The next two steps, improving the electrical service and determining whether the building can be centrally cooled, had not been scheduled yet.

Sen. Esteban Reichberg (Stu., SAPP)  suggested that architecture students were learning the new technology that Mr. Ienuso had described, and asked if they could be involved in trying to apply it in classroom exercises.  Mr. Ienuso said he had a good working relationship with SAPP dean Mark Wigley and would welcome involvement of architects at all levels in mastering the new technology.

            Presentation from Linda Nilsen, AVP for Benefits in Human Resources. Ms. Nilsen said open enrollment for all faculty and staff in benefits plans for 2011 would begin on October 25,
and she would summarize the changes officers face in choosing their benefits for 2011.

Open enrollment this year would include expos at Morningside, CUMC, and Lamont, where all the carriers would be present to answer questions, as well as Know Your Numbers, an event providing free on-site screenings, including full blood tests for officers who register in advance.

Using a PowerPoint presentation, Ms. Nilsen turned to the subject of health care reform legislation, which had been adopted by the Congress in March 2010 and would mean certain changes in 2011:

  1. Dependent children up to the age of 26, whether students or not, will be covered on their parents' health plans starting January 1, 2011.
  2. Flexible spending accounts will no longer cover over-the-counter products unless they're prescribed.

3.   No lifetime or annual dollar caps will be permitted on essential benefits. The
complication is that essential benefits have not yet been defined by the
government. However, Columbia is required to make what’s called a good-                              faith effort. And after a review of Columbia benefits with legal counsel, the                       university believes it is compliant with the new law.
4.   The new law requires people to report, on their W-2s, the value of the health
care they have received. The government has postponed the implementation
of this requirement till 2012.   

  1. Henceforth officers must provide proof of the eligibility of new dependents

for benefits.

Increases in out-of-network medical costs. Turning to changes in Columbia's benefits in 2011, Ms. Nilsen said the university was increasing the deductible and the out-of-pocket maximum on out-of-network medical expenses. For the 90 percent of Columbia officers in point-of-service plans, there will be no changes in the cost of in-network benefits. Ms. Nilsen said the deductible in the indemnity plan would also rise.

Increases in prescription drug co-pays.  Ms. Nilsen explained that prescription drug co-pays at retail pharmacies will remain at $10 for generic drugs in 2011, but will rise from $15 to $20 for brand-name drugs for which there is no generic equivalent and to $45 for brand-name drugs for which generic versions are available.  There would be analogous increases for longer-term mail-order prescriptions.  An appeals process would be available for people who cannot use generic versions of certain drugs. 

            Health care flexible spending account.  In recognition of the increases in deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums for out-of-network expenses, as well as for the CIGNA indemnity plan, the university also decided to increase annual limits on flexible spending accounts (the pre-tax money set aside to help pay for health care) from $5K to $10K for officers only.  She reminded senators that these were not health savings accounts. If they put money into this account and don’t use it, they will lose it at the end of the year. 

In response to a question, Ms. Nilsen said flexible spending money not used goes back into the fringe pool.

In answer to another question, Ms. Nilsen said all the information she was reviewing at this meeting would also be available online.  She said it was also in the mail on the way to every beneficiary.

Another senator asked what guarantees of privacy there would be for the results of blood tests administered at the expos. Ms. Nilsen said the blood work would be handled by a company subcontracted by United Healthcare. Columbia would not be involved in that transaction, which will end when beneficiaries walk away with their results, to bring to their doctors.

Contribution increases.  Ms. Nilsen said Columbia retains its commitment to paying 78 percent of the cost of health insurance, while beneficiaries pay the other 22 percent.  So the university and each beneficiary will share the costs of any increases in the same proportions.  She showed the 2010 premiums for family coverage in all of the point-of-service plans for beneficiaries with salaries between $80K and $175K (salary tier 4 of 5), and showed the average percentage increases for those plans in 2011 for all beneficiaries in tiers 1-4: 10 percent for Aetna 90, 17 percent for CIGNA 90, 10 percent for United Healthcare 90, 20 percent for CIGNA 100, and 13 percent for United Healthcare 100.  Percentage increases were somewhat higher for the more expensive (100) plans for people in salary tier 5 (above $175K).

Ms. Nilsen said one reason why premiums were rising so steeply in recent years is a sharp increase in the number of high-cost claimants (who need more than $50K in medical services a year), from around 150 in 2008 to around 250 in 2010.  The three top conditions causing these big claims are cancer (which cost $6.2 million in 2009), osteoarthritis ($1.7 million), and coronary artery disease/hypertension ($1.5 million). 

Ms. Nilsen said one step in addressing these trends was to form the task force that Sen. O’Halloran had described, which was looking at benefits in general but focusing on health care to find ways to manage costs and improve the overall health of the Columbia population.

She mentioned some steps that employees and family members could take right away:
1.  Whenever possible, use in-network services, which cost 45-55 percent less than
out-of-network services, and provide savings both to the individual and the  
2.  Use the health care flexible spending accounts, which enable employees to save
money by paying for medical services with pre-tax dollars, and enable the university
to save as well.
3. Participate in care management programs, which now are used by less than 10 percent
of the Columbia population.  In these programs the insurance companies offer guidance to people with serious conditions about treatment, second opinions, etc. 
4. For particular conditions, use centers of excellence, which draw on the combined medical expertise of doctors at CUMC. Insurance companies also provide centers of excellence.  

Sen. Robert Pollack (Ten., A&S/NS) asked about the trend in the number of people costing more than $50K a year.  Did it reflect an increase in the fraction of older people in the population?  Ms. Nilsen said the average age of the population had not risen between 2008 and 2010.  She said the task force was starting to look at that level of detail, in search of underlying trends. 

Sen. Samuel Silverstein (Ten., P&S) said he understood how flexible spending accounts save money for individuals.  But how do they save money for the university?  Ms. Nilsen said any reduction in an employee’s taxable wage base means a reduction in federal and FICA taxes.  The university has to match FICA tax payments, so any reduction in that cost means savings for the university as well. 

Sen. Consuelo Mora-McLaughlin (Admin. Staff, CUMC) asked why the increases Ms. Nilsen had presented were only for officers.  Ms. Nilsen said increases for support staff are governed by union contracts. 

Presidential Advisory Committee on Sexual Assault (PACSA).  Karen Singleton, director of the Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Program, reviewed the history of PACSA, which she co-chairs with Jeffrey Scott, EVP for Student and Administrative Services. 

She said PACSA was formed in September 2007, in response to a request from the University Senate, which had renewed the policy on student sexual misconduct the previous spring.  The committee sought to tackle the problem of sexual assault as a public health issue, focusing on the rates of sexual violence against college-age students.  The Justice Department had just released statistics suggesting that one in five women would be the victim of sexual assault or attempted sexual assault during college.  There was particular concern about first-year female students.

It became clear to PACSA that the campus sexual assault rate required a multi-faceted, continuing community response, beyond providing services to students after assaults have occurred.  Ms. Singleton said the next step involves getting to the root of the problem and preventing sexual assault before it occurs.  Ending sexual violence must be treated as central to the mission of the university, so that every member of the community has a role to play.  Ms. Singleton said Columbia has an opportunity to become a national leader in this effort.  She said the 21-member PACSA roster that had been distributed for the meeting showed representation from a broad range of departments and schools. 

She said PACSA adopted a four-stage model for addressing sexual violence on campus.   The first stage was defining and measuring the problem, a project that occupied PACSA’s first two years.  PACSA heard from nationally recognized experts on sexual assault, and learned about national and campus statistics on sexual assault and about a range of related offenses, including stalking, relationship violence, and sexual harassment.  Members also learned about the sexual assault policy document that had been distributed for the present meeting, including the disciplinary procedure and the panelists who are trained to hear cases. 

Stage 2 involved a needs assessment and strategic implementation.  In 2009-10 PACSA used the American College Health Association’s toolkit, Prevention of Sexual Violence on Campus, to look at Columbia’s strengths and weaknesses in sexual violence prevention, and decided to focus on three projects. 
1. Outreach to staff and faculty to increase awareness of the scope of sexual assault by educating them about Clery reporting guidelines, and enhancing their skills as first responders. 
2. Expanded recruitment and training of panelists to hear sexual assault cases.
3. A statement of concern about sexual violence and community expectations about respect, safety and consent, to be endorsed by the president or provost and sent to all students. 
Ms. Singleton said PACSA continued to work on ways to increase awareness of the Disciplinary Procedure for Sexual Assault (DPSA).  A campus survey in October 2009 found that many students were either somewhat or completely unfamiliar with the DPSA.  At its April 2010 meeting, PACSA decided to overhaul its website, to make the policy more accessible to students.  It also discussed the unprecedented number of formal sexual assault complaints—five—that were filed during the spring 2010 semester, and decided to consult with the General Counsel’s office on ways to clarify further the process of using the DPSA.  Ms. Singleton said Associate General Counsel Donna Fenn was at the present meeting to answer questions.  

The review led to the following revisions and clarifications to the DPSA: 
1. Greater consistency of language, choosing one term from pairs that were used interchangeably in the previous draft: penalty versus sanction, or DPSA manager versus administrator, etc. 
2. Clarification of the range of sanctions.  The goal here was to be consistent with other judicial affairs processes on campus.  All sanctions are now listed in the document. 
3. Clarification of the appeals process. 
4. Notification to the respondent’s dean that a complaint has been filed.  Ms. Singleton said this was a campus safety issue, and interim measures were sometimes needed. 
5. Inclusion of a definition of consent in the policy. 
6. Optional involvement of a judicial affairs representative from the respondent’s school. 

PACSA had now completed two stages of its four-stage process, Ms. Singleton said. Stage 3 would involve continuation of implementation, and stage 4 would consist of evaluations of its efforts so far and a redefinition of goals.  The committee sought further guidance from the president and would strategize about future projects.  Its goal was to see sexual assault prevention education well integrated within the fabric of Columbia, much like concerns about stress and campus theft and alcohol abuse.  PACSA believes that individual behavior is largely shaped by social norms, and that changing the environment can create lasting cultural change. 

As a first step toward this goal, PACSA has endorsed a new initiative called Talk 20, responding to survivors of sexual assault.  The idea is to travel around campus to educate stakeholders.

Additionally, a campaign to end sexual violence by 2020 and an interactive website to create a living document for that campaign were among issues discussed for the current academic year.  A particular focus will be on increasing reporting of sexual assault.

Ms. Singleton invited questions, but there were none.

The president thanked Ms. Singleton. He said everyone in the room considered sexual assault an intolerable problem, and said it was almost unthinkable that the institution should have to devote so much energy to combating it. He said the community appreciated the committee’s efforts.

New business.
--Resolutions for new dual degree programs linking the School of International and Public Affairs with the following institutions (Education):
--SIPA MIA with the MPP from the London School of Economics
                        --SIPA MIA with the MPP from Tokyo’s Graduate School of Public Policy
                        --SIPA MPA with the MPP from Tokyo’s Graduate School of Public Policy

Co-chair Letty Moss-Salentijn asked Sen. Alex Frouman (Stu., CC) to present the programs.
He said SIPA already had dual degree programs with institutions in Brazil, Singapore, and France.  There was also an existing program with the LSE.  Due to recent changes in the LSE’s policies and requirements, SIPA found room to extend the MPA program to include an MIA joint degree with the LSE, and that was the motivation behind the first proposal.  For the other two programs, SIPA wants to be a partner with a leading international affairs school linked to Tokyo University to give students in both the MIA and MPA programs a chance to study in Japan and add an international perspective to their degrees. 

The president said these were wonderful examples of outreach to other institutions of great quality around the world, and would give students an opportunity to study there as well. 

Sen. Scott Saverance (Stu., SIPA) said some students in dual degree programs in his and other constituencies had complained about their current execution and the availability of services, specifically faculty advising.  He understood that the Education Committee would be looking into these complaints.  He said Columbia should make sure that it is covering its bases on existing dual degree programs and that the same problems don’t appear in new programs.

Sen. O’Halloran said she chaired a committee reviewing all of SIPA’s international affairs programs.  She said the problem Sen. Saverance had raised was actively being discussed, and the quality of these programs and SIPA’s capacity to service them were essential considerations.

The Senate then approved all three programs without dissent.

--Certificate of Advanced Studies in Dental Public Health (CDM). Without discussion or dissent, the Senate approved the certificate.

            Certification of professional achievement in dental implantology.  Sen. Moss-Salentijn reported that the Education Committee had also approved the certification in implantology, a non-degree program that does not require the approval of the full Senate.

President Bollinger adjourned the meeting shortly after 2:30 pm.

Respectfully submitted,


Tom Mathewson, Senate staff