University Senate                                                                                            Proposed: May 3, 2013




President Lee Bollinger called the Senate to order shortly after 1:15 pm in 106 Jerome Greene Hall. Fifty of 94 senators were present during the meeting.

Minutes and agenda. The minutes of the March 1 meeting and the agenda were adopted as proposed.

President’s remarks.
           Update on five current dean searches.
Dental School. P&S Dean Lee Goldman had told the president the day before that this search was nearing its conclusion.
EVP for Arts and Sciences. A search committee chaired by Prof. Robert Jervis was on schedule. The president hoped to make an appointment by the end of the academic year.
SIPA. The president is conducting this search, which has a few interviews to go, but is also on track.
Journalism. The president was pleased to announce the appointment of Steven Coll, whom he called “one of the major journalists of our time.”
SEAS. Mary Boyce, chair of the MIT mechanical engineering department, will be the new dean. The president said Provost Coatsworth had chaired an open search that was well attended and highly regarded.

            Global centers. The Rio center in Brazil had its formal launch two weeks earlier. That is the last of Columbia’s eight global centers—a development process that has taken four years. No more global centers are planned for the time being. The president anticipated that the centers will have a profound effect on teaching and research at Columbia in the years to come.

Sen. Paige West (Barnard, Fac.) said she chairs the university seminar on ecology and culture. She said some of her colleagues at Columbia and other universities won’t participate in the seminars because of the labor dispute now going on in Faculty House, where the seminars are based. She asked if the Senate could discuss this issue briefly, so that senators could explain the process to their colleagues.

The president said he was under stern restrictions on what he could say about current labor negotiations. He said that it the university’s policy to work with its unionized employees to achieve satisfactory terms of employment. He said Columbia has achieved an excellent record during his 11 years as president, reaching agreements in every case that reflect the administration’s concern for employees, as well as its fiduciary responsibilities to the university. He couldn’t say anything about this particular negotiation, except that he has been paying attention to it and that he was optimistic that it would be successfully resolved.

A Spectator reporter began to ask a question. Executive Committee chair Sharyn O’Halloran explained that only senators can ask questions. She added that if senators feel the need to have a broad conversation about the Faculty House labor dispute, she would be happy to help figure out an appropriate forum, and make sure that the right principals are taking part.

Executive Committee chair’s remarks.
            Online Learning Task Force. Sen. O’Halloran said the task force would be sending out surveys on online learning to all 300,000-plus living alumni, as well as all students and faculty. She said online issues would be part of the quality-of-life survey that was going out to all 28,000 students. She anticipated a successful survey, and said there had already been some 400 responses from faculty.

            Elections. Sen. O’Halloran said spring elections were under way. She urged senators to bring questions to the Senate staff.

New business.
Education Committee resolutions.
Joint M.A./M.B.A. (Teachers College and Business School). Education Committee co-chair Letty Moss-Salentijn explained that this degree combination is designed for a select group who are seeking skills needed to lead private schools, which include leadership and a sound background in economics and business. She said her committee endorsed the program.

Sen. Ronald Breslow (Ten., A&S/Natural Sciences) asked why the program was aimed only at private schools. He expressed concern about the appearance of elitism. Sen. Breslow said his concern was a public relations issue—the appearance that there’s no need to provide advanced training for public school leaders.

Kerith Gardner, executive director of faculty affairs and special projects in the dean’s office of the Columbia Business School, explained that the degree was for private, international, and charter schools.

Ms. Gardner said the kinds of schools identified in the proposal have particular needs because they function essentially as small businesses. She said the program wouldn’t exclude a public school leader, but the skills taught in the program are most urgently needed by private schools.

Sen. Moss-Salentijn said the committee had not discussed this issue at any length.

The president offered the following summary: a concern was raised during discussion that the representation of the program should not appear to exclude public education.

Sen. Breslow expressed satisfaction with this summary. He said Columbia should not resemble a private fortress, excluding the public.

The Senate then approved the resolution without dissent.

           M.S./Ph.D. in Social Work. Education Committee co-chair James Applegate (Ten., A&S/Natural Sciences) said the proposal is a reworking of two existing programs. In social work, the master’s and the Ph.D. are significantly more separate degrees than they are in, say, the Arts and Sciences. The master’s is for practitioners, the Ph.D. for teachers of social work. The problem is that both programs teach a good deal of the same material, and a practitioner who wanted to pursue a Ph.D. would have to retake a substantial portion of the curriculum. The present proposal removes this duplication of effort, saving students about a year of coursework. The challenge was to make sure the coursework was appropriate for both practitioners and academics.

The Senate then voted unanimously to approve the resolution.

            Resolution to Amend the Senate Elections Code (Elections Commission).   Elections Commission chair Steven Jean (Stu., Law, Nonsen.) said the Commission and the Structure and Operations Committee together approved several amendments to the 1995 code. Most of the changes involved language, but there were also several substantive changes covering procedures and electronic usage. One of the changes was to delegate procedures for petitions by candidates alleging infractions of the codes to the individual divisional election commissions at each school. The code also has been changed to expand the list of acceptable balloting practices to include electronic balloting, consistent with existing practice at most of the schools. The code has also been amended to expand acceptance of electronic communications for advertising candidacies through Facebook message boards and other means. And finally, the code has been amended, at the end, in terms of notice, to direct candidates to the Senate website to look at the By-laws. Statutes and Rules of the University Senate.

The Senate then approved the resolution unanimously by voice vote.

            Resolution to adopt a Tobacco Products Reduction and Control Policy (Smoking Policy Task Force, with accompanying report and a map showing proposed smoking locations). Task Force co-chairs Brendan O’Flaherty (Ten., A&S/Social Sciences) and Francis Y. Lee (Ten., P.&S) presented the resolution. Sen. Lee briefly reviewed the history of the issue and the deliberations leading to the present resolution.

Sen. O’Flaherty summarized task force efforts since the March 1 plenary. One point of agreement at that meeting was the importance of smoking cessation efforts in any tobacco control policy. In response to comments there, the group met with Human Resources Vice President Louis Bellardine and some senior aides. They discussed the state-of-the-art cessation programs available to students and the HR programs for faculty and staff, which are not as good. The Human Resources people said they would review current programs, and estimate the cost of improvements. But this will be a significant project. Sen. O’Flaherty said the first resolved clause —urging the administration to move forward with cessation programs—is not an empty one.

Sen. O’Flaherty said the group’s conversation with Human Resources reinforced the wisdom of waiting till 2014 to put the new policy into effect.

Sen. O’Flaherty said the task force also discussed labor issues with Human Resources leaders. He said they believe the question of sufficient time to smoke during breaks can be handled in regular negotiations with unions if there is sufficient time to deal with it. The question of smoking cessation programs for staff will also have to be negotiated with unions—another reason to wait till 2014 to establish a new policy.
Another issue raised at the March 1 plenary was the status of the Nevis campus under a new policy. Sen. O’Flaherty said the task force knew nothing about Nevis, and felt it was beyond the group’s expertise to deal with smoking issues there.

The other issue from the last meeting was the map, which showed only off-campus smoking areas. Some senators had complained that this map meant the task force was in effect proposing a total smoking ban. The intention of the task force was not to have a ban, Sen. O’Flaherty said, but a smoking control policy. Since the meeting, some people made suggested additional designated locations, and the task force had added four smoking areas. He mentioned the locations: on the overpass over Amsterdam, between East Campus and the main campus; in the quad between Fayerweather and Avery; near the Northwest Corner building, and near Butler Library. Sen. O’Flaherty said Facilities had seen this map. He said these suggested locations were not perfect, but the task force wanted to make sure that those who were rightly concerned that the proposal was in effect a ban are disabused of that idea. He said the task force recognizes that there are smokers on this campus, and cares about their well-being.

Sen. O’Flaherty summarized the main recommendations of the resolution:

      1. that Columbia’s cessation programs be brought to the highest quality possible;.
      2. that smoking be limited to designated smoking areas, effective July 1, 2014.
      3. that another task force implement the proposed policy. This would not be “kicking the can down the road,” but a recognition that the skills, knowledge and time needed to implement a new policy belong to the administration, not to a group of senators who can only devote a fraction of their time to the project.

Sen. O’Flaherty said he trusted the implementation task force to update and improve the selection of designated smoking areas, and to manage the issue of cessation programs. Perhaps most importantly, the implementing group will handle issues of compliance and signage. The 2010 resolution did not provide for signage, and there hasn’t been much of it. As Sen. Lee found, there has been only limited compliance with the current policy. Compliance must be achieved.
Sen. O’Flaherty thanked all members of the task force for their work, as well as administrators from Human Resources, Health Services, and Facilities.

Sen. O’Flaherty said he knew the present proposal was controversial. One group of senators, whom he characterized as prohibitionists, want a total ban; another group, whom he characterized as libertarians, resist rules and want to see more opportunities for smokers. He saw a great deal of wisdom in both positions—so much, in fact, that the task force was left with none at all. So they became zoners, regulators, thinking that that’s the best way to move forward and to achieve a fair compromise, and to reduce some of the enmity in the present discussion.  

Sen. O’Halloran thanked the task force for its work and its collaborative spirit. She noted that the implementation task force will evaluate these recommendations, and may find some feasible and others unfeasible. That will be a continuing discussion. She saw the present resolution as the legislation to allow that dialogue to take place.

Discussion.  Sen. Justin Carter (Stu., GS) said the task force review last year concluded that enforcement of the present policy was non-existent. What’s the point of instituting further regulation, he said, and still not having an enforcement mechanism?
Sen. O’Flaherty said he didn’t care about enforcement, but about compliance. Sen. O’Halloran understood him to be saying that if you make a policy that’s workable, people will comply.

Sen. O’Flaherty said other universities that have launched similar policies have made great efforts to publicize them, putting up signage and getting the entire community involved. He said this seemed to be the experience at Barnard, as well as CUMC. The task force was not asking for something hasn’t been done before. Without the involvement of the entire community, there’s no other way to enforce a policy. He said there are many rules on campus that people comply with voluntarily. He hoped smoking policy could become another one.

Sen. Carter said that if the present policy has not achieved compliance, why should the new resolution be implemented? Why weren’t communication and outreach provided for the present policy? Why not make the best of existing regulations, rather than pursuing an approach that will offend libertarians like himself? Why limit the rights of smokers now, when there was no compliance on the old policy?

Sen. O’Flaherty said the new policy will be much clearer. Who knew where 20 feet are? Another benefit is that the new policy will emerge from a deliberative process, with people thinking seriously about which locations are acceptable. He said the fact that something didn’t happen when there was no enforcement doesn’t mean that the same result will occur if people make a major effort to achieve compliance.

Sen. O’Halloran understood Sen. O’Flaherty to be calling for a clearer policy, with an active body pursuing and evaluating implementation efforts. The policy can be also amended if necessary.

Sen. Samuel Silverstein (Ten., P&S) said that as a physician and a proponent of a total ban, he was disappointed in the conclusions of the task force. But he applauded the group for focusing on prevention for everyone on this campus. On the question of compliance, he said no one in the room would condone drunken driving. He said the use of tobacco products is an equally detrimental habit for the health of friends and colleagues. He hoped that all senators—and members of the community—would do their best to encourage people who do smoke to stop it. He said a university investment in prevention is a very high priority. He also guessed that the issue would not be going away, and that as time evolves, the university will at some point muster the courage to do what 800 other universities have done, and just say no. He said that is a stronger and more principled position, and Columbia University ought to be on the side of the principle rather than vacillating, as the present proposal does.

Sen. O’Halloran said the American Cancer Society had just come out with a report that looks at the evolution of universities’ tobacco policies over time. She thought this account might be helpful in the present discussion.

Sen. Cohen’s amendment. Sen. Mark Cohen (NT, Bus.) said it was clear that there was support for the conciliatory position set forth in the task force resolution, but he argued that creating zones, though well intentioned, is unworkable, and likely to be no more effective than the 20-foot restriction. He said the Senate should have the opportunity, at the present meeting, to consider striking that provision from the task force resolution. He offered an amendment that would accept the resolution before the Senate except for the provision for smoking zones on the Morningside campus.

Over the course of discussion, Sen. Cohen called for deleting paragraph 2, allowing smoking in designated areas, and replacing it with a provision prohibiting smoking anywhere within the perimeter of the Columbia campus and calling on people to voluntarily refrain from smoking any closer than 50 feet from any campus building beyond the campus perimeter. He also proposed to delete paragraphs 6 and 7.

Sen. Cohen said he supported smoking cessation efforts, and the idea of an implementation group. He said he didn’t know enough to comment on Nevis.

The parliamentarian and Sen. O’Halloran asked Sen. Cohen to write out his proposed amendments.

Sen. Venkatesh Hariharan (Stu., SEAS) asked why the American College Health Association includes smokeless tobacco in its definition of tobacco, and why that definition is in the resolution.

Sen. O’Flaherty said the task force decided to retain the definition including smokeless tobacco
primarily because these devices could affect the cleanliness of the campus over time.

Sen. Daniel Savin (Research Officers) asked if the task force had reached out to the director or anyone else to find out what it did not know about Nevis.

Sen. O’Flaherty said the task force had not had the time to do that.

Sen. Savin said Nevis, like the rest of the Morningside campus, is currently covered by the 20-foot rule. He called for an amendment saying the current policy will continue to apply to Nevis that campus adopts its own policy.

Sen. O’Flaherty accepted that amendment as friendly.

The parliamentarian asked Sen. Savin to write out his amendment.

In answer to a question from Sen. Sun (Stu., CC) Sen. O’Halloran said the rules require voting on any amendments before voting on the original resolution. If the amendment passes, it becomes part of the new resolution.

Sen. Sun thanked Sens. O’Flaherty and Lee for their work in preparing the resolution. He wished the Senate could vote on that first, instead of Sen. Cohen’s amendment.

The parliamentarian read the amendment from Sen. Cohen. He said paragraph 2 had been deleted altogether in Sen. Cohen’s amendment, with the following language substituted: “Smoking, as defined broadly, including all other tobacco products, shall be banned as a matter of policy throughout all areas within the boundaries of all university properties on the Morningside campus. Further, smoking within fifty feet of all campus and building entrances, and the exterior perimeters of all university property, should be prohibited by request where the University does not have legal authority to exert itself.”

Sen. O’Halloran opened the floor to discussion on the amendment.

Discussion of the Cohen amendment. Sen. Ian Lipkin (Ten., PH) said he was sensitive to libertarian issues, but the problem is the issue of second-hand smoke. It’s possible to reduce the dose by having smoking areas, but if you allow people who have to walk through these areas to become exposed to smoke, they’re at risk. That is why many in Public Health have zero tolerance for smoking. To protect the health of the entire community, Columbia has to ban smoking.

Sen. Cleo Abram (Stu., CC) asked how the amendment would affect agreements with unionized workers at Columbia.

Sen. O’Halloran said work rules covering breaks would have to be negotiated through union contracts. There used to be sufficient time to smoke during a break and get back to work before the end of it. If there’s a ban that might not be possible. But it will be negotiated in a contract.

Sen. O’Flaherty said Sen. Cohen’s amendment would take away much of the flexibility needed in those negotiations.

Sen. Cohen said that as far as he knew, wherever a categorical ban has been put in place, any outstanding union issues have been resolved for the betterment of the larger population of non-smokers. One reason to support a later, 2014 start date for a new policy is to give the administration time to work with its labor partners, to find acceptable solutions to this problem. But it should not, in and of itself, be viewed as a reason not to adopt a ban.

Sen. O’Flaherty asked the Senate to defeat the amendment. He believed it would not help to make the community work better. The way to achieve compliance is to have an atmosphere of mutual respect; the amendment would not promote that.

Sen. Owen Rambow (Research Officers) asked if there was scientific evidence about second-hand smoke outdoors.

Sen. O’Halloran said there is debate about this issue. She said there is a problem in confined spaces, and there are secondary conditions such as asthma and discomfort. Her sense was that studies are inconclusive about outdoor smoking.

Sen. Jeanine D’Armiento (Ten., P&S), a pulmonologist at the Medical Center, said she studies passive smoke exposure. Multiple studies show that the closer you are to a person smoking, the greater your exposure. If you’re standing on the street right next to someone, it’s essentially the same as if you were in a bar. Such studies are the basis for the outdoor ban in city parks.

Sen. Arthur Langer (NT, SCE) asked what the practical consequence would be if the amendment were adopted. Where would smokers go? Sen. O’Halloran said they would go fifty feet beyond the boundaries of the Morningside campus.

Sen. Langer asked what would be the impact on a smoker on Broadway outside of Lewisohn Hall, where windows might be open. Sen. O’Halloran said the smoker could be asked to move farther away voluntarily.

Sen. Cohen said the Medical Center has taken the position that it doesn’t want smokers on the sidewalk adjacent to medical buildings. CUMC doesn’t have legal authority to enforce that because those are city spaces, but it has requested voluntary compliance, with some success.

Sen. Applegate called the question.

Sen. O’Halloran asked for a second, received it, and said the question had been called.

Prompted by the chair, the parliamentarian then read and explained the amendment again.

Vote on the Cohen Amendment . The secretary reminded the audience that only current senators were eligible to vote on the amendment. By a show of hands, the Senate then rejected the amendment by a vote of 23-18, with one abstention.

Resumption of discussion of the original resolution; the Nevis amendment. The parliamentarian asked for clarification of the amendment about Nevis. Working with Sens. O’Flaherty and Savin, he recorded something close to the following as the new paragraph 3: “This policy does not apply to the Lamont campus, which is developing a policy, or the Columbia University Medical Center, which has its own no-smoking policy. The current policy, which prohibits smoking within twenty feet of buildings, will remain in force at Nevis, unless they adopt their own policy.” The parliamentarian understood that Sen. O’Flaherty considered Sen. Savin’s amendment friendly.

Sen. Wafaa El-Sadr (Ten., Public Health) asked if the task force considered having closed spaces outdoors—chambers—where people could be allowed to smoke.

Sen. O’Halloran said such construction was difficult, from regulatory and other points of view. The more feasible solution was an outdoor designated area.

Sen. O’Flaherty said the task considered various structures, but couldn’t figure out a way to make them work, or to persuade the university to spend money on them.

Sen. O’Flaherty added that the designated areas would have good signage.

A senator called the question. There was a second. Sen. O’Halloran said the Senate would now vote on the task force resolution with the friendly amendment about Nevis.

Call for quorum. Sen. Sun asked if a quorum was present.

There was cross-talk. Sen. O’Halloran asked if the Senate was prepared to vote.

Someone asked how the Senate could vote without a quorum.

Sen. O’Halloran ordered be a count to determine whether there was quorum.

Sen. Cohen raised the question of whether—if there was no quorum—the vote a few minutes earlier on his amendment would be still valid.

The secretary took attendance. He found that 43 senators were present. Quorum was 47.

Sen. Cohen said there may not have been 47 senators a few minutes earlier for the vote on his amendment.

The parliamentarian said the vote on the Cohen amendment was valid.

Sen. Cohen said the placement of smoking issues at the end of the Senate agenda had repeatedly caused problems. As a solution, he requested clear advance notice to the full Senate of a vote on this issue, with an appeal for full participation by senators, and the placement of the vote at the top of the agenda.  He said a similar problem arose over a straw vote on a total ban at the end of the December 2010 meeting.

Sen. O’Halloran said the placement of the smoking issue on the agenda was not the problem at the present meeting. There was ample time for discussion. She said it is accepted practice to proceed with business, even to vote, until someone makes a quorum call. If a quorum call determines that there is no quorum, then voting cannot take place. But she said the rules explicitly state that a body can vote until someone calls for quorum. There was no quorum call before the vote on the amendment, and so the Senate proceeded to vote. The amendment was defeated. But when the Senate prepared to vote on the resolution, Sen. Sun called for quorum. Then the secretary called the roll. Unfortunately, it was late, some people had left, and quorum was lost. Without quorum, the Senate cannot vote on the smoking policy resolution.

Sen. D’Armiento said that since the sum of the votes (23 plus 18) on the amendment was below the 47 needed for quorum, quorum had probably already been lost at the time of that vote.

Sen. O’Halloran said some people may not have voted. She listed herself as an example.

The parliamentarian said that since there was no quorum, the meeting was adjourned.

Respectfully submitted,

Tom Mathewson
Senate secretary