University Senate Proposed: September 27, 1996
MEETING OF APRIL 26, 1996
The meeting was called to order by the chairman, President George Rupp, at 1:15 p.m. in the auditorium of the Schapiro Engineering Building. There were 49 of 83 voting members present, and no observers from affiliated institutions.
1. Adoption of the Agenda (Exb. 1) - The agenda was adopted as proposed.
2. Adoption of the March Minutes (Exb. 2) - The minutes were adopted as proposed.
3. Report of the President - President Rupp deferred commenting until item 7F about the recent building takeovers by students demanding an ethic studies department, and related issues.
The University budget is on deadline for submission to the Trustees. The rigors of maintaining a balanced budget will, as always, cause hardship to some.
4. Report of the Executive Committee Chairman - Senator Karl Kroeber (Ten., GS), reported satisfaction that item 7B, Resolution to Establish a Committee on Promotional Policy and Salary Equity, was on the agenda for action. He found the item notable as good legislation, expanding the scope of employees whose salaries are reviewed, and as a good effort of successful collaboration among several committees.
Two committees, Physical Development and Status of Women, had so far requested summer powers.
Vacancies had been filled on the University Judicial Board, the appeal body for respondents found guilty of violating the Rules of University Conduct. The Senate committee devoted to the Rules would be revived next year.
For their work during the past session, Senator Kroeber especially thanked the following committee chairs: Senator Letty Moss-Salentijn (Ten., SDOS) of Education; Senator James Zetzel (Ten., CC) of Budget Review, Senator Kenneth Goldstein (Ten., Journ.) of Faculty Affairs, Dr. Alan Jeffrey (Res. Stf) of External Relations, and Dr. Amy Heinrich (Lib. Stf.) of the Commission on the Status of Women.
5. Annual Committee Reports - Except as noted, the annual reports were received with no discussion.
A. Budget Review (Exb. 3)
B. Education (Exb. 4) - Senator Moss-Salentijn queried the Provost about the status of the Teaching Resource Center, which has been approved and in planning for two years. Senator Cole (Admin.) replied that financing for the Center, at a cost of about $800,000 per year or $16 million in endowment terms, was being actively sought. The source would be either a tax on schools, fundraising, foundations, or some combination of those.
C. Physical Development (Exb. 5)
D. Libraries and Academic Computing Facilities (Exb. 6) - Senator Frances Pritchett (SIPA, Ten.) conceded that her report's comparison of library funding at Columbia with other universities was meant to be indicative. Variables make direct comparison impossible. Nevertheless, the data do show a downward trend in the percent of the University budget going to fund the libraries. It is this trend the Libraries Committee wishes to see reversed.
E. Faculty Affairs (Exb. 7)
F. Alumni Relations (Exb. 8)
G. External Relations (Exb. 9)
H. Student Affairs (Exb. 10)
I. Status of Women (Exb. 11)
J. Structure and Operations (Exb. 12)
K. Housing Policy (Exb. 13)
6. Old Business
Resolution to Appoint an Alumni Representative to the Executive Committee of the Senate (Exb. 14) - Attendance was one short of the 3/5ths of incumbents needed to take action on this item. Senator Arthur Graham (Alum.) made a few remarks in support of the resolution, which will reappear on the agenda in September.
7. New Business
A. Three Resolutions to Add Slots to Senate Committees (Exbs. 15, 16, & 17) - Attendance was one short of the 3/5ths of incumbents need to take action on this item. Senators Brigitta Payne (Admin. Staff), Jill Parchuck (Lib. Stf.), and Robert Wolven
(Lib. Staff) asked for a hearing by Structure and Operations early in September.
B. Resolution to Establish a Committee on Promotional Policy and Salary Equity (Exb. 18) - Building on past provostial studies of salary equity for female professors, this resolution called for several innovations, according to Commission chair Heinrich. First, the study would include officers of every category--libraries, research and administration. Second, it would add all the other protected categories. Third, the effects (if any) of University promotional practices on salary levels would be investigated.
The resolution was duly moved and seconded.
The following points were clarified: the committee would not be a Senate committee, but the President would consult with the Senate on appointments and always forward reports to the Senate; the President would eventually do a review and decide whether the committee needed to exist permanently; the committee would look for patterns of discrimination in salaries and promotions, but no individual cases.
The resolution was then passed unanimously by voice vote.
C. Resolution Concerning Summer Powers (Exb. 19) - This routine resolution, which gives the Executive Committee the right to act for the Senate during the summer, if necessary, was moved by Senator Kroeber, seconded, and passed by voice vote.
D. Resolution to Approve an M.A. Degree in Japanese Language Pedagogy (Exb. 20) - The resolution was moved by Senator Moss-Salentijn, and seconded. The proposed program would be the only M.A. degree at Columbia in teaching methods. It would also be the only M.A. offered exclusively during summer session and taught by non-Columbia faculty.
Senator Kroeber asked why the program should not award a statutory certificate instead of an M.A. He also inquired about the meaning of a whereas clause stating that "many cultural and intellectual trends of the past 30 years have redefined and transformed the relationship between theory and practice, particularly in English, Comparative Literature, and the study of foreign languages and literatures..." Senator Moss-Salentijn said the program probably belonged at Teachers College, but the initiative of organizing it had come from the Columbia Arts and Sciences. Senator Eduardo Macagno (Admin.) said students in the program had pressed for a master's degree level of accreditation. He also predicted a trend towards inventiveness in the Graduate School.
The resolution was then passed by voice vote with one abstention.
E. Resolution to Approve a Ph.D. in Environmental Health Sciences (Exb. 21) - The resolution was moved by Senator Moss-Salentijn, seconded, and passed unanimously by voice vote.
F. Role of the Senate in Anticipating Conflicts over Priorities - President Rupp noted that during the recent ethnic studies crisis, in which students occupied two buildings to press their demands, many had asked why the Senate, which arose after a similar crisis in 1968, had failed in this case to make a difference. Is the Senate unknown to students, viewed as an unworkable forum, or did it simply fail to be alert and responsive?
Senator James Shapiro (CC, Ten.) thought the incident had shown that the University must have crisis procedures in place to enable the administration to consult in an adequate and timely way with appropriate groups of faculty, especially department chairs, when academic issues are at stake.
At Senator Kroeber's request and with unanimous consent, Peter Freeman (Nonsen., Stu. CC), who had written a piece in the Spectator critical of the Senate (Exb. 22), observed that poor attendance by students at the current meeting was remarkable and tended to confirm the average student's lack of confidence in the Senate as a representative body. He added that the Senate must find ways of reacting to issues months sooner.
Senator Steve Gutterman (Stu., Law) said the best way of addressing that need would be for the Senate or its committees to hold frequent well-publicized hearings throughout the year.
Senator Kroeber hoped that the Senate's failure would draw attention to his and others' ideas for reform. The Senate has simply refused to adapt itself to changes that have occurred in the past 25 years. The most prominent change was perhaps the higher caliber of students since coeducation in the early 80s, a change that demands structural recognition in the Senate.
Senator Rebecca Linton (CC, Stu.) charged that the Senate Education Committee had slighted students proposing an ethnic studies department by delaying consideration of their demands too long.
Senator Andre Burgstaller (Barn., Fac.) suggested that the Senate address the attendance problem by adopting a rule for plenaries similar to that used in committees: that two consecutive unexcused absences result in forfeiture of one's seat.
President Rupp endorsed the idea of open forums and concluded that discussion of the whole topic should continue next year.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 2:40 p.m.