University Senate

Proposed: October 20, 1995

Adopted: October 20, 1995


The meeting was called to order by the chairman, George Rupp, at 1:15 p.m. in the auditorium of the Schapiro Engineering Building. There were 63 of 78 voting members present, and 1 observer from affiliated institutions.

1. Adoption of the Agenda (Exb. 1)* - The agenda was adopted as proposed.

2. Adoption of the Minutes (Exb. 2) - The minutes of the April meeting were adopted as proposed.

3. Report of the President - Highlights included:

- Applications for admission have risen the past two years in almost all schools of the University; at the College, the rise has been nearly 30% in two years.

- The 1994-95 budget closed in the black. Arts and Sciences spending was over, but savings in the central administration compensated. Fund raising set a record with 58,000 donors.

- The number of facilities projects in progress during the summer was 232.

- Some threats to federal funding had been avoided, but the proposed origination fee on student loans would cost the University nearly $2 million per year.

At the request of the President, Beth Wilson (Nonsen., Adm.), Assistant Provost, reported on the effort since last April to implement the sexual assault policy passed by the Senate at that time. Gatekeepers and hearing panel members had been selected an d would soon be trained. Most Morningside schools except Law had already agreed to participate; uptown schools were still undecided. All means of publicizing the new policy were being explored.

Senator Montimer Mason (Stu., GS) asked what could be done to save the speech program, which was canceled last year but extended tentatively for one year, partly because of Senate advocacy. President Rupp replied that those interested should take up the question with Vice President and Senator David Cohen (Adm.). Senator Karl Kroeber (Ten., GS) added that the Education Committee had already spoken to Dr. Cohen, and that the issue still seemed to be alive.

Senator Daniel Lieman (NT, GS) pointed out that the Provost's Salary Review Committee had not issued an official report since 1993, although it was announced that no patterns of inequity based on gender were found. A further concern was the possibility that inequitable or discriminatory promotion practices may be masking salary inequities. Provost Cole promised a written report on his faculty salaries study by the end of the year. The question of promotions is more difficult to study statistically, bu t it will also be addressed.

4. Report of the Executive Committee Chairman (Exb. 3) - Senator Kroeber reported that the Committee had taken no actions under summer powers.

The Executive Committee meeting had been routine except for some further dialogue between the President and Senator Kenneth Goldstein (Ten., Journ.) about last year's agreement between the administration and the Faculty Affairs Committee to seek ways to accommodate the latter's occasional need for confidential information to adjudicate grievances properly.

He reminded senators to read the brief Introduction to the Senate (Exb. 4).

Senator Jill Parchuck (Lib. Stf.) expressed an interest on behalf of staff senators to make a contribution to the Senate by having an observer on the Executive Committee and Budget Review. She hoped for action by the end of the year. Senator Kroeber sa id he was willing to discuss the idea.

5. Nominations to Committees (Exb. 5) - Sarah Coyle (Stu., SW) was nominated to Budget Review; Katherine Almquist (GSAS/H, Stu.), Montimer Mason (GS, Stu.) and Cherith Bailey (Barn., Stu.) to Education; Constantine Dimas (CC, Stu.) to Rules and Phy sical Development; and Julia Faulcon-Gary (Res. Stf., HS) to External Relations. The nominations were seconded and approved by voice vote.

Deleted from Physical Development were E. Housepian and W. Harris, and J. Shapiro from Faculty Affairs.

6. Forecast of This Year's Committee Activity

A. Faculty Affairs - Senator Goldstein reported that his Committee intends to push this year for the extension of fringe benefits to opposite sex domestic partners on terms similar to those laid down last year by the University for gay partners.

Questions of professorial titles outside the tenure system will also continue to occupy the Committee.

B. Education - Senator Letty Moss-Salentijn (SDOS, Ten.) clarified a matter left hanging at April's meeting about whether the Graduate School must approve the awarding of any new Master's degrees. In fact, several professional schools award their own M. S. degrees.

Education also plans to examine in detail the recent graduate school rankings released by the National Research Council, in which Columbia fares well in many areas but suffers in others.

The Committee wished to request that the Provost report next month on progress in establishing the Teaching Resource Center.

C. Student Affairs - Senator Camilla Taylor (Law, Stu.) said her Committee would keep up its support for the continuation of the speech program. A student from Public Health, Robert Kartsch, spoke with unanimous consent about the value of the course to him, offering to speak with anyone after the meeting about the program.

Provost Cole questioned whether it was appropriate for the Senate to be involved in a curricular matter belonging to a single school, adding that, whatever the case, committees should bear in mind that such decisions at the University today, with fixed r esources, always involve choosing between many competing goods. Senator Kroeber pointed out that a "Continuous Monitoring" resolution in 1991 gave the Senate an explicit right to be consulted about programs the University was considering terminating.

Senator Taylor also said her Committee would take up new topics like the sharing of resources such as libraries among schools, and the improvement of graduate student life and services.

D. Budget Review - Noting that the budget is like a numerical statement of the University's priorities, Senator James Zetzel (CC, Ten.) reported that his Committee would be studying the issue of socializing costs versus assigning them to individual schoo ls. The Committee will also continue exploring last year's topic of whether the University's borrowing of $250 million over the next five years to cover the capital side of the budget threatens eventually to drain the operating side of the budget, possib ly compromising the attainment of academic goals.

E. Status of Women - Dr. Amy Heinrich (Nonsen., Lib. Stf.) said the Commission would continue pressing the University to address the problems of women at Columbia, particularly by issuing regular reports on salary equity.

6. Old Business

A. Resolution on Consolidation of the Student Affairs Committee and the Student Caucus (Exb. 6) - The resolution, which would increase the number of members of the Student Affairs Committee so that all 22 student senators and three observers could serve on it ex officio, was moved by Senator Camilla Taylor (Stu., Law), and seconded. She explained that previously all student senators had met together regularly as a caucus to perform certain functions like making appointments or developing legislat ive strategy. These functions would be assumed by the committee. Proponents believed this consolidation would make the efforts of students more focused and effective.

The resolution, which required assent from 3/5ths of all incumbents, was passed unanimously by voice vote.

B. Resolution on Term Limits for Committee Chairs in the University Senate (Exb. 7) - The resolution, which would impose a four-year limit on continuous service for chairs of Senate committees, was moved by Senator Taylor, and seconded. Proponents argue d that a formal rule was necessary to insure fresh blood from time to time, but opponents preferred leaving such considerations to the judgment of committees. The resolution, which needed 47 votes to pass, was defeated with 28 in favor.

C. Resolution on Term Limits in the University Senate (Exb. 8) - The resolution, which would impose a four-year limit on continuous service for elected senators, was moved by Senator Taylor, and seconded. She argued that students are already restricted by term limits, in effect, because of their shorter stay at the University, and that the resolution would have an equalizing effect. Again, opponents preferred leaving such considerations to the judgment of constituencies.

The resolution, which also needed 47 votes to pass, was defeated by a show of hands.

7. New Business - There was none.

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 2:55 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

William Phipps

* Exhibits are available in the Senate Office, 406 Low Library.