University Senate Proposed: October 25, 1996

Adopted:

 

MEETING OF SEPTEMBER 27, 1996

President George Rupp, the chairman, called the Senate to order at 1:15 p.m. in 501 Schermerhorn. Fifty-six of 80 voting members were present during the meeting, along with two observers from affiliated institutions.

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

2. Adoption of the April minutes (Exb. 2) -- The minutes were adopted with one correction.

3. Report of the President: The President reviewed some developments since the April meeting. The University had achieved a balanced budget and completed a third consecutive record-breaking fund-raising year. The outlook on federal and state aid, in brief, was pretty good in the short term, still ominous in the longer term. The University was beginning a physicians' alliance with Cornell Medical College; Columbia and Cornell together would invest $100 million in this enterprise.

The President mentioned several committees that were at work on the issue of ethnic studies. Searches were under way for directors of planned programs in Asian-American and Latino studies; planning for American Studies would take up again in the spring; space had been found for these three programs in a suite of offices in Schermerhorn Extension. In African-American Studies, a revised recruiting strategy had resulted in searches for two junior positions and one senior position, instead of two senior positions. The President had also appointed a faculty committee on ethnic studies, chaired by Prof. Ira Katznelson, that was now at work.

The President listed some recent and planned conferences and ceremonies, as well as current interdisciplinary academic initiatives in the brain and behavior, biomedical engineering, and international finance. The new Earth Institute, drawing on the resources of Lamont-Doherty, the Center for Environmental Resources and Conservation, SIPA, the Business School and Biosphere II, had a director, Peter Eisenberger.

The President listed some new administrative appointments: Jewelnel Davis, University Chaplain; R. Keith Walton, University Secretary; David Leebron, Law School Dean; Kenneth Knuckles, Vice President for Support Services; and Virgil Renzulli, Associate Vice President for Public Affairs.

Sen. Montimer Mason (Stu., GS) said a constituent had sought a University portfolio statement and been told that was not public information. Sen. Mason said he understood such statements had been made available from time to time in the 1980s. He asked when the policy had been changed and why. Sen. John Masten (Admin.), Executive Vice President for Finance, replied that most of Columbia's peers do not make such statements public.

4. Nominations to committees: The Senate approved the committee assignments as shown on the standing committee roster (Exb. 4), as well as some late changes (Exb. 5) that were submitted by the three caucus chairs.

5. Report of the Executive Committee chairman: Sen. Karl Kroeber (Ten., GS), the Executive Committee chairman, reviewed some changes that had taken place since then. A renewed effort had been made to launch Senate committees more efficiently; there was a preliminary proposal to renew Senate Office equipment; the staff had changed, with Tom Mathewson succeeding Bill Phipps as manager, and with new members Jonathan Munk and Betsy Esch.

Sen. Kroeber announced some changes in Senate procedure to make meetings more accessible and intelligible: senators would be asked to rise and identify themselves when they speak; the four people at the front of the room would all be introduced; spectators would no longer need to acquire tickets in advance, but could just show a CUID and sign in at the door. Sen. Kroeber said he also wanted a place on the Senate agenda for 20 minutes of free discussion, but the idea had had a mixed reception in the Executive Committee.

Another approach was for the Senate to provide other useful forums for public discussions along with its monthly meetings; a series of colloquia on women in the academy now being jointly planned by the Provost and the Commission on the Status of Women might serve as a model. Sen. Kroeber also noted that a photo of the full Executive Committee was displayed in a news article about the Senate now on the Columbia homepage. He finished by pointing out that the President's report at Senate meetings provides all senators with an opportunity to ask questions or comment not only on what the President has said, but on any aspect of University policy.

He then turned the meeting over to a series of brief reports from other senators.

Provost Cole: Sen. Jonathan Cole spoke about academic initiatives his office would be involved in this year, adding that he would also be sending a letter to the Senate on this subject. The University would be conducting reviews of the School of the Arts and the Libraries, and would be preparing for the external Middle States review.

He listed a number of recent capital improvements, stressing that their purpose was to improve the quality of academic life for students and faculty: 360 new workstations, 19 multimedia classrooms, and major renovations in Dodge, Journalism, and McVickar.

Columbia was seeking new links with the city's cultural institutions, including an arrangement allowing free admission to the Museum of Modern Art for students with CUIDs.

Emily Lloyd, Executive Vice President for Administration: Sen. Lloyd gave a rapid overview of current capital projects, including: a $20 million infrastructural renovation of Butler Library; the new student center, Lerner Hall, for which ground had been broken the day before, and which was to be finished before the fall of 1999; a 15-month renovation of Furnald Hall, just finished; a new eatery, J.J.'s place, in John Jay; major renovations in Greene Hall in the Law School, and a new building, across 116th St., Warren Hall, for the Law Review; a new track and new locker rooms in the gym complex; a new chilled water loop and a new boiler; and continuing renovations at Health Sciences, including the second building in the Audubon development. Sen. Lloyd said that a new building for the Business and Law schools would rise early in 1997 on the current site of the Post Office on Amsterdam and 115th St. Studies were under way that would result in a master plan for Lamont-Doherty, as well as a plan for developing the Morningside neighborhood while preserving its distinctive architectural characteristics.

Faculty Affairs Committee: Sen. Eben Moglen (Ten., Law), the chairman, said that his committee planned to propose measures to strengthen its grievance investigation procedures, to continue to study possible changes in the University's intellectual property policies, and to work with the Commission on the Status of Women on questions of salary equity. The committee already had a full docket of faculty grievances, and planned to produce a manual for grievance investigations that might enable it to do this work more efficiently.

Budget Review: The chairman, Sen. James Zetzel (Ten., CC), expressed his committee's concern about the "triple witching hour" of 1997-98, when tuition exemption would no longer be charged to the fringe pool, when the capital budget would continue to increase, and when the University would adopt a version of the Full Responsibility Model (FRM) budgeting system. He said the impact might be particularly severe on the Graduate School, on fellowships, and consequently on undergraduate education, particularly language instruction and the core curriculum. The committee was worried about the relative proportions of the budget devoted to the physical plant and to people, and in the second group, the relative costs of administration on the one hand, and research and instruction on the other. The University's huge current capital investment would mean higher debt service and less money for other purposes. He expressed special concern about the following numbers:

--an increase in salary expenditures, in last year's central administration budget, of 0.1 percent for student services, 1.5 percent for the Libraries, and 7 percent for "other" salary, along with 2 percent growth in the faculty salary pool for Arts and Sciences;

--since 1987-88, student aid had increased 0.1 percent as a proportion of the overall Morningside budget, while administrative salaries had risen 1.5 percent and the proportion of the total budget for instructional salaries had shrunk by 2 percent.

Education: The chair, Sen. Letty Moss-Salentijn (Ten., SDOS), outlined three major committee projects: a concerted effort to proceed with the implementation of a teaching resource center (an idea the Education Committee first proposed in 1991); a subcommittee initiative to provide a forum for rational discussion of the issue of ethnic studies, as well as its relation to the core curriculum; and a study of distance learning that might result in new guidelines, especially for degree programs.

Commission on the Status of Women: Sen. William Harris (Ten., CC), standing in for Amy Heinrich (Nonsen., Lib. Stf), chair of the Commission on the Status of Women, listed three issues: a series of colloquia on the position of women in the academy that the commission would be sponsoring jointly with the Provost; salary equity and promotion policy, the subjects of study for a new presidential committee; and parental leave policy, about which the commission was awaiting a statement from the Provost.

6. Old business: The President pointed out that the resolutions before the Senate involved By-laws changes, and therefore required the approval of three-fifths of the full membership of the Senate, or 48 senators. He noted that there were at that moment 53 senators in the room. Sen. Kroeber pointed out that the proponents of these resolutions had tried for a long time to get these resolutions to the floor, and that the Structure and Operations Committee, which he chaired, had voted not to endorse the resolutions but to forward them the Senate for action. He added that if some of the resolutions did not achieve the super-majority required for By-laws changes, he would be willing to meet with proponents to discuss other ways to address their aspirations.

A) Resolution to Appoint an Alumni Representative to the Executive Committee (Exb. 4): Sen. Arthur Graham (Alum.) spoke briefly in support, saying that representation on the Executive Committee would provide a vital channel between the University and its more that 200,000 alumni.

The resolution was defeated. In two attempts to get an accurate count in a vote by show of hands, there were no more than 45 votes in favor, of 48 votes needed for passage.

B) Resolution to Expand the Membership of the Executive and Budget Review Committees [by one seat, to be shared by the administrative, research, and library staffs] (Exb. 5): Sen. Brigitta Payne (Admin. Stf.) briefly reviewed her quest, over the course of several years, to establish a rotating staff seat on the Executive Committee. She noted that the Library Staff had decided to seek its own seat, but that the Administrative Staff was still willing to share. Sen. Michael Stoller (Lib. Stf.) said that he thought all the staff constituencies should be represented, but that the professional librarians had a distinct function which required separate representation. He proposed deleting all references to "librarians" and "libraries staff" from the resolution.

By voice vote, the Senate approved adding that amendment to the resolution.

Sen. Zetzel said he saw little rationale for passing two resolutions that would add a total of two staff members, since that would result in disproportionately large staff representation on either committee. Sen. Joan Ferrante (Ten., GS) noted the added complication that the Administrative Staff constituency as presently constituted included a substantial number of union members, a group for which the Senate was not intended as a representative body.

In a vote by show of hands, the President determined that the resolution as amended clearly fell short of the three-fifths majority.

C) Resolutions to expand the membership of the Budget Review and Executive committees to add Library Staff representatives (Exbs. 6, 7): After brief discussion, the resolutions were voted on together by show of hands, and the President determined that they clearly fell short of a three-fifths majority.

New business:

--Resolution to Merge the Community Relations and External Relations Committees (Exb. 8): Sen. Kroeber, chairman of Structure and Operations, said that the fundamental goal of the resolution was to increase the efficiency of Senate committees, and to make them the Senate more effective in Community Relations. He pointed out that the resolution was cosponsored by the Structure and Operations and Executive committees, and had been presented to Physical Development and External Relations.

In a vote by show of hands, again requiring two attempts to get an accurate count, the resolution passed with 48 votes.

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 2:30 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

 

Tom Mathewson, Senate staff