Proposed: January 28, 2000
MEETING OF DECEMBER 17, 1999
President George Rupp, the chairman, called the Senate to order shortly after 1:15 pm in 301 Uris. Thirty-two of 79 senators attended the meeting.
Report from the President: The President noted the significance of the appointment of Herbert Pardes as president of New York Presbyterian Hospital. Dr. Pardes has done a superb job as Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Vice President for Health Sciences, the President said, but his new role represents a crucial opportunity to have someone sympathetic to the medical center enterprise leading the hospital, as well as a chance to work with Columbia's sister institution, Cornell Medical College, and the hospital, so the institutions can make the most of their enormous health resources, instead of competing with each other, as they have for at least 10 years. To maintain momentum, an effort will begin soon to get a new Vice President and Medical School Dean in place by the summer. Interim arrangements are being made.
The President reported the following honors for Columbia undergraduates: 19 students have already been inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. Columbia College also has two Marshall Scholars this year (Yahonnes Cleary and Richard Weinberg) and one Rhodes Scholar (Brandon Dammerman).
The President gave optimistic progress reports on two issues that have come before the Senate:
--Orangetown: Negotiations over the future of the parcel of land overlooking the Hudson that Columbia owned are close to a happy conclusion: the land is likely to become permanent parkland. The town, the state, environmental groups, and Columbia have worked well together to achieve this outcome. Camp Columbia, another tract of land that the Trustees have decided to sell, in Litchfield, CT, will be bought by the state, to become a permanent nature preserve.
--A working group of administrators and students has made progress on a procedure for reviewing ethical issues in Columbia's investment policies. The group will add faculty to prepare a draft, for further discussion. There is a good prospect that the Trustees will approve the proposal. The results will be before the Senate again in the new year.
The President said the process of developing next year's federal budget was ugly, even by the Washington standards. But Columbia's central priorities were well served. Student aid was up significantly--70 percent, in the case of Work/Study and funding for graduate programs. Research funding is up, notably at NIH (up 15 percent, with a big increase in facilities funding), NSF (5 percent), and NOAA, which is important for Lamont-Doherty. Continuing reductions in Medicare reimbursements that were anticipated in the Balanced Budget Amendment--and that would have had a catastrophic effect on teaching hospitals--were stopped.
All of this good news provides a sharp contrast to the expectations of a year ago, the President said. The bad news is that the general lack of candor in Congress has mortgaged future appropriations. Next year, for example, the budget caps will go down one notch further, but the same kind of dissembling in the budget process may lead to further good short-term news for universities. The difference is that next year's budget will be formed during national elections, with effects impossible to predict.
Minutes and agenda: The minutes of November 12 and the agenda were adopted as proposed.
Report of the Executive Committee chairman: Executive Committee chairman Paul Duby reported that he and Sen. Sofia Berger (Stu., CC) attended the December 11 plenary Trustees' meeting. The Board enthusiastically endorsed a renewal of Columbia's agreement to manage Biosphere 2, in Oracle, AZ. It also provided final ratification for Statutory amendments requested in Senate resolutions to reorganize the faculty at Health Sciences, to establish a Department of Biomedical Engineering, and to revise Chapter 40 on externally funded research.
Sen. Duby said that a subcommittee of the Executive Committee submitted the names of four nominees for Senate-consulted Trustee to the Trustees. The nominating subcommittee will meet with their Trustee counterparts early in the spring term; on the same day, the full Executive Committee will meet with a group of Trustees to discuss issues of community concern. At the fall meeting with Trustees on issues of community concern, on November 29, the committee discussed issues brought by students: sexual misconduct policy, sweatshops, and socially responsible investing.
Sexual misconduct was the main topic at the December 13 Executive Committee meeting. The committee decided to distribute in the Senate packet, along with the revised report of the Task Force on Sexual Misconduct, an alternative proposal from a coalition of student groups, who had not yet read the Task Force report. At the door for the present meeting was a new document from the student groups, a short response to the revised report. The new document acknowledges the responsiveness of the Task Force to feedback from student groups. All of the discussion shows that the deliberative process is working well, Sen. Duby said. He added that there would be no vote at the present meeting, and much work remained to be done to prepare resolutions.
Sen. Duby said the Executive Committee also briefly discussed the report from External Relations on this meeting's agenda, as well as a memo from John Masten, Executive Vice President for Finance and Treasurer, on plans for a committee to advise the Trustees on ethical issues in investment policy.
--Resolution to Establish a Master of Arts Program in African American Studies (Education): Sen. Letty Moss-Salentijn (Ten., SDOS), chair of the Education Committee, moved the resolution, which was adopted without discussion or dissent.
--Revised report of the University Senate Task Force to Review the Sexual
Misconduct Policy and Procedure: Patsy Catapano, Associate General Counsel and chair of the Task Force, summarized the main revisions the group had made since the November Senate meeting. One is adding a student to the hearing panel in a non-voting role but with the right to write a dissenting opinion; another is to assure continuing education about sexual misconduct by establishing a standing committee, part of the President's advisory group on security; a third is a recommendation to create a coordinator position, preferably for a professional familiar with training on these issues.
Ms. Catapano addressed the response to the Task Force report in the latest document from student groups. Their main objection was to a provision for a meeting between the panel and deans from the schools of the accused and the complainant to discuss the case before the panel announces its decision, a provision the students thought involved a conflict of interest. Ms. Catapano said that there is no conflict of interest, and that it makes sense for deans to be informed about disciplinary decisions made by others, which they must enforce and for which they bear ultimate responsibility in the University Statutes. As for the suspicion that deans will be biased, Ms. Catapano said the dean of the complainant's school attends this meeting, and would provide a kind of check on the dean of the accused's school. This meeting would precede the production of the panel's report as well as the disclosure of the identities of the accused and the complainant. Ms. Catapano said the Task Force does not anticipate pressure from deans.
In addition, students objected that the roles of Barnard and Teachers College in the policy are unclear. Ms. Catapano pointed out that the President's Advisory Committee on Security does not oversee those schools, and that each school by state law has its own committee, whose membership is set by state law--for example, student members have to be nominated by student governments, and so on.
Students raised questions about deadlines. Ms Catapano said these will be addressed in the final resolutions. Finally, students recommended using another three-member panel to hear appeals of a hearing panel's decision instead of the dean of the accused's school. Ms. Catapano repeated her earlier point that the dean of the accused's school is responsible for any disciplinary action against the accused
Sen. James Applegate (Ten., A&S) said he understood hearing panel proceedings would
be suspended if a criminal prosecution is under way at the same time, but asked if the internal proceedings would be subject to discovery if criminal prosecution were to begin afterward. Ms. Catapano said they would.
Asked to comment on this situation, Sen. Applegate said he would advise his children to hire an attorney, and refuse to participate in the internal proceeding. He said he feels strongly that the whole proceeding is a violation of due process. He said he could not imagine suspending court proceedings and resolving any criminal cases among adult members of this community in this way. In 1972, he said, he went to college as one of the first group of freshmen empowered to vote for president, a group that was very touchy about being treated as adults. He said he attended the student hearing on sexual misconduct policy on November 18, where he heard views very different views from his own. He would not try to impose his views on the students.
Asked by Ms. Catapano if he felt the same way about other kinds of misconduct tried under dean's discipline. Sen. Applegate said he thought dean's discipline is an appropriate for handling cafeteria food fights, but not felonies. He noted that some of the acts identified in the sexual misconduct policy are not felonies and are therefore suitable for dean's discipline or mediation. But in cases that involve felonies, neither the defendant nor the accused has basic rights or obligations under Columbia's hearing procedure, and deans serve as judge, jury, and prosecutor.
Ms. Catapano noted that Linda Fairstein, the sex crimes prosecutor, feels that, except for felonies, Columbia's disciplinary procedures are appropriate for cases of sexual misconduct. Ms. Catapano said that in cases involving felonies she would hope that a student would be persuaded to press criminal charges, but the procedure is meant to cover felonies as well.
Sen. Gerard Lynch (Ten., Law) said it is remarkable that students are pushing for a procedure that allows students to be expelled after what is literally a star chamber proceeding, in which they do not have the right to be present to hear the evidence against them. Hearing officers hear the evidence, and then defendants hear only what hearing officers choose to tell them. They then must construct a defense without being able to challenge directly what's said about them. Sen. Lynch said this was the single most unfair feature of the proposed procedure. He said he had no interest either in dictating how other schools should handle plagiarism or fights or anything else leading to expulsion, or in making procedures more onerous for complainants in sexual misconduct cases than for other complaints. But in the Law School, before anyone faces a sanction like suspension or expulsion, there is a real hearing, whether the charge is plagiarism, fighting, or sexual misconduct.
Sen. Lynch said he was prepared to live with other departures from "normal" due process in the proposed procedure. He did not think the American, heavily lawyered model of due process is necessary for fundamental fairness. But the idea that someone is not present to hear the evidence against them in a proceeding that can lead to a sanction of this severity, where they can be adjudicated to have done something that is a felony, and a grave damage to their reputation--that seemed to him a violation of fundamental fairness. The only amendment that he would propose to these policy recommendations is one that restores the right of an accused student to be present to hear the evidence against him.
Sen. Peter Basilevsky (Alum.) raised the question of the danger that anyone involved in the hearing procedure would be subject to suit, unlike a prosecutor, who is immune. In cases of felony involving serious damage to reputation, if the process is defective--without cross-examination, or a provision for exculpatory evidence--there is a real risk of a law suit.
Ms. Catapano said Columbia gets sued once or twice a year over its student disciplinary procedures, and they have been upheld repeatedly, as the revised report pointed out, on issues ranging from the right to cross-examination, to the right to be present, and the right to counsel. As for the individuals involved in running the disciplinary procedure, the Trustees' By-laws provide for indemnification; the University would provide a defense.
Sen. Anne Prescott (Fac., Barnard) said that even if such disciplinary procedures were upheld legally, many would find them morally repugnant, and a violation of traditions going back many centuries. She said she is no expert in this area, but thought it's appalling to show students that they can be accused without these protections.
Sen. Joan Ferrante (Ten., A&S) was troubled by the first objection in the student group's response to the revised Task Force report. She understood that deans are responsible for discipline, but did not understand why they have to be consulted before a decision is reached.
Ms. Catapano said the meeting between hearing panelists and deans of the schools of the accused and the complainant that the Task Force had provided for in their revised report is not so much a consultation as a chance for the dean to satisfy himself that, for example, the panel told the accused everything the complainant said against him.
Sen. Ferrante said the panel is enjoined to do that already. She said this special meeting opens up the process to potential abuse and meddling.
Ms. Catapano said the revised report attempts to compromise with deans on this point. She said the risk is that other schools besides the Law School won't sign on. This is not a mandatory policy. If deans are uncomfortable with it, they are free to opt out.
Sen. Basilevsky was troubled that Columbia policies are not evenly administered. He asked whether there are "constitutional" issues of equal protection under the laws that could be raised.
Ms. Catapano said she understand that each school would have to agree to adopt this procedure. Each school has its own procedure now, though many of them are the same.
Asked how a case would proceed against a law student accused of assaulting someone from Arts and Sciences, Ms. Catapano said the complainant could not bring the law student into the proposed procedure but would have to use the Law School procedure.
Howard Jacobson, the Parliamentarian, said students under one school's procedures have appealed for treatment according to other procedures used at Columbia, but the courts have rejected this argument.
Richard Ferraro, Dean of Students in the School of General Studies and a member of the Task Force, said one of his students had a conflict with a law student. If the GS student had complained to the law school, they would have gone through a formal process; in GS, they would have used an abbreviated, less onerous procedure. In this case there was a successful mediation session, with someone present from each school. This was a roommate conflict with some physical interplay. It would have been harder with a case of sexual misconduct, particularly a serious one. He said most cases fortunately don't rise to this level.
Sen. Nicholas Christie-Blick (Ten,, A&S) expressed surprise that this policy, on which the Task Force worked so hard, might not apply to all schools. He wondered about the purpose of a Columbia University policy that is not University-wide.
Ms. Catapano said the proposed procedure is an alternative that the Task Force hopes most schools will adopt, as they did in 1995.
Sen. Basilevsky expressed doube that issues of rape fit in a dean's discipline proceeding that is essentially non-judicial. He wondered if the Statutes would really provide shelter against law suits under these conditions. He said Columbia was risking serious consequences if it was wrong.
Jennifer Glaser, a student nonsenator and co-coordinator of the Policy Reform Organization of the Rape Crisis Center, who had addressed the Senate in November, received permission to speak. She said that the revised report addressed many of the concerns students had raised earlier, and that students who have read it since it came out a few days ago are generally enthusiastic. On Sen. Lynch's characterization of university disciplinary hearings as star chamber procedures, she said her sense, after doing extensive research on the issue, is that university disciplinary procedures are, if anything, too light for treating serious crimes.
Ms. Glaser also commented on Sen. Ferrante's point about the involvement of deans in the hearing panel's deliberations before a decision has been reached. She said many students feel that this change runs counter to the purpose of the proposed procedure, which is to provide an alternative to regular dean's discipline, and also to the oversight and evaluation process, by allowing major changes in the panel's thinking before it has a chance to produce its own written decision. She said this feature of the revised report would deprive the process of some of the transparency that the revised report does so much to provide in other ways.
Ms. Catapano said that the student panelist would attend any meetings with deans of the accused's school, and would be free to record any abrupt shifts in the panel's thinking in a written dissenting opinion. But she added that the Task Force does not anticipate such changes.
Ms. Glaser stressed the importance, for the sake of assuring the integrity of the disciplinary proceeding, of making sure that the hearing panel has a chance to produce its own document before any meeting with deans from the accused's school.
Sen. Lynch agreed that it seems peculiar to have the dean who will hear an eventual appeal also participate in some way in making the decision that he will eventually review.
Ms. Catapano said it is not the same person in both cases: a dean of students would consult with the panel; the dean of the school would hear appeals. Sen. Lynch replied that someone who reports to the dean of the school is designated to attend the meeting with the hearing panel. This amounts to a kind of back channel for the dean of the accused's school, he said. It also would compromise the independent responsibility of a dean to reject a finding he or she disagreed with.
Sen. Ralph Holloway (Ten., A&S) asked about the committee's latest thinking on a statute of limitations for sexual misconduct. Ms. Catapano said charges can be brought as long as the accused student remains enrolled in the same Columbia school, with an outside limit of five years. Sen. Holloway said he disagreed with this expansion of the statute of limitations.
Darien Meyer, a senior in Columbia College and a coordinator of Columbia Men Against Violence, received permission to speak. He said he participated in writing the student proposal that was distributed in the packet, as well as the response to the Task Force proposal. He said that the student coalition consisting of his group, Take Back the Night, and Students Active for Ending Rape (SAFER), agreed with PRO that the revised Task Force report offeresa good sexual misconduct policy, which invests deans in making the campus safer. He said he also had some concerns about due process, which he hoped could be addressed in resolutions enacting the new policy. He said that the joint student proposal stressed the need for specificity in a new policy, and he commended the Task Force for having largely achieved this goal. Finally, he asked two questions: Does the statutory responsibility for discipline assigned to deans in the Statutes just concern the verdict in a case of this kind, or the punishment, or both? Also, though the accused could not confront his accuser under the proposed procedure, would he receive the accusations in writing, and perhaps a transcript of the testimony against him?
Ms. Catapano said the accused would receive the accusations in writing, and she hoped the panel would also provide him with a record of the proceedings. She also said deans have responsibility under the Statutes for both the verdict and the penalty.
Sen. Prescott asked Ms. Catapano what she meant in saying she "hoped" the panel deans would provide the accused with a record of the proceedings. Ms. Catapano said the procedure requires them to do that. If they don't, the dean of the accused's school can bring this up in the meeting with the panel provided for in the revised report.
Sen. Applegate said he had attended the open student hearing on the policy on November 18, and realized that his own views on hearing procedures were not popular. He said these rules are meant to govern the student community, not his. Since there appeared to be broad student support for the revised recommendations, he did not think it made sense for him to oppose them..
The President asked Ms. Catapano if the Task Force was suitably instructed by the present discussion for the final round of drafting. She said she was not sure about the sense of the body on every point. She said resolutions could be amended on the floor.
The President said concerns about due process were more vigorously expressed at the present meeting. He didn't understand these to be specific proposals for recasting the overall recommendations, but he said one possibility for the Task Force to consider might be to "carve out" felonies, treating them differently from other complaints.
Sen. Applegate said he assumed the University would not want to rely on dean's discipline in a murder case. Ms. Catapano said this was not a simple question. She said that a dean might need to take action, for example, if a student accused of murdering a fellow student were released by civil authorities.
Sen. Applegate said he was thinking of cases in which there is no criminal prosecution for a murder, just as under the proposed policy a student complaining of an incident amounting to rape might forego criminal prosecution altogether. He said rape is a crime much more like murder than academic dishonesty, and it is a stretch to expect deans to address this.
He said he had asked his earlier question about discovery to establish that a complainant could strengthen her case by refraining from going to police after being assaulted, then assembling a body of evidence, and then pressing criminal charges. The problem is that in the Columbia disciplinary proceedings, the accused must not only give up due process rights under those procedures, but also his rights under state law.
Ms. Catapano said she didn't know how to solve that problem, because it is not possible to force complainants to give up the right to prosecute at some later time if they go through the Columbia procedure. Sen. Applegate concluded that criminal cases belong in criminal court.
Sen. Rohit Aggarwala (Stu., Bus.) asked how many complaints brought under the present policy actually involve felonies. Ms. Catapano said she knew of one, which did not go through internal procedures, but through the courts.
Mr. Jacobson said that the University cannot "carve out" crimes--that is, exclude them from its responsibility to take disciplinary action against students when rights and responsibilities are violated on campus. Many years ago a medical student accused of murdering a schoolmate off campus was released on bail. The dean had to take action--through dean's discipline--limiting the access of the accused to campus. He said that murder and rape are extreme examples, but many less serious crimes are covered by University rules--from bringing firearms on campus to altering a transcript or diploma-- and Columbia has to take action on them.
The President made clear that by speaking of "carving out" felonies he did not mean doing nothing about them, but treating them differently from less serious cases.
Sen. Basilevsky said he understood the dean's responsibility under the statutes and the need for a dean to take action under certain circumstances. The issue, he said, is the attention to due process in the record developed in the disciplinary process, particularly if the case reaches a prosecutor later. At the outset there may need to be something like a reading of the Miranda Rights, so the defendant knows the gravity of his situation, and some kind of assurance that exculpatory evidence is made available. He cautioned against relying on indemnification. He said it was essential for the University to be able to rely on a record showing that the hearing process proceeded fairly, and that authorities acted within powers granted by state law.
The President thanked the group for the discussion and called for moving on to the next item.
--Report from External Relations: Sen. Litwak, chair of External Relations, briefly
presented the report, which includes the committee's revisions to the code of workplace conduct for manufacturers that was developed by the Fair Labor Association (FLA), a group of universities, corporations and non-governmental organizations created to monitor labor conditions around the world. He said the revised code includes provisions for a "living wage" (item 7) and for overtime compensation (item 9) which remained to be defined. Other groups are now developing formulas for these concepts, and the committee will consider their work when it is done. Another issue still to be resolved is the question of how the new code will be implemented. He said the prospect of many universities developing as many codes is troubling, for universities as well as for licensees. Sen. Litwak said the committee intends to seek to develop a common code with other universities during the coming months.
Beryl Abrams, Associate General Counsel and a member of the subcommittee of External Relations that produced the new code, said the question is, What happens next? The expectation seems to be to require licensees to sign on to the new code to remain licensees. But Ms. Abrams said the committee realized that at the outset it cannot do that. Instead, Columbia would have to begin a process, working with other universities and the FLA's University Advisory Group to push the FLA to adopt a broader code, which might be called "FLA Plus." She said that the FLA will monitor whatever provisions licensees agree to, but that the committee may have to continue to offer guidance on how to achieve these results.
President Rupp pointed out that Columbia has already moved beyond the present FLA code in requiring licensees to disclose the locations of all their factories. Some other universities have also adopted this requirement, and the FLA has agreed to use that information. But he distinguished between this requirement and the living wage provision of the External Relations code, which licensees would be asked to sign but whose meaning Sen. Litwak had admitted he did not know. The President found this situation perplexing.
The President noted that there had been a meeting in the past month at the University of Wisconsin to seek an understanding of the idea of a living wage. Not only was there no agreement on what a living wage is, but there was widespread testimony that the pursuit of a definition is pointless.
Sen. Litwak said the Wisconsin conference had launched a study, to be funded by Wisconsin and Notre Dame, to develop a formula for a living wage by March. The committee will consider that formula, and decide whether to recommend it to the Senate.
President Rupp suggested that the committee rephrase its living wage provision to capture the uncertainties Sen. Litwak had mentioned. If Columbia adopts this code as it is now, licensees will want to know what they're agreeing to. Do they agree in advance to a definition to be supplied later? President Rupp said such a code would be strange.
Greg Smith, a nonsenator and student member of the subcommittee of External Relations that developed the code, said he had attended the conference in at the University of Wisconsin. He said the Notre Dame/Wisconsin study shows there is progress toward making living wage part of codes here and around the country.
Mr. Smith said he thought the sequence that the President finds perplexing actually makes sense in this case. The adoption of the public disclosure requirement also proceeded this way: schools signed on before they knew whether suppliers would go along with it. The key was the commitment to the principle by a critical mass of schools, which pressured the companies.
Mr. Smith said that United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS), a nationwide group, has coordinated efforts on different campuses to push for the same provisions in workplace codes, including disclosure and, now, the living wage. Notre Dame and Wisconsin are interested in the issue because their students are. He said that students here would like very much for Columbia to be involved in this project, and that one way to get closer to make a living wage requirement a reality is for Columbia to commit itself to this as a worthwhile goal. He said the subcommittee considered requiring specific living wage numbers--based on a formula to be developed in the study--but preferred not to make that commitment in advance. That's why the second paragraph of item 7 sounds conditional, he said. It establishes that Columbia wants a living wage, that organizations are working to determine that, but that the Senate has to evaluate their recommendations in the spring, and act accordingly.
Sen. Litwak said he agreed with the President that the University cannot ask its licensees to sign a code with a living wage provision as it stands now.
The President pointed out that the meaning of public disclosure, unlike that of the living wage, is clear to Columbia's suppliers.
Sen. Sofia Berger (Stu., CC) said that different parts of the proposed timetable for Senate action don't work together: the present resolution calls for definitions of a living wage and overtime compensation to be developed by September 2000, but the April 30, 1999 Senate resolution calls for the first of a series of reviews of the performance of the FLA by March 2000. She therefore suggested adopting the proposed code without the overtime and living wage provisions, and conducting the first assessment of FLA performance based on the code as it stands then. Later, if and when provisions on a living wage and overtime have been defined and added to the code, they can be used in future assessments of the FLA.
Sen. Ferrante said she would regret seeing the overtime and living wage provisions taken out altogether, and suggested retaining them somehow, saying the Senate is working on them and will later enact them.
Sen. Litwak pointed out to the President that the FLA version of the code already has language on wages and overtime without specific quantitative guidelines, so in that sense licensees are already signing a blank check. The President replied that the FLA provision on wages is at least clear, whether or not everyone agrees it is adequate. It's a floor, he said; if it needs to be ratcheted up, there has to be something to ratchet it up to.
Sen. Lynch said the committee seemed to be pursuing two partly dissonant objectives: adopting a code to be imposed on Columbia's licensees right away, and seeking a coalition of universities affiliated with the FLA to support a broader code. He said that a somewhat vague, aspirational code, expressing what universities should be working toward, with a placeholder for living wage, is harder to implement in contracts because licensees won't know how to comply with it. Sen. Lynch said he was unsure how to resolve this tension. He did not think the Senate should try to micromanage negotiations, in which Columbia may be hoping to be in the forefront, but might have to settle for what it can get. He understood there is a desire to ride herd somehow on the administration, but said he did not know how to judge whether an aspirational code is more effective than a practical, realistic one. He asked the committee to try to resolve this tension. He said he did not whether it is a problem to impose some requirements now, then come back and add more in six months.
Ms. Abrams said the committee thought about the issues Sen. Lynch raised. She suggested that a provision of the resolution that in effect requires licensees to adopt the new code right away could be changed. She said she understood the committee to be creating an ideal, a wish list of what Columbia wants licensees to do. She said the committee has not reached a consensus about what happens once the code is adopted, including enforcement. She said some committee members have emphasized the need to collaborate with other universities and with the FLA's University Advisory Group in order achieve results.
Sen. Lynch suggested tinkering with the resolutions, rather than with the code--that is, leave the code idealistic, but temper the idea that Columbia will unilaterally impose it now. He said it is hard to reconcile the desire for concrete progress now with the idea of a negotiation toward something idealistic that would work only as a collaborative effort. He said one of these priorities may have to give. The code the University imposes tomorrow may have to look different from the one it uses to push other universities.
The President said an alternative is that suppliers will cross their fingers and sign, knowing the code isn't serious. He said that if the Senate were to adopt this code, it would soon be known on campuses all over the county as the official Columbia code, and as unenforceable, an outcome that would eviscerate the purpose of such codes.
Mr. Smith said he thought the only way to ratchet standards up is for the institution to commit itself to higher standards now. He said this course gives licensees more of an opportunity to decide what to do than the course of adopting a code now and then imposing new requirements six months later.
Mr. Smith agreed that Columbia couldn't unilaterally impose its own code, and said the key to the effectiveness of any code is the monitoring. He said the subcommittee discussed a number of options for monitoring, including different organizations and approaches. This issue is essential in the subcommittee's next steps, he said, both in applying a new code and evaluating the FLA.
Arthur Graham (Nonsen., Alum.), a member of the both the committee and the subcommittee, said the group believed it had to set an ideal to aspire to, even without a precise definition; otherwise, the University would never get there. He said Robert Moskovitz, Director for Business Services and a member of the subcommittee, didn't think it would be a problem to set a code now and change it later.
Mr. Moskovitz said his job is to manage the University's trademark and licensing program. He said Columbia has had excellent success with the FLA code: 70 percent of licensees, responsible for 90 percent of licensing revenues, have signed on. He said the deadline for agreeing to comply with the requirement to disclose factory locations is December 31: 21 percent of licensees, representing 67 percent of licensing revenues, have disclosed factory locations. Mr. Moskovitz said he agreed with a two-pronged approach: continue with the FLA code, and recommend a new one to other universities. He said he has had discussions of this kind with his counterparts on other campuses. If the universities achieve consensus, he said, they can urge the FLA to ratchet up its code accordingly. He added that Columbia's affiliation with the FLA, along with 126 other schools, is clearly the reason why the University's two largest licensees, Champion and Gear, recently agreed to disclose their factories.
The President urged the committee not to impose a code that is not enforceable or even monitorable now, or that licensees will dismiss as not worth the trouble for the meager amount of income they get for Columbia apparel. He said such a course would undermine the seriousness of the enterprise and send the message that Columbia is more interesting in posturing than achieving results. On the other hand, if the University builds on the FLA code plus the requirement of public disclosure, working politically with other universities to adopt further provisions, then it is offering something like truth in lending. With such an approach, at least the University is not pretending it has accomplished something just by announcing that Columbia is the cleanest and purest. He said such an institutional posture would make him cringe.
The President's second suggestion to the committee was to get some of Columbia's own economists involved in deliberations on the living wage. Sen. Litwak suggested that Columbia might want to participate in the Wisconsin/Notre Dame study now under way. He said those institutions had put up about $25,000 for the project, and would welcome Columbia's participation. The President suggested approaching Columbia's Economics Department and seeking the advice from its experts in trade policy or employment policy.
Finally, the President said that as someone who started work at age 9, he was uncomfortable with the provision banning all child labor. He offered what he called a friendly amendment, allowing an exception for work "in part-time capacities that still allow full participation in all available schooling." He said he thought the proposed version of this provision is seriously disempowering to young people, preventing them from an important path, through training, to adulthood, on the assumption that the whole world resembles upper middle class portions of the United States.
Sen. Ferrante added that children sometimes make a vital contribution to family income in the third world. The President said he thought the child labor provision showed most clearly how provincial most of the reasoning behind the code is.
Sen. Litwak said the committee discussed this issue--the need to balance humanitarian conditions with the concrete need not to deprive third-world countries of needed economic resources. He said the solution to this dilemma is often elusive, providing a gray area within which people will differ. The President replied that the proposed code is on one edge of that gray area.
Sen. Aggarwala suggested that the Senate could establish the proposed code as a goal, and evaluate how cooperatively licensees are working toward it. This approach might make the code more than a wish list, and strengthen the two-pronged approach mentioned earlier in the meeting.
The President thanked the committee for its hard work, urging it at the same time to take another look at the code. Sen. Litwak thanked everyone who had offered comments.
The President adjourned the meeting at around 3:15 p.m.
Tom Mathewson, Senate staff