Proposed: March 31, 2000
MEETING OF FEBRUARY 25, 2000
President George Rupp, the chairman, called the Senate to order shortly after 1:15 pm in 301 Uris. Fifty-three of 77 senators were present, along with more than 200 spectators. Michael Feiler of the General Counsel's Office served as parliamentarian for the meeting, substituting for Howard Jacobson.
Minutes and agenda: The minutes of January 28 and the agenda were adopted as proposed.
President's report: The President made the following announcements:
--Columbia will host a tribute to Senator Patrick Daniel Moynihan on March 1 in recognition of the leadership he has provided over the years on a range of issues, particularly involving academic medical centers.
--A provostial faculty committee on intellectual property, co-chaired by Profs. Ira Katznelson and Jane Ginsburg, will complete a draft of a policy statement in early March. A University-wide comment period will follow, with open hearings. The Senate Committees on Education and Faculty Affairs will also offer comments. The time frame for the process is fairly short, with a goal of final approval of a policy by the end of the semester.
--The Trustees' Executive Committee has approved the formation of an Advisory Committee on Responsible Investing. An announcement distributed at the door provides further details about the composition of the committee and its timetable. John Masten, Executive Vice President for Finance, has led an ad hoc group with several student members, which has worked effectively to develop a framework allowing the new advisory committee a wide latitude in setting its own agenda for reviewing University investments. The initial focus is on the voting of proxies, but it is not limited. The committee can be influential, especially if its student, faculty, and alumni appointees do their work well. The nomination process will soon be under way, with a goal of convening the committee this spring, so it can set an agenda for the fall.
--Since the Senate adopted a new code of workplace conduct on January 28, Columbia's two largest licensees--Champion Products and Josten's--have signed the Fair Labor Association (FLA) code and also committed themselves to full disclosure of all factory locations. Both signatures occurred after extensive discussions with Columbia's business services office. The University has also sent its new code to all of its licensees, as well as to FLA leaders, requesting consideration of the new provisions. Information on Columbia's licensees and their adherence to the FLA code and Columbia's factory disclosure agreement is publicly available in the Office of Contract Services in Lerner Hall.
In response to a question, the President said that the Senate student caucus will not nominate the members of the advisory committee on investing, but will assemble the final panel of students from nominations submitted by various student councils. He said the student caucus is the right place to strike the balance between undergraduate and graduate student participation.
A question was raised about a spectator who was videotaping the proceedings. The staff member said Senate by-laws allow campus media to cover Senate meetings. At the November 12 meeting, the Senate had also allowed an exception for an outside print reporter. It has not addressed the question of videocameras. There is no provision for them in the by-laws.
The spectator with the camera, a student, said she had brought a videocamera to a previous Senate meeting, and no one had stopped her at the door.
The President asked for unanimous consent to allow the spectator to videotape the meeting. It was denied. The President asked the spectator to turn the camera off.
Sen. Rohit Aggarwala (Stu., Bus.) noted that a number of outside print reporters were present, and asked if there was unanimous consent to allow them at the meeting. Unanimous consent was provided. The President said the Senate was following last November's precedent on outside print reporters.
Report of the Executive Committee chairman: Sen. Paul Duby (Ten., SEAS), the chairman, reviewed the final preparation of the resolutions on sexual misconduct policy for the present meeting. He said they had been published on the web a few days before the Executive Committee meeting on February 18. At a final meeting of the Task Force on Sexual Misconduct Policy on February 21, a few suggestions from the Executive Committee and students groups were incorporated, and a final version was posted on the web on February 22. Sen. Duby thanked the task force for its work over the last two years, particularly its responsiveness to criticisms of early drafts. He also congratulated student groups for their contribution to the new policy recommendations.
The two other main discussion topics at the February 18 Executive Committee were sweatshops, socially responsible investing, and intellectual property.
He also announced that Ms. Desiree Bermani has joined the Senate office staff as a temporary replacement for Betsy Esch, who is on leave.
--Late changes in committee assignments: Sen. Duby called attention to one committee recommendation, the nomination by the nontenured caucus of Pamela Flood (NT, Health Sciences) to serve on the Executive Committee. Without dissent, the Senate elected Sen. Flood to the Executive Committee, and also approved the other committee appointments.
--Resolutions to enact a new University policy on student sexual misconduct (Task Force
on Sexual Misconduct Policy): Patsy Catapano, Associate General Counsel and chair of the Task Force thanked Sen. Duby, the members of the Task Force, the Senate staff, students, and all members of the community who participated in discussions.
Ms. Catapano summarized the five enacting resolutions. The first calls for continuing the University policy prohibiting sexual misconduct and making clear that violations will lead to discipline. The second provides for education and training about sexual misconduct and for oversight of the policy, recommending the creation of three subcommittees of the legally mandated President's Advisory Committee on Security. One of these would evaluate education efforts, the second would oversee the disciplinary procedure, and the third would draw members from both Columbia's and Barnard's advisory committees to discuss shared security issues.
The third resolution calls for a new full-time position responsible for carrying out the new policy, and for educating people about it. The Task Force decided not to provide a title for the position, which Ms. Catapano hoped would be filled by the start of the next fiscal year. The goal is to have training and education programs in place by the start of the school year. In accordance with some expectations of Senate resolutions, the Task Force had prepared an annual budget for the position, which had been handed out at the door. The cost estimate for the new positions, including equipment and some support staff, is $125,000, but Ms. Catapano noted that grants are available from the U.S. Department of Justice to combat violent crimes against women on campus, which might provide for precisely the kind of position envisioned in the resolution.
The fourth resolution provides for alternative methods of complaint resolution for allegations of student sexual misconduct. It requires deans of students to maintain information on the various disciplinary procedures in every school and about the new proposed policy, so that complainants know their options, including mediation and traditional Dean's discipline, as well as the proposed new campus-wide procedure, which is set forth in the fifth resolution.
Amendment on student membership on oversight subcommittees: Sen. Aggarwala, chair of the student caucus, offered an amendment to Resolution II providing for the same proportion of student members in the three subcommittees--one-third--as in the full advisory security committee. He distributed the text of the amendment.
Ms. Catapano said the Task Force had tried to avoid specifics in the resolutions to allow for flexibility of administration. But she accepted the amendment as friendly. There was applause.
Amendment to revise the definition of sexual misconduct: Sen. James Applegate (Ten., A&S), proposed some new wording for the definition of sexual misconduct in Resolution I, a definition first adopted by the Senate in 1995. He said the current definition, which he generally supported, does not convey a forceful enough message to new students about a problem outlined in a Spectator article the day before--the sexual misconduct that accompanies alcoholic intoxication.
In place of the second sentence of the definition, Sen. Applegate offered the following: "The default consent is no consent. In order to be valid, consent must be given freely by an individual who has the capacity to make a meaningful decision concerning consent. Lack of consent may be inferred from use of force, threat, physical intimidation, date rape drugs, or the recognizable incapacity of the individual, such as by debilitating intoxication, to make a reasonable decision regarding consent." Sen. Applegate said clearer wording of this kind might have prevented some incidents of sexual misconduct since 1995.
Sen. Applegate offered the written text of his wording, but had only a few copies. Ms. Catapano said the Task Force could not accept Sen. Applegate's amendment as friendly without having a chance to read it and discuss it. She added that the Task Force had discussed the 1995 definition at some length, and had decided not to change it.
The President said Sen. Applegate could still submit his amendment, but that would put the Senate in the same difficult position as the Task Force, an inadvisable course since the Senate had deliberated less on this issue than the Task Force. The President suggested that the Senate could act on the resolutions now, and make slight revisions in the definition later. He asked the task force to review the definition and report back to the Senate.
In response to a question from Sen. Gerard Lynch (Ten., Law), President Rupp proposed that the Senate consider the resolutions and possible amendments in order, one at a time, after hearing some general comments.
Sen. Aggarwala requested and received speaking privileges for Jennifer Glaser, a nonsenator and student member of the Policy Reform Organization of the Barnard-Columbia Rape Crisis Center. She thanked a number of organizations for their participation in the past year and a half of deliberations, including the Task Force, the Rape Crisis Center, and the students groups Take Back the Night, Columbia Men Against Violence, and Students Active for Ending Rape. She said the issue of sexual misconduct had brought about a rebirth of student activism at Columbia. She said the resolutions before the Senate represent a proactive and responsible University response to sexual assault, on the SUNY model, but going even further to offer one of the most progressive policies in the nation. Some of its strengths, as the record of the November Senate meeting shows, are points students have been advocating all along, including increased accessibility, a focus on education, increased student involvement, and new mechanisms for oversight review and the collection of statistics.
She concluded that student concern remains as acute as in November, and that students see the present recommendations--whatever minor changes are needed--as a valuable and necessary move forward, a tangible sign that the University will not tolerate violence of any kind. There was applause.
Sen. Ralph Holloway (Ten., A&S) asked about the statute of limitations under the proposed policy, and asked if the accused would have the right to face his accuser. Ms. Catapano said the answers to those questions, to be found in Exhibit A, attached to Resolution V, are that charges can be brought up to five years after an alleged incident, but not if the accused is no longer a student, and that the accused does not necessarily have the right to be present to hear or cross-examine witnesses.
In answer to a question from Sen. Richard Bulliet (Ten., A&S), Ms. Catapano explained that Resolution V calls for a review of just the disciplinary procedure in two years, but Resolution II calls for a broader review encompassing the whole policy.
Sen. Anne Prescott (Fac., Barnard) asked if the accused is entitled to confront the accuser under current disciplinary procedures. Ms. Catapano said this right is not included in dean's discipline at most Columbia schools, but the alternative procedure adopted by the Senate in 1995 does allow both parties to be present at all times.
In response to a question, Ms. Catapano said she assumed a new policy would take effect immediately. The President added that some of the resolutions call for steps that by definition can't be taken immediately. For example, the person in the new position has till the start of the fall semester to get the operation up to speed.
--Resolution I: The chairman repeated his understanding that the Task Force would consider later whether to substitute the language proposed by Sen. Applegate for the definition of sexual misconduct, remembering to adjust the language introducing the definition as well, and report back to the Senate. He asked for further comments or amendments. There being none, the Senate adopted Resolution I unanimously by voice vote.
--Resolution II: Hearing no further discussion or amendments proposed for Resolution II, beyond the friendly amendment from the student caucus on student membership on the review subcommittees, the President put it to a vote. The Senate adopted Resolution II unanimously, by voice vote, as amended.
--Resolution III: Sen. Frances Pritchett (Ten., A&S) asked for clarification of the relationship between the new person to be hired and the head of the Rape Crisis Center. Ms. Catapano stressed that these are separate roles. The Task Force took pains to indicate in the report that the new position will not have counseling responsibilities or usurp any of that role of the Rape Crisis Center. She hoped the two administrators could work together.
Amendment to substitute "credentialed" for "qualified": Sen. Gerard Lynch (Ten., Law) offered what he hoped was a friendly amendment: substitution of the word "qualified" for "credentialed" in the phrase "an appropriately credentialed individual" in the second resolved clause. The President ruled the amendment friendly. The Senate then adopted Resolution III unanimously, as amended, by voice vote.
--Resolution IV: The Senate unanimously adopted Resolution IV by voice vote.
--Resolution V: The President asked for comments and amendments on the resolution, including Exhibit A.
Sen. Corby Dale (Stu., GSAS/NS) voiced a concern, expressed to her by students in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, about the role of students on the hearing panel. She said that student panelists hearing cases brought by or against students who might also be their teachers or lab supervisors might find themselves in an awkward position, because of the imbalance of power between them. She asked that any review of the policy in two years look at this problem.
Ms. Catapano said this issue would need to be considered after there had been some experience with the new disciplinary procedure.
Amendments on confidentiality: Sen. Lynch proposed the following amendment to Exhibit A: deleting the last sentence in paragraph three ("confidentiality about the facts or existence of the hearing must be maintained by all participants") and the first eight words of the last paragraph ("breach of confidentiality is a separate violation"). He explained that the policy, as written, says that a plaintiff who, after going through the disciplinary procedure, complains about it publicly would be guilty of a violation of the sexual misconduct policy punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of probation. He said that certain understandings about confidentiality in disciplinary procedures are appropriate--the public should not be admitted to hearings, panelists should not talk publicly about the proceedings--but this kind of gag rule is inappropriate. Sen. Holloway seconded the amendment.
In answer to a question from Sen. Lauren Anderson (Stu., CC), Sen. Lynch said he was troubled that the confidentiality restrictions in this proposed policy apply effectively only to the two main parties in a complaint--the plaintiff and the accused.
Ms. Catapano said the Task Force intended for the confidentiality requirement to apply to all participants, including the accused and the complainant, just as the University sexual harassment policy requires confidentiality of all participants. The reason, she said, is to protect the integrity of the process, so that somebody does not complain to the student newspaper while the process is underway or seek public support for a position. She said that a restriction of this kind is a necessary tradeoff for making the procedure easily accessible. But she added that she would not interpret the confidentiality provision in Exhibit A as prohibiting public discussion of a case that omits the names of the participants.
Sen. Lynch said that the confidentiality provision in Exhibit A does not make this distinction. He identified two concerns about confidentiality in Ms. Catapano's remark that were not stated in Exhibit A: one is to maintain confidentiality while a hearing is under way; the other is to maintain confidentiality of the names of the participants. Sen. Lynch said he was concerned about the case, now before the U.S. Supreme Court, of a woman who complained that she was mistreated at the Virginia Technical Institute by a member of the football team and that the disciplinary proceedings were mishandled to protect him. Sen. Lynch did not think her action in naming names in that case was inappropriate or should be punishable as a disciplinary violation if she were still at the school. He said her free-speech rights should not be limited in that way, even in the naming of names. He distinguished between a confidentiality rule that applies while a hearing is in progress, and one that amounts to a gag rule on any participant who complains about the proceedings. There was applause.
Richard Ferraro, Dean of Students in the School of General Studies and a member of the Task Force, said he was hesitant to impose such confidentiality requirements on the accuser and the accused, but he said there is a problem of balance. He said he had experience at other schools with confidentiality issues in adjudicating sexual misconduct cases. In one situation, someone dissatisfied with the result of the disciplinary proceeding had complained widely around campus that there was a miscarriage of justice. Everyone else in the disciplinary process remained bound to confidentiality, and the result was a serious distortion of what happened. The dilemma is, should there be complete confidentiality to protect everyone, or should it be lifted for everyone? If it is lifted, will students lose confidence in the process? Dean Ferraro's personal view was that the same rules should apply to all participants.
Sen. Applegate spoke in favor of Sen. Lynch's amendment. He said he accepted Ms. Catapano's statement of confidentiality guidelines, forbidding the use of names but allowing descriptions of procedures. He said he thought more extensive restrictions would be inappropriate.
Sen. Anne Prescott (Fac., Barn.) asked if the intent of Exhibit A was really to forbid mention of the "existence" of a disciplinary hearing as a violation of confidentiality.
Sen. Aggarwala said he thought Sen. Lynch's proposed amendment as it stood, by proposing to delete the sentence on confidentiality without leaving any protection for other participants in the disciplinary process--besides the accuser and the accusee--would be a major mistake.
Sen. Lynch said he would consider other revisions to the confidentiality rule, but said the present version is too broad. It would even forbid administrators to say publicly that they are taking action on notorious incidents of alleged sexual misconduct. He agreed that once someone complains publicly about what went on at a disciplinary hearing, the other participants should be released from their confidentiality obligations. But if the effect of confidentiality rules is to protect hearing panelists from criticism and public accountability, then stories like the recent one in Spectator that have contributed to the present reform effort would not be possible. The present wording would allow administrators to discipline students who complain about the actions of administrators, simply for the fact that they complain. He said this outcome would be inappropriate. There was applause.
Sen. Peter Basilevsky (Alum.) asked if the confidentiality requirement or other policy provisions were "exclusive," in the sense of overriding other statutory requirements such as the power of a dean to discipline students, and to announce, for example, that disciplinary procedures are under away. Is the dean removed from any other role aside from the disciplinary procedure in taking disciplinary action in sexual misconduct cases? Ms. Catapano said this was correct.
The President said he understood that a dean has standing to bring a complaint against an apparent violation of basic canons of behavior, quite apart from the proposed disciplinary procedure. Sen. Lynch said that under the proposed confidentiality provision, the dean would be in violation for saying publicly that he had brought such a complaint.
Sen. Basilevsky said the possibility of two proceedings based on the same set of facts raises difficult confidentiality issues. He also raised the issue of how the dean would respond to a demonstration demanding action on allegations of a notorious incident of sexual misconduct. Sen. Lynch noted that the proposed confidentiality provision would prevent the dean from telling demonstrators that a disciplinary proceeding is under way. On the other hand, allowing the dean to say publicly that he is pursuing his own dean's disciplinary procedures, separate from the new proposed procedure, would seem to make the confidentiality requirement pointless. Ms. Catapano said that current dean's discipline procedures have confidentiality requirements.
Sen. Richard Bullet (Ten., A&S) suggested changing the Task Force's confidentiality provision at the end of paragraph 3 as follows (new language in italics): "Confidentiality about the facts or existence of a hearing must be maintained by all participants, except within the context of a mandated review of the disciplinary procedure." He said this addition would assure an adequate review under appropriate conditions. Ms. Catapano said the Task Force would accept such an amendment as friendly.
Sen. Prescott proposed to delete the words "or existence" from the same sentence. Ms. Catapano also accepted that amendment as friendly.
Sarah Richardson, a nonsenator and member of Students Active for Ending Rape, received permission to speak. She suggested replacing the phrase "facts or existence of a hearing" with the phrase "identifying information regarding the participants." She added that Resolution II, already passed, provides for a confidential review of disciplinary procedures, so Sen. Bulliet's addition might be unnecessary.
The President said that Ms. Richardson did not have standing to make amendments, but asked if the Task Force would accept this suggestion. Ms. Catapano said she would prefer to leave the word "facts" in the sentence.
Sen. Lynch said that if Ms. Richardson's language about identifying information about the participants were added, he would withdraw his amendment. There was applause. He added that with this language, the disciplinary provision on breaches of confidentiality at the end of Exhibit A was also acceptable to him. He explained that his chief concern was to leave an opportunity for the accuser or the accused to complain in a forum outside the University about how the University conducts itself. Since the penalty for sexual misconduct offenses under University procedures can be as serious as expulsion, it is important to provide for a better remedy than a mandated review a few years later.
The President read aloud the language Sen. Lynch had accepted: "Confidentiality about identifying information regarding the participants in the hearing must be maintained by all participants." He suggested that "participants" should be used only once.
Because a confidential review of the disciplinary procedure was already provided for in Resolution II, Sen. Bulliet withdrew his amendment.
Sen. Applegate said he thought the stories in the previous day's Spectator about cases of sexual misconduct would be allowed under the language proposed. He said that with a stricter confidentiality requirement, none of the public discussion that had taken place over the last two years and brought the Senate to this point could have occurred. The President agreed that the Spectator profiles, by omitting identifying information, would be appropriate under the proposed amendment.
Sen. Anderson (Stu., CC) asked if the amendment would allow an exception permitting a participant in the hearing process to identify himself or herself as a participant in speaking publicly about it. The President thought the present language would forbid such an interpretation.
Sen. Lynch said this idea deserved further thought, but he would stick with the present version until the right words could be found.
Sen. Aggarwala wondered if the Senate should restore the provision allowing identifying information about hearing participants in a mandated review. He said the committee reviewing the procedure in a few years may want to know how well particular panelists are doing their jobs. Wouldn't this be an appropriate topic for a review committee? Would this be allowed under the proposed amendment?
Sen. Catapano said the Task Force reviewed the procedure for two years and completed its work without ever learning the names of any participants in previous cases. But she saw Sen. Aggarwala's point, and suggested that some kind of review of particular panelists might work.
Sen. Aggarwala said that amendments to the policy could be proposed later if problems arose with this provision. The President expressed discomfort with the idea of revising assurances of confidentiality a few years later.
Dean Ferraro pointed out some problematic consequences of allowing access to outside media about disciplinary procedures. At another university he had dealt with a case in which a participant in a sexual misconduct proceeding had discussed it in Time magazine and on the Larry King Show. What made this case particularly difficult was that the account of the person who went public had inaccuracies, but other participants remained bound by confidentiality and could not set the record straight. Dean Ferraro said that there should be a provision for public correction of such inaccuracies. In the case he was describing, a participant had characterized as rape an episode that was not that serious, and the lighter penalty imposed by the institution appeared grossly inadequate. That university's reluctance to break its own confidentiality rules compounded the misperception. As a result, a confidentiality arrangement intended to shore up confidence in the disciplinary process ended up undermining it.
The President asked whether the amendment as it now stood, allowing the University to set the record straight without divulging information identifying participants, would address Dean Ferraro's reservations. Dean Ferraro said he thought it would.
Karen Blank, Barnard's Dean of Studies and a member of the Task Force, asked for clarification of what counts as information identifying a participant. Sen. Lynch said he thought the phrase "identifying information" provided an acceptable level of vagueness, usable for determining violations of the policy.
Ms. Catapano said the Task Force would accept the amendment about identifying information. The President thanked Sarah Richardson of SAFER for providing the words for the amendment. There was applause.
Amendment to allow hearing participants to identify themselves publicly: Sen. Anderson said she remained troubled about the prohibition on identifying oneself as a hearing participant. Sen. Brian London (Stu., SEAS) suggested changing the new phrase to "identifying information about other participants" in the hearing process.
Ms. Catapano did not accept this amendment as friendly. Sen. Lynch then moved the amendment formally, and it was seconded. Ms. Catapano said her opposition was based on the case described by Dean Ferraro: a person identifies himself or herself and complains about a hearing, and no other participants can respond.
Sen. Basilevsky said he thought the present wording would have the opposite effect--enabling other participants to set the record straight without disclosing identities. The President said that other participants who set the record straight in response to someone that has already identified himself or herself are not disclosing identifying information. That has already been done.
Sen. Basilevsky said that if a participant incorrectly claims, for example, that he was not in the dorm where an incident of sexual misconduct occurred, the university would be free to say that witnesses could attest that he was indeed there.
Sen. Sofia Berger (Stu., CC), a member of the Task Force, pointed out that the confidentiality provision includes witnesses who testify at the disciplinary hearing and silent supporters. Would silent supporters be allowed to speak out about the hearing, a revelation that would also likely lead to disclosure of the identities of other participants. She said she didn't think observers or secondary participants in hearings should be able to discuss them publicly.
Sen. Alex Oberweger (Stu., Bus.) suggested shifting the focus to punishments for breaches of confidentiality, by imposing less severe penalties on people whose only violation of the policy is public self-identification than on people who reveal other participants, or who spread false information about disciplinary procedures. The President said nothing in the policy prevents distinguishing levels of seriousness in breaches of the confidentiality requirement.
There being no further discussion, the President put the proposed amendment, substituting "other participants" for "the participants," to a vote. By voice vote, the proposed amendment was defeated. The President offered to take a count by show of hands; no one requested a vote count.
Amendment to clarify references to accusers and accused: Sen. Lynch proposed to amend the language of Resolution V so that it accurately reflects two points--that the policy addresses sexual misconduct perpetrated by students, but that complainants under the policy need not be students. He mentioned some instances where the language was not precise on this point, and suggested substitutions. Ms. Catapano accepted this group of suggestions as friendly.
Sen. Aggarwala noted that the four resolutions the Senate had already passed had the same imprecision. The President ruled that since the Task Force agreed to the correction in principle, it should be made in all five resolutions.
Amendment to revise hearing procedures: Sen. Lynch proposed to replace paragraph 3 of Exhibit A with the following: "The hearing is not an adversarial, courtroom-type proceeding. However, the accused and the complainant do have the right to be present to hear all the witnesses and to propose questions to be asked by the hearing panel. The panel may hear and consider any evidence it considers relevant without regard to technical rules of evidence. Although parties are always free to consult with an attorney, they are not permitted to be represented by an attorney during a disciplinary hearing or at any appeal."
Sen. Lynch said the new language offered two significant changes. One is to allow both the accused and the complainant to be present if they choose when other witnesses are testifying. This is not a right of direct cross-examination, but a procedure, used in Europe, to allow both parties to propose questions, which the panel can then choose to put to the other party. The next sentence is not intended as a new provision about exclusion of evidence, but simply as clearer wording. The real question is what the panel can hear; the answer is that they can hear anything that is relevant. The last sentence offers wording to assure that silent supporters who happen to be attorneys will not be excluded from a hearing. In answer to a question by Sen. Lars Tragardh (Fac., Barnard), Sen. Lynch said his amendment would allow both primary parties to be present for the testimony of all witnesses, including each other. The amendment was seconded.
Dean Blank agreed with Sen. Lynch's statement that the panel should hear any relevant information. She said that in dean's discipline over the years, deans have been charged to convey statements back and forth between complainants and the accused, so that contradictions can be addressed. There is no intent to withhold any relevant information from the accused. She said that recent Spectator coverage, widespread commentary about the traumatic consequences of sexual misconduct, discussions with students, previous training that deans have undergone--all of these point to the conclusion that compelling a victim to face the person accused of sexually mistreating her has the effect of victimizing her again and again. She concluded that the Task Force proposal satisfies the need of the panel and the accused to have all relevant information, and also addresses the pain of the victim. There was applause.
Sen. Basilevsky suggested that a stenographic record of all testimony could provide a complete record to both parties without obliging a complainant to confront the accused. Sen. Lynch said he thought this issue had been thoroughly discussed in previous sessions, and everyone understood what is at stake. He said he was taking his stand because he believes there is no substitute for being present when evidence is taken. He said he didn't expect his amendment to pass, and if it didn't pass he was prepared to vote for a stenographic record as the next best thing.
Sen. Janet Metcalfe suggested that a videotape of the proceedings might serve the same function as a stenographic record, only better.
A nonsenator and member of SAFER, receiving permission to speak, pointed out that Exhibit A already provides features similar to those called for in Sen. Lynch's amendment. She read the last sentence of paragraph four: "Each student will be informed of statements made and evidence presented by the other party, and by witnesses, and will have a full opportunity to respond."
Sen. John Nicholson (Ten., HS) said he thought the proposed amendment would make the procedure more adversarial.
Sen. Tragardh spoke in support of Sen. Lynch's amendment as an effective way to address the two priorities of the Task Force resolutions--sensitivity to the complainant, and fairness in a quasi- judicial procedure.
Sen. Applegate supported the amendment, which he said was fundamental to guaranteeing the fairness of the process. He said the statement that the disciplinary procedure is not an "adversarial, courtroom-type proceeding" is preposterous. Any proceeding that might result in expulsion, in which one person is accused of doing something he says he didn't do, is adversarial. He said the accuser under the proposed procedure has no particular rights and responsibilities. This is not non-adversarial, he said, but juvenile.
Receiving permission to speak again, Sarah Richardson of SAFER said a main reason why the Senate was debating a new policy is that the previous policy turned out, upon review, to have many flaws. One of the main problems was the unwillingness of complainants to face the accused. She pointed out that the disciplinary procedure applies only to special cases of sexual misconduct. She said Exhibit A, on disciplinary procedures, is not violating due process but providing it in another form, by making the procedure more accessible. The point, she said, is that due process does not always take the form of the U.S. judicial system. For a dean's disciplinary proceeding, she said, the proposed policy provides due process. There was applause.
Sen. Aggarwala agreed with Ms. Richardson. He said students, after discussion, have made the judgment that it is in their best interest to sacrifice a measure of due process, to take a risk, relying on the fact that any serious guilty verdict is subject to appeal by the dean of the accused's school. He said he was comfortable with this decision. The point, he said, is to encourage more complaints of sexual misconduct even if they don't lead to guilty findings, because one of the goals of the policy is education. One of the most disturbing features of the present policy is how few incidents actually get reported and how seldom the policy is used, and the new policy may address this problem. If the new policy goes too far, he said, significant defects can be addressed through the provisions for continuing oversight and a two-year review. There was applause.
Sen. Anderson asked how it had been determined that the reason why complainants are not using the present policy is the difficulty of facing the accused in a disciplinary proceeding. Ms. Richardson, receiving permission to speak again, said the Rape Crisis Center had studied the present policy, and learned the reasons from complainants and panelists. The present alternative procedure, with more extensive due process provisions, was failing, and complainants were more apt to pursue dean's discipline.
After asking Sen. Lynch to read the amendment again, the President put it to a voice vote. The nays prevailed. There was applause.
Asked why the policy speaks of "prescribed educational programs" instead of counseling programs as a penalty for students found guilty of sexual misconduct, Ms. Catapano said the Task Force believes deans cannot require students to undergo counseling or medical treatment.
The Task Force accepted the President's suggestion to change the "and" in "suspension and dismissal" in paragraph 5 of Exhibit A to an "or."
At the suggestion of Sen. Anderson, the President asked the Task Force to find words making it clearer that a student's right to "object" to a student hearing panelist in the second paragraph of Exhibit A is a right to exclude that panelist.
There being no further discussion, the President then put Resolution V, with the friendly amendment requiring confidentiality about information identifying participants in disciplinary proceedings, to a vote. The Senate adopted the resolution by voice vote, with a few nays and one abstention. There was applause.
--Resolution to Establish a Master of Arts Program in Biotechnology: Sen. Letty Moss-
Salentijn (Ten., SDOS), chairman of the Education Committee, summarized the proposed program, which was designed for students who want a career in the biotechnology industry, but are not going to complete a Ph.D. program.
Sen. Duby said the development of the program had not included consultation with two engineering departments--Biomedical Engineering and Chemical Engineering--in closely related fields. He said that consultations of this kind would make for a better biotechnology program.
Sen. Salentijn acknowledged that such communication could strengthen the new program, but said these engineering departments are only two of a number of units that could enrich the new biotechnology program, including the biomedical sciences departments at Health Sciences.
Sen. Eduardo Macagno, Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, said there was some disagreement about what consultations had taken place, but Prof. Carol Prives, a leader of the proposed program, had spoken with Prof. Van Mow, chairman of the Biomedical Engineering Dept., and they had agreed to collaborate. There was no attempt, in developing the proposal, to exclude other programs or to claim turf. There had been sufficient due process to determine that the new program will address a need that is not now met by any other Columbia program.
Sen. Aggarwala recalled the problems that had attended the M.A. programs in area studies a year ago, and noted that a procedure for involving other schools in reviews of the increasingly interdisciplinary new master's programs in GSAS, some of which have significant overlaps with existing programs, needs to be formalized.
The President agreed that the new terminal M.A. programs, with unavoidable overlaps with other programs, are in a special category. He said these new degrees require some tolerance of ambiguity because they fall somewhere between professional and Ph.D. programs. He said the Education Committee had conducted a thorough review and noted the comments on the floor.
The Senate then voted unanimously to approve the program.
The President adjourned the meeting at around 3:30 pm.
Tom Mathewson, Senate staff