University Senate †††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††† April 25, 2003







Our committee was formed in January 2001 to review the representation and treatment of officers of research at Columbia University.The initial work, some of which even preceded the establishment of the committee, included a series of open meetings with researchers at the Morningside, Lamont, and Health Sciences campuses. This precedent we hope to repeat in the next weeks, with meetings at all three campuses, to help with the transition to the standing committee that will soon supplant us, the Senate Research Officers Committee.


One outcome of our early meetings with colleagues, and other meetings with Columbia administrators, was our decision to use the University Senate as our continued forum of representation. After painstaking research, we established a clear statistical picture of the constituency, including our numbers, titles, and longevity. This and other research (presented in our 2001-02 yearís annual report, available on the web at, under Archive) supported our decision to request an increase in the number of research senators, as well as in our representation on Senate committees, and the addition of a grievance function for our committee, along the lines of the mandate of the Senate Faculty Affairs Committee.


After extensive deliberations, the Senate amended the University Statutes on November 1, 2002 to allow an increase in the number of research senators from two to six, and the establishment of a nine-member standing committee, including three nonsenatorresearchers, which might formally take on a grievance function after a review in three years. The Trustees gave final approval to the amendments on March 1, 2003. We expect to hold elections for the four new research senators during the summer.


Other gains during the lifetime of our committee were an increase in the allotment of disk space for research officers on the Universityís central computers, and informal mediation efforts in a few researcher grievances, mostly carried out by Sen. Stephanie Neuman.


The committee spent time discussing a number of other important issues facing research officers at Columbia, but we have left the job of making recommendations on them to our successor committee.We will provide an extensive report for the new Committee on

Research Officer Affairs, which will start in the fall of 2003, with guidance on how to pursue the following tasks, which we list here in no particular order:


1)      modifying University titles for researchers, possibly by adding new ranks between existing titles;

2)      establishing uniform standards of promotion for research officers throughout the†††

††††† University;


3)      improving health care and retirement benefits, especially for part-time officers.

4)      providing bridging funds for researchers who are between grants;

5)      requesting an administrative office like the one recently set up to deal with post-doctoral research officers, but capable of serving all research officers;

6)      expanding educational benefits for researchers;

7)      continuing the campaign to expand representation of researchers on key Senate groups, including the Education, Housing Policy, Budget Review, and Executive, committees.


For the Ad Hoc Committee,



Sen. Barry Allen (Health Sciences)

Sen. Matt Rogers (Morningside)