Commission on the Status of Women: 2008-2009

Co-Chairs: Mercy Davidson (Sr. Res. Scientist, Neurology, CUMC),
Pat Kitcher (Prof. Philosophy)

Current Membership:
Maya Tolstoy (Research Scientist, LDEO) 
Katie Conway (Director, Academic Affairs, CUMC)
Susan Rieger (Associate. Provost, Office of Equal Opportunity)
Iva Petkova (Student, GSAS)
Lucy Drotning (Associate Provost, Office of Planning & Institutional Research)
Robert Valadez (Student, SSW)
Carol Hoffman (Associate Provost and Director of Work-Life)
Katherine Franke (Faculty, Law),
Sharron Close (Student, Nursing)
Pat Zumhagen, (Professor, English, TC)
Dan Baker (Administrator, UDAR),
Antonios Saravanos (Student, TC),
Laureen Zubiaurre (Faculty, Dental Medicine),
Cynthia Pollack (Director, Tompkins Hall)


The committee met eight times during the academic year, on 9/23, 10/21, 11/18, 12/16, 1/27, 2/24, 3/24, and 4/21.

The vast majority of the CSW work this year was on revising the University’s Romantic Relationship Advisory.  This effort followed up on a student survey that had been done the previous year and a study of other universities’ policies.  The Commission had lengthy discussions aimed at working out a policy that would meet three key objectives: avoiding possible conflicts of interest; maintaining appropriate standards of professionalism in relations between professors and students (and supervisors and co-workers); and protecting students from foreseeable harms that could come to them from consensual relations with faculty. At this point, the Commission has produced a completed draft to be circulated in the fall among senior administrators and departments chairs.


Other issues: We have taken brief looks at the current status of affirmative action efforts (with help from Susan Rieger) and at some issues concerning work life (with help from Associate Provost Carol Hoffman).  Besides the consensual relations policy, our main focus has been on trying to obtain information on how monies in the fringe pool are distributed.  Our plan for next year is to determine as best we can whether the allocation of fringe monies to various benefits is fair and reasonable from the perspective of women at Columbia.