Category: Administration

In an email to students earlier today, Columbia Housing has announced that all housing prices will be flattened to a single rate – $9,292 – beginning next year for all upper-class residence halls. With this change, students will no longer have to decide on a building based on its cost. The change is still pending approval from Columbia’s Board of Trustees, but is likely to be approved.

The Lion has reached out to Barnard Housing to see if they plan to adopt the same pricing structure.

The full email can be found below:

Dear Students,

In response to your feedback, we are happy to announce that Columbia Housing will be changing our rates to provide for a simpler and fairer cost structure, beginning with the 2017-18 Academic Year.

Following the model of our first-year residences, all upper-class residence halls will be one rate: $9,292.*

With this new rate structure, lottery and class standing become the only determining factors in selecting a residence hall. This will allow you to choose housing based on where and with whom you want to live, not what you can afford. Additionally, with the new rate, the majority of students who live in our residence halls will see a lower average housing cost over their four years at Columbia versus the previous system.

Visit the Columbia Housing website for more information about the new rate structureplanned renovations, or Room Selection. If you have additional questions or concerns, please contact our team at housing@columbia.edu.

Best Regards,

Joyce E. Jackson
Executive Director
Columbia Housing

*Please note that this is the anticipated 2017-18 rate. Final rates are subject to approval by the Board of Trustees in June.

 

In an email to the Barnard community earlier this morning, President Debora Spar announced that Barnard College and the Barnard Contingent Faculty-UAW have reached a tentative agreement. The full email is below:

Dear Barnard Community,

I am pleased to announce that Barnard College and the Barnard Contingent Faculty-UAW have reached a tentative agreement on a first contract that honors the contributions of our contingent faculty, offering generous increases in both wages and benefits, as well as greater job security. We will provide more details to the Community later today. I thank both of the negotiating teams for their time and effort over these many months, and congratulate them for reaching this important agreement.

Sincerely,

Debora Spar

Update 2/18/17, 3:46pm:

President Spar has sent another email to the Barnard community with an update on the terms of the union contract. The full text is as follows:

Dear Members of the Barnard Community,

Barnard is pleased to have reached a tentative agreement with the Barnard Contingent Faculty Union (BCF)-UAW that reflects our deep respect for the union members’ significant contribution to our community. In keeping with our core goals of bargaining respectfully and in good faith, celebrating the contributions of our contingent faculty, and preserving the integrity of our academic programs, we have reached an honorable agreement that that both negotiation teams can celebrate.

When formally ratified by the union, this agreement will push forward substantive changes in wages, benefits, and job security for adjunct faculty that recognize their commitment to our students:

  • Wages. We will boost the minimum wage for adjunct professors to $7,000 per three-point course and increase it to $10,000 over the next five years—a sizable wage increase in total for the majority of adjunct professors. Barnard’s per-course wages are now among the best in New York City, and among elite, urban colleges and universities nationally.
  • Healthcare. With our new healthcare agreement, Barnard is among the few colleges in the nation to offer access to healthcare to all its part-time adjuncts, as well as College-contributed subsidies to those teaching a specified number of courses.  Beginning in the first year of the new contract, adjunct faculty teaching half-time or more will be eligible for a College-subsidized plan at a rate equivalent to one-half of the subsidy provided to our full-time faculty. By the third year of the contract, and in the interest of providing a subsidized option to greater numbers of adjunct faculty, this same subsidy will apply to those faculty teaching one-third of a full-time course load or more.
  • Job Security. Barnard has addressed the union’s concerns around job security by providing multi-year appointments or severance pay to adjunct faculty with longer terms of service. This approach supports job security in a way that does not compromise our discretion in course selection and hiring, and that preserves the integrity of our academic program.

For further details about the contract, visit https://barnard.edu/hr/bcf-uaw-negotiations/contract.

We greatly appreciate the outpouring of support and input from different groups, including the assistance of federal mediation, in achieving a fair deal for BCF-UAW members. Barnard looks forward to building an even stronger partnership with our contingent faculty to the benefit of our students, the academic program, and the community that defines us.

Sincerely,

Debora Spar
President

 

 

In response to pressure from groups on campus, Columbia President Lee Bollinger issued a statement early this morning regarding President Trump’s recent executive order regarding immigration policy. The full statement is below:

Dear fellow members of the Columbia community:

With the executive order issued by President Trump barring admission to the United States of Syrian refugees and imposing a 90-day ban on all immigrant and nonimmigrant entry from seven Muslim-majority nations, the fear so many have had about federal policies being changed in ways that could affect our community has become disturbingly real.

The public controversy and legal debate over the President’s order is intense.  Among the many strong petitions and compelling statements that have been issued is one from the Association of American Universities (AAU), of which Columbia is a member.  We join with many peers in decrying this action as discriminatory, damaging to America’s leadership in higher education, and contrary to our nation’s core values and founding principles.

At a practical level, we are advising community members and visiting scholars from the designated countries to suspend plans for international travel.  At the moment, we do not know of any Columbia students, faculty, or staff from the seven designated countries who are currently abroad.  In the meantime, we urge anyone seeking further guidance to contact our International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO).

At a more fundamental level, this order undermines the nation’s continuing commitment to remain open to the exchange of people and ideas.  We must not underestimate the scale of its impact.  An estimated 17,000 international students in the U.S. are from the seven nations covered by the entry ban.  Scholars planning to travel to the United States for meetings and conferences at our colleges and universities will effectively be barred from attending.  If this order stands, there is the certainty of a profound impact on our University community, which is committed to welcoming students, faculty, and staff from around the world, as well as across the nation.

As I have said on many occasions, it is critically important that the University, as such, not take stands on ideological or political issues.  Yet it is also true that the University, as an institution in the society, must step forward to object when policies and state action conflict with its fundamental values, and especially when they bespeak purposes and a mentality that are at odds with our basic mission.  This is such a case.
   
It is important to remind ourselves that the United States has not, except in episodes of national shame, excluded individuals from elsewhere in the world because of their religious or political beliefs.  We have learned that generalized fears of threats to our security do not justify exceptions to our founding ideals.  There are many powerful and self-evident reasons not to abandon these core values, but among them is the fact that invidious discrimination often adds fuel to deeply harmful stereotypes and hostility affecting our own citizens. 

It is with regret that I have to send this communication. 

Sincerely,

Lee C. Bollinger

In a recent email to the Barnard community, Provost Linda Bell addressed the fact that the union of the adjunct faculty at Barnard, who are currently in negotiation with the College, have decided on a strike deadline. She shared the College’s perspective on the proposals they have offered and informed the community that the College remains committed to fairness.

 

Dear Members of the Barnard Community,

This morning we learned that the bargaining committee for the Barnard Contingent Faculty Union (BCF)-UAW has set a strike deadline of February 21, 2017 if no contract agreement has been reached by that date. We are disappointed by this action given progress to date, but we continue to hope and trust that the strike deadline has been imposed to alert both the unit rank-and-file and the College administration of the urgency and intent to reach a fair and reasonable first contract. We remain fully committed to this effort, and our primary concern is, and it has always been, the efficacy of our academic program and the education we are able to offer our students.

I am happy to share that progress has been achieved on key economic and non-economic terms, and that even the bargaining committee’s own notice to its members acknowledges this progress. Moreover, the Union’s statement this morning accepts the College’s recommendation that a federal mediator be engaged in order to bring an independent viewpoint to the important issues that continue to divide us.

When I last wrote to you, on December 8, the Union had voted to empower its leadership to strike as necessary, despite our substantive economic proposal and ongoing negotiations that had yielded progress on key non-economic terms. Furthermore, the Union leadership waited until December 15 to make its first response to an economic proposal that had been on the table since August 2, and unilaterally cancelled a bargaining session set for December 22 only hours before it was to take place. The College has continued to come to each of the 27 bargaining sessions since February 2016 prepared and ready to negotiate in good faith. Since December 8, we have presented multiple substantive proposals that we believe can bring the sides closer, including two revisions to our wage offer and the introduction of new benefit terms.

Of the substantive issues that remain, one concerns the mechanisms for appointments and assignments (what the Union refers to as seniority), and the other, compensation. The College has broken new ground on both.

Over the past year, we have offered unprecedented notice regarding appointments, security in course load, raises in pay and improved access to benefits, including at our most recent bargaining session on January 20.

On the issue of appointments and assignments, we believe strongly that the departments themselves should decide how best to maintain the integrity of the academic program and determine whether and how certain courses will be taught in any given semester. This same discretion has been our long-term practice and has been exercised in making assignments for all faculty. Both current and former department chairs have told us that they view this flexibility as crucial to the academic functioning of the College. We simply cannot and will not guarantee specific course assignments to individuals in perpetuity, as the Union has proposed, as this would compromise our academic mission and the superb quality of the education we offer our students.

However, in order to address the Union’s concern regarding job security, we have offered two measures that would increase individuals’ employment security in other ways that do not compromise our mission. First, we have offered to move to year-long appointments for all part-time faculty, an improvement over our current semester-by-semester appointment process. Thus, part-time faculty would receive more advance notice, more predictable schedules, and the ability to plan their full academic year. Second, in deference to the Union’s notion that seniority should increase employment security, we have also introduced a proposal to offer adjunct faculty who have served the College over time the guarantee of either longer-term appointments or separation pay in the event that they are not reassigned teaching. More details: https://barnard.edu/hr/bcf-uaw-negotiations/strike-faqs#appoint.

The College has twice modified its wage proposal since the Union’s response on December 15. Specifically, our latest proposal increases minimum course pay rates three times over four years and provides a 2 percent pay increase each year, beginning in fall 2017, for individuals making above the minimum course rate. More details: https://barnard.edu/hr/bcf-uaw-negotiations/strike-faqs#proposal. Under the College’s proposal, all adjunct faculty will be guaranteed improved economic terms throughout the life of the contract, and no unit member—even those earning well above the minimum per-course rate—will be negatively impacted. Furthermore, our proposed minimum rates are positioned to be competitive, and are significantly higher than minimum rates offered to adjunct faculty in many similar colleges and universities in New York City and in other high-cost areas in the United States.

In contrast, the Union’s proposal sets both minimum rates and benefit terms that are untenable. In the first year alone, the proposal would cost an incremental $3.3 million; it would force the College to make deep cuts to the annual budget that would adversely affect the academic program.

In addition to setting fair and equitable minimum wage rates, we have responded positively and demonstrably to the Union’s request that all unit faculty, including those working part-time, have the ability to participate in the College’s health insurance plan. For adjunct faculty teaching a half-time equivalent load or more (nine points or more in a given academic year), the College will contribute 50 percent of the contribution that it makes to full-time faculty. Adjunct faculty teaching less than 9 points in any given year would have the option to buy in to the College’s Plan A at their own personal cost.

The College has worked hard to bargain in good faith with the goal of ensuring our part-time and term faculty a fair and equitable contract that addresses their most important concerns. We are gratified that the Union has accepted our request for a federal mediator. We see the mediator role as a useful and time-honored resource for bridging remaining differences, and in so doing, serving our larger community. The process of mediation will take time. Should we find ourselves unable to reach a first contract by the February 21 strike deadline, and should the Union decide to strike, the College will continue to operate as normally as possible.

As has been the practice for the past year, I will continue to keep the community informed of our progress through written updates, as well as in-person meetings with faculty, staff, students and alumnae leaders. As always, please understand that our overarching goal remains a fair first contract that recognizes the talent and commitment of our contingent faculty, and that protects the vitality of the academic program and our core mission as an institution.

Sincerely,

Linda A Bell
Provost & Dean of the Faculty

In an email sent to students earlier today, Dean of Columbia College, James Valentini, has notified students of the passing of Ezekiel “Zeke” Reiser, a Columbia College student who entered with the Class of 2014. Reiser, son of adjunct faculty members from GSAPP passed away over the weekend.

The full email can be found below:

Dear Students,

I am devastated to be writing to you again about the passing of a Columbia College student. Ezekiel “Zeke” Reiser, who was the son of adjunct faculty members in the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation (GSAPP) and entered Columbia College with the Class of 2014, died this weekend at his family’s home in New York.

Below is a message sent by Dean Amale Andraos to the GSAPP faculty, which includes memorial information for Zeke.

I know that many of you are still healing from other recent news. Each loss we experience takes a toll, and this has been and continues to be an incredibly difficult time for us all.

Please continue to take care of yourselves and each other and don’t hesitate to reach out to the staff throughout the University here to support you, including clinicians from Counseling and Psychological Services (212-854-2878), staff from the Office of the University Chaplain (212-854-1493), your advisers in the Berick Center for Student Advising (212-854-6378), and your Residential Life staff, including your RAs.

My thoughts are with Zeke’s family and friends, and all of you.

James J. Valentini
Dean of Columbia College and
Vice President for Undergraduate Education

cc:  Mary C. Boyce, Dean of The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science

Resources

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: GSAPP Dean’s Office <deansoffice@arch.columbia.edu>
Date: Mon, Jan 23, 2017 at 4:44 PM
Subject: Zeke Reiser

Dear Friends and colleagues,

It is with great sadness that I share the heartbreaking news of the death of Zeke Reiser, the son of our colleagues Nanako Umemoto and Jesse Reiser, this past weekend. Zeke was also a member of the Columbia community as a student at Columbia College.

A memorial ceremony is planned for 2 pm on Wednesday January 25th, at the home of Deborah Reiser, 28 South Washington Ave, Dobbs Ferry, NY 10522.

Sincerely,
Amale

Amale Andraos
Dean, Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation
Columbia University, New York