Meeting of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Wednesday, April 30, 2003




President Bollinger convened the meeting at 12:12 p.m.


1.      President Bollinger began by noting his delight that Alan Brinkley had agreed to serve as Provost, beginning July 1, 2003.


He then expressed his deep appreciation for all that David Cohen had done in his term as Vice President.


President Bollinger commented on four items:


He indicated that the budget was where he had expected it to be.He noted that Columbia is not as harshly affected as other institutions.Nevertheless, he recognized that this is not an easy time.He observed that the key question is whether or not Columbia will have the resources to do what it wants in order to keep moving forward.He cited fundraising as the most likely avenue for securing new monies in the near term, and reported that a capital campaign is planned in the next two-to-three years.Technology transfer may also be a promising source of revenues, particularly for the funding of the science initiative.


He reported that he is moving forward with the planning process for campus expansion.Space is a critical issue and he has established campus and community advisory groups on the topic.He noted that this is a topic on which we have to think broadlyówhat is possible for growth contiguous to the existing footprint and, if this were possible, what would be the architectural character and impact of this new space.The committees must also imagine space solutions as perhaps being elsewhere in Manhattan and New York City, and even beyond the bounds of the city.


Midnightís Children was a tremendous experience for Columbia and for the surrounding community.


Nicholas Lemann has accepted the deanship of the School of Journalism.He will be guiding the School of Journalism as it moves forward with its curricular change, with the schoolís providing leadership for journalism education more broadly.It is anticipated that Dean Lemann will be reaching out to the Arts and Sciences to explore potential areas of collaboration.


President Bollinger invited faculty to share any thoughts they might have on the recent free speech occurrences.Professor Arac observed that the President, Provost and Vice President had responded very appropriately and had been very supportive of the fundamental right of freedom of speech.Professor Foner reminded faculty that they now can expect even incidental remarks to find their way into the broader arena with the instant and sweeping communication capabilities made possible by email and the web.He cautioned that the institution must be sure that it does not let these often very organized campaigns somehow intimidate faculty and abridge deeply held fundamental rights.Professor Dirks rose to add his appreciation for the administrationís strong support for the principle of freedom of speech.


In response to a question from Professor Sisman asking whether there are limits beyond which freedom of speech should be protected, President Bollinger summarized his thinking about these issues.Professor Helfand then asked under what circumstances the President would feel compelled to comment on the content of a faculty memberís remarks.In response President Bollinger indicated that he rarely would; however, in the recent instance, while recognizing that it had the potential to have a chilling effect, he felt he needed to give his own personal opinion on the matter.President Bollinger then acknowledged in response to a question from Professor Jervis that it was not clear how best to handle a faculty memberís intolerance of a studentís position that differs from her/his own.Professor Higgins noted that opposing points of view can sometimes be used to stimulate enlightened dialogue and intellectual development.In the worst sense, it can fall to the depths of dogma.Professor Katznelson noted the challenge arising from the duality of the nature of the discourse fostered within the academy and the way in which the public thinks about freedom of speech. President Bollinger reported that he is thinking of naming a faculty committee to consider the issue of academic freedom and its intersection with freedom of speech.He noted that there is a widely-held belief that the academy is out of step with the broader society and that it is incumbent upon universities to do a better job of communicating their beliefs and principles to the broader society.


2.      It was moved, seconded and approved by majority vote that the minutes of the meeting on February 12, 2003, be approved as prepared.


3.      Professor Andrew Nathan, chair of the Executive Committee of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, presented its report.


● He indicated that ECFAS had been discussing the topic of freedom of speech even before the most recent incident.He noted that ECFAS applauded Provost Jonathan Coleís December 2002 letter as a learned discourse on freedom of speech.Prompted by that, the Executive Committee, even before the recent the teach-in, voted to adopt a resolution speaking to the importance of the protection of freedom of speech on the campus; a copy of the resolution has been posted on the ECFAS website.He went on to add ECFASís vote of thanks to the President, Provost and Vice President for their support of the principle of free speech.In response to Professor Sismanís question about whether ECFAS had endorsed the application of the principles in Provost Coleís letter to situations beyond Columbia, Professor Nathan indicated that ECFAS had not discussed this so it was not possible to comment.


● ECFAS has devoted extensive time to discussing ways of expanding its role.In particular, they have been focusing on ways to increase communication between the faculty and the Arts and Sciences administration and the faculty and the broader university administration.ECFAS has met with numerous administrators and found them open and welcoming of faculty comment and input.ECFAS is now exploring informal ways to increase this communication.It intends to meet with the president prior to every faculty meeting.It wishes to continue its monthly meeting with the Vice President and deans, and to meet regularly with the Provost.He noted that within the Arts and Sciences there is already a quite robust faculty governance structure, but that ECFAS intends to develop committees that would be more actively involved with the central administration too.Professor Nathan invited individuals to indicate their interest in participating.As part of efforts to expand the functioning of ECFAS, it is generating a questionnaire soliciting faculty input on structure and priorities for ECFAS.The questionnaire will be distributed in the fall semester.


● Professor Nathan thanked the outgoing members of the Executive Committee for their contributions to this yearís activities.He reminded those who had not yet done so to be sure to cast their ballot for the new members.


It was moved, seconded and approved by majority vote that Roxie Smith be elected as secretary of the faculty for the 2003-04 academic year.


4.      Professor Andrew Nathan in his capacity as committee co-chair presented the report of the Faculty Budget Group.He reminded the faculty that the Faculty Budget Group is comprised of three members of ECFAS and the six members of the Steering Committee of the Chairs.The Faculty Budget Group met throughout the budget preparation period, and discussed a number of issues and received in depth explanations of all aspects of the planned submission.He noted that faculty involvement in the budget process through the mechanism of the Faculty Budget Group was a very useful process, although one that did not lend itself readily to conveying summaries of its operations to the broader faculty.It is his hope that, as more serve, the information base gained by participating in the Faculty Budget Group will ripple out through the Arts and Sciences faculty.At the same time, Professor Nathan acknowledged that the Faculty Budget Group could do yet more, primarily through greater involvement in the priority setting process.The Faculty Budget Group intends to start meeting in the fall with the Vice President for Arts and Sciences even before the planning parameters are received from the Office of Management and Budget.It sees the Faculty Budget Group as one very important mechanism for increasing faculty involvement in the Arts and Sciences operation.


Vice President Cohen then took the microphone to respond to questions about specific items in the budget.Vice President Cohen noted that the Faculty Budget Group, along with the two annual reports on the budget to the entire Arts and Sciences faculty, are the principle mechanisms for ensuring greater budgetary transparency.In many respects, the budget is a policy document, so it is important that more and more faculty understand it.


While acknowledging that the Arts and Sciences is operating in a very constrained financial environment, Vice President Cohen reported that the budget is projected to close again in balance at the end of FY 03.He acknowledged, however, that crafting the FY 04-08 budget had been an extremely challenging process.In the end, the Arts and Sciences was able to submit a balanced budget for FY 04 and FY 05.He reminded the faculty that at this time last year, deficits had been projected for FY 06 and 07 because the Arts and Sciences had not been able to fully absorb the set-aside required for the site acquisition reserve.Those deficits have been carried forward into the FY 04-FY 08 budget.He went on to note that, as currently forecast, in FY 08 the operating budget is projected to be in balance with all but $1.2 million of the cumulative deficit curtailed.At the same time, he cautioned faculty that it is not really possible to speak with any confidence beyond the next one-to-two years.


Returning to the topic of the site acquisition reserve, Vice President Cohen noted that the Arts and Sciences had been permitted to use those funds to capitalize on some recent space expansion opportunities.With a fairly modest dollar investment, the Arts and Sciences will be able to provide adequate space for the following five departmentsóReligion, EALAC, MEALAC, Statistics and Mathematics.


The instructional budget for faculty salaries is grown at 4% for each year of the FY 04-08 submission.Vice President Cohen reminded faculty that the October Faculty Size and Effort Report had shown growth in faculty size this year.He noted that faculty size is expected to grow again next year.While this growth is already built into the FY 04-08 budget submission, it was not possible to build in resources for enhancing eminence.Any actions beyond maintaining steady state would require additional investments.While on the topic of investments, Vice President Cohen expressed the appreciation of the Arts and Sciences for the special bridging supplement that was provided to Economics by President Bollinger.


In closing, Vice President Cohen echoed President Bollingerís observation that all institutions of higher education are suffering in this more fiscally-constrained time.He observed that he had hoped to pass on to his successor a five-year balanced budget, but had been able to manage only a two-year balanced budget.He reflected, however, that life would have been considerably different if he had had even a two-year balanced budget upon assuming his Vice Presidency.


5.      Professor David Freedberg presented a report from the Vice Presidential search committee.He indicated that the committee was hard at work.He noted that they had been diligent and committed in their efforts and thanked the Arts and Sciences faculty for all of the nominations and input that they had provided to the committee.Professor Freedberg indicated that the committee was at the point of interviewing candidates and hoped to forward a slate to the Provost and President by mid-May.


6.      Vice President Cohen took a few minutes to reflect on the eight years since his first faculty meeting in 1995.He indicated that these eight years had been enormously rewarding and that he wished to acknowledge the unwavering support that he had received from both Presidents Rupp and Bollinger.He acknowledged his special thanks to Provost Cole for his deep commitment to the Arts and Sciences and his unflagging devotion to ensuring its strength and stability.He closed by expressing his gratitude to the faculty, noting that it had been a very special privilege to work with them.


7.      New Business:


Professor Patricia Grieve rose to speak on behalf of the chairs of the 29 departments of the Arts and Sciences.Speaking for the chairs, she requested that a motion recording their recognition of David Cohenís unparalleled service and achievements as Vice President be entered into the record, and that the record reflect their heartfelt thanks for all that he had done.She noted that, while a scientist, he knew how to say no in many languages; however, he also listened and said yes at the right times.He has outstanding budgetary acumen but has maintained a focus on departmental eminence while never forgetting the individual.Professor Grieve expressed her personal pleasure in working with David.Professor David Helfand rose to second the motion, giving examples of the ways in which David Cohen was nearly always a good leader, and many times a great one.


Professor Robert Jervis rose to request that a motion formally acknowledging the extraordinary contributions of Provost Cole also be entered into the record.Professor Jervis noted in particular the contributions to ensuring the quality and stature of the institution that Provost Cole had made through the ad hoc system.Professor Elaine Sisman rose to second the motion, citing the manner in which he had guided Columbia over the years and, in particular, noting the way that he had provided for the faculty a clear blueprint for understanding what is valuable and what is vital.



President Bollinger, by consensus, adjourned the meeting at 1:45 pm.


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††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Roxie R. Smith