Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Minutes of the Faculty Meeting of Thursday, 23 April 2009, 12:00-2:00pm, 428 Pupin Hall
This extraordinary meeting of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences was called by a petition on the part of 27 faculty members according to paragraph V.A of the Arts and Sciences by-laws (see www.columbia.edu/cu/ecfas/files/ByLaws.html).
A group of faculty members representing the petitioners informed the Faculty of an open letter to President Bollinger—signed at this point by 138 Columbia faculty members, mostly from the Arts and Sciences—in which the signatories urge the President to make a statement in support of the academic freedom of Palestinian scholars (see www.academicfreedomcolumbia.org/). The petitioners raised the question to what extent, if at all, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences should concern itself with this and related issues and presented an informal proposal to create an advisory committee on academic freedom.
A representative from a different group then read out another letter to President Bollinger—signed at this point by 61 Columbia faculty members, mostly from outside the Arts and Sciences—that was written in response to the first letter and urges the President to join the signatories in supporting the academic freedom of Israelis and Palestinians alike.
These presentations were followed by an hour and a-half of lively and civil discussion, in which members of the Faculty expressed a variety of points of view. Many faculty expressed the view that the Faculty of Arts and Sciences should not concern itself with such issues. No votes were taken.