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 VOL. 23, NO. 19APRIL 3, 1998 

From the Senate

Senate Calls for Full Funding of $6 Million Action Plan for Libraries; Rupp Is Leery of Cost


At its March meeting the University Senate unanimously approved a Libraries Committee resolution calling on the administration to fund the Action Plan for the Libraries and AcIS produced last November by Vice President for Information Services Elaine Sloan.

  The Senate also approved two new certificate programs and discussed the sexual misconduct policy, faculty health benefits, University budget issues, questions of academic freedom raised by the funding and governance of the Italian Academy in America and a proposal for a statutory definition of the University’s Tenure Review Advisory Committee (TRAC).

  The Libraries resolution regretted that the administration had not funded the initiatives recommended for fiscal 1998 by an external review known as the Frye report, called for full funding of the Action Plan, requested a report from the Provost at the April Senate meeting on the Libraries budget for next year and requested the President to arrange a June meeting between the Trustees’ Committee on Educational Policy and the Senate Libraries Committee, partly to discuss the Frye report.

  The President pointed out that full funding of the Action Plan, requiring an addition of $6 million in the operating budgets of the Libraries and AcIS, would represent serious opportunity costs, a problem the resolution did not address. The same $6 million could fund large numbers of professors and graduate students or pay for extensive renovations. Sen. Jeremy Waldron (Tenured, Law) replied that improved libraries are critical to the recruitment of faculty and graduate students.

  Sen. Leora Hanser (Student, BC) gave a preliminary report for the subcommittee studying the University’s sexual misconduct policy, announcing plans to present resolutions in April to extend the current sexual misconduct policy for up to two years, to create a new 10-member task force to review the policy and to call for aggressive efforts to publicize the policy before the fall.

  Sen. Eugene Litwak (Ten., GSAS/SS) reported briefly, with graphs and a projector, on preliminary findings of a Faculty Affairs Committee survey on health benefits. One result is that Columbia faculty are more pleased with their doctors than with the administration of their health plans, a disparity particularly sharp among Oxford members.

  An External Relations report on a draft resolution presented by Sen. Luciano Rebay (Ten., GSAS/H) led to extensive discussion of details of the complex transaction between the University and the Italian government involving the Italian Academy in America. But no one disagreed with the conclusion of the resolution calling on External Relations and the Provost’s Office to formulate guidelines to govern the sale of the University’s educational facilities to foreign governments.

  Senators expressed a range of views on a Faculty Affairs resolution proposing a statutory definition of the Tenure Review Advisory Committee.

  The debate resulted in a distinction between two questions, to be addressed at the April meeting: Should there be a statutory amendment defining the TRAC, and if so, should it establish current arrangements, as written in Provostial documents explaining procedures of tenure review, or should it include some or all of the reforms proposed in the Faculty Affairs draft resolution, including a self-perpetuating TRAC, with some Senate role in the appointment of new members, and new reporting responsibilities for the TRAC, of aggregate statistics on tenure reviews.

  Without dissent, the Senate approved new certificates in dental assisting and in the conservation of historic buildings and the management of archaeological sites.