BREAKING: Dean Moody-Adams Resigns

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An active member of the alumni network who wished to remain anonymous forwarded us the following email, purportedly sent by the Dean of Columbia College, explaining her resignation as of June 30, 2012. Dated yesterday, August 20th, the message has quickly spread by email, according to two active alumni tipsters. Although it is addressed to “friends,” and has been passed to alumni, it is unclear who the original recipients of the message were. It is possible that the “friends,” were The original recipients of the email were Trustees, a select group of prominent alumni and members of the Board of Visitors.

Michele Moody-Adams has served as the Dean of Columbia College since February 2009. We have bolded the most important parts her strongly-worded email. Moody-Adams does not go into detail about the “planned changes,” that prompted her to step down, but promises these “structural transformations” have eliminated “the authority of the Dean of the College over crucial policy, fund-raising and budgetary matters” and will “fundamentally alter decision-making in and for the College.”

We have reached out to all the appropriate channels of official communication for comment, but at the moment have not received confirmation of Moody-Adams resignation from any Columbia source besides alumni recipients of the e-mail.

Dear Friends,

It is with a very heavy heart that I send you this news. Columbia
University has begun plans to transform the administrative structure in Arts
and Sciences. The planned changes will have the effect of diminishing and
in some important instances eliminating the authority of the Dean of the
College over crucial policy, fund-raising and budgetary matters.

During my tenure as Dean, I have repeatedly voiced concern that changes of
this kind will ultimately compromise the College’s academic quality and
financial health
. In my time here, I have quietly and respectfully sought
the counsel of many of you about how to have my voice heard. I believed
until very recently that, given the quality of my contributions to Columbia
and the success of many of my efforts here, my concerns might be taken
seriously. Just a very few days ago, it was made clear to me that the
structural transformations intended to fundamentally alter decision-making
in and for the College cannot be stopped.

Because I cannot in good conscience carry out a role that I believe to be
detrimental to the welfare of the College, I have submitted my resignation
as Dean of Columbia College, effective June 30, 2012. In my final year as
Dean, I will work towards a seamless transition and continue to adhere to
the values that I have promoted for 27 years in higher education: academic
excellence, professionalism at every level of the organization,
administrative transparency and fiscal responsibility. On July 1, 2012 I
will look forward to strengthening my connections to my tenure home in
Philosophy as the Joseph Straus Professor of Political Philosophy and Legal

I believe in offering my best as an administrator, educator and scholar and
in doing the right things by the constituents I serve. Columbia is
developing a structure that will no longer allow me to do that as Dean. I
nonetheless thank you for your support during my tenure as Dean.

Sincerely Yours,

Michele M. Moody-Adams

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  1. CC '12

    Do we have any idea of the specific changes to be made or veracity of this email?

  2. Anonymous

    maybe this time we will get a dean who can stay impartial during important campus debates like ROTC and not impose her own hate-filled, imperialist agenda on students

    • Yes

      exactly. Although I wouldn't call it "imperialist," it sounds pretentious.

    • Imperialistic?  

      She explicitly and consciously wants the U.S. to conquer foreign nations to exploit their resources for it's own selfish political and economic gain? You know this for a fact?

      You could have made a good point, but then you had to be like that. Why you gotta be like that?

  3. Sakib

    Diminishing the fund-raising powers of the College, with the intent of having College alumni support the University as a whole instead, has been a goal of the Bollinger administration since PrezBo got to Columbia from Michigan and brought an administration full of Michigan and Princeton people.

    • Alum

      It was a goal of the Rupp administration, too. Austin Quigley was briefly fired for resisting, but he was reinstated under heavy pressure from alumni. Maybe the same thing will happen now.

  4. 4:07?

    This was not up at 4:07.

  5. Van Owen

    Farewell Professor Moody and take your mad eye with you.

  6. Anonymous  

    seeing as how moody-adams just appeared at a meeting that I attended I doubt this is valid at this time

  7. Anonymous

    This is phenomenal news, and hopefully the college can return to former glory with better management of policies. As opposed to a focus on personal agendas and opinions, which compromise the college and university; and go against many of the foundations that benefit all students.

    • hesitate

      to say that mimoo leaving is phenomenal is like saying mission accomplished.

    • Anonymous

      what former glory?

      • Former glory

        I think he means back when we were a commuter school that couldn't house all students on campus, the College was treated as an unwelcome distraction from the crown jewel of the grad schools, and we were basically the laughingstock of the Ivies.

        • Anonymous

          i'm sorry but the College/Engineering are still treated as an 'unwelcome distraction from the crown jewel of the grad schools'. that hasn't really changed. regardless, i don't know whether we are qualified to pass judgment on this given that we don't actually know what the changes are. Moody-Adams may just be iffed about the loss of personal power...

  8. Heartbroken

    She's played such a central role in my academic life! Don't know what I'll do.

  9. What is

    a chemistry major's worst nightmare?

    Moody atoms!

  10. Having

    talked to MiMoo, it was well apparent that she was an administrator who held the interests of the college close to her. Obviously, this move is part of PrezBo's campaign to sideline the College, while using the money that it generates in other parts of the university. It seems that MiMoo has paid the price for taking a principled stand. The people who will ultimately end up suffering are us, the undergraduates.

    • ...  

      i don't know about you guys, but this e-mail seems pretty unprofessional to me. if she disagreed with changes that were on the horizon, she could have loudened up her opposition to them and brought them into public view in a far more constructive manner thereby inviting productive debate.

      instead what i see here strikes me more like a giant tantrum. she's not getting her way, so she's storming out. now she's sent out a vague email that publicly declares that she's over it and that there are dark, nebulous and evil forces lurking in the shadows that are out to destroy columbia college.

      this is a pretty ridiculous prima donna move, even for ridiculously ego driven circles like academia. ultimately, by contacting alumni and airing dirty laundry in this vague, unprofessional and unconstructive tone, she harms future fundraising and damages the image of the college and the university. that has potential to have direct negative effects on you in the form of diminished future fundraising. think about that.

      who knows, maybe there are some counterproductive administrative changes on the horizon. if you ask me, that's absolutely no excuse to be airing dirty laundry in the face of the donor pool. there's an awful lot of hubris involved in her yearlong transition plan, if you ask me, after a stunt like that she should be asked to clear her desk by the end of the week. this isn't some sidney lumet movie where the bold young protagonist stands up to a broken system. this is real life, and this is real damage that she has done that can turn real dollars away from columbia.

      • GS '14  

        In her defense, it was seemingly an email intended for a small group of people and never meant to get out.

        • ...  

          yeah, lets see... a small group of people comprised of some of the most active financial supporters of the university.

          there's really no excuse for airing dirty laundry in front of that group.

          but that said, downvote me all you want. it appears that bollinger is in agreement.

      • Alum

        " awful lot of hubris involved in her yearlong transition plan..."

        Deans and other top administrators often resign a year in advance. It's not because of personal hubris; it's because finding a new dean and getting him/her into office takes a long time. That's especially true when the new hire is from outside the university. Agreeing to stay on for a year makes hiring an interim dean unnecessary. It's a real benefit to the school, not a selfish act by the incumbent.

  11. Stanley Cavell

    Hey, I'm gonna get you too. Another one bites the dust...

  12. Anonymous

    the dean just accidentally the college.

  13. Anonymous

    You should probably think about the power dynamics of that situation. A smart woman like MiMoo would not throw a tantrum. They were probably threatening to fire her if she took her opposition any further. This way she still gets publicity and gets to keep her tenured professor gig.

  14. Anonymous

    Meanwhile in Libya,

    I hope the central bank doesnt fall under that house.

  15. Alum

    She was going to \keep her tenured professor gig\ regardless of how she handled her disputes with Low Library. That's what tenure means.

    • Anonymous

      well yeah. I knew that. I guess I was trying to say that this way is more graceful and still makes the point. The real immature thing would have been to stick around raising hell and letting that distract from what I expect is already a demanding job.

  16. Anonymous

    blast from the past? ''calls into question the readiness of the university to allow a strong leader of the college to occupy the dean's chair.''

  17. Anonymous

    BREAKING: Moody-Adams’ Resignation Effective Immediately
    Brian Connolly, Associate Vice President for Public Affairs from the Office of Communications, has released a statement from President Bollinger regarding the resignation of Columbia College Dean Michele Moody-Adams. Bollinger writes that “under the circumstances,” Moody-Adams will step down immediately, rather than on June 30, 2012, as she proposes in her statement. Bollinger plans to choose an Interim Dean in the next few weeks.

    I have accepted Dean Moody-Adams’s decision to resign as Dean of Columbia College and Vice President for Undergraduate Education. In her position as dean and vice president, we had looked forward to her playing a central role in shaping the academic administration of the College to ensure the finest educational experience for our students, and had hoped that she would be a key voice in the ongoing discussions involving faculty, alumni and administrators about how to position the College even more centrally in the life of Columbia’s Faculty of Arts & Sciences. Under the circumstances, it is in the best interests of the College and the University that she step down immediately so that we can have an Interim Dean in place at the beginning of the new academic year.

  18. Anonymous

    it is confirmed

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