The USenate’s Student Affairs Committee (SAC) released a statement yesterday supporting Professor James Valentini’s appointment as Interim Dean. In case you’re a little hazy on your Senate background, the mandate of the SAC is to advise on “matters of University-wide student concerns, and to concerns of students in more than one faculty or school.” Their comment emphasizes the role of the Dean as the link between Arts & Sciences and Columbia College, a relationship which soured under Moody-Adams leadership and remains at the core of ongoing concerns about the administration.

This frustration is also voiced in the release, which asserts (unusually straighforwardly for the Senate) that “Dean Valentini will need to address the concerns felt by the student body and many faculty members by displaying a strong commitment to the essential qualities of Columbia College.” CCSC and SAC identify the three issues that Bwog has previously highlighted as central to the Moodygate story: financial aid, the Core Curriculum, and class size (both of core classes and entire years). The actual events prompting MiMoo’s resignation have still not been acknowledged. The full statement, with relevant sections bolded, is below.

The Columbia College Student Council (CCSC) and the Student Affairs Committee (SAC) of the University Senate welcome the appointment of interim Columbia College Dean and Vice President for Undergraduate Education James Valentini. The CCSC and the SAC look forward to working with Dean Valentini during his time in the position.

The SAC has been working closely with the CCSC, the student body, and the administration since the resignation of former Dean Moody-Adams. The Dean of Columbia College, who also serves as a Vice President of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, is in a position of leadership that touches on many schools within the university. The close relationship between the SAC and the CCSC reflects the multi-school nature of recent events.

“Dean Valentini’s appointment was appropriate when you consider his leadership within the University through the Senate, within the Arts and Sciences, and within the College. SAC looks forward to working with the interim Dean and believes his perspective has great potential to enhance the experience of students throughout Columbia University,” said Alex Frouman, Columbia College ’12, Co-Chair of the SAC, who is charged with representing the voice of all students of the University.

Dean Valentini’s experience on the Committee on Instruction and the Committee on the Core enables him to understand Columbia College, its values, and its challenges. “We are happy that President Bollinger chose an interim dean with a history of involvement with Columbia College,” said Aki Terasaki, Columbia College ’12, President of the CCSC. “The CCSC is committed to working closely with Dean Valentini,” Terasaki continued.

Dean Valentini will need to address the concerns felt by the student body and many faculty members by displaying a strong commitment to the essential qualities of Columbia College. Specifically, Dean Valentini must prioritize:

  • Financial aid by maintaining the current, highly generous system of need-blind, full-need, and no-loan aid.
  • The Core Curriculum by protecting the quality of experience by using professors and only the best graduate students and by maintaining the current limits on the size of individual sections.
  • Class year size by maintaining the current population of the College and resisting the temptation to increase student population for increases in revenue, thereby diluting the student experience.

The SAC and the CCSC thank Michele Moody-Adams for her service to the College and willingness to help with the transition to an interim dean.