Why Are We Excluded from CAFA?
Written by Bwog Staff
CAFA, the Committee on Admissions and Financial Aid that governs CC/SEAS, has been made anew. It used to be under the Dean, but now it’s under the Provost. It used to have student reps, but now instead has professional school reps. There should be student reps on CAFA. Please make that happen, “student leaders.”
Not long ago, Coatsworth announced “the [re-]formation” (Bwog’s addition) of the Committee on Admissions and Financial Aid.
According to its charter, CAFA
offers guidance on how diversity—of personal experience, of academic interest, of non‐ academic achievement, of place of origin, of family background, of secondary school—should be considered in evaluation of applicants for their potential to contribute to and benefit from the undergraduate experience at Columbia [and] advises on financial aid policies that enable the achievement of admissions goals, and assesses the effectiveness of these policies in meeting educational objectives.
Why “re-formation”? Because CAFA existed before, and included student representatives. Not this time.
In 1992, CAFA Students were instrumental in killing a cost-cutting plan that would have ruined financial aid. Said CCSC ’92: “We are convinced that such policies would return us to the days when classism—and institutional racism—dictated the College’s policies on admission and financial aid.”
So why are there no student representatives in CAFA, despite history? Because of history, says Coatsworth. From Spec:
Coatsworth, though, said that “it isn’t normal for a provostial committee to have student representatives […] I think it’s likely that we will not [add student members], because the main purpose of the committee is to have faculty advice for our long-term strategy”
And what does our own Deantini say? The three Columbia College senators met him and asked. Here’s what Eduardo Santana, CC ’13, told Bwog. Note the bolded language:
[W]hen the NROTC case came up last year, and we tried to get student representation, [Valentini said], “Yeah, of course, there should be a student on this board.” We go to him for CAFA, and he said, “No.” […] This is really important, it’s just for the faculty.”
That Coatsworth and Deantini are employing the same language to exclude students suggests that they’ve talked about it, and have better reasons that they’re sharing. Non-transparent ones. Add in that PrezBo dodged the same question at his fireside chat, it’s clear that there should probably be student representatives on this committee.
Also of interest is this: according to the 1978 Stated Rules (there’s probably a more recent draft, though nobody we spoke to knows where), we have the right to representation. Read & learn:
The Committee on Admissions and Financial Aid to consist of the Dean, the Associate Dean, the Dean of Students, the Director of Admissions, the Associate Director of Admissions, and the Director of Financial Aid, all ex officiis, six members of the Faculty, elected by it for terms of three years each, two members retiring annually, and three students appointed by the Dean. The Committee shall elect its own chairman.
So: what does it means that the Dean has been replaced by the Provost, and that student representatives by professional school representatives? There are questions that need to be asked, that ought to be asked by student representatives.
N.B. CAFA, which will decide what factors Admissions will select by, could matter a lot next year, depending on the Fisher decision.
Dear Colleagues:I am pleased to announce the formation of the provost’s Committee on Admissions and Financial Aid (CAFA). The purpose of the committee is to provide faculty insight and advice on admissions and financial aid policies and procedures in the College and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. The Committee will not participate in individual admissions or financial aid decisions. It will not make recommendations regarding the admission of individual applicants nor consider the financial aid awards of individual students.
The Committee will provide advice on admissions criteria, such as curriculum and testing requirements, and evaluate these criteria in relation to student academic performance at Columbia. CAFA will offer guidance on how diversity—of personal experience, of academic interest, of non-academic achievement, of place of origin, of family background, of secondary school—should be considered in the evaluation of an applicant’s potential to contribute to and benefit from the undergraduate experience at Columbia. The Committee will also advise on programs used to assemble the undergraduate student body, including the use of early decision, the offering of a combined plan and transfer programs, and the provision of visiting student opportunities. It can recommend recruitment initiatives to develop an applicant pool and yield efforts to produce an entering class that reflects the established academic and non-academic criteria for admission. Finally, the Committee will advise on financial aid policies that enable the achievement of admissions goals, and assess the effectiveness of these policies in meeting educational objectives.
I am grateful to the following colleagues for their willingness to serve on this new committee:Patricia Culligan (SEAS)Julio Fernandez (Biology)Guillermo Gallego (SEAS)Michael Gerrard (Law)Farah Griffin (English and Comparative Literature)John Huber (Political Science)Soulaymane Kachani (SEAS)Philip Kim (SEAS and Physics)Bruce Kogut (Business)Frances Negron-Muntaner (English/CSER)Samuel Roberts (History)Sincerely,John H. CoatsworthProvost