Cold, callous Low

Yesterday, PrezBo announced that Low will get a bit more crowded come autumn—a fresh face will fill the newly-created role of Executive Vice President for Student Affairs and report directly to the president.

University Senators Akshay Shah, SEAS ’14, and Matthew Chou, CC ’14, note that the creation of this position is essentially a direct consequence of the sexual assault controversy, which showed the clear need for someone in Columbia’s central administration to become the “primary place of contact for issues relating to sexual assault.”

Joseph Ienuso, EVP for Facilities and Operations, has been picking up the slack, but hasn’t had any student affairs experience in the past. And remember when it took so long to find a time for the town hall? Terry Martinez and deans of student affairs from other schools in the umbrella were left without a central administrator to coordinate the event. Hopefully this new position will centralize the process rather than bog CU down with more slow, unresponsive bureaucracy, and hopefully student voices will be included in conversations regarding the search. To the University Senators, however, it’s already “a big win”—as Akshay noted, we’ll have someone “with the direct ear of the president.”

Know Your Bureaucracy: The new EVP for Student Affairs will join 9 other EVPs and Robert Kasdin, Senior EVP.

  • David Madigan, EVP for Arts and Sciences
  • Lee Goldman, EVP for Health and Biomedical Sciences
  • Fred Van Sickle, EVP for for University Development and Alumni Relations
  • G. Michael Purdy, EVP for Research
  • Maxine Griffith, EVP for Government and Community Affairs
  • David M. Stone, EVP for Communications
  • Joseph A. Ienuso, EVP for Facilities and Operations
  • Anne Sullivan, EVP for Finance
  • Safwan M. Masri, EVP for Global Centers and Global Development

For comparison to the central administrations of other schools, Yale already has a “Secretary and Vice President for Student Life,” Princeton has a “Vice President for Campus Life,” and U Chicago has a “Vice President for Campus Life and Student Services.” Stanford, Harvard, and MIT also currently lack a central admin position. This move isn’t unprecedented among peer institutions, but we’re hardly the last to join the movement.

If anything can be said about this announcement, it’s how impressive it is for a new EVP position to have been created from the wake of a single policy issue. Again, we have high hopes, but we’ve already hardened our hearts from the many times Columbia’s failed us in the past and have rather Low expectations.