Observer of the student bureaucracy Joe Milholland brings us word from the most recent meeting of the University Senate.
On Tuesday afternoon, 63 university senators approved changes to the rules of conduct, with one abstention and no opposing votes. The new rules of conduct, among other things, put all rules violations in a single internal process heard by a board consisting of students, faculty, and administrators. Christopher Riano, co-chair of the committee that wrote the changes, said at the senate plenary that the changes brought Columbia in “parity” with peer institutions on this issue.
Riano emphasized that he believed that the changes, while not perfect, were an improvement, and he indicated the rules could go under further revision. Prezbo asked him about how the rules treat media, and Riano responded that the rules have few provisions specifically for the media “because it’s very hard to identify press and non-press.” Columbia College senator Marc Heinrich suggested that future revisions of the rules could provide a media carveout. The rules revisions will go through the Board of Trustees before they are voted on.
Katherine Conway, a member of the Commission on the Status of Women, also gave a presentation on the commission’s recent work and findings at the plenary, specifically on the Arts and Sciences. “Basically, humanities and social sciences are at or near – and by that I mean within 10% of – parity in everything except for the tenure faculty body,” Conway said. The tenured faculty, however, have been the same or gone down lately for the humanities and social sciences. “Natural sciences has a different story where they have the lowest representation of women on the tenured faculty, but they have gone on an uptick recently in part through tenuring of the untenured track. But they are much further from parity currently in the untenured and have a particularly pronounced dip in the percent of untenured faculty.”
Conway also noted that more women come into the tenured faculty through internal rather than external hire, except for in social sciences. “It’s going to take natural sciences on the order of 80 years to come to parity if we maintain this trend. Social sciences is more like fifty years, and humanities is on track to be at parity in ten years. That’s assuming the plateau they’ve been in for the last few years doesn’t continue.”
The Commission recommended that Columbia collect more data, such as on the work life of women at Columbia and their quality of life. They also recommended in their report “a continued focus on diversity in hiring” as well as a greater focus of retaining women in Columbia’s academic pipeline.
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