Petition to rename Low Steps "Silly Mountain Park"

Petition to rename Low Steps “Silly Mountain Park”

Your friendly neighborhood CCSC reporter (Joe Milholland) tackled a USenate meeting this past weekend. He reports on important updates about university Rules of Conduct, particularly with respect to media coverage of campus events, as well as other updates.

“We’re turning into an athletic powerhouse,” PrezBo said at Friday’s University Senate Plenary, earning him a round of applause. Look below for more laugh-lines from PrezBo – but first, some Rules of University Conduct Updates.

First of all, the Executive Committee of the Senate has appointed the first ever Appeals Board. The Chair will be Dean Peter Awn of GS, with Dean Christian Stohler of the College of Dental Medecine and Dean Jeanette Takamura of the School of Social Work as the members under him. The alternates are Dean Mary Boyce of SEAS and Dean Stephen Coll of the J-School.

Second, two members from the Rules Committee – Logan Wright and Angela Nelson – discussed their work with a law professor to educate members of the judicial board, both new and returning, on the rules of conduct.

They also are working on a set of guidelines on the rules of conduct. These guidelines are an “evolving document that [is] used to outline the history of the rules and the policies that are going into the rules that are going to be applied,” according to Wright.

One part of these rules is press credentialism. USenate is instilling both long-term press passes for media organizations on campus, and short-term press passes for specific events. According to the draft document, “It is recommended that at the beginning of each academic year, the Columbia Daily Spectator, BWOG [sic], and the Columbia Lion issue a 12-month Editorial Staff Identification Badge to its correspondents.”

There’s lots more to be said about the issue of press credentialism, but the senate didn’t discuss it further because of lack of time.

Faculty Quality of Life

Columbia’s professors and instructors got a quality of life survey of their own, and Sharyn O’Halloran presented the data retrieved from that survey.

Some of the key points:

  • 40% of the faculty responded, and 75% of those faculty reported they were somewhat or very satisfied.
  • The areas of highest satisfaction are libraries, benefits package, and the quality of students (PrezBo’s commentary: “I’m not surprised that our students really appreciate our teaching.”).
  • The areas of lowest are campus/department politics, lack of time for friends and family, and scholarly productivity and research funding. (PrezBo’s commentary: “That scholarship is a major source of stress – my first reaction is, Yeah! It’s damn hard to do scholarship. You never feel dumber than you do sitting before a blank page trying to figure out a new idea”).
  • 30% said they’re likely to leave Columbia in 3 years. (PrezBo’s commentary: “I think I also kind of understand that psychology, which is in a way a kind of protest vote. In some ways, everybody is always thinking about leaving. We’re a restless group! Life is miserable in front of that blank page”).
  • A 2012 survey at MIT showed that over 90% of faculty were somewhat or very satisfied, and a 2014 survey at Harvard showed that over 81% of faculty were somewhat or very satisfied.

Global Centers Presentation

Executive Vice President for Global Centers Safwan Masri gave a presentation on the global centers with Susan McGregor, a J-school professor and university senator, and he began by asking how many of the senators were familiar with the global centers beyond the fact that they exist. About half the senators raised their hands.

Masri then clarified that Columbia has no financial investment in the global centers; they are supported by local hosts, many of them alumni.

McGregor talked about her work in Turkey recently, where she arranged a number of journalism workshops. One of them had to do with information security and reputation management, especially on social media. Another one was on information visualization and long-term projects. However, because of security reasons, neither of these workshops actually took place, but McGregor and her team were able to get in touch with local journalists and academics to talk about these issues.


  • After making his comment above about student appreciation of professors, PrezBo said, “I’d like to know more about the students and their feelings about this.”
  • When talking about the faculty quality of life, one senator noted that Columbia’s libraries (which faculty were satisfied with) are going through an austerity budget.

The first park we’ve seen in years via Xnatedawgx – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0