In response to a string of hate crimes last semester, the University Senate External Relations committee and Student Affairs committee will present a collaborative report at today’s University Senate meeting. The monthly gathering, the penultimate of the semester, also has a longer-than-usual agenda which includes a speech by the chair of the Board of Trustees, William Campbell, CC ’62 and TC ’64.
The student report comes on the heels of what it calls “a series of acts of hateful intimidation and vandalism.” John Johnson, Law School senator and co-chair of the Student Affairs Committee, said the document intends to give “a constructive, detailed analysis” of the racially and ethnically charged incidents that shook campus last semester.
The “cornerstone” of the report, according to the co-chairs of the Student Affairs caucus—Johnson and Andrea Hauge, Business ’08, a senator representing the Business School, is the recommendation that the administration establish a Commission on the Status of Diversity in the Senate, analogous to the Commission on the Status of Women. An official recommendation for the new commission is to come from the students at the May plenary.
Student senators stress the importance of Campbell’s presence at the meeting. “That’s an opportunity we take seriously and that students should be attuned to,” Johnson said.
Campbell, also a one-time Columbia football coach, does not have power in the Senate, but as chair of the Board of Trustees, he technically ranks above the entire Columbia bureaucracy, including University President Lee Bollinger.
For a short period after his report, Campbell will be available for questions from the audience—a rare opportunity for students and faculty, according to Johnson and Hauge.
The opportunity will likely be short-lived, however, as Campbell is notorious for leaving just after his report.
Other items on the agenda deal with the latest World Leaders Forum event, coming up on April 16 and featuring a roundtable discussion between President Bollinger and several international student leaders who attend Columbia. A report on the underfunded Hammer Library at the Columbia University Medical Center, a response to the housing policy recommendations brought forth by the Housing Committee and passed by the Senate at the Feb. 1 plenary, and two resolutions from the Education Committee are also on the schedule.
The meeting will convene today at 1:15 p.m. in 501 Schermerhorn.