News | Academics

University Senate to meet Friday for second time this semester

This Friday, the University Senate will convene for its second plenary meeting for the semester at 1:15 p.m. in 107 Jerome Greene Hall.

According to the online agenda, University President Lee Bollinger will kick off the meeting by giving a report on the “current condition of the endowment, fundraising, and the University budget.” Then Sharyn O’Halloran, chair of External Relations and Research Policy Committee, is also supposed to give a report. After these, two main topics of the meeting will be the University’s physical development annual report and H1N1.

Ron Prywes, the chair of the physical development committee, will discuss his committee’s annual report, which includes detailed descriptions of all of Columbia’s current building endeavors.

With regard to the Morningside campus, the report will address the progress of the Northwest Corner Building. According to the report, the committee spoke to David Hirsh, the EVP for Research, and the building is “progressing nicely” with an expected opening date in Fall 2010. So far, eight Columbia faculty members have been assigned to move to the new building, and ten others may possibly join them.

The lower floors of the building will have a cafe, a science library, and classrooms, while floors seven through 13 are supposed to have science laboratories. The report also includes a note which states that “Floors 10 and 11 were not to be outfitted initially, but this may change if NIH stimulus or other funding becomes available.”

The report also includes an update on Manhattanville and the Mind, Brain, and Behavior Building scheduled to be built there. According to report, the committee spoke with Thomas Jessell—the future director of the building, the Claire Tow Professor of Motor Neuron Disorders in Neuroscience, and Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics—and the planning stage for this building is “still relatively early” with the projected opening date of Spring 2014.

Right now, the building is planned to be 12 stories high with about 75 laboratories and the new offices of about 50 faculty. The report states that the building “will be an enormous project and will make Columbia an international center for the study of neurosciences.”

Prywes said that it is important that these issues be discussed in the Senate because “the Senate is perhaps the main means for members of the University community to exert oversight and express concerns about administration projects.”

He said that he “would like to see that the Senate and the University community are more involved in decisions on projects in Manhattanville and elsewhere.”

Then, Samuel Seward, the Assistant Vice President and Medical Director of Health Service Morningside, Kathleen Crowley, the Associate Vice President of Environmental Health and Safety, and Scott Wright, Vice President of Student Auxiliary Services and Business Services, will discuss the readiness of the H1N1 vaccination.

“Health Services, on behalf of the University student community, has been working with the New York City Department of Health to procure H1N1 vaccine in sufficient quantity to provide it, free of charge, to any student who has an interest in receiving it,” Seward said.

Although, he added that “it is as yet unclear when the H1N1 vaccine will be available. We anticipate, however, that it will be sometime in the next 3-6 weeks,” which contradicts the mid-October release that was announced in the last Senate meeting.

He also said that student interest in the flu shots are extremely high this year with “nearly 4,000 University students, faculty, and staff” having already received flu shots this year. Students, though, are deeply concerned about H1N1.

Andreas Svedin, the chair of the student affairs caucus of the University Senate, has expressed concerns about the isolation policy that takes place when a student gets H1N1.

Even though the provost sent an e-mail to teachers discussing alternate forms of attendance for these students, Svedin wonders what will happen if a student has to miss a mandatory class or a final exam. He said “there is nothing from the student perspective” in the policy, though he added that “the provost is looking into this.”


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CU_Alum posted on

"Thomas Jessell—the future director of the building..."
Buildings don't have directors. Prof. Jessell will be the director of a research unit housed in the building, but not of the building itself.

"...will make Columbia an international center for the study of neurosciences.”
Columbia already *is* an international center for the study of neurosciences, and has been for decades. The new building will strengthen an already prominent program.

Amber_Tunnell posted on

Well, the report said this: "Regarding another science project, we met with Thomas Jessell, Claire Tow Professor of Motor Neuron Disorders in Neuroscience and Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics, who will be Director of the Mind, Brain and Behavior Building to be built in Manhattanville."

CU_Alum posted on

Then the report is mistaken too.