The University Senate Executive Committee announced on Friday that it has agreed to allow members of off-campus Reserve Officers’ Training Corps to raise and lower the flag in Low Plaza, a détente in the University’s 42 year ban of military activities and recruiting on campus.
This was one of many updates at the USenate meeting, which touched upon topics, including sexual violence, campus development projects, faculty health care, and new dual degree programs.
University President Lee Bollinger said that though issues tied to the military are “fraught with complications,” he supports the Committee’s decision.
“I think we have many members of our community who want to participate, and we should support them in doing so, to the extent that it’s consistent with our University policies and values,” he said.
Columbia has not allowed ROTC groups to operate on campus since 1969, a policy began as a show of opposition to the Vietnam War and has been reaffirmed in recent years because of concerns that the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy violates Columbia’s nondiscrimination policy.
Karen Singleton, coordinator of the Barnard-Columbia Rape Crisis/Anti-Violence Support Center, gave an update on the status of a task force that was formed three years ago to address sexual violence on campus as a public health issue.
She said five reports of sexual assault—an unprecedented number—were filed with the disciplinary hearing committee last semester.
The task force has decided to reword the University’s policy on sexual violence to uphold “consistency of language,” and is working on creating a “statement of concern” to be approved by Bollinger or University Provost Claude Steele.
During Friday’s plenary session, the senate heard reports as well on the Northwest Corner Building and Manhattanville from Executive Vice President of Facilities Joseph Ienuso.
Ienuso showed 3-D computer models of the projects and said that faculty members will begin moving into the Northwest Corner Building next month.
Eleven faculty members from various science department have been slated to move into the new glass building alongside Pupin, leaving 10 spaces yet to be filled.
Ron Prywes, the former chair of the Campus Planning and Physical Development Committee, said that there are concerns about how the new building will be managed, and that there are no immediate plans to hire faculty members to fill the vacancies.
“Besides building, we need to remember that we actually need to hire new faculty for these spaces,” he said.
Linda Nelson, vice president for human resources, gave a report on changes in fringe benefits for University employees.
Starting Jan. 1, 2011, health care will cover employees’ children until they turn 26, but over-the-counter drugs will no longer be covered unless explicitly prescribed by a physician. Also, Nelson said, the co-pay for brand-name prescriptions will increase, especially for employees who choose to take brand-name medications when generics are available.
On the academic front, the senate unanimously passed resolutions to set up dual degree programs between the School of International and Public Affairs and the London School of Economics and Political Science, and between SIPA and the University of Tokyo’s Graduate School of Public Policy.