Supporting all of our students on campus

Thursday, October 4, 2018

The safety and well-being of all of our students at Columbia is fundamentally important, together with the exchange of ideas and a deep commitment to diversity of both identity and viewpoint.  This means that we will always work with students who have concerns about their physical safety, allow debate on contentious questions where our students hold strong views, and provide essential personal and group support. 

When students have concerns, whether about individual conflicts or conflicts between organizations, we provide many resources for problem-solving.  Student affairs staff in Columbia’s many schools work with students every day on a wide array of issues, and student organization advisers work closely with group members to provide support on projects and to help students understand the rules and guidelines that apply to their activities. 

Where conflicts arise, student affairs staff also offer guidance and support that is fundamental to the learning process.  Students can meet, too, with Columbia’s offices that focus on discrimination and harassment and file reports about specific concerns.  Those reports are reviewed promptly, and investigations and sanctions may follow, depending on the circumstances.  To protect student privacy, we do not share information about specific complaints that have been filed.

Importantly, in light of recent news reporting, it is also essential to recognize that Columbia proudly stands as one of the great academic centers of Jewish life, culture and scholarship—a vital part of the work, identity and interests embraced by many of our students, faculty, staff and alumni.  Myriad related activities take place every week on campus, both within schools and as part of campus religious life.  Columbia’s Office of University Life is also always at work on a range of efforts to strengthen our campus climate on these issues.  Indeed, right now we are planning an interfaith dialogue, sessions on speech on campus, and a series of smaller scale discussions.

The wealth of research, teaching and learning at Columbia is enriched by the University’s widely respected Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies, our strong partnerships with Israeli universities, and our longstanding joint degree programs with Jewish Theological Seminary. 

It therefore should be unnecessary to restate that Columbia condemns anti-Semitism in any form, and yet the current political environment makes it important that we do so.  Regardless of the controversies that inevitably arise in a society and institution committed to freedom of expression, we will continue to support, strengthen and celebrate the Jewish community, and all of our faith communities here, that are so much a part of a diverse and inclusive Columbia.

 

Return to all messages from EVP Goldberg.