University Life Discussions

The Office of University Life organizes and facilitates campus discussions for students and faculty across disciplines and all Columbia schools. Learn more about our university-wide conversations and film series, below.

                                                                                                            Want to participate in or learn more about Campus Conversations for and by students? Click here.

WATCH - Boy Erased Panel Discussion

University Life's Community Citizenship Film Series featured a screening of the critically acclaimed film, Boy Erased followed by a Q & A discussion. 


Fall 2018 Featured Conversations

In Conversation - Living with Difference: An Interfaith Dialogue

November 27 - A candid conversation about finding common ground and navigating difference, while building community. Featuring: Ustadha Amina Darwish, Muslim Life Coordinator for the Office of the University Chaplain, and Campus Rabbi Yonah Hain.

Let's Talk: U.S. Midterms 2018 - Post-Election Reflection

November 8 - A student-led discussion, with cookies, coffee and food for thought from student speakers: Ben Clark, GS '20, former Chief of Constituent Engagement, Baltimore County, Maryland, Jasneet Hora, SIPA ’19, president of Columbia Public Policy Review, Kanika Sethi, Social Work '19, co-chair University Life Events Council Inclusion & Belonging committee

Let's Talk: Reflecting on the Recent Supreme Court Nomination Process

October 16 - The 2018 Supreme Court nomination process heightened tensions in our society and highlighted many issues that challenge and divide the nation today. The Columbia University Senate Student Affairs Committee and other student organizations, in partnership with the Office of University Life, offered a space for students throughout Columbia - undergraduates, graduate and professional schools - to reflect on what it meant for our campus community and society.

HeforShe Columbia: Gender Equality in STEM and Academia

October 10 - The U.N.’s global HeForShe movement came to Columbia and collaborated with faculty and administration to present a discussion on women and equality in academia, with a focus on STEM fields. Professor Susanne Goldberg introduced the event, U.N. Women Executive Director Elizabeth Nyamayaro delivered an address, and a panel of Columbia faculty discussed their experiences, engaged the audience, and fielded questions.

Community Citizenship Film Series

“Get Out”

University Life’s Community Citizenship film series featured the Academy Award and Golden Globe nominee and widely acclaimed horror/comedy film about race, relationships, consciousness, and society in suburban America, and a post-screening, expert panel.


University Life’s Community Citizenship film series featured the Oscar-nominated documentary “13TH,” about mass incarceration in the U.S., slavery and racism, and a post-screening, all-star panel of Columbia faculty commentators.

“99 Homes”

University Life’s Community Citizenship film series featured the critically acclaimed film "99 Homes," followed by a discussion with writer/director and Columbia School of the Arts professor Ramin Bahrani and Joseph Stiglitz, Columbia University Professor of Economics and Nobel Laureate in Economics. Moderated by Stacey Tisdale, financial journalist.


University Life’s Community Citizenship film series featured critically acclaimed and award-winning film, “Selma,” followed by a discussion with an all-star panel of Columbia faculty commentators. 

In Conversation: Exploring Race and Whiteness in America

On March 7, 2018, University Life hosted a candid discussion between author and poet Claudia Rankine (Arts ’93) and Columbia Oral History Master of Arts faculty, research scholar and documentarian of “Whiteness Project” Whitney Dow (General Studies ’86) about identity, race and social constructs in America - with moderator Joy Reid of MSNBC.

Understanding Charlottesville

On September 19, 2017, University Life convened a campus conversation on what happened in Charlottesville, the conditions that gave rise to it, and the challenges for our communities in its wake. Featuring: Jelani Cobb, Ira A. Lipman Professor of Journalism and New Yorker contributor; Suzanne Goldberg (moderator), Executive Vice President for University Life and Herbert and Doris Wechsler Clinical Professor of Law; Fred Harris, Dean of Social Sciences and Professor of Political Science; Jeremy Kessler, Associate Professor of Law; Stephanie McCurry, R. Gordon Hoxie Professor of American History and Pulitzer Prize-nominated author of "Confederate Reckoning: Power and Politics in the Civil War South;" Van Tran, Assistant Professor of Sociology

Forum on Immigration 

Within days of President Trump’s first immigration executive order, University Life convened a campus conversation featuring legal scholars, Global Centers leadership and the director of the International Students and Scholars Office to speak about legal and political issues as well as important resources for Columbia community members affected by the travel ban.

U.S. Presidential Inauguration and Discussion with Deans 

University Life provided live coverage of the Presidential Inauguration and Address followed by discussion with deans of Journalism; Law; Architecture, Planning and Preservation; and the Faculties of Health Sciences and Medicine.

University Life Forum on Free Speech

On November 29, students, faculty and staff discussed addressing and debating controversial ideas while co-existing in a shared university community, with Professor of Philosophy Akeel Bilgrami, Associate Professor of Sociology Shamus Khan and Professor of Journalism Alisa Solomon. Executive Vice President for University Life and Herbert and Doris Wechsler Clinical Professor of Law Suzanne Goldberg moderated.

Post-Election Conversation with Faculty

On November 11, students, faculty and staff from across the University community discussed the 2016 Presidential election and what’s ahead with Michael A. Nutter, former Philadelphia Mayor and David N. Dinkins Professor of Professional Practice in Urban and Public Affairs; Professor of International and Public Affairs and Political Science Ester Fuchs, Nash Professor of Law Kendall Thomas, Professor of History Mae Ngai, and Suzanne Goldberg, Executive Vice President for University Life and Herbert and Doris Wechsler Clinical Professor of Law. 

Post-Election Informal Conversation and Reflection

Graduate and undergraduate students from across Columbia's many schools gathered for informal conversation and reflection on November 9, 2016.

Reading Columbia – An Evening with Faculty Authors

Brings university faculty authors, students and staff into conversation about recently published work, creative processes and relevant issues of the day.