Funding a Financial Analysis of Columbia University
Over the past few years, Howard Bunsis, an institutional finance expert and professor of accounting at Eastern Michigan University, has examined the publicly available financial data for several universities, including Portland State, Johns Hopkins, and Rutgers. This has allowed faculty and staff at these institutions to contradict claims of institutional poverty and highlight management bloat.
We thought Columbia was overdue for such an analysis. With our friends at the CPW-UAW, the union for postdoctoral researchers at Columbia, we secured Howard's services to conduct a financial analysis of the university. The results of this analysis are available here.
On May 2, 2023, Howard Bunsis presented the results of his financial analysis of Columbia University. The recording of this meeting jointly organized by the Columbia AAUP chapter and the CPW-UAW is below.
Statement in Solidarity with Iranian Faculty and Students against State Repression
As faculty members at Columbia University and Barnard College, we strongly condemn the Iranian government’s harsh repression of protests across the country, including the growing number of arrests within Iran’s universities. Demonstrations against the government’s imposition of mandatory hijab on women have been ongoing and widespread since Mahsa (Zhina) Amini’s death in police custody on September 16th, the latest act of violent enforcement of its law on women’s bodies. Government security forces have met protests and demonstrations with mass arrests, as well as the excessive and even fatal use of force. We are particularly alarmed by the violent assault by security forces on Sharif University of Technology, which began on October 2nd and involved firing tear gas and live ammunition at unarmed students, along with mass detentions designed to incite fear and to break the spirit of resistance. We condemn these actions, and signal our support of our academic colleagues who are on strike in Iran, university students bravely protesting for the democratic society in which they want to live, and Iranians more generally as they resist brutal oppression and strive towards self-determination, at considerable risk to their lives.
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The list of signatories is available here
Refunding Lost Retirement Contributions
In December 2020, Columbia University postdoctoral and associate researchers, faculty, and other officers were informed that, in anticipation of an abrupt financial impact, the University would institute a temporary, one year, moderation of our retirement benefits, limiting the University’s total contribution to each Officer’s retirement plan to the level of 5% of eligible compensation for calendar year 2021. While this measure was ended in August 2021, we recently learned that not only did the anticipated losses never materialize, but the University accumulated an operating surplus of $150 milion and saw its endowment grow by 32.3% in FY2021. Other institutions that took similar measures to curtail contributions during the pandemic have since reversed course and returned the benefits. We call on Columbia to do the same.
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