Statements, EVents, campaigns

A Joint Press Release on the No-Confidence Votes at Barnard and Columbia

On April 30, 2024, 77 percent of the faculty of Barnard College voted no confidence in President Laura Rosenbury. This week, the Columbia University Faculty of Arts and Sciences voted no confidence in President Nemat Shafik with a 65 percent majority. These motions insist on the vital need for shared governance and due process and call for resistance against external influences over our university community.

These unprecedented votes by faculty at Columbia and Barnard speak against what the AAUP nationally has termed a “politically motivated assault on higher education.” Peaceful protests and debate among our students are being weaponized to undermine the independence and integrity of educational institutions. Politicians are undemocratically interfering in curriculum, the hiring and retention of faculty, disciplinary practices, and university governance. The AAUP leads in resisting these attacks and in defending the principles that shape America’s universities.

CU-BC No Confidence Press Release.pdf
Press Release_ faculty agree to a vote of no confidence in President Shafik.pdf

Columbia Arts & Sciences Faculty Agree to a No-Confidence Vote in President Shafik

At the May 8, 2024 meeting of the Faculty of Arts & Sciences, a motion of no confidence in President Shafik was advanced to a vote. 

This unprecedented act marks the first step in holding the University administration accountable for events over the last eight months, and especially over the last three weeks.

AAUP Columbia Calls for a Vote of No Confidence in the University Administration 

The choice of Columbia’s administrators to ignore University statutes and customary practices honored over the past six decades, to have our students violently arrested, and to impose a militarized lockdown of our campus, has irrevocably undermined our trust in them. 

We therefore call upon the University Senate and the representative faculty bodies of individual schools to pass a vote of no confidence in President Shafik, the Co-Chairs of the Board of Trustees, and the COO. We also demand that the campus be immediately reopened to faculty, staff, and students and that the NYPD be withdrawn at once. 

A vote of no confidence in the President and her administration is the only way to begin rebuilding our shattered community and re-establishing the University's core values of free speech, the right to peaceful assembly, and shared governance. 

AAUP Columbia Calls for a Vote of No Confidence in the University Administration.pdf

In Defense of the Right to Free Speech and Peaceful Protest on University Campuses 

The national AAUP has released a statement in response to events on campuses across the country, co-authored and signed by our Columbia Chapter and available here. 

Statement on political interference in the functioning of the university (1).pdf

Statement on Political Interference in the Functioning of the University

Following the press conference by the Speaker of the House on the steps of Low Library on April 24, 2024, the Columbia Chapter issued a statement condemning interference by members of Congress in our governance.

Resolution of Censure of President Shafik, her Administration, and the Co-chairs of the Board of Trustees

Following the events of April 17 and 18, 2024, the Barnard and Columbia Chapters have prepared a resolution for consideration by the University Senate that calls for the censure of President Nemat Shafik, the General Counsel, the Chief Operating Officer, and the Co-Chairs of the Board of Trustees. President Shafik’s violation of the fundamental requirements of academic freedom and shared governance, and her unprecedented assault on students’ rights, warrants unequivocal and emphatic condemnation.

Resolution of Censure of President Shafik, her Administration, and the Co-chairs of the Board of Trustees.pdf
A Declaration by the Columbia and Barnard Chapters of the American Association of University Professors.pdf

Declaration by the Barnard and Columbia AAUP Chapters

Following the mass emergency meeting of the faculty held on Friday, April 19, 2024, the Barnard and Columbia Chapters of the American Association of University Professors have distributed a statement condemning the arrest of more than 100 students peacefully protesting on campus. 

Joint Letter from the Barnard and Columbia AAUP Chapters

On April 19, 2024, the Barnard and Columbia Chapters sent the attached letter addressing the testimony to Congress of President Shafik, the co-chairs of the Board of Trustees, and one of the co-chairs of the Task Force on Antisemitism, as well as the April 18 arrest of 100+ protesters on Columbia's campus.

Joint Statement by the Barnard and Columbia Chapters on the events of April 17th and 18th.pdf
Letter protesting the treatment of Dr. A. Kayum Ahmed.pdf

Letter protesting the treatment of Dr. A. Kayum Ahmed

On March 29, 2024, the Executive Committee sent the attached letter regarding the teaching duties of Dr. A. Kayum Ahmed, assistant professor in the Mailman School of Public Health.

Academic Freedom and Free Speech: Definitions, Threats and Responses

On March 27, 2024, we hosted a virtual roundtable featuring the following four speakers:

AAUP Columbia, Statement on Academic Freedom.pdf

Statement on Academic Freedom

In response to an extensive list of violations of academic freedom at Columbia, the Executive Committee composed this statement calling on administrators to declare:

Letter Registering Our Concern at Recent Responses to Student Protests

On November 15, 2023, the Executive Committee sent the attached letter to President Shafik, Interim Provost Dennis Mitchell, Senior Executive Vice President Gerald Rosberg, Chair of the Policy and Planning Committee Matthew Hart, and Chair of the University Senate Executive Committee Jeanine D'Armiento objecting to the administration's recent handling of student protests, which violate multiple rules and statutes of the University that have been in effect for 45 years, ever since they were enacted to avoid repeating the administration’s stifling of student/faculty activism and speech during the 1968 protests.

Letter registering our concern at recent responses to student protests.pdf
Letter in support of Dr. A. Kayum Ahmed.pdf

Letter in Support of Dr. A. Kayum Ahmed

On October 23, 2023, the Executive Committee sent the attached letter to President Shafik, Interim Provost Dennis Mitchell, Dean of the Mailman School Linda Fried, and Interim Chair of the Heilbrunn Department of Population and Family Health, Patrick Kachur, protesting the treatment of Dr. A. Kayum Ahmed, an assistant professor in that department, as he organized an event on October 23, 2023, entitled "on Palestine, Epistemic Coloniality, and the University." Dr. Ahmed's academic freedom was clearly violated during this process.

Letter in Support of CPW-UAW to Interim Provost Dennis Mitchell

On October 20, 2023, the Executive Committee sent the attached letter to interim Provost Dennis Mitchell expressing our concern about the University's inability to negotiate a satisfactory contract with CPW-UAW, the union that represents postdoctoral scholars at Columbia.

Letter in support of CPW-UAW.pdf
AAUP chapter letter to President Shafik.pdf

Letter to New Columbia President Minouche Shafik

On October 10, 2023, the Executive Committee sent the attached letter introducing the Columbia chapter, asking for a meeting, and outlining three issues we feel President Shafik should address ASAP:

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. You can watch the recording of this meeting jointly organized by the Columbia AAUP chapter and the CPW-UAW.


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. 

To sign this statement, please click here

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.

To sign this petition, please click here