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. 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. 

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