1968: Columbia in Crisis

Consequences > The Joint Committee on Disciplinary Affairs, The University Senate and Changes in University Policy

Columbia Daily Spectator, 4/8/69, p. 1 and 3

 Columbia Daily Spectator article: "University Senate Approved Overwhelmingly; Cordier Says Proposal Needs 'Modifications,'" April 8, 1969.

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Following the events of April and May 1968, urged by students and faculty alike, the University administration began revising long-established policies to include input from other members of the University community.

In response to the unprecedented disciplinary needs resulting from the strike and the April 30 arrests, the general faculty passed a resolution calling for the creation of a Joint Committee on Disciplinary Affairs (JCDA). Officially established on May 2, the Committee maintained a body of seven elected faculty members, seven elected student members, and three appointed administrators for two-year terms. The JCDA established the Interim Rules, which governed the University during the 1968 crisis through June 4, 1973, when the Trustees adopted the Rules of University Conduct, dissolved the JCDA and replaced it with a similar body. The Rules of University Conduct are still in effect today.

After the turmoil on campus, many argued that a representative body for all University constituents would be the best way to begin repairing the damage inflicted upon the University during 1968. At the Joint Faculties meeting on September 12, 1968, Law School professor Michael Sovern outlined a proposal for a University Senate that would be dominated by the faculty, but student and trustee pressure helped bring about a more equitable proposal.

The final proposed senate would consist of 100 members: 42 tenured faculty, 17 non-tenured faculty, 20 students, 7 administrators, 6 representatives of affiliated institutions, 6 staff representatives, and 2 alumni representatives. The president of the University would preside over the Senate. The Senate would be, according to the proposal, “a policy-making body which may consider all matters of University-wide concern and all matters affecting more than one faculty or school.

In an April 8, 1969 campus-wide referendum, students and faculty overwhelmingly approved the creation of the University Senate. Its first meeting was held on May 29, 1969 in the Faculty Room of Low Library.

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