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Columbia University Senate Records, 1968-2004.

Summary Information

At a Glance

Title:Columbia University Senate Records, 1968-2004.
Physical description:77 linear ft. (62 record cartons).
Language(s):In English


These records are arranged primarily by entity (committee, subcommittee, task force, panel, ad hoc committee, etc.) in a chronological basis. In order to maintain integrity of information and the committee's original intent, sub-folders appear in cases where sub-folders were used as part of the original filing system. Documents within a folder have been organized chronologically in the absence of another organizational structure. Materials originally housed in 3-ring binders have been re-housed into folders.


Scope and Content

Records of the University Senate and its composite parts (e.g., committees, subcommittees, task forces, panels, ad hoc committees, etc.) consisting primarily of agendas, minutes, proposals, reports and correspondence. One will also find handwritten notes, newspaper clippings, press releases and publications used by members of the Senate for background information.

Series I: University Senate Records, 1968-2004

Series II: Douglass Hunt Senate Files, 1969-1973

Using the Collection

Access Restrictions

On the advice of Columbia University General Counsel's Office, University Senate records, in line with those of University Trustees, are closed for 50 years from the date of creation. Senators and researchers who wish to gain access to records which are still under restriction should consult "The Guidelines on Confidentiality and Release of Information by Senate Committees":

 This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least two business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Books and Manuscript Library reading room.

Restrictions on Use

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish material from the collection must be requested from the Curator of Manuscripts/University Archivist, Rare Book and Manuscript Library (RBML). The RBML approves permission to publish that which it physically owns; the responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Columbia University Senate Records; Box and Folder; University Archives, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Archives; machine readable finding aid created by Columbia University Libraries Digital Library Program Division

Processing Information

Papers processed by University Senate staff and two student workers in Summer 2014.

Finding aid written by Jocelyn Wilk in October 2014.

Machine readable finding aid generated from MARC-AMC source via XSLT conversion November 18, 2014

Finding aid written in English.

    2014-11-18 File created.

Subject Headings

The subject headings listed below are found in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a catalog that allows users to search the holdings of multiple research libraries and archives.

All links open new windows.


HeadingCUL Archives:
CUL Collections:
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
Agendas (administrative records)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID


HeadingCUL Archives:
CUL Collections:
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
Columbia University--Student strike, 1968.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Student-administrator relationships.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Historical Note

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.

The Senate effectively replaced the University Council (12 May 1890- 28 May 1969) which was created to give representation to the faculties and the administration in one central body, enabling them to address the Trustees jointly rather than separately.