WITHIN THE FAMILY
Ad Hoc Grievance Committee Issues Report
By Alex Sachare 71
In December, a faculty Ad Hoc Grievance Committee was formed and
charged with examining student complaints of intimidation in the
classroom by faculty from the department of Middle East and Asian
Languages and Cultures (MEALAC).
After meeting with 62 individuals — students, faculty, alumni
and administrators — and considering more than 60 written
submissions over a nine-week period, the committee submitted a report
containing its findings and recommendations to President Lee C.
Bollinger, Provost Alan Brinkley and V.P. for the Arts & Sciences
Nicholas Dirks. The full report was made public on March 31, with
accompanying letters of endorsement from Bollinger, Brinkley and
In the report, the committee found evidence to support one incident
of inappropriate faculty behavior toward a student, during the 2001–02
academic year. The report also discussed two other incidents, but
neither was found to be a case of faculty misconduct. The committee
also identified repeated incidents in which certain MEALAC teachers
were subjected to harassment, apparently by outside visitors and
auditors of classes.
Among its recommendations, the committee called for strengthening
the University’s grievance and advising procedures, and on
April 11, Bollinger announced new grievance procedures along with
the formation of a Presidential Council on Student Affairs. College
students may bring grievances to their class deans or the dean of
academic affairs, or to a newly formed Arts & Sciences faculty
panel. There is a provision for final appeal to the University Provost.
The grievance procedure for all Columbia schools can be found at
The University has posted the full Ad Hoc Committee report on
the Columbia website: www.columbia.edu/cu/news/05/03/ad_hoc_grievance_
committee_report.html. The press release announcing the report,
along with letters from Bollinger, Brinkley and Dirks, may be found