I am writing today to update our campus community on the actions the University is taking following an incident in which senior administrators in Columbia College engaged in very troubling text message exchanges during a Reunion Weekend event entitled “Jewish Life on Campus: Past, Present, and Future.” Read more. 

I write to share that after eight years of exceptional service to this University and its students, faculty, and staff, Senior Executive Vice President Gerry Rosberg is retiring. Read more. 

It is with great pleasure that I share with you my appointment of Sarah Cole as Dean of the School of the Arts, effective immediately. Sarah has been serving as Interim Dean since last fall with incredible vision, commitment, and heart. We are delighted to make this appointment permanent. Read more. 

Daniel Abebe

Daniel Abebe will be the 16th Dean of Columbia Law School and Lucy G. Moses Professor of Law, effective August 1, 2024. Read more.

Early Tuesday morning, tensions on our campus rose to new heights when a small group of protestors broke into Hamilton Hall, barricaded themselves inside, and occupied it throughout the day. This drastic escalation of many months of protest activity pushed the University to the brink, creating a disruptive environment for everyone and raising safety risks to an intolerable level. Read more. 

A small group of academic leaders has been in constructive dialogue with student organizers to find a path that would result in the dismantling of the encampment and adherence to University policies going forward... Regretfully, we were not able to come to an agreement. Read more. 

Throughout this very challenging year, we have adhered to a simple goal: to continue our academic mission while keeping campus safe and enforcing our rules fairly. That is the bedrock of every decision we make, and we are writing at this time to reiterate that thinking. Read more. 

Nearly four days ago, the West Lawn of the Morningside campus was turned into an encampment by hundreds of student activists. Read more. 

I am deeply saddened by what is happening on our campus. Our bonds as a community have been severely tested in ways that will take a great deal of time and effort to reaffirm. Students across an array of communities have conveyed fears for their safety and we have announced additional actions we are taking to address security concerns. Read more. 

This morning, I had to make a decision that I hoped would never be necessary. I have always said that the safety of our community was my top priority and that we needed to preserve an environment where everyone could learn in a supportive context. Out of an abundance of concern for the safety of Columbia’s campus, I authorized the New York Police Department to begin clearing the encampment from the South Lawn of Morningside campus that had been set up by students in the early hours of Wednesday morning. Read more.

On March 24, an event took place at a campus residential facility that the University had already barred, twice, from occurring. It featured speakers who are known to support terrorism and promote violence. I want to state for the record that this event is an abhorrent breach of our values. I also want to update our community on the actions which have been underway as a result. Read more. 

We have received reports that a disruption at a recent Columbia Law School admitted student event left many Jewish attendees feeling uncomfortable and unwelcome. Not only was this disruption a violation of our policies, it was an affront to our commitment to be a welcoming community to all of our students. Read more. 

I welcome the initial report of the Task Force on Antisemitism and am grateful to the co-chairs and task force members from Columbia, Barnard College, and Teachers College for their hard and thoughtful work. As the task force makes clear, it is essential to ensure that debates and disagreements across Columbia are rooted in academic rigor and civil discourse, and that Jewish students, faculty, and staff, and all members of our community, feel safe, supported, and included. Read more.

I am delighted to share that I have appointed Cas Holloway as Columbia’s Chief Operating Officer. He will begin on February 5, 2024. As COO, Cas will serve as a member of the University Leadership Team and will provide strategic oversight in key administrative areas including Facilities and Operations, Human Resources, Columbia University Information Technology, Columbia Health, and Columbia Technology Ventures. Read more. 

I am delighted to share with you that I have appointed Angela V. Olinto as the next Provost of Columbia University, effective April 1, 2024. Professor Olinto is currently at the University of Chicago, serving as Dean of the Division of the Physical Sciences and the Albert A. Michelson Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics. Read more. 

During my inauguration I said that universities need a new compact with society. I write today to describe in greater detail what this idea means, by sharing a set of strategic priorities that I believe will position Columbia as an exemplar of a great university for the 21st century. Read more. 

In advance of the winter break, we write to tell you that we are launching a series of initiatives to reinvest in Columbia’s values and mission. These convenings, dialogues, professional development activities, resources, and other efforts are designed to foster a community where debates and disagreements are rooted in academic rigor and civil discourse. Read more

We are writing to share with you that Christian S. Stohler, DMD, DrMedDent, Dean of the College of Dental Medicine since August 2013, has informed us that he will be stepping down from his role as Dean and Senior Vice President of Columbia University Irving Medical Center, effective December 31, 2023. Read more. 

Low Library

I write to share that Jerome Davis, Secretary of the University, has informed me of his plans to retire at the end of this academic year. Since 2007, Jerome has played a leading role in University governance, serving as the central liaison between the administration and the Board of Trustees. I know I speak for all of the Trustees when I say that Jerome will be remembered for the skill, generosity, and grace he brought to every dimension of his work. Read more. 

Gillian Lester, who has served as Dean of Columbia Law School since 2015, has informed me of her decision to step down at the end of the 2023-2024 academic year to return to full-time teaching and scholarship as a member of the Faculty of Law. Read more. 

The deliberate harassment and targeting of members of our community by doxing, a dangerous form of intimidation, is unacceptable. Many individuals, including students across several schools, have been subject to these attacks by third parties. This includes disturbing incidents in which trucks have circled the Columbia campus displaying and publicizing the names and photos of Arab, Muslim, and Palestinian students. Read more. 

Today we are announcing the formation of a Task Force on Antisemitism to enhance our ability to address this ancient, but terribly resilient, form of hatred. We are taking this step as part of a commitment to ensuring that our campuses are safe, welcoming, and inclusive for Jewish students, faculty, and staff, and all of us. Read more. 

I have been shocked to hear of several antisemitic incidents in just the last couple of days. The perpetrators of these incidents are not only attacking members of our community, they are attacking the values it is built on—respect for our shared humanity. I want to reiterate that antisemitism, like any form of bigotry, is an assault on everything we stand for at Columbia. Palestinian, Muslim, or Arab students have also been subjected to harassment and targeted by doxing, a dangerous form of intimidation. We take these incidents seriously and they are being investigated. Read more.

Many of our students, faculty, staff, and colleagues are suffering great distress over the terror attacks on Israel and the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Let me first say that there are no words to describe the fear and anxiety people experience when lives are at risk. To those who are struggling, you are never far from my thoughts, and Columbia will do everything possible to support you. Read more.