Columbia's Commitment to Diversity


A prominent advocate of affirmative action, Lee C. Bollinger led the University of Michigan's historic litigation in Grutter v. Bollinger and Gratz v. Bollinger. These Supreme Court decisions that upheld and clarified the importance of diversity as a compelling justification for affirmative action in higher education were reaffirmed in the Court’s 2016 ruling in Fisher v. University of Texas. President Bollinger's continued dedication to the value of educational diversity has resulted in a variety of initiatives at Columbia designed to recruit and support a community of students, faculty, and staff that is diverse in every way.

Student Diversity

Columbia's undergraduate community is among the most diverse in the country. Underrepresented students have access to numerous resources, including:

The Office of Multicultural Affairs

The Office aims to promote an inclusive University climate by preparing students to succeed in an ever-changing society through mentoring, advocacy, educational leadership, and cultural programming.

Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, College of Physicians and Surgeons

The office assists with recruiting, counseling, and nurturing a diverse student body, helping students adjust to medical school and offering guidance concerning future career choices.

Academic Success Programs

Programs houses Columbia’s Opportunity Programs, as well as academic tutoring and mentoring initiatives for all students. It serves as a resource for students from under-resourced backgrounds to help maximize their experience.

The Office of the University Chaplain

The Chaplain promotes interfaith and intercultural awareness, fosters learning through spiritual, ethical, religious, political and cultural exchanges, and hosts programs on matters of justice, faith and spirituality. 

The International Student and Scholars Office

The office assists more than 13,000 students, research scholars, and family members from more than 150 countries with their immigration and documentation needs. 

LGBTQ @ Columbia

This student group offers advising, events, education, advocacy, and more information to help students better understand diverse queer and trans identities, experiences, and communities. 

For more information and a more extensive list of resources, visit the Office of University Life and Columbia Undergraduate Admissions.

Photo of Columbia University Low Library.

Faculty Diversity

To make diversity a central focus in every aspect of the University's endeavors, President Bollinger established the Office of the Vice Provost for Diversity Initiatives in 2004, which has expanded to become the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Diversity and Inclusion. Programs addressing faculty recruitment and development include:

Provost's Advisory Council for the Enhancement of Faculty Diversity

Advises the Provost on all campus-based diversity efforts.

Junior Faculty Grants Program

Columbia's research grants devoted to junior faculty who contribute to the University's diversity goals have thus far supported 92 faculty members.

Junior Faculty Career Development Series

A seven-part career development course to help junior faculty build and sustain their careers.

Pipeline Programs

Columbia offers many programs that serve as a bridge for underrepresented minority and female candidates to advance from undergraduate to graduate studies, graduate studies to faculty positions, and junior faculty positions to research independence.


"At Columbia, as at most of our peer institutions today, admissions officers value a kaleidoscope of talents and nontraditional backgrounds, including those possessed by military veterans, artists, and individuals who have overcome the obstacles of geography or family circumstance. We are proud that we have been able to achieve high levels of both socioeconomic and racial diversity."- Lee C. Bollinger