Official University Regulations

Reservation of University Rights

This bulletin is intended for the guidance of persons applying for or considering application for admission to Columbia University and for the guidance of Columbia students and faculty. The bulletin sets forth in general the manner in which the University intends to proceed with respect to the matters set forth herein, but the University reserves the right to depart without notice from the terms of this bulletin. The bulletin is not intended to be, and should not be regarded as, a contract between the University and any student or other person.

Attendance

Students are held accountable for absences incurred owing to late enrollment.

Religious Holidays

It is the policy of the University to respect its members’ religious beliefs. In compliance with New York State law, each student who is absent from school because of his or her religious beliefs will be given an equivalent opportunity to register for classes or make up any examination, study, or work requirements that he or she may have missed because of such absence due to religious beliefs, and alternative means will be sought for satisfying the academic requirements involved.

Officers of administration and of instruction responsible for scheduling of academic activities or essential services are expected to avoid conflict with religious holidays as much as possible. If a suitable arrangement cannot be worked out between the student and the instructor involved, they should consult the appropriate dean or director. If an additional appeal is needed, it may be taken to the Provost.

Academic Discipline

See Discipline

The Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

See Transcripts and Certifications

Columbia University Ombuds Office

The Ombuds Office is a neutral and confidential resource for informal conflict resolution, serving the entire Columbia University community—students, faculty, and employees.

For further information, contact:

Ombuds Officer Joan C. Waters
660 Schermerhorn Extension
212-854-1234
ombuds@columbia.edu
columbia.edu/cu/ombuds

On Wednesdays the Ombuds Officer is at the Columbia Medical Center office:
101 Bard Hall
50 Haven Avenue;
212-304-7026.

Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action

As an institution, Columbia University is committed to the principles of equity and excellence.  It actively pursues both, adhering to the belief that equity is the partner of excellence.  Columbia University's goal is a workforce and student body that reflects the diversity and talent of New York City, the larger metropolitan area, and the nation.  In furtherance of this goal, Columbia has implemented policies and programs which seek to ensure that its employment and educational decisions are based on individual merit and not on bias or stereotypes.

The Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action (EOAA) has overall responsibility for the management of the University’s Student Policies and Procedures on Discrimination and Harassment and the Employment Policies and Procedures on Discrimination and Harassment. It coordinates compliance activities under these policies and the applicable federal, state and local laws and has been designated as the University’s Compliance Office for Title IX, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and other equal opportunity, nondiscrimination and affirmative action laws. Students, faculty and staff may contact the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action to inquire about their rights under University policies, request assistance, seek information about filing a complaint, or report conduct or behavior that may violate these policies.

All students and applicants for admission are protected from coercion, intimidation, interference, or retaliation for filing a complaint or assisting in an investigation under any of the applicable policies and laws.

Columbia University Non-Discrimination Statement and Policy

Columbia University is committed to providing a learning, living, and working environment free from unlawful discrimination and to fostering a nurturing and vibrant community founded upon the fundamental dignity and worth of all its members.

Consistent with this commitment, and with all applicable laws, it is the policy of the University not to tolerate unlawful discrimination in any form and to provide those who feel that they are victims of discrimination with mechanisms for seeking redress.

Also consistent with this commitment, Columbia University prohibits any form of discrimination against any person on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, gender, pregnancy, age, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, marital status, status as a victim of domestic violence, citizenship or immigration status, creed, genetic predisposition or carrier status, unemployment status, partnership status, military status, or any other legally protected status in the administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, employment, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other University-administered programs and functions.

Nothing in this policy shall abridge academic freedom or the University's educational mission. Prohibitions against discrimination and discriminatory harassment do not extend to actions, statements or written materials that are relevant and appropriately related to course subject matter or academic debate.

This policy governs the conduct of all Columbia University students, faculty, staff and visitors that occurs on the University's campuses or in connection with University-sponsored programs. This policy also governs conduct by Columbia University students, faculty, staff and visitors that creates, contributes to, or continues a hostile work, educational, or living environment for a member or members of the University community.

Inquiries or complaints regarding any form of discrimination or harassment may be directed to:

Marjory D Fisher
Title IX Coordinator
Associate Vice President
212-854-1276
mdf2166@columbia.edu

Heather Parlier
Associate Provost, Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action
Section 504 Compliance Officer
103 Low Library
212-854-5918
hp2450@columbia.edu

Department of Education
Office for Civil Rights (New York Office
646-428-3800
OCR.NewYork@ed.gov

For further information and assistance, contact:

Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action
103 Low Library, MC 4333
212-854-5511
eoaa@columbia.edu
eoaa.columbia.edu

Consensual Romantic and Sexual Relationships

Columbia University maintains policies regarding consensual romantic and sexual relationships between faculty and students, and staff and students. The Faculty-Student Relationship Policy states that no faculty member shall exercise academic or professional authority over any student with whom he or she has or previously has had a consensual romantic or sexual relationship. This policy covers all officers of instruction, research, and the libraries, including student officers of instruction and research, and teaching assistants.

The Staff-Student Relationship Policy states that no staff member at Columbia should participate in the supervision, employment actions, evaluation, advising or mentoring of any Columbia University student with whom that staff member has or has had a consensual romantic or sexual relationship, except in unusual circumstances, where explicit advance authorization has been obtained.

For additional information on these issues, policies and resources, please visit the Sexual Respect website at: https://titleix.columbia.edu/.

Definitions

For purposes of these policies and procedures, the following definitions apply:

Discrimination is defined as (1) treating members of a Protected Class less favorably because of their membership in that class; or (2) having a policy or practice that has a disproportionately adverse impact on Protected Class members.

Discriminatory harassment is defined as subjecting an individual on the basis of her or his membership in a Protected Class to humiliating, abusive, or threatening conduct that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual or group; that creates an intimidating, hostile, or abusive learning, living, or working environment; that alters the conditions of the learning, living, or working environment; or that unreasonably interferes with an individual’s academic performance. Discriminatory harassment includes but is not limited to: epithets or slurs; negative stereotyping; threatening, intimidating or hostile acts; denigrating jokes; and display or circulation (including through e-mail) of written or graphic material in the learning, living, or working environment.  Sexual harassment and gender-based harassment which are defined in detail below, are forms of discriminatory harassment.

Duty to Act  is imposed on all management and supervisory personnel who are responsible for taking reasonable and necessary action to prevent discrimination and harassment and for responding promptly and thoroughly to any such claims. On learning directly or indirectly of conduct or behavior that might violate University policies, management and supervisory personnel are put on notice to act.  They should consult with the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action and/or Columbia University Human Resources for advice and assistance on addressing the matter.   A manager or supervisor who fails to act may be found to have violated Columbia’s policies even though the underlying event does not constitute discrimination or harassment.

Duty to Act conduct or behavior that violates these policies is imposed on all University officers, including Residential Program Staff, Teaching Assistants, and Adjunct Faculty.  An officer performs her or his duty to report by reporting the conduct or behavior to the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action or other designated office.  University officers who learn of an allegation of gender-based misconduct against a student are expected to notify Student Services for Gender-Based and Sexual Misconduct or the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action.  University officers who learn of an allegation of discrimination or harassment against a student are expected to notify the student’s Dean of Students or the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action. University officers who learn of an allegation of discrimination or harassment against a University employee are expected to notify the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action. University officers who learn of an allegation of gender-based misconduct involving a minor under the age of 17 are required to notify the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action and the Department of Public Safety.   An officer who fails to report may be found to have violated Columbia’s policies even though the underlying event does not constitute gender-based misconduct, discrimination or harassment.  University officers serving in a privileged professional capacity (mental health counselors, clergy, medical providers, and rape-crisis counselors) are not bound by this expectation, except as required by law.

Gender-Based Misconduct includes sexual harassment, sexual assault, gender-based harassment, stalking, and intimate partner violence.  Misconduct can occur between strangers or acquaintances, including people involved in an intimate or sexual relationship. Gender-based misconduct can be committed by men or by women, and it can occur between people of the same or different sex.

Gender-Based Harassment is defined as acts of verbal, nonverbal, or physical aggression, intimidation, stalking, or hostility based on gender or gender-stereotyping.  The conduct must be such that it has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, demeaning, or offensive learning, living or working environment.  Gender-based harassment can occur if students are harassed either for exhibiting what is perceived as a stereotypical characteristic for their sex, or for failing to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity.

Intimate Partner Violence is defined as the use of physical violence, coercion, threats, intimidation, isolation, stalking, or other forms of emotional, sexual or economic abuse directed towards a partner in an intimate relationship.

Protected Class is a class of persons who are protected under applicable federal, state or local laws against discrimination and harassment on the basis of: race, color, sex, gender (including gender identity and expression), pregnancy, religion, creed, marital status, partnership status, age, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, military status, or any other legally protected status.

Retaliation occurs when an alleged perpetrator or respondent, her or his friends or associates, or other member of the University community intimidates, threatens, coerces, harasses, or discriminates against an individual who has made a complaint, or participated in any manner in an investigation, proceeding or hearing under these policies and procedures. A retaliatory action is an action taken to deter a reasonable person from opposing a discriminatory or harassing practice, participating in a discrimination or harassment proceeding or, more generally, pursuing her or his rights under these policies.   Retaliation may take the form of name-calling and taunting. 

Sexual Assault as Non-Consensual Sexual Contact is defined as any intentional bodily contact or touching of another person in a sexual manner without that person’s consent and includes intentional sexual contact or touching of  another’s breast, buttocks, or groin, however slight.

Sexual Assault as Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse is defined as any form or sexual intercourse, anal, oral, or vaginal, however slight, without consent.  Intercourse means vaginal penetration, however slight by a penis, object, tongue or finger; anal penetration by a penis, object, tongue or finger; and oral copulation (mouth to genital contact or genital to mouth contact).

Sexual Harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, physical or visual conduct of a sexual nature when: 

  • submission to such conduct or behavior is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s academic performance or learning, living, and working environment; or
  • submission to or rejection of such conduct or behavior by an individual is used as the basis for    academic decisions affecting that individual; or 
  • such conduct or behavior has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, demeaning, or offensive learning, living, or working environment.

Sexual harassment may include a range of subtle and not so subtle behaviors among them: sexual violence; sexual jokes and innuendo; verbal abuse of a sexual nature; commentary about an individual’s body, sexual prowess or sexual deficiencies; leering, catcalls or touching; insulting or obscene comments or gestures; and the display or circulation (including through email) of sexually suggestive or explicit objects or pictures) in the learning, living, or working environment. Sexual harassment may involve individuals of the same or different sex.  The complainant does not necessarily have to be the person harassed but could be anyone affected by the offensive conduct.

Stalking is defined as repeated and continued harassment made against the expressed wishes of another individual, which causes the targeted individual reasonably to feel emotional distress, including fear and apprehension.

Disability Accommodation

Students seeking access, accommodations or support services for a disability should contact Disability Services at (212) 854-2388.  Information on the services provided by Disability Services may be found online at: http://www.health.columbia.edu/docs/services/ods/index.html

Formal Complaint Procedures

Procedure for Complaint against Another Student

Gender-Based Misconduct Policies for Students

Complaints against students for gender-based misconduct are processed in accord with the Gender-Based Misconduct Policies for Students. Students who attend Barnard College and Teachers College as well as Columbia University are covered by these policies. The use of the term "gender-based misconduct" includes sexual assault, sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, stalking, and intimate partner violence.

Columbia Law School Policy on Gender-Based Misconduct

Reports of alleged gender-based misconduct by a Columbia Law School student should be filed with the Columbia Law School Dean of Students at 212-854-7420.  A copy of the policies may be found at: http://eoaa.columbia.edu/resources/documents.

Student Policies and Procedures on Discrimination and Harassment

Complaints against students for other forms of discrimination and harassment are processed in accord with the Student Policies and Procedures on Discrimination and Harassment and should be filed with the Dean of the school in which the respondent student is enrolled.

Procedure for Complaints Against a Student Organization

Students who wish to file a complaint of discrimination or harassment against a student organization should do so in consultation with the Dean of their own school; the Dean will identify the appropriate procedure and channels and assist the student in pursuing the complaint.

Procedure for Complaint against a Member of the Faculty or Staff

Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action

Complaints against employees and third parties affiliated with the University for discrimination and harassment are processed in accord with the Employment Policies and Procedures on Discrimination and Harassment. The use of the term "discrimination and harassment" include discrimination, discriminatory harassment, gender-based harassment, stalking, intimate partner violence, sexual harassment, and sexual assault.

Violations of the University’s Employment Policies and Procedures on Discrimination and Harassment and the Student Policies and Procedures on Discrimination and Harassment are prohibited.  Appropriate disciplinary action may be taken against any employee or student who violates these policies.
 
Columbia also offers a number a confidential resources to students who believe they were subjected to discrimination, harassment, or gender-based or sexual misconduct and who do not wish to report to the University:

Counseling Services
Columbia Morningside: 212-854-2878
CUMC: 212-496-8491

Rape Crisis/Anti-Violence Support Center
212-854-HELP

Office of the University Chaplain
212-854-6242

Health Services*
Columbia Morningside: 212-854-2284
Columbia Morningside Clinician On-Call: 212-854-9797
CUMC: 212-305-3400
CUMC Clinician On-Call: 212-305-3400

 *Medical providers are considered confidential resources in the context of providing medical treatment of a patient.

Grievances Procedures

Students should consult SEAS policies on Student Grievances, Academic Concerns and Complaints for the appropriate procedure to complain about a faculty member’s conduct in an instructional setting.

Sexual Assault Policy

On February 25, 2000, the University Senate adopted a Sexual Misconduct Policy and Disciplinary Procedure that can be used as an alternative to Dean’s Discipline; the policy and procedure have been renamed the Sexual Assault Policy and the Disciplinary Procedure for Sexual Assault respectively. The policy prohibits sexual assault by any student and is University wide, applying to all students in all schools of the University, including Teacher’s College and Barnard College. The Disciplinary Procedure for Sexual Assault is an option that applies to all students with the exception of students within the Law School, Jewish Theological Seminary, and/or Union Theological Seminary. Complaints of sexual assault for these schools are addressed through Dean’s Discipline. If the student being accused attends CC/SEAS, the Disciplinary Procedure for Sexual Assault will be the exclusive mechanism for filing a complaint.

Copies of the policy and procedure are available from the Administrative Coordinator of the Disciplinary Procedure for Sexual Assault, 701A Lerner, Mail Code 2617, 2920 Broadway, New York, NY 10027; telephone: 212-854-1717; fax: 212-854-2728; columbia.edu/cu/dpsa. The policy and procedure can also be found in the Office of the Dean of Students of every school.

Policy

The University’s Policy on Sexual Assault requires that standards of sexual conduct be observed on campus, that violations of these standards are subject to discipline, and that resources and structures be sufficient to meet the physical and emotional needs of individuals who have experienced sexual assault. Columbia University’s policy defines sexual assault as nonconsensual, intentional physical contact of a sexual nature, such as unwelcome physical contact with a person’s genitals, buttocks, or breasts. Sexual assault occurs when the act is committed either by (a) physical force, violence, threat or intimidation; (b) ignoring the objections of another person; (c) causing another’s intoxication or impairment through the use of drugs or alcohol; or (d) taking advantage of another person’s incapacitation, state of intimidation, helplessness, or other inability to consent.

Complaint Resolution Options

Three University-based options are available for resolution of complaints of sexual assault against a student:

  1. Dean’s Discipline within the school of the charged student;
  2. the University’s Disciplinary Procedure for Sexual Assault; or
  3. mediation through an accredited mediator affiliated with the University, such as the Ombuds Officer.

Complaints may also be filed with the New York City Police Department.

Choosing to pursue a disciplinary action can be a difficult and confusing decision. The Manager  of the Disciplinary Procedure for Sexual Assault is available to assist you in understanding your options for complaint resolution, as are trained peer advocates from the Rape Crisis/Anti-Violence Support Center.

Helen Arnold, Manager
Disciplinary Procedure for Sexual Assault
hva2002@columbia.edu
701A Lerner, Mail Code 2617
2920 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
phone: 212-854-1717
fax: 212-854-2728
columbia.edu/cu/dpsa

Complaints about non-student members of the University community should be directed to the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action at Columbia, the Dean of Studies Office at Barnard, or the Office of the Associate Dean at Teachers College.