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.
Students are held accountable for absences incurred owing to late enrollment.
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.
The Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
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:
On Wednesdays the Ombuds Officer is at the Columbia Medical Center office:
101 Bard Hall
50 Haven Avenue;
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 the subject matter of courses.
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.
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/.
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.
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 and Procedures for Students
Complaints against students for genderbased misconduct are processed in accord with the Gender-Based Misconduct Policy and Procedures for Students by Student Conduct and Community Standards. Students who attend 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, dating violence, and domestic violence.
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 Columbia University Employee Policies and Procedures on Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence and Stalking. The use of the term "discrimination and harassment" include discrimination, discriminatory harassment, gender-based harassment, stalking, intimate partner violence, sexual harassment, and sexual assault.
Columbia Morningside: 212-854-2878
Rape Crisis/Anti-Violence Support Center
Office of the University Chaplain
Columbia Morningside: 212-854-2284
Columbia Morningside Clinician On-Call: 212-854-9797
CUMC Clinician On-Call: 212-305-3400
*Medical providers are considered confidential resources in the context of providing medical treatment of a patient.
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.