Reporting and Response Systems and Rules Review

Enhanced Reporting Initiative

A University-wide effort has occurred to make reporting more accessible and easy, to ensure a rapid response process for allegations of hate speech, harassment, and other forms of disruptive behavior, including antisemitic and anti-Arab and anti-Muslim conduct, and to offer support for students in distress around these issues. To that end, we offered an in-person help desk and a helpline through the spring term to answer questions about how to report and access our support systems; made it easier for the community to find our online reporting form and information about the process; supplemented staff in our investigatory and support offices; integrated our systems for more seamless reporting and response; enhanced training for staff in these areas; and improved communication throughout the process.

We know this is an important issue for our students, and we have made great progress to expand outreach and access to these important resources, with guidance from outside experts. We will continue to examine these processes and supports to ensure they’re working well for our students, and we remain committed to investing the time and resources to get this right. 

Rules Review

As recognized in the Rules of University Conduct: “[T]he University has a vital interest in fostering a climate in which nothing is immune from scrutiny. And Columbia, in particular, has a long tradition of valuing dissent and controversy and in welcoming the clash of opinions onto the campus.” The University recognizes two kinds of limitations on the right of freedom of expression: reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions and restrictions on expression that “constitutes a genuine threat of harassment, that unjustifiably invades an individual’s privacy, or that falsely defames a specific individual... The University has an obligation to assure members of its community that they can continue in their academic pursuits without fear for their personal security or other serious intrusions on their ability to teach and to study.”

Consistent with that tradition and obligation, it is essential that University rules and policies that apply to demonstrations, protests, sit-ins, vigils, and other events are clear and accessible and provide the means to address discrimination and harassment, and that the enforcement process around those rules and policies is fair, consistent, and transparent. To that end, we are collaborating with the University Senate, student leaders, faculty, and other members of the community on a review of University event policies and the Rules of University Conduct to which those policies relate. 

The University takes seriously the obligation to assure that all members of the Columbia community can pursue their academic activities without fear for their safety. The University has been clear that incitement to violence on campus will not be tolerated. We are enforcing our policies for campus events to ensure that debate and protest take place in a safe manner and that there are consequences for violations.