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Update from Student Affairs

October 14, 2020

Dear Students,

I am writing to follow up on recent conversations about ways to foster an inclusive educational environment free from discrimination and harassment, and to share resources that are available to support students. We understand that conversations about discrimination and harassment you may have experienced or witnessed can be extraordinarily difficult, and that it is not an easy decision to report and share this trauma. It is our goal in this letter to give you information so that you are familiar with the various options provided by GSAPP and Columbia, including how to report a potential violation of our Student Gender-Based Misconduct and Interim Title IX Policies or EOAA’s policies prohibiting discrimination, harassment, and gender-based misconduct; information about confidentiality; and how you can access the support you need in the event that you have experienced prohibited behaviors, including mental health treatment.

We have updated the School’s website for Policies & Resources so as to clarify where you can find University policies related to discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment, and gender-based misconduct and where to report prohibited conduct. We encourage you to read these policies, which contain University definitions of prohibited conduct; procedures for reporting potential violations of the policies by both students and faculty; and how to report general concerns, including academic misconduct, discrimination, sexual harassment, or hazing. In addition, the University has just relaunched its University Policies website, which is an extensive repository for all policies applicable to the Columbia community that can be sorted by audience, related office, or category.

The University encourages any community member who has experienced, witnessed, or become aware of conduct that violates the Non-Discrimination Statement and Policy, or other University policies, to submit an incident report. Reporting potential misconduct is the best way to ensure access to University resources and to be sure that any policy violations are addressed. Additional information is available on the University’s web pages for Sexual Respect and Student Conduct and Community Standards, and the EOAA website.

We also understand that you may feel more comfortable directly discussing an incident with a trusted faculty advisor; librarian, or other School staff member. You are always welcomed and encouraged to do so. Please know that University employees who learn of any instance or allegation of prohibited conduct that involves students are required to report that information. However, you are not obligated to respond to any outreach following any report, or participate in any investigation or resolution of the report. If you feel most comfortable proceeding confidentially, we have various options available and encourage you to reach out. The University’s confidential resources include Sexual Violence Response (SVR); Counseling Services; Medical Services; the Office of the University Chaplain; and the Ombuds Office, which can be reached at ombuds@columbia.edu or through an online appointment system.

If you have any questions about these and other resources or procedures, or would like to discuss any related concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly at ds89@columbia.edu or 212-854-3414. Alternatively, you may also reach out to Marjory Fisher, Title IX Coordinator, at mdf2166@columbia.edu or 212-854-1276, or Jeri Henry, Vice Provost, Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action, at eoaa@columbia.edu.


Danielle Smoller
Associate Dean of Academic and Student Affairs