‘Chronically Upset’ Columbia University Faculty ‘Affected’ by Trump, Demand Campus Safe Spaces

By Andrew Eicher | March 6, 2017 | 2:44pm EST


“Stunned” faculty at Columbia University (CU), a prestigious Ivy League institution with a 2016-17 undergraduate tuition rate of $52,478, called for a website, “more open discourse,” and “physical space for conversations” to help faculty who are “affected by the Trump administration” and want to express their concerns “without fear of negative consequences.”

The CU Faculty Affairs Committee (FAC) made these requests at the Feb. 24 University Senate meeting, held to “support discourse” regarding the Trump administration’s impact on faculty members.

FAC co-chairs Robert Pollack and Letty Moss-Salentijn originally laid out these requests in February in a letter to University President Lee Bollinger, who defined the Trump presidency as “a challenge to what Columbia stands for.”

“We know no one at Columbia who is not upset, chronically and deeply, since the election,” Pollack and Moss-Salentijn wrote, claiming that Donald Trump’s presidency has resulted in a “malaise that sits like a fog over Columbia.”

President Donald Trump.  (AP) 

They recommended repurposing certain areas on campus to provide space for “quiet, difficult conversations,” with Pollack adding at the meeting that “faculty are human beings, and as such, may feel intimated. There’s no point or place for the expression of that anxiety.”

The committee also requested that residence hall lounges be made accessible to professors, so they can converse with students who have felt “shock, disgust, and sadness” since President Trump’s election victory.

The morning following the presidential election, professors postponed midterm exams, canceled classes, and disregarded lesson plans.

“I know a lot of you guys are emotionally exhausted after tonight – I am too,” computer science Professor Jessica Ouyang wrote in an election-night email to her students. “Let’s take the weekend to get ourselves back to normal.”

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