Saturday, September 03, 2011

Why the College NEEDS Football

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Athletics is the answer to this man's woes

Dean Battles

I've already written about the issue of the Columbia College Dean's resignation and then firing.

Now, Columbia President Lee Bollinger has announced the appointment of an interim dean, (see the letter at the very end of this post below).

No matter what anybody says, there IS a conflict between the College at Columbia and the rest of the school.

It's the tuition-paying undergrads and, more importantly, the College alumni DONORS who basically bankroll all of Columbia University.

And you will be hard-pressed to find more successful, generous and loyal alums than the football players.

Do the names Bill Campbell and Robert Kraft mean anything to you?

Those are just two examples.

The problem at Columbia and so many other big schools is that the non-revenue producing sections of the university need to, (and usually succeed at), taking a lot of the resources away from the undergrad divisions that produced that money and which they were meant to keep.

As much as athletics has been de-emphasized at Ivy schools, the money people donate to athletics stays in athletics... a lot more successfully than the money donated to the College stays with and for the undergrads.

In fact it's an irrefutable FACT that because intercollegiate Ivy athletics is a 100% undergrad entity, it's the one thing for undergrads that has remained financially unmolested by the other divisions of Columbia.

With all due respect to President Bollinger, his assertion that athletics at Columbia are "more successful than ever," needs to be clarified.

What is true is that athletics at Columbia have never had this much financial support. That's a great thing. So are the great new innovations in Bollinger's tenure like the website and its live streaming webcasts of Lion games.

I really give Bollinger and A.D. Dianne Murphy all the credit for that.

But the main teams, (football and basketball), are not winning enough... not enough to justify the added donations the sports programs have raked in this past decade.

BUT AT LEAST that money has stayed put inside the athletics department. I wish I could say the same for so many other donations that somehow end up elsewhere.

This is standard practice at so many schools it's disgusting.

My own father was once offered a major endowed professorship at a Big Ten school and was promptly told about half the money the family had given for his department and salary was going to be diverted elsewhere. Needless to say, my dad rejected that offer on the spot. That school is lucky he didn't make the incident public, but he did inform the family.

So let me take this opportunity to inform YOU the Columbia sports family of this fact: if you want to support undergrads at Columbia, if you want to support TRUE diversity, (geographic, intellectual, and cultural), if you want to support the honored truth that the mind AND BODY need to be exercised, (something we've known since the time of the ancient Greeks but our latest generation of intellectuals seems to have forgotten), then donate and support Columbia sports... and Columbia football especially.

You see, the football team with its 110 or so people on the roster is the MOST truly diverse and essentially undergrad activity at Columbia.

And it's open to the public 10 times a year!

And President Bollinger, if you're reading this, give yourself a break and focus even more on athletics and making sure the wins start rolling in.

Athletics is one place where you'll be able to make a positive difference without the tenured faculty bothering you or accusing you of being a racist!

JV Schedule Released

Did I say Columbia football is open to the public 10 times a year?

I meant 15.

That's because the JV schedule, all home games this year, was just released today.

Top 100 Moments of 2010

#15: Defense Steps Up

Five minutes after Columbia finally scored to make it 10-3, the Lions were facing a major new challenge when a short punt and a great Luke Tasket return gave the Big red a first down on the Columbia 41.

But the Columbia defense made a statement when it needed it most on the next three plays.

On first down, LB Augie Williams rushed Cornell QB Jeff Matthews and forced him into an incomplete pass.

The next two plays ended the same way and the Lions scored a key three-and-out.

Dear Alumni of Columbia College,

I am enclosing below the letter I sent today to the College campus community announcing the appointment of Professor James Valentini as Interim Dean of Columbia College. Professor Valentini’s qualifications for this role are enumerated in the letter, and I hope you agree that he brings demonstrated leadership in undergraduate education to this important position.

Given the suddenness of Dean Moody-Adams’ resignation, I want to take this opportunity to comment directly. When I came back to Columbia in 2002, having last been here during my years at the Law School in the late 60’s, I was very surprised and frankly confounded by the stories I heard about deep-seated suspicion and mistrust among the College community. Sometimes these stories had cast the president as the antagonist, and in others it was “the University” or “the Arts and Sciences.” It was unthinkable to me that the college that founded Columbia would not be seen as the very center of the University.

Whatever has been true at certain moments in the past, I can say to you, without any qualification, that our commitment to the College has never been stronger, and that the College has never had a stronger role in the University. We are one of the most sought after colleges in the world, we attract a cohort of the most talented young women and men, and we are proud to have the most diverse student body in the Ivy League. They come because of the Core, because of the remarkable faculty, because of New York City, and they come because we are steadfast in our commitment to make Columbia affordable for them. Through a partnership of alumni support led by John Kluge, University contribution, and tuition revenues, we are able to admit students to the College without regard to their families’ ability to pay, and then we provide them the financial aid they need to attend. All this adds up to the best student body in the world, and I feel this first hand every Fall when I teach my large undergraduate course on freedom of speech and press.

More than ever the College experience draws on the strengths of the entire University. In addition to the unique experience of the Core Curriculum, College students have access to an ever broader set of educational opportunities, including the departmental majors and new undergraduate programs in the arts, in business, and in public health. I am particularly committed to finding more opportunities for undergraduates to study and work internationally, including at our seven global centers around the world. Our athletics programs are stronger and more successful than ever, and a new advising center funded by the Quigley Endowment is transforming the way we help students shape their futures.

Columbia is a complex organization, with an expansive mission, and a tradition of vigorous debate about its future. We wouldn’t want it any other way. Naturally, there are differences of opinion among the administration, faculty, and alumni leaders about structures and strategies that will serve the College best. We are fortunate to be able to work on these issues with not only a gifted faculty but a board of University Trustees informed by the strong representation of College alumni leaders, including the Chair and three of four Vice Chairs, and a cohort of able and committed College alumni helping to move Columbia forward.

The College’s strength is Columbia’s strength. I look forward to working with Jim Valentini, the faculty, students, and our alumni leaders in continuing to build for its future.


Lee C. Bollinger

To the Columbia College Community:

I am pleased to announce that Professor James Valentini will assume the responsibilities of Dean of the College and Vice President for Undergraduate Education on an interim basis.

A member of Columbia’s faculty since 1991, Professor Valentini led Columbia’s Chemistry Department as chair from 2005 until 2008 and currently is director of the department’s undergraduate studies program. Jim is a decorated scholar, having been selected in 2009 by his peers as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and earlier as a Fellow of the American Physical Society for his research involving chemical reaction dynamics. His two decades at Columbia have been marked by a love of teaching undergraduates and dedication to supporting their intellectual journey at the College. Jim was for many years an active member of the University Senate, served on the Presidential Advisory Committee on Diversity Initiatives, has been Chair of the Arts and Sciences Academic Review Committee, Chair of the College Committee on Science Instruction, a member of the Committee on the Core and the College Committee on Instruction, faculty representative to the Alumni Association Board, and has worked with many other groups on curriculum matters, undergraduate affairs, faculty governance, and tenure.

I want to thank Michele Moody-Adams for her service as the Dean of the College and Vice President for Undergraduate Education and for her devotion to the College and its students. Though she made her resignation effective on June 30, 2012, I concluded it was in the best interests of the College that it become effective immediately so that an interim dean could be appointed and in place by the beginning of the academic year. Michele has graciously agreed to help with the transition and to be available to consult with the interim dean for the remainder of the academic year. She will, of course, continue to serve as Joseph Straus Professor of Political Philosophy and Legal Theory in the Philosophy Department.

I will keep you informed about the progress of our search for a permanent Dean of the College and Vice President for Undergraduate Education. For the present, please join me in thanking Michele Moody-Adams for her service and Jim Valentini for his willingness to serve on an interim basis.


Lee C. Bollinger


At Sat Sep 03, 10:24:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just silly for anyone to suggest that President Bollinger is a racist. As every constitutional lawyer knows, it was Lee Bollinger who led the legal battle to the United States Supreme Court for Affirmative Action and diversity in education when he was the President of the University of Michigan. President Bollinger is also a tremendous supporter of Columbia College and a big fan of our athletic teams. Finally, without Bollinger's vision and leadership, the new campus would probably still be a dream and not a reality.

At Sat Sep 03, 06:14:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

But I want to know if my contributions each year to the College are being diverted.

At Sat Sep 03, 06:24:00 PM GMT+7, Blogger Jake said...

The official and adamant response to that will be a promise that your money is not being diverted from the college. But it's simply not true. Money is fungible, and the growing pressure to "borrow" from the College's resources and real estate is what brought down the last two deans of the school.


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