In the News

Sep 26, 2019 - Columbia Spectator: Anti-Semitism and free speech: 4 points in response to the Malaysian prime minister

When Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad responded to a student’s question about his anti-Semitic comments during his World Leaders Forum appearance yesterday, he said that he was exercising his right to free speech.

Nov. 30, 2018 - Jewish professor at Columbia University finds her office walls spray-painted with Swastikas

A Columbia University professor got the shock of her life when she entered her office on Wednesday. The office had been vandalised with two swastikas and a derogatory word aimed at Jewish people spray-painted in red on its walls

Nov. 20, 2018 - University pledges to maintain support for students as Trump administration announces new sexual misconduct rules

In light of the official release of the Department of Education’s new proposed regulations regarding sexual misconduct, the University will stand by its values that emphasize student safety and support, according to Executive Vice President of University Life Suzanne Goldberg.

Sept. 26, 2018 - Sexual respect in the #MeToo landscape

As the new academic year begins, sexual respect is front and center in discussions on- and off-campus, as allegations regarding sexual misconduct pervade the news in all sectors, from media and the arts to government and academia. The good news is that we, as a community, are talking about these issues more than ever before—and that much of the conversation on campus is about how best to make positive change.

Sept. 6, 2018 - Leaked DeVos rules could trigger drastic changes in Columbia's sexual assault policies

Newly proposed federal Title IX regulations could spark broad changes to Columbia policies governing sexual misconduct, bolstering the rights of the accused and making it difficult to bring a legal complaint against Columbia for its handling of investigations, according to legal experts.

Jun. 5, 2018 - The promising gay-rights message in the Masterpiece Cakeshop ruling (Op-ed by Suzanne Goldberg)

Many news headlines announcing the Supreme Court’s ruling in Masterpiece Cakeshop vs. Colorado Civil Rights Commission tell a misleading story. For future cases, the Court guidance is far more promising for the future of civil rights than the headlines suggest. 

Apr. 24, 2018 - Columbia Spectator: I’m contributing to student well-being. And you should too.

"Our campus activism and advocacy would benefit from more precise and recent student data. The Office of University Life has collaborated with the World Health Organization to fill this gap in data through The Columbia Student Well-Being Survey," Columbia College student Jon Carlo Dominguez writes in the Columbia Spectator.

Apr. 6, 2018 - Columbia Spectator: CU Live gives students opportunity to showcase talent at Miller Theatre

In a school as large as Columbia, it is rare that any event features students from across undergraduate and graduate schools. CU Live: Talent Showcase, hosted by the Office of University Life Events Council, however, managed to produce a wide cross section of students in Miller Theatre on Wednesday night.

Mar. 8, 2018 - National Constitution Center: Workplace Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation

Can an employment lawsuit be based on the premise that discrimination based on sexual orientation is a Title VII violation under the Civil Rights Act of 1964?
EVP Suzanne Goldberg weighs in. 

Mar. 8, 2018 - Columbia Spectator: Claudia Rankine leads debate on issues of race and whiteness at University Life event

Writer and MacArthur Fellow Claudia Rankine, Arts ’93, and Oral History Master of Arts professor Whitney Dow, GS ’86, discussed the role that white Americans play in conversations on race and identity at an event hosted by the Office of University Life on Wednesday. 

Feb. 28, 2018 - Columbia Spectator: With pamphlets and student volunteers, University aims to start conversations on race

The Office of University Life will attempt to promote difficult conversations between students regarding race at Columbia with Campus Conversation packets, an initiative unveiled this week. In part because of Columbia’s politically correct culture, critical discourse about race and identity can be inhibited by students feeling uncomfortable with or unprepared to initiate these conversations on their own.
According to Associate Vice President for Student Life Ixchel Rosal, the idea for Campus Conversations arose as an effort to foster such dialogue.

Jan. 29, 2018 - Columbia Spectator: Op-ed by Suzanne Goldberg

I think we can all relate to the need to slow down, at least every once in a while, and that taking steps, whether by sitting, walking or just taking a deep breath, can make a real difference in how we feel. Wellness Days at Columbia provide a jumpstart, with many paths for fun, relaxation and learning. 

Dec. 27, 2017 - Thomson Reuters: Hugs and dirty jokes - Americans differ on acceptable behavior

Since people come to work with different ideas of what is appropriate, managers should train their employees and develop clear lines of conduct so that there are no misunderstandings, said Suzanne Goldberg, director of the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law at Columbia Law School.
“The onus is on employers” to set the tone, Goldberg said. “Even if the co-workers don’t object or go to management to complain.”


Dec. 15, 2017 - The Guardian: Op-ed by Suzanne Goldberg

This baker seems to be arguing that the law is telling him what to believe or do. But, to state the obvious, the law does not require him to sell wedding cakes. 
Instead, the law says that if you open a shop on Main Street or anywhere else, you can’t pick and choose to whom you sell your products, just like you can’t pick and choose which tax laws or safety laws you’ll comply with. 


Nov. 17, 2017 - Columbia Spectator: Students of color on the unique challenges they face at Columbia

Associate Vice President of University Life Ixchel Rosal, who chairs the task force, recognized this as a main challenge that the task force is addressing as it develops programming to encourage difficult conversations.
“Students who come from these historically marginalized communities don’t want to do that emotional labor of having to sit through a conversation and explain who they are, relive a traumatizing experience, or be put in the role of the teacher, yet again,” Rosal said. “We want to make sure that everyone can participate, and the more we can facilitate student-to-student dialogue—making it as safe as possible for people—that sort of student-to-student engagement is really where true engagement with a topic can happen.”

Nov. 2, 2017 - Bwog: Awakening Our Democracy: Free Speech On Campus

On Wednesday, the Office of University Life hosted a conversation with moderator Jami Floyd (WNYC host and legal and media commentator) and panelists Jamal Greene (Columbia Law School Dwight Professor of Law), Suzanne Nossel (PEN America Executive Director), and Tanya Hernandez (Archibald R. Murray Professor of Law, Associate Director, Center on Race, Law and Justice at Fordham Law School). 

The goal of the event was to address overarching concerns around free speech, both on the university’s campus and in the public domain. Questions were submitted by the audience.

Nov. 2, 2017 - Columbia Spectator: Law professors debate limits to free speech on college campuses

The panel, hosted by the Office of University Life, was moderated by Jami Floyd, a WNYC host and award-winning reporter at ABC News, and featured experts included Jamal Greene, Dwight Professor of Law at the Law School, Tanya Hernandez, associate director of the Center of Race, Law and Justice at Fordham Law School, and Suzanne Nossel, the executive director of PEN America.

Sept. 25, 2017 - Columbia Spectator: Sexual Respect Continues Here, With Us

Imagine what it would be like to have a campus where sexual harassment, assault, stalking, and other gender-based misconduct never occurred. What would it take to move from imagining change to making it happen? The easiest and most tangible way—this month and in the weeks ahead—is for every Columbia student to participate in the Sexual Respect and Community Citizenship Initiative and to encourage your friends and classmates to do the same.


Sept. 6, 2017 - Columbia Spectator: Trump’s decision to end DACA confirms undocumented students’ fears

Columbia announced that it would not disclose undocumented students’ information to immigration officials or let those officials onto campus without a warrant. The University will also provide pro bono legal services and mental health support groups for undocumented students.
Executive Vice President for University Life Suzanne Goldberg reiterated those promises in an email to the Columbia community.

Imagine what it would be like to have a campus where sexual harassment, assault, stalking, and other gender-based misconduct never occurred. What would it take to move from imagining change to making it happen? The easiest and most tangible way—this month and in the weeks ahead—is for every Columbia student to participate in the Sexual Respect and Community Citizenship Initiative and to encourage your friends and classmates to do the same.

Feb. 1, 2017 - Columbia Spectator: The Search for Sanctuary: Undocumented Students, DACA, and Trump

The Office of University Life’s Associate Vice President for Student Life Ixchel Rosal speaks with the Spectator’s Ana Espinoza about steps Columbia is taking to support undocumented students. 
Read more in The Eye.

Oct. 25, 2016 - Columbia Spectator: Why Sexual Respect?

Workshops and training are not about a preferred type of sex, or even about encouragement of sexual contact at all (though I’m told that many workshops do provide fun and useful information). Instead, they help underscore how important it is in our community that students treat each other with respect in this realm.
But what is sexual respect, anyway? And why should you care?

Sept. 9, 2016 - Columbia Spectator: First associate vice president for student life looks to advocate for students

Ixchel Rosal, the University's first associate vide president for student life views herself as an advocate for students. Rosal was named to the position last spring, and officially started this summer. The creation of the role, housed within the Office of University Life, was announced last year, after students voiced concerns about how student-facing the office would be.

Jun. 16, 2016 - Columbia Spectator: Nearly 150 gather on campus to mourn Orlando attack on LGBTQ, Latinx communities

On Wednesday night, Columbia’s campus served as a place of sanctuary and community for the nearly 150 students, faculty, and staff who gathered to mourn the victims of the attack.

Apr. 14, 2016 - President Bollinger in Harvard Law Review

What Once Was Lost Must Now Be Found: Rediscovering an Affirmative Action Jurisprudence Informed by the Reality of Race in America
In The Harvard Law Review Forum, Columbia President Lee Bollinger writes on affirmative action and the upcoming Fisher v. University of Texas decision.

Mar. 31, 2016 - Columbia Spectator: Convincing our community to care about the sexual respect requirement

The SRI also aligns with student, administrator, and expert sentiments about the need for mandatory sexual respect education. And there’s no denying that the SRI is one of the first and most comprehensive programs of its nature in the nation.

Mar. 28, 2016 - Columbia Spectator on Bystander Intervention Training

(Prof. Suzanne) Goldberg said that the ideal is a campus culture wherein bystander intervention is the norm, and training is a way to get there.

Mar. 27, 2016 - Transgender bathroom use debates play out across U.S. - Prof. Goldberg on CBS News

"This is the new fight for LGBT rights. We are really in an extraordinary moment where states are rolling back existing protections and actively trying to discriminate...It seems there is a wave of anti-LGBT laws spreading across the country."

Feb. 27, 2016 - Bwog: Digital Sex And The Meaning Of Respect

In the second year of the Sexual Respect Initiative, Columbia has offered more workshops and more sessions of each option.

Feb. 10, 2016 - Columbia Spectator: Students express apathy toward sexual respect requirement despite new options and smoother rollout

"In our view, having students participate, engage on these issues, and understand deeply the shared responsibility of community members is very important."

Jan. 9, 2016 - New York Times: Campus Sex With A Syllabus

" students at Columbia must complete a course in 'sexual respect.'"

Dec. 7, 2015 - Reversing Affirmative Action Would Send Us Backwards on Race (President Bollinger in TIME)

When the Supreme Court revisits affirmative action in Fisher v. University of Texas on Dec. 9, the legalistic discussion of narrowly tailored means and race-neutral alternatives will obscure a more basic question: Do the searing events and protests that began in Ferguson, Mo., and continue to echo across the country leave any doubt about how far we have to go to overcome racial discrimination and to achieve a truly integrated society?

Nov. 19, 2015 - Columbia Spectator: Students, faculty address institutionalized racism at University Life event

The teach-in and speak-out, titled "Race, Ethnicity and University Life" and moderated by Dean of Social Science Alondra Nelson, was organized by the Office of University Life to address institutionalized racism in light of nationwide protests regarding the experiences of students of color on college campuses.

Nov. 6, 2015 - Columbia Spectator: Office of University Life hosts second panel, discusses systematic racism and current tensions

"The three presenters were very knowledgable about different topics and able to talk about them, so that everyone could relate and understand," Holman said. "It was great, really insightful, and I'm glad I came out."

Oct. 20, 2015 - Columbia Spectator: Office of University Life launches event series to explore issues of social justice, identity

“We are looking to have lively, engaging conversations with everyone in the University community and especially students,” Executive Vice President for University Life Suzanne Goldberg told Spectator in an interview.

Oct. 19, 2015 - Columbia Spectator: Revised Sexual Respect Initiative will offer more workshops, more time for students to complete initiative

Columbia’s Sexual Respect and Community Citizenship Initiative, which is required for new students and returning students who have not already completed the program, will offer a greater variety of programming options and give students more time to finish the requirement than last year.

Oct. 13, 2015 - Columbia Spectator: What Is the Office of University Life? (Op-ed)

What does it mean to be part of this University community?  Columbia, after all, is the size of a small city, with more than 50,000 of us affiliated, including students, faculty, staff and many others.
In response to this question, the Office has three focal points: student life, intellectual life, and community citizenship.