Dear students of Columbia College and the School of General Studies,

You may have heard that the graduate students of Columbia University might choose to hold a strike next week. If the strike occurs, it will likely begin on Tuesday, April 24 and end on Monday, April 30.

Here is some important information that we want you to know during this time, framed in terms of questions that may arise for you:

What should I do while the graduate students are on strike?

The work of the University will continue throughout any strike that may happen, so you should plan to attend classes as usual next week. Some of your instructors may choose to hold classes off campus or online during the strike, and your participation will still be expected. Please monitor your Columbia email inbox closely for important communications from your instructors.

Your education is the foremost concern of our schools, and we want to ensure that you achieve the objectives and outcomes of your courses. So remember that you should keep up with the schedule of assignments for each of your classes. Also, note that no absences from class or class-related activities for reasons relating to the strike will be excused.

What if one of my classes is taught by a graduate student?

If a strike is called, it is up to each individual graduate student to decide whether he or she will participate in the strike, so you should not make any assumptions about whether your class will be held as usual or not. Unless you receive explicit instructions from your instructor that a class meeting is canceled, please go to your classroom at the usual time.

If you arrive at a classroom and find that the instructor is not there, please contact the relevant academic department for further information or instructions. If you are not sure of the home department of the course, please look on the course’s current page in the online Directory of Classes; the home department is listed in the middle of the course page. You can then find the department information (phone number, office location, etc.) through the relevant link on this website.

If you have a question about a section of Literature Humanities, Contemporary Civilization, Art Humanities, or Music Humanities, contact the Center for the Core Curriculum. If you have a question about a section of University Writing, contact the Undergraduate Writing Program.

If you have concerns about the effect of canceled classes on your own coursework, please contact your advising dean, or any advising dean available during walk-in hours, in person or by email, so that we can try to help in whatever ways we can. While it isn’t possible to anticipate every situation that may arise, we have plans for a variety of contingencies, and we are ready to work with faculty and students to resolve any issues.

Will the strike affect my graduation plans?

No. No matter what happens with the strike, the schools will not allow an administrative matter like this one to interfere with your appointment with your well-earned degree. The administration and faculty will work together to ensure that all graduating seniors are able to proceed with Class Day and Commencement on time.

What if I want to support the graduate students in their strike?

You may be interested in the issues that the graduate students are discussing, and you should feel free to discuss these issues with graduate students and with faculty and one another. It is important to remember, however, that you must fulfill your responsibilities as a student, including attendance at class meetings and submission of required academic work.

In general:

Check your Columbia emails regularly! If you have any questions at any time, please contact your advising dean or any advising dean available during walk-in hours.


James J. Valentini
Dean of Columbia College and
Vice President for Undergraduate Education

Lisa Rosen-Metsch
Dean of the School of General Studies