Student group is back at Columbia

Updated: 2015-04-16 09:29

By NIU YUE in New York(China Daily USA)

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After nearly a one-month suspension, Columbia University has restored official recognition to a Chinese student organization.

Robert Hornsby, associate vice president of media relations at Columbia, said in a Tuesday statement to China Daily: "The leadership transition team of the Columbia University Chinese Students and Scholars Association (CUCSSA) and the University's Interschool Governing Board have agreed on a plan permitting CUCSSA to regain its official recognition, on a probationary basis.

"The CUCSSA transition team's commitment to abiding by the policies and procedures that govern all Columbia student organizations will strengthen CUCSSA and allow it to continue offering services and support that are so valuable to Columbia's large and growing number of students from China," Hornsby said.

On March 21, a statement posted on CUCSSA's website said that the student organization had been "de-recognized" by the university and "not programming or engaging in any activities".

Hornsby had said in late March that "the ongoing violations of multiple financial and student organizational policies by CUCSSA persisted after the organization had been placed on probation, making the disciplinary action unavoidable".

Professor Lening Liu, director of the Chinese language program at Columbia, has been appointed faculty adviser to CUCSSA.

Liu "will work closely with the association as it continues to serve as a resource for our Chinese students and our university community”, Hornsby said.

"I think I 've been chosen by John H. Coatsworth, Columbia provost, maybe because I have more than 20 years working experience at Columbia, which made me have a relatively clear understanding of the university rules and regulations," Liu said to China Daily. "And for students, communication with a teacher would be easier than with administration staff."

Liu said he would consult with the organization and convey the university's expectations, but would not be involved in the organization's daily operations.

"Since there is some work that needs to be done, it's still unknown how long the probationary period will last,” Liu said. "But the University made clear that it hopes we can finish the adjustment and transformation as soon as possible."

CUCSSA was established in 1996, and has become one of the most prominent overseas Chinese organizations on the East Coast of the US with more than 20,000 members.

Chinese students account for almost one-third of New York state's international college students.

Hong Xiao in New York contributed to this story.