Raising Postdoc/ARS Salaries will make Columbia More Equitable and Competitive
Dear Provost Katznelson,
Welcome to your new appointment as Interim Provost of Columbia University!
As postdocs and associate researchers of Columbia University, we play a critical role in Columbia’s cutting-edge research mission. In labs and research centers across Columbia, we seek cures to major diseases, attempt to improve methods of addressing climate change, develop new and innovative technologies, enhance our understanding of international relations, and pursue many other valuable research goals. We care deeply about our work at Columbia and are proud to contribute to making New York City a major global hub of academic and scientific progress.
We are also excited to be bargaining a first union contract that we believe will make Columbia a more equitable, inclusive, and competitive place to do research. One of our core priorities in order to help achieve these goals is addressing the growing gap in researcher salaries between Columbia and comparable institutions in New York City. University leaders at Rockefeller, Mt. Sinai, and Memorial Sloan Kettering have all chosen to increase minimum salaries to at least $58,500 for postdoctoral researchers - with Cornell and NYU apparently planning to follow suit - while compensation at Columbia has remained well below these other institutions. The Columbia salary gap hurts researchers in every classification, with individuals who have won their own fellowship suffering the worst as current University policy only ensures a minimum of $50,004 per year at Columbia.
Columbia is falling behind, which threatens to make it more difficult to attract and retain the best researchers from across the world and increasingly undermines our ability to focus on our work while struggling to live in the most expensive city in the US. We bring immense value to the university, and ask that you use your new role to make progress on this critical issue.
We urge you to increase all Postdoc and ARS salaries in accordance with our union's proposals, which would raise minimums, establish fair annual increases based on cost of living and experience, and establish equity for -- and thus reward rather than penalize -- those who win their own fellowships. These improvements will put Columbia at the forefront of the NYC research community and enhance our ability to focus on the quality of our work.