Membership to a University Seminar is a privilege and is intended to foster the creation of a collegial community, which shares ideas and meals. Individual seminars have a fair amount of freedom in how they conduct their meetings within the constraints listed here:

– Seminars are intended to foster open and unfettered intellectual exchange.

– Seminars are private meetings; scholars and other experts are invited to join on an ongoing basis.

– No honorarium is paid to a speaker

– Guests and graduate students may be invited to attend certain meetings.

Minutes are taken at all seminar meetings. Copyright of minutes belong to the Trustees of Columbia University. Speakers maintain full publication and other rights to the papers/presentations that they author. These minutes may be kept closed for five years before being included in The University Seminars Digital Archive and available to scholars through the Columbia University Rare Book and Manuscript Library, or made open and available immediately among members.

Members of the seminar decide whether minutes are “closed” (i.e. not posted online, emailed, or otherwise distributed) prior to inclusion in The University Seminars Digital Archive. If  the policy is “open,” a seminar decides when and how to circulate minutes. Please note that even with a “closed” policy, complete confidentiality cannot be guaranteed.

It is your responsibility as chair or co-chair to convey the privacy policy of your seminar to everyone in attendance at every meeting. Please decide on a methodology to make this policy known to all in the seminar. We suggest reading the policy before each meeting. Including an explanation of the policy in meeting announcements and minutes is also encouraged.

The following two forms will be collected and stored by The University Seminars office after every meeting:

Seminar Meeting Attendance and Privacy Policy Form
Speaker Acknowledgement of Seminar Privacy Policy Form

On rare cases, the minutes from a meeting may be too sensitive to include in the archive. To request such an exception, email:

Chair Acknowledgement Form