Meeting Privacy Policy and Attendance

Seminars and workshops are intended to foster an open and unfettered intellectual exchange among peers, allowing attendees the freedom to try out ideas without the inherent limitations of a public discussion. Minutes are taken at all seminar meetings. After five years, minutes are included in The University Seminars Digital Archive as part of Columbia University’s Rare Book & Manuscript Library. Each seminar has an individual privacy policy, which may be "open" or "closed."


A seminar and workshops with a "closed" policy agrees to keep minutes private *prior* to their inclusion in the archive. With an "open" policy, the seminar decides when and how to circulate minutes. The University Seminars office encourages members to adhere to the privacy policy of their seminar, but cannot guarantee confidentiality, even with "closed" meetings. Copyright of meeting minutes belong to the Trustees of Columbia University. Speakers maintain full publication and all other rights to their papers and presentations.

At the start of each seminar or workshop meeting (virtual or in-person), the rapporteur will state whether the meeting is "open" or "closed." If the meeting is held in-person, attendees will be asked to raise their hands in acknowledgment. If an attendee does not agree with the policy, this is noted in the minutes. If the meeting is held virtually, attendees will be asked to acknowledge by virtual hand raise. Attendees may not raise hands prior to the policy being read.

Rapporteurs will also collect the names and affiliations (N/A if unaffiliated) of everyone in attendance. This information will go in the minutes. For meetings held in-person, the rapporteur will circulate a Seminar/Workshop Meeting Sign-in sheet. For virtual meetings, attendees will be prompted by the rapporteur to type their names and affiliations in the chat. 

Prior to the meeting, the rapporteur will direct all speakers to the Speaker Acknowledgment of Seminar Privacy Policy Google form. The speaker will complete the form online. If the speaker cannot access the form, rapporteurs may contact Summer Hart ([email protected]) for an alternative form.