Teaching and Research Appointments for Students

August 13, 2020

Dear fellow members of the Columbia community,

I am writing about a matter of great concern, pleased to report about positive policy steps. This note follows a message I sent at the start of the week to a number of Columbia affiliates, including members of the International Student Working Group of the Graduate Workers of Columbia (GWC-UAW), concerning ways to pay students who may be unable to return to campus from abroad. This is what I communicated on Sunday:

“Thanks for writing about this troubling situation. The University has been concerned about just this matter, and has been exploring how the current guidance might be revised. To that end, we have been actively exploring options to navigate the range of complex issues associated with appointing students to teaching or research positions while abroad. I am happy to report that we expect to establish a process shortly that will allow the University to pay service stipends for graduate students who have valid U.S. employment authorization. Details will soon be forthcoming.”

The following guidelines now have been established for students who are outside the United States temporarily for fall term 2020 due to COVID-19 related disruptions:   

  1. Students who are abroad can hold teaching and research appointments and will be paid service stipends if they have a valid Form I-9 on file with the University, hold a U.S. work authorization, and have a U.S. bank account. [We will continue to work with our schools regarding students who do not satisfy these requirements, and continue to explore potential solutions.]
  2. Individual students may be subject to tax or other local requirements in connection with their work abroad. The University cannot provide individual tax advice.
  3. Students supported by a grant or other outside funding must comply with all terms of such funding, including that activities from a foreign location are permitted and any notice requirements.
  4. Students in Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria, and the Crimea Region of the Ukraine require a license from the U.S. Department of Treasury before any University-related work or payment can occur. Please contact the University’s Director of Export Controls at mla25@columbia.edu for additional information.
  5. The University will also pay non-service stipends to students who are abroad for the fall term.

With best wishes,

Ira Katznelson
Interim Provost
Ruggles Professor of Political Science and History