Barnard's interim president was announced, but how much do you actually know about Rob Goldberg?

On Dec. 12, Barnard’s Chief Operating Officer Rob Goldberg was named the interim president of Barnard, effective as of DSpar’s resignation in March.

It’s not the big name many students were hoping for. (Though Barnard’s actually accepting nominations from students—if you’re still pining for Michelle, let your voice be heard.) Truth is, you probably don’t know much about Rob Goldberg, let alone what a COO actually does.

Therefore, it’d be nice to get to know a bit about him and the sort of things he’s done at the college in his two years as COO. Here’s your short and snappy history of Goldberg at Barnard.


Robert Goldberg, Barnard’s New COO, settles into job

Emma Goss | September 11, 2014 | Photo: Madeline Molot for Spectator

Ah, the very early days of Goldberg at Barnard. He used to work for the U.S. Department of State as the director of U.S. foreign assistance. His job duties? Oh, just managing a $32 billion foreign aid budget, no big deal.

It also might be worth noting that Goldberg came into his job as COO at a time when Barnard was experiencing a lot of financial success. Its endowment had grown to $240 million in 2014, the largest it had ever been up to that point, and continued to grow beyond $296 million under his leadership.

 STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER discusses college finances SGA.jpg

Barnard COO Rob Goldberg discusses college finances with SGA

J. Clara Chan | March 29, 2016 | Photo: Rachel Bernstein / Staff Photographer

Year after year, Barnard’s tuition continues to rise—an issue that affects every student on campus. Goldberg’s explanation for these annual increases? Maintaining the quality of faculty and staff at Barnard—or, put more eloquently, “We are an elite institution, but we have to compete with other institutions, and competing in New York is a challenge.”

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Barnard releases tuition, meal plan, and winter housing updates

J. Clara Chan and Stephanie Frescas | April 16, 2016 | File Photo

Remember the aforementioned tuition increases? Goldberg had to break the news that they would happen again for the 2016-2017 school year. Tuition and the comprehensive fee alone would add up to $50,394, a 5.8 percent increase from the 2015-2016 academic year. (Compare that to the 3.4 percent increase for the 2015-2016 year. Mo money, mo problems, they say.)

File Photo raise minimum wage.jpg

Barnard to raise minimum wage for student workers to $15 per hour over the next three years

J. Clara Chan | April 13, 2016 | File Photo

It’s expensive to live in NYC, and especially difficult on minimum wage. Therefore, several student activist groups worked together to get the college to change its policy… and it worked.

Though we won’t get the promised $15 until 2018, Goldberg said that the change will happen in increments: In September 2016, the minimum wage was raised to $12. In September 2017, it’ll be raised again to $13.50, and, in September 2018, to $15.

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Barnard COO discusses fossil fuel divestment task force with SGA

Kelsey Smith | April 26, 2016 | Photo: Rachel Bernstein / Staff Photographer

Four percent of Barnard’s $280 million endowment is invested in the fossil fuel industry, and many activist groups and individual students want to completely divest from it. In this meeting, Goldberg presented the administration’s timeline for divestment, and also discussed the Presidential Task Force to Examine Divestment. Its job? To present analytical information about divestment to the board of trustees, who will vote yea or nay on complete divestment in March next semester.

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Barnard to replace dying magnolia with new tree

J. Clara Chan | September 2, 2016 | Photo: Rachel Bernstein / Staff Photographer

Oh, the tree. Even in its death, Maggie continues to haunt us from the grave.

Rob Goldberg was given the unfortunate job of letting students know that Maggie had passed away, even after spending $40,000 on relocating her. “Whether it’s officially dead or whether it’s going to die, it’s not going to be in bloom and it’s not coming back. This was not the plan. We’re very unhappy about the situation.”


Barnard fossil fuel task force recommends divestment from climate change denying companies, coal and tar sands

Aubri Juhasz | December 7, 2016 | File Photo

Just this month, the Presidential Task Force to Examine Divestment (which Goldberg leads) formally recommended divesting from coal and tar sands, as well as severing ties with companies that deny the existence of climate change. Goldberg explained that this would be a multiyear project, but that the college should prioritize divesting from climate change denying companies. Why? Because selective divestment will both set an example for other institutions as to how they should divest, and incentivize fossil fuel companies to act more responsibly.


Chief Operating Officer Rob Goldberg named as Barnard’s interim president

J. Clara Chan | December 12, 2016 | Madeline Molot for Spectator

Finally, the announcement that everyone was waiting for. The biggest takeaways: The interim president could not also be a candidate for the permanent job, so there’s no way Goldberg’s position will become set in stone. Also, several members of the board of trustees will head the search for Barnard’s eighth president, not anyone within the administration.

So there you have it. Of course Goldberg’s done many more things for the college, but these were just a few of the most hotly debated topics during his two-year tenure as COO. Wish him the best of luck as he takes over this crazy group of kiddos.

Know anything else about Goldberg that we may have missed? Who’s getting your nomination for president of Barnard? Comment down below, tweet us, or Snapchat us at @CUSpectrum.

Veronica Grace Taleon is Spectrum’s Editor and a Barnard sophomore. Her vote for president is either going to Hillary Clinton or Emma Watson. Reach her at


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