Dear Members of the NYU Community,

From our founding, NYU – faculty, students, administrators, and staff– has strived for inclusion. Over 180 years later, we still struggle with it and, at times, fall short, as was made abundantly clear in last week’s town hall listening event.

As John Sexton wrote, NYU takes very seriously the concerns and criticisms raised in the town hall. I want to share with you some steps the University will promptly take, largely based on issues and proposals that students raised last week. This update neither precludes other future actions nor captures all efforts that will be taking place at the University level or in the schools.

  • NYU will create a hotline with specially trained staff to respond to repeated student criticisms that they have nowhere to turn when confronting incidents of intolerance. We expect to establish it within the coming weeks.
  • We will create a position of Director of Global Diversity to address student concerns about cultural competency across the global network. The Director will join other university and school leaders who work on diversity and inclusion, thus ensuring that all students in the global network have an experience that is consistent with NYU’s values.
  • We will – as noted in John Sexton’s email – immediately increase staffing in the Center for Multicultural Education and Programs, provide space for the incoming staff, and double the funding for programming to better support diversity awareness and education in University life.
  • I agree with a point made by many students at last week’s event: NYU needs effective diversity training for all faculty, staff, and students. We’re requesting that the new ad hoc Committee of the University Senate – created to address issues of diversity and inclusion – work with us quickly to determine how best to accomplish this training.
  • We will also ask the ad hoc Committee to develop one or more mechanisms to assess the feelings in our community on issues of race, tolerance, and diversity.

In addition to these action items, every dean, director, and global site director will be working with their respective communities to address the issues of race, social justice, and diversity. This includes a renewed focus on the recruitment of a diverse faculty, using diversity training for faculty search committees and University “bridge” funds to help departments effectively recruit. As part of these efforts, deans and directors have been or will be communicating with their schools’ students and faculty to draw their attention to the event last week and the specific concerns that were raised there.

Some of what we do – the steps we take, the discussions we have – will be challenging. But I have no doubt our University will emerge stronger, fairer, more welcoming, and inclusive, and in this way in greater alignment with our founding principles.


David McLaughlin