Summary of December 2019 Board of Trustees Meeting
Following meetings of the various Board committees on December 10th, the NYU Board of Trustees met as a whole on December 11th, 2019.
Report of the Chair and Discussion Items
After opening the meeting and noting that the meeting would be shortened to allow Trustees to attend a memorial event for Trustee Donald Marron, Board Chair William Berkley noted that this was a challenging time for colleges and universities, with many having closed, and noted the importance and relationship between fundraising and academic trajectory.
At Mr. Berkley’s request, Senior Presidential Fellow Ellen Schall reported on Board consultation and engagement with other University stakeholders, and particularly the discussions in November between Trustees and representatives of the Student Senators Council; the Tenured/Tenure-Track Faculty Senators Council; the Full-time Continuing Contract Faculty Senators Council; and the Administrative Management Council.
Mr. Berkley asked Trustee David Oxman, who had attended the events marking NYU Tel Aviv’s 10th anniversary, to report on the experience. Mr. Oxman described the highlights of the events, noting that the delegation that traveled to NYU Tel Aviv was led by President Andrew Hamilton and also included Trustee Andre Koo.
Noting the vital importance of financial aid to educating students who can contribute to society, Mr. Berkley initiated a discussion on financial aid, first calling on Robert Cashion, the Sr. Vice President for University Development and Alumni Relations, to discuss fundraising in support of financial aid, and then calling on Bethany Godsoe, Associate Vice President for Career and Leadership Development, to present on the NYU Breakthrough Scholars Leadership Program in the Stern School.
Board Action Items
The Board authorized the purchase of a property in Florence that NYU has been renting for approximately 10 years for student housing.
The Board authorized up to $500 million in bonds to refinance previously issued bonds in order to save the University money.
In order to honor members of the NYU community who died during the last academic year respectfully and appropriately, the Board resolved that the names of those recognized in the University’s In Memoriam listing would be appended to the minutes of the meeting. And in order to likewise honor long-serving members of the University community, the Board resolved that the names of those who received 25-year Service Citations would be appended to the minutes.
The Board also established a chaired professorship, the Jerome A. Cohen Professorship in Law.
Select Committee Reports
- The Audit and Compliance Committee received a briefing on the enhancement of research efforts and research compliance at NYU. They also received an update by IT leadership on security issues, and a briefing on improvements to financial controls. In addition, the Committee received a report on NYU’s 2019 Consolidated Financial Statements – which showed revenue growing at a higher rate than expenses – and on the audit of the financial statements by PricewaterhouseCoopers. The Committee voted to recommend to the Board that the audit be accepted.
- The Finance Committee received reports on NYU’s Consolidated Financial Statements, as well as on the University’s year-end budget vs. actuals. Against the backdrop of ongoing efforts to make NYU more affordable, the Committee also discussed the need for recognizing operating efficiencies in order to remain competitive in recruiting and retaining quality faculty.
- The Academic Affairs Committee reported on its recent joint meeting with the Senate’s Academic Affairs Committee, which focused on teaching effectiveness and SAAC’s work to address invisible disabilities. The Committee also reported on the presentation by the Director of NYU’s Center for Data Science, which focused on the CDS’s cross-disciplinary nature and its collaboration with NYU Langone to use artificial intelligence (AI) to assist in reading radiology slides. In addition, the Committee reviewed and approved possible candidates for honorary degrees.
- The Alumni Affairs and University Life Committee reported that it had received a presentation on Violet Network, a mentoring platform to connect alumni and students, that is expected to launch in fall 2020. The Committee also discussed the successful completion of the Office of University Development and Alumni Relations’ five-year strategic plan, which includes objectives such as emphasizing the value of NYU to alumni, strengthening alumni awareness of NYU and its needs, and supporting NYU.
- The Development Committee reported that, with $241.1 million raised to date in the current fiscal year, the University’s fundraising results were ahead of last year. The Committee has formed three working groups to focus on fundraising priorities: a Financial Aid Working Group, a Next Generation Working Group, and a 181 Mercer St. Working Group.
- The Facilities and Real Estate Committee reported that it had received updates on major capital projects currently underway, each of which is on budget and on time. The Committee also discussed the new campus under construction in Shanghai.
- The Global Initiatives Committee reported that it had reviewed the history of NYU’s global network since 2012, noting expanded faculty engagement and the goals of increasing student participation, new opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students, and areas for exploration and consideration.
- The Investment Committee was briefed on the University’s investment goals and its strategy to exceed strategic performance benchmarks while reducing the number of fund managers. The Committee noted that the University Investment Office and the Committee do consider socially responsible investing when reviewing fund managers.