Summary of June 2020 Board of Trustees Meeting
On the recommendation of the President and Provost, the Board approved the appointment of Jack Knott as Dean of the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. The Board also approved a tenure-related recommendation from the Provost.
On the recommendation of the Committee on Trustees, the Board re-elected Ronald Abramson, Lun Feng, Luiz Fraga, and Anthony Welters to the Board and elected Lisa Yoo Hahn, previously an Alumni Trustee, to a Trustee term. The Board also re-elected Dasha Rettew to a second term as a Young Alumni Trustee and Leonard Boxer to another term as a Trustee Associate. On the recommendation of the Committee on Trustees, the Board elected Phyllis Putter Barasch, Laurence D. Fink, Chandrika Tandon, Anthony Welters, and Leonard A. Wilf as Vice Chairs of the Board and Kenneth G. Langone, Thomas S. Murphy, Constance Silver, Larry A. Silverstein, and Shelby White as Honorary Vice Chairs of the Board, each for a term of one year. On the recommendation of the Chair of the Board after consultation with the Committee on Trustees, the Board approved the Board committee memberships and chair and vice chair assignments for fiscal year 2021.
Select Committee Reports
- The Academic Affairs Committee reported that it had been briefed on the pivot to remote learning necessitated by COVID-19, a new faculty retirement plan being rolled out, the new “go local” approach exploring greater use of the global network for students who cannot travel to their home campus, the NYU Reads initiative, and the roll out of a launch of 20 “big ideas” 2-credit courses. The Committee also reviewed NYU’s plan for teaching in person and remotely, aligning the University’s plans with guidance and directives of the Mayor and Governor’s offices.
- The Alumni Affairs and University Life Committee reported that it received reports regarding the University’s focus on the student experience and student support, as well as student affairs programming. The Committee also reported that the University administration would be checking in on recent graduates around career support, with the involvement of residential life staff, and that the Student Health Center is taking responsibility for COVID-19 prevention and response. The Committee also highlighted the ways that University administration was continuing to interface with alumni remotely.
- The Audit and Compliance Committee reported that they received a presentation on the new Title IX regulations going into effect as of August 14, 2020 and a report on cybersecurity that was based on an external review. The University’s General Counsel also provided the annual report on conflicts of interest to the Committee, and the Committee reviewed the University’s draft IRS Form 990 for the fiscal year ended August 31, 2019, a copy of which was also provided to the Board.
- The Global Initiatives Committee highlighted the challenges and opportunities presented by the global network during the pandemic and reported that the University and the Committee would be exploring ways in which the University could further leverage the global network in the long-term.
- The Investment Committee reported that they approved two new investments and that the endowment continued to outperform the benchmarks.
- The Committee on Online Education and Technology reported that it discussed the University’s transition to remote education as a result of the pandemic.
Finance Committee Report and University Budget Presentation
The Finance Committee reported that it received an update on NYU Langone Health’s financials through April, an update on summer enrollment, and projections on Fall enrollment. The Chief Financial Officer reported to the Board on the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic since February and gave a summary of the proposed FY21 operating and capital budgets, the FY21 financial plan parameters, and the University’s endowment spending policy.
On the recommendation of the Finance Committee, the Board approved the operating and capital budgets for the University for the fiscal year ending August 31, 2021, excluding the School of Medicine which would be presented at a future meeting, and approved the University’s endowment spending policy for the fiscal year ending August 31, 2021. On the recommendation of the Facilities and Real Estate Committee and the Finance Committee, the Board approved the sale of two properties in Florida that had been donated to the University.
The Chair summarized the University’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic over the past several months and outlined plans into the future. While the first challenge was getting students home when the University had to go remote, the current challenge was planning for the upcoming academic year and the associated logistics ranging from housing arrangements to classroom occupancy. The Chair said that a committed team was working diligently on all the issues associated with reopening.
President Hamilton provided a review of the last academic year and a preview of the upcoming year. He highlighted faculty achievements and student awards. He also commented on the University’s efforts to facilitate respectful interaction among students, the University’s efforts to address inequality and social justice, and the fostering of innovation and strengthening research. President Hamilton also summarized the achievements of the global network, key academic appointments made during the academic year, and the University’s strategy for administrative transformation and expense reductions.
President Hamilton discussed future plans for the safe return to campus in the Fall, emphasizing that the University would be guided by a number of principles, including 1) creating layers of safety; 2) maintaining the highest possible standards of teaching and research; 3) establishing and executing multiple modes of learning, teaching, research, and working; 4) responding flexibly and quickly to an evolving public health landscape; 5) advancing diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging to, among other things, protect disadvantaged and vulnerable members of the NYU community; and 6) using global sites to provide access to those who cannot enter the United States.