Summary of June 2021 Board of Trustees Meeting
Chair William Berkley, along with several other Trustees, expressed the Board’s appreciation and recognition of the service of four Trustees who are rotating off the Board: Young Alumni Trustees Taffi Ayodele and Amanda Lipitz, Alumni Trustee Beverly Hyman, and Trustee Associate Jeffrey Lynford. The Board approved resolutions to formally recognize each of these Trustees’ service to the Board.
On the recommendation of the President and Provost after consultation with the faculty of the applicable college or a representative of a committee of the faculty thereof, the Board approved the appointments of the following new deans: Una Chaudhuri as Dean for the Humanities, Faculty of Arts and Science, Angie Kamath as Dean of the School of Professional Studies, Lynne Kiorpes as Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Science, and Matthew Santirocco as Interim Dean of the College of Arts and Science. On the recommendation of the President and Provost, the Board approved the incorporation of the Department of Biomaterials into the Department of Molecular Pathobiology in the College of Dentistry. The Board permitted the suspension of Bylaw 81(c) to allow a faculty member to enroll in a PhD program at NYU. The Board also approved a tenure-related recommendation from the Provost.
On the recommendation of the Committee on Trustees, the Board elected Alexander Knaster, David Ko, and Traci Lerner as Trustees; re-elected William R. Berkley, Joel S. Ehrenkranz, Joseph P. Landy, Larry A. Silverstein, and Leonard A. Wilf as Trustees; elected Terri Burns as a Young Alumni Trustee; and re-elected Bruce Berger, Jane Eisner Bram, and Marvin Leffler as Trustee Associates. 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 2022. The Board also elected Harriet Stratis and Graeme Whitlaw to the Institute of Fine Arts Board of Trustees.
Other Action Items
The Board approved proposed amendments to the University’s Bylaws.
Finance Committee Report and University Budget Presentation
The Finance Committee reported that it had received updates on year-to-date financials for NYU Langone Health, enrollment, and the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. With regard to the financial impacts, the Committee reported that strong fiscal stewardship including the mitigation efforts undertaken by the University, better-than-expected summer enrollment as well as fundraising that is tracking closely to fiscal year 2020 and well ahead of fiscal year 2019, all contributed to a better-than-forecasted operating margin projection for fiscal year 2021.
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, 2022, and approved the endowment spending policy for fiscal year ending August 31, 2022. The Board also approved financing for previously approved capital projects, use of the University’s lines of credit, and financing for NYU Langone Hospitals. On the recommendation of the Facilities and Real Estate Committee and the Finance Committee, the Board authorized the sale of a property owned by NYU that was previously utilized by the Grossman School of Medicine but is currently vacant.
Select Committee Reports
- The Academic Affairs Committee reported on faculty mentorship and leadership development across NYU, as well as the work of the Center for Faculty Advancement and the Arts and Science Emerging Leaders Academy. On the recommendation of Committee, and previously approved by the Senate Academic Affairs Committee, the Board approved two candidates for consideration for Honorary Degrees at a future University Commencement.
- The Alumni Affairs and University Life Committee received a report on the major themes that impacted student life in the 2020-21 academic year, most significantly the impact of the continuing pandemic, and updates on the work of the Student Health Center, Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards, and the Wasserman Center for Career Development.
- The Audit and Compliance Committee reported that the University’s General Counsel 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, 2020, a copy of which was also provided to the Board. PricewaterhouseCoopers also presented its Perspectives in Higher Education reporting on both the impact of the pandemic on higher education and hot topics.
- The Facilities and Real Estate Committee provided status updates on the University’s major capital projects as well as information related to the proposed restart of pandemic-related paused projects.
- The Global Initiatives Committee reported on the University’s “Go Local” initiative being a key factor that limited potential financial damages to the University, as the COVID-19 pandemic impacted international enrollment and study abroad programs.
- The Investment Committee reported that they approved three new investments and that the endowment continues to outperform the benchmarks.
- The Committee on Online Education and Technology reported that for the fall 2021 semester, the University will maintain some key aspects of online learning to accommodate travel restrictions and ongoing challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
President Andrew Hamilton gave an update on the impact of the global pandemic on the University. He reported on the number of COVID tests administered, the number of vaccinated members of the NYU community, and the number of positive cases, noting that the University’s positivity rates for COVID remained far below New York City’s positivity rates. President Hamilton also reported on measures put into place to help mitigate the COVID-related financial impact on the University.
President Hamilton provided a review of the 2020-2021 academic year, highlighting university rankings, faculty achievements, admit rates, progress in innovation and research, improved affordability, and the “Go Local” initiative.
President Hamilton and members of the Board engaged in conversation with Linda Mills, Vice Chancellor and Senior Vice Provost for Global Programs and University Life, about the University’s “Go Local” initiative, which allowed students who were unable to travel to their home campus to continue to make academic progress, and with Clay Shirky, Vice Provost for Educational Technologies, about the lessons learned about online education during the past year.