A Follow-Up to Yesterday's Listening Session on Diversity and Inclusion
From: NYU's President John Sexton
To: NYU Community
Date: Thursday, November 19, 2015
Dear NYU Community Members,
I want to thank the students, faculty, and staff who came to yesterday's listening session on diversity and inclusion, as well as the hundreds of others who couldn't attend but watched it live. I'd especially like to thank and applaud those who stood and gave voice to their thoughts, questions, criticisms, pain, and disappointment.
The University's leadership heard their message loudly, clearly, and directly.
It is a message that too often in the past has gone unheard; it requires attention, action, and change. We will start by immediately increasing staffing and doubling program funding for the Center for Multicultural Education and Programs (CMEP) to expand and enhance our programming efforts around issues of diversity and inclusion, and by taking concrete steps in the near term to move forward with one of the proposals raised repeatedly yesterday—a serious diversity training program. We are also implementing diversity training and providing relevant resources for faculty search committees in all the schools.
In addition, in order to weave these issues into the fabric of our institutional culture, we will ask the University Senate Executive Committee to form an ad hoc committee on diversity and inclusion, using the many useful ideas that were surfaced yesterday as a starting point to recommend by March (if not earlier) specific actions that the University could undertake. And we will have the Dean's Council—in consultation with students, faculty, and staff—identify what more can be done in the schools and ensure that it is done.
Yesterday's event wasn't the start of the discourse about race, justice, fairness, inclusion, and community at NYU; it certainly won't be the end. But I hope and believe it can be a turning point, prompting us to be more careful listeners, to reassure all our students that they are valued and belong here, and to find new ways to effect changes needed so that NYU—and more broadly our society—can live up to its ideals and promises. I know that the incoming president, Andrew Hamilton, is deeply concerned about these issues and is committed as well to continuing to move the dialogue towards action when he arrives in January.