Date: August 28, 2020
TO: Faculty, Administrators and Staff
FROM: NYU President Andrew Hamilton

Dear Colleagues,

Normally the summer is a respite, and we can face the start of a new year with renewed energy. That doesn't quite feel true this year, does it?

Since spring you have had to face anxiety and uncertainty, unanticipated hardships, and unprecedented challenges. You have had to take on new tasks, learn new ways of doing your job, and totally rethink long-standing routines. You had less down-time, may have had to work through periods when you might have normally taken vacation, or had to take vacations that, because of COVID's restrictions, were less restorative, less of a break. And all of this took place against persistently bad economic news, new killings by police that break our hearts and anger us, a dispiritingly divisive political landscape, destructive weather, and word of worsening COVID-19 hot-spots in other parts of the country.

We’ve probably all shared the same thought: when will things get better?

For some of our colleagues and friends and neighbors, the general troubles are compounded by very specific hardships in their lives, many of which COVID has made worse: a lack of child care, the difficulty of working from home with young children, the challenges of tending to a loved one who is elderly or sick, the struggle of caring for someone with special needs, encounters with various forms of racism, or simply the grind of trying to do your job well while poor internet connectivity thwarts you.

I wish I could tell you with certainty when things will be better. I wish we could help you overcome every hurdle you are having to confront. I cannot.
But I can say that I feel great concern for all of you, and particularly for those of you who are struggling most. I can tell you that we will soon announce that we will be doing something more on childcare, though it will not solve everyone's problem by any stretch. And I can say that I have swelled with pride at how hard so many of you have worked to solve the many, many problems that had to be defeated to fulfill our academic mission and our responsibility to our students this fall.

We know this year won't be easy. But whatever we go through, we go through together, and I hope that will lighten the load a little. The University cannot solve every problem, but where we can, we would like to try; let us know how we might. We should strive as much as possible to be decent and kind to one another, to be flexible and understanding with those who work with us, and to recognize where help is needed and a hand can be extended.

You are in my thoughts for all you have to bear, and you have my thanks for all you do. I don't know when things will get back to normal, but I know they will. Until then, have courage, my colleagues, and especially compassion for one another.

Andrew Hamilton