Date: May 26, 2021
TO: The NYU Community
FROM: NYU President Andrew Hamilton

Dear Friends,


When I am asked how NYU made its way through all the trials posed by the pandemic; coped with the bitter partisanship of the national elections and the sacrilege against US democracy that occurred in its aftermath; confronted the ongoing violence, injustices, and discrimination against people and communities of color, my answer is that we did it together.

Now, at the end of an academic year that was uncommonly challenging in so many ways and in which little would have been accomplished had we not worked so hard together, we are seeing hopeful signs. The spread of COVID in the US has declined steeply since the winter. Nearly 40% of Americans are fully vaccinated, and nearly 2 million more are added each day. Restrictions are gradually being lifted. The natural vibrancy of New York is visibly reasserting itself. NYU had a strong year in terms of research, and an outstanding year in terms of admissions. We expect almost everyone to rejoin us on campus for the academic year 2021–22 — when almost all our classes will be in-person and we anticipate most activities will resume — and people are excited about returning.

But it is not true for everyone. Unease lingers about the hazards of COVID; the uptick in crime in the city and its subway system; the harassment and violence directed against a number of groups of our fellow New Yorkers; the changes COVID has wrought in our neighborhoods. Habits of mind we adopted in the face of the pandemic can be hard to set aside now. It all leaves some in our community — particularly those who haven’t been on campus often this past year — feeling apprehensive about this coming fall’s return. Perhaps the recent New Yorker cover sums it up best.

We shall overcome these concerns in the way we have gone up against the others: together. Together we shall listen, offer a helping hand, solve our problems, and rely on and draw strength from one another. After all, NYU is in and of this great city. And just as we take energy and drive from the vitality of New York City, we also give much back in return. The full activities of a reconvened NYU will be an essential contributor to the speedy recovery of our beloved city.

I am proud of the way the NYU community has conducted itself in this pandemic year, and am proud to have been a part of it. Thank you for everything you have done.

I am looking forward to the fall, and to being together with all of you.

Andrew Hamilton