DATE: October 7, 2021
TO:  The NYU Community
FROM: Andrew Hamilton and Linda Mills

As we reassemble on campus in a way we have not since 2019, many of us are ruminating on the swift-moving, startling, and sometimes disorienting events of the past year and a half. It is an apt moment for review and reflection, particularly on the values that sustain us in the midst of challenges and the principles by which we wish to be known. Among the foremost are our commitment to respectful discourse and inclusion, and our rejection of discrimination and harassment.

To that end, I wish to share with you the latest version of the University’s Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy and Complaint Procedures for Students (“NDAH”) (which became effective August 16, 2021). The revised and updated NDAH includes several improvements and clarifications to make our commitment to nondiscrimination and our expectations even clearer.

Foremost, while the University has long prohibited discrimination on the basis of religion, race, ethnicity, and national origin, the NDAH Policy now explicitly addresses an issue on which Title VI of the Civil Rights Act was silent — discrimination on the basis of religion. The policy now makes explicit that discrimination on the basis of shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics, which includes religious identities that may be perceived as such, is prohibited. The updated policy reaffirms that students — be they Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, or any other religion, or other groups with shared ancestral or ethnic characteristics — are protected if discrimination or harassment occurs based on their shared ancestry or ethnicity.

The revised policy includes a number of updated examples of types of conduct that are prohibited, including:

  • Repeated verbal abuse or use of racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-Arabic, or anti-Semitic slurs or hostile behavior, which could include insulting, teasing, mocking, degrading, or ridiculing another person or group regardless of whether the person is actually a member of the group.
  • Discrimination based on how someone looks, such as having or lacking stereotypical characteristics, or how a person dresses, such as religious or ethnic attire, or a person’s language or accent or affiliation with student clubs.
  • Defacing an individual’s property with hateful symbols.
  • Discrimination based on the country, world region, or place where a person or their ancestors come from or are perceived to come from, or due to a person’s English proficiency, including discrimination based on certain perceptions of, which may be described as hatred toward, religious and ethnic groups. The University does not tolerate acts of discrimination or harassment on the basis of shared ancestry and ethnic characteristics, be it anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, or any other form of discrimination based on a student’s religious heritage.
  • Inappropriate physical contact such as assault or intimidation or stalking, or comments, questions, advances, jokes, epithets, or demands, based on protected characteristics.
  • Displaying or electronically transmitting derogatory, demeaning, or hostile materials related to one or more protected or perceived protected characteristics.

We expect every member of the NYU community to review, understand, and abide by the NDAH Policy, and to be mindful that the University will take all necessary actions, including pursuant to its student and/or employee discipline process, to address and ameliorate discrimination and harassment. We encourage any students who believe they have been subject to discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, sex, gender and/or gender identity or expression, color, religion, creed, age, national origin, ethnicity, shared ancestry or ethnic characteristic, disability, veteran or military status, sexual orientation, marital status, pregnancy, citizenship status, or genetic information to report it to the University. Reports can be made through:

NYU is expanding its offerings and learning opportunities around our University’s important traditions and values of belonging, inclusion, and respectful, reasoned dialogue. Topics include (among others) holistic self- and community-care and conflict navigation tools; sexual respect and bystander intervention; building understandings of social justice, resources, and communities through the lens of race, disability, and LGBTQ+ identities; and, consistent with the revised NDAH, trainings on multifaith dialogue and religious literacy, a Muslim Ally training combating Islamophobia, and Jewish Ally Zone, the most recent Zone addition, which introduces the diversity of Jewish identity and practice at NYU and ways anti-Semitism can manifest. We invite all members of the NYU community — and especially those who are in or aspire to be in leadership positions — to participate in any or all of our One Zone training sessions.