Date: Tuesday, September 26, 2017
To: The NYU Community
From: President Andrew Hamilton

In the last handful of days, new and separate directives have come out of Washington dealing with, respectively, who is permitted to enter the U.S. and how colleges should handle cases of sexual misconduct.

I want you to know how NYU will approach each of these matters.

Maintaining Our Belief in the Movement of People and Ideas

Notwithstanding the quite real security threats our world confronts today, the addition of yet more countries to the travel ban is unwelcome and unwise. The fact that NYU has few students, faculty, or staff from the added countries now affected is beside the point; this is about principle, not quantity.And the principle is that the world is made better by engagement, our campus is enhanced by the presence of international students and scholars, ideas are strengthened by their movement with scholars among scholarly communities, and the US benefits when those who come to study here are welcomed instead of turned away.

The University has created a web page as a resource for those who may be affected by the travel ban. And just as we have previously submitted amicus curiae briefs in support of lawsuits challenging the travel ban, so shall we continue to look for opportunities to make our community’s objections felt on this matter. We have, in fact, had an amicus brief prepared for the upcoming Supreme Court case on the previous travel ban, though the Court has canceled the oral arguments that were scheduled for October 10, and it is currently unclear if that case will proceed.

Any members of our community who fear they could be affected by the new ban should contact the Immigrant Defense Initiative, established by the NYU School of Law in partnership with the law firm Wilmer Hale, which can provide confidential advice and legal representation.

I also want to remind any members of our community who currently maintain DACA status, but whose status expires between now and March 5, 2018, to file renewals as soon as possible, and no later than October 5, 2017, which is the last day the government will accept renewal applications. Anyone with questions is also encouraged to contact the Immigrant Defense Initiative. Please consult this NYU web page for additional information.

Sustaining our Commitment to Preventing and Reducing Sexual Misconduct

On Friday, the federal Department of Education issued new guidance to colleges and universities on handling reports of sexual misconduct, upending prior directives meant to focus the nation’s attention on reducing sexual violence on campus. In the time since those earlier directives were put in place, questions have been raised about whether they were fair to those accused of misconduct.

Fairness must be a principle in any process judging culpability. The hallmarks of NYU’s approach to sexual misconduct has been to foster an educational environment in which community members can feel safe from sexual misconduct and know it is taken seriously by the University; to prevent and reduce sexual misconduct, relationship violence, and stalking; to ensure that members of our community feel confident and respected in reporting incidents of sexual misconduct and are compassionately supported; and to respond to incidents of sexual misconduct with investigative and disciplinary processes that are impartial, professional, respectful, and fair to all involved.

NYU will review the new guidelines, as well as any additional information and details that may be forthcoming from the Dept. of Education. We will, of course, pay particular attention to understanding how these new guidelines align with other laws and regulations regarding sexual misconduct, such as New York State’s “Enough is Enough” law.
But, to be clear, the University will be forceful in expressing our overall view through the upcoming notice and comment period that any new rules must not take steps backwards nor undermine our campus’ goals – making our campus safer, making it easier to step forward and report sexual misconduct, and making those reporting feel as though they are respected and taken seriously.