A Note from President Hamilton

Dear Fellow Members of the NYU Community,

Election day is less than a week away.

It has been many decades since a national election has come against such a fractious backdrop: an ongoing pandemic that has infected more than 42 million world-wide, taken more than 200,000 lives in the US, and upended daily life and the economy; ever starker evidence of disparities and inequality in everything from policing to income and wealth, from voting access to the impact of the pandemic; a resurgence of hate—white supremacy, racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, homophobia, and so many other forms; destructive storms, massive forest fires, and other signs that show the growing impact of climate change; and a level of divisiveness and partisanship, of mistrust and ill-will that seems to threaten the foundations of our commonwealth.

From across our community, I hear a great deal of trepidation: fear about whether the election will involve intimidation or even violence, concerns about its legitimacy, unease about the future, worries about whether we can ever be the just society we should be.

I understand your apprehension, and I share it.

In the coming days, as votes are cast, let us draw patience, steadfastness, comfort, and perseverance from one another. As we wait for the outcome—and wait we may well have to—let us be guided by our community’s values: faith in the power of truth and facts, a commitment to free speech and dispassionate reason, belief in respect and inclusion, a longing for justice, and confidence in the democratic process. Let us recognize that no matter the outcome, there are serious difficulties ahead—tough, pressing problems to be addressed, and much bitterness to overcome. And let us remember that when we cast our votes, whatever political differences we may have, we take this common action in the spirit of the common good.

In this most isolating of times, know that you are not alone—the NYU community is with you (including the Wellness Exchange for students, the Employee Assistance Program for employees, and MindfulNYU for all). Have courage, and reach out a steadying hand to others when needed. Most importantly: Vote.

Speaking of which: I hope you will all join me in thanking the organizers and participants in NYU Votes, a high-profile, community-wide effort to register NYUers, provide information, and encourage voting. NYU Votes continues to host election-related events, including one being sponsored by Center for Global Spiritual Life on the eve of election day.

I hope you all stay well during these challenging times. I will write to you again soon.