Support for Faculty Who May Need to Isolate

October 5, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

We wanted to let you know that NYU can provide faculty with support, should a faculty member test positive for COVID and wish to isolate from others but have home living arrangements that make that difficult.  At the request of the Faculty Councils, NYU has set aside a furnished guest studio apartment near Washington Square, on the ground floor with its own separate entrance. NYU would arrange for food delivery during the duration of self-isolation.  If more than one faculty member is in need at a time, NYU also has other rooms that would be made available.  If a faculty member receives a positive test result, they can request this housing support from the NYU COVID-19 Prevention & Response Team (CPRT).

We are all, of course, hopeful that no one will need to avail themselves of this support.  And should you test positive, you may very well prefer to stay closer to (if separated from) loved ones you live with.  Still, we know too well how many anxious scenarios play out in all our minds these days -- and hope that this knowledge will, at least, give everyone one less thing to worry about.  We're grateful to a C-Faculty colleague who first had this idea.  And we're grateful to Provost Fleming for this offer of solidarity and support.

With sincere hopes for your continued health,

T-FSC Executive Committee (Darcey Merritt, David Irving)
C-FSC Steering Committee (Ethan Youngerman, John Gershman, Leila Jahangiri, Mary Killilea, Noelle Molé Liston, Scott Illingworth, Agnes Tourin)

Anti-racism #scholarstrike

September 4, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

The leaders of the NYU faculty councils want you to be aware of #ScholarStrike, which begins this Tuesday morning after Labor Day.  You can read more about it here:
This 48 hour event is happening within academe and across the country because fighting racism is fundamentally about education.  As the above call to action makes clear, though, faculty – especially contingent faculty – may feel more moved and secure participating, if they so choose, by teaching-in rather than walking out of their classrooms.
The #ScholarStrike is one of many encouraging steps and initiatives to bring attention to the path to racial justice.  Howsoever you engage as faculty in your classrooms and work at NYU, we encourage you to use these 48 hours to consider how to combat and confront racism.

T-FSC Executive Committee
C-FSC Steering Committee

In-Person Classroom Management and COVID

August 27, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

We’ve heard from some of you about in-person classroom management anxieties in the age of COVID. Regardless of how any of us feel about NYU’s decision to hold in-person classes, this email is meant to empower you in your in-person classes.

First of all, we wanted to point you to two policies which are aimed to influence the student in-person culture.

The University has put out an official Policy on Requirements Related to Access to NYU Buildings and Campus Grounds Resulting from the COVID-19 Pandemic. This policy states “All Members of the NYU Community are required to wear face coverings at all times while in NYU Buildings and on Campus Grounds” (with a few exceptions).

There are also slight revisions to the University Student Conduct Policy, including expanding the definition of disorderly conduct to include “Failure to abide by the Requirements Related to Access to NYU Buildings and Campus Grounds Resulting from the COVID-19 Pandemic, or any related governmental orders issued concerning public health.”

You may want to include links to these policies on your syllabus. Students will have gone through a mandatory on-line training about these policies and public health in the age of COVID more generally.

While we are hopeful that compliance issues will be nonexistent or extremely rare in our classrooms, here are suggestions on the particular scenarios about which we’ve heard faculty voice concerns.

  1. Scenario: Accidental non-compliance (e.g. a student’s mask breaks in our classroom). Because everyone will need a mask on to get into buildings in the first place, there will be masks at various locations around campus, including at Public Safety at Washington Square (561 LaGuardia Place), and in Brooklyn at 6 MetroTech. Faculty can tell students to go and get a replacement mask.
  2.  Scenario: Incomplete compliance (e.g. a student enters our classroom with their mask around their chin). We recommend just reminding students of the university policies; there will be signs in all classrooms noting the mask requirement which faculty can simply point to. Again, students will have to have had their mask on to enter the building.
  3. Scenario: Refusal to comply (e.g. a student is defiant and says something like "I'm not wearing a mask and you can't make me."). This scenario is both the one we’ve heard the most anxiety over and the one we hope is the least likely. The administration has noted in its correspondence with the community that if reminders don’t work “you should not pursue the matter face-to-face.” Instead, remove yourself from the unsafe interaction; later, you can report student non-compliance by email at

We have also been told from Student Affairs that there will be “a Student Affairs professional staff member on call [at] 212-995-3377 for any faculty member experiencing an issue in the classroom where a student is refusing to abide by the public health standards. The Student Affairs professional staff member on call will assist the faculty member in addressing the situation by phone, including the possibility of talking to the student to de-escalate the situation. Depending on location and class time -- and the situation -- this could include the Student Affairs professional staff person coming to the classroom to assist (limited to Washington Square, Brooklyn, Dental and Nursing facilities, and the SPS Midtown Center). The faculty member will be informed when they might expect to have the staff member arrive on the scene. [...] A phone consultation is available for any faculty member in any location at any time.”

That said, faculty are experts at running our own classrooms and all of us should trust our teacherly instincts and experience. We believe that -- should quick efforts fail to make a classroom a safe environment for our students and ourselves -- faculty should feel empowered to cancel that class session on the spot and leave the space.

We’re hopeful for a safe and productive semester. Please don’t hesitate to be in touch with us about concerns or actual experiences in your classrooms…

Warmly, C-FSC/T-FSC Steering/Executive Committees