Statement in response to Governor Cuomo's press conference remarks on September 8, 2020

NYU flag

"The University shares the Governor's concerns. The event in the park was extremely troubling and inconsistent with the most basic recommendations about combating the spread of COVID-19, which NYU has been regularly communicating to students over the past months. NYU has been examining the videotape to see if any students were involved and can be identified; as we noted immediately after the event, if they are identified, they will be subject to sanction for violation of the health and safety rules NYU has put in place both on and off campus–NYU has already suspended more than 20 students this year for violations of those rules. 

"That said:

  • We have yet to find any indications that the event was organized or DJ'ed by anyone affiliated with NYU
  • Though the event was populated with young people, it is unclear how many of the participants in the event actually were affiliated with NYU
  • The overall NYU student reaction to the gathering in the park was not supportive but rather highly disapproving – many students reached out to the City hotlines to complain about the event and the unsafe practices they observed
  • Both before and after the event, NYU took steps to specifically message students to avoid large gatherings on the holiday weekend (see below)
  • NYU's security officers are not law enforcement officers. They have no power of arrest, are unarmed, and have no jurisdiction on the streets of NYC or in Washington Square Park, which is a City public park.

"The University is keenly aware of the type of events that have caused outbreaks at colleges elsewhere. That is why we have been directing messages at our students about those very sorts of gatherings (see below), and have been serious about enforcing the rules we put in place. In addition, we had already reached out to the State Liquor Authority about partnering to reduce hazards in local bars, and we are happy to partner with the City or other entities to try to reduce the occurence of events that can cause COVID spread.

"Lastly, while it is true that NYU has students from many states, it bears mentioning that those coming from hot-spots states underwent mandatory 14-day quarantine, and were tested twice during that period. NYU has an extensive testing program, and everyone returning to campus had to be tested at least once: since August 1, NYU has conducted over 22,600 tests, with a total of 27 positives, for a positive rate of approximately 0.1%."

-- NYU Spokesman John Beckman



• Student Affairs VP Marc Wais first Labor Day memo to students on Thursday, Sept. 3.

• Student Affairs VP Marc Wais second labor Day memo to students on Sunday, Sept. 6.



• Message 1, Friday, Sept. 4, around 6:30 pm:

It took so much work to get here. Please don’t be the one who causes NYU to close. Avoid parties & bars. Wear a mask. Keep your distance.

• Message 2, Saturday, Sept. 5,around 7:00 pm:

More than 20 NYU students have been suspended so far. Please don't be the next. Avoid parties and bars. Wear a mask. Keep your distance.


• Consequences:

• Mask reminder/things to do safely:



• Consequences:

• Mask reminder/Things to do safely:



• Consequences:

• Mask reminder/things to do safely:

Press Contact

John Beckman
John Beckman
(212) 998-6848