Photo of Unity, a 22-foot tall bronze sculpture by Hank Willis Thomas (TSOA ’98), which rises near the entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge

As featured on our cover "Unity," a 22-foot tall bronze sculpture by Hank Willis Thomas (TSOA ’98), rises near the entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge

NYU Unites Against Inequality

By NYU President Andrew D. Hamilton and Provost Katherine Fleming

In the stories in this issue that follow, you will learn about an NYU endeavor that is both rooted in our history and urgently of the moment: reducing inequality and advancing social justice.

One of the university’s founding ideals was to narrow the gap between those with privilege and those without. In the nearly two centuries since, we have not always lived up to that ideal institutionally, even as groups and programs within NYU have strived toward it individually. In recent years, however, advancing equity and social justice has become a major university priority.

What we call inequality is, of course, a tightly interconnected web of deeply entrenched inequities, spanning income, health, housing, criminal justice, voting, immigration, education, and more, all compounded by centuries of systemic racism.

Combat just one of these injustices, and very little changes. But wage a coordinated offensive on each aspect of the problem, and you start to make headway. That is NYU’s strategy—and our strength.

With a wide range of academic disciplines, we have the expertise to examine these issues from nearly limitless angles. With campuses and sites that span six continents, we can address injustice not only in the United States but also globally. And NYU is home to an immense pool of talent: eminent scholars, experienced practitioners, and emerging young leaders all driven to make a difference.

This issue of the alumni magazine shares their stories. You will read about the Cross-Cutting Initiative on Inequality, a new university-wide effort to reduce social and economic disparities through collaborative research and service; the Center for Faculty Advancement, which cultivates talented scholars from underrepresented groups at NYU and externally; the Office of Global Inclusion, the centerpiece of NYU’s internal efforts to promote a more diverse and inclusive culture here on campus; and dozens of faculty, alumni, and students who are advancing social justice in creative, transformative ways—including some that may surprise you.

As a global center for teaching and research, NYU has an imperative to act against inequality and injustice. And we are uniquely positioned to make an impact. We have the size, the scope, the expertise, the diversity, and the drive. With renewed collaboration and commitment, we aim to be at the forefront of a more just, more equitable future for all.

Provost Katherine Fleming's signature

President Andrew Hamilton's signature

Katherine Fleming

Andrew Hamilton