Date:   Monday, February 15, 2021
To:  The NYU Community
From:   Linda Mills, Vice Chancellor for Global Programs and University Life
Marina Kartanos, Interim Chief Human Resources Officer
Zoe Ragouzeos, Asst. Vice President for Student Mental Health

Dear NYU Faculty, Students, Administrators, and Staff,

To state the obvious, it has been a particularly hard and demanding year for everyone.

All of us are dealing with a lot of challenges all at once — data on COVID that is worse than in the fall, a bitterly partisan election and violent aftermath, holidays devoid of the usual get-togethers and meals out, ongoing incidents of racial injustice and systemic racism in the criminal justice system, long periods indoors in front of screens, and whatever family and professional challenges we may be juggling. We miss the simple, sustaining joy of being in one another’s company, leaving many of us feeling isolated. Many of us are experiencing the burden of family care responsibilities, including children and adult care-giving, leaving us to have to try to strike new balances between work and home responsibilities.

We all want to be okay, and to seem okay. And that’s fine. But you should know: it is okay not to be okay, too. All of us are going to have days when we don’t really feel okay.

We have a lot of resources to help you — the Wellness Exchange (which recently shared with faculty information about services for students); the Employee Assistance Program; the Student Health Center; the Office of Global Spiritual Life (which will be adding a “Wellbeing Weekly” section to their weekly emails); the Office of Work Life; the Office of Global Inclusion, Diversity, and Strategic InnovationStudent Affairs staffResidence Life staff; and your dean’s offices, to name but a few.

Sometimes it helps to have someone else tell us to be gentle with ourselves. We can also get a lot of pleasure out of being kind to one another. Getting outside and getting some exercise and fresh air can also help, even if it is a little snowy. Getting a good night’s sleep can also make a world of difference. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you need a helping hand. We encourage you to come talk with someone, because we’re here for you and ready to help. And if you don’t feel comfortable talking to us, find someone who can be there for you.

All of you — faculty, students, administrators and staff — are doing a truly stunning job managing completely unprecedented circumstances. Things will improve; until then, we are thinking of you.

Sincerely and respectfully,
Linda, Marina, and Zoe