Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 04:26 pm est

NYU leadership divides faculty

Posted on March 13, 2013 | by Nicole Brown

Rachel Kaplan/WSN

Approximately 50 percent of eligible CAS faculty members have cast their ballot in the vote of no confidence as of 11 p.m. yesterday, halfway through the allotted voting period. Other NYU schools have not organized similar votes of no confidence.

*WSN did not request the figures for votes cast for or against NYU President John Sexton’s performance at time of press to avoid influencing the outcome of the final vote. 

While the Faculty of Arts and Science continues to cast their e-ballots for the vote of no confidence against NYU President John Sexton, other faculty members have started discussions on the state of shared governance.

The Steinhardt Faculty Affairs Committee and the Steinhardt Faculty Council sent an email to the entire staff of the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development on Monday asking them to consider a draft proposal of shared governance and the faculty bill of rights drafted by the NYU chapter of the American Association of Professors.

Professor of social studies education Robert Cohen explained that this is not a proposal for a vote of no confidence. Rather, it is a broader call to faculty members to discuss the issues of governance.

“We haven’t had a conversation yet with the whole school, but at least within the Faculty Council there is a concern about it, and that’s why they adopted the resolution,” Cohen said.

The Steinhardt faculty were asked to provide responses to the proposal by March 25, and the feedback will be discussed at the faculty meeting on April 8.

The proposal addresses similar concerns that the FAS has brought to light — including the lack of representation on the NYU 2031 plan — but also focuses on two less-publicized issues.

The first is the failure of the Board of Trustees to consult the faculty when the members voted to hire Sexton. Professor of education sociology and chair of the Steinhardt Faculty Council Floyd Hammack explained that sometimes when positions open at universities, a search committee is created to make recommendations and contribute to the selection for that position.

However, Martin Lipton, chair of the Board of Trustees, explained that part of the hiring process involved creating a committee consulting faculty, deans, students and alumni, who ended up supporting the decision to hire Sexton.

Another major concern that the proposal addresses is the lack of fiscal transparency.

“Obviously there are expenses that need to be paid for by individual schools,” said Hammack.

However, Hammack says that the concern among faculty is how the administration decides how much to tax the individual schools and on what basis.

While the Steinhardt faculty cannot predict what actions this discussion will lead to, Cohen said the faculty should not “zero-in” on Sexton.

“To me, the issue is beyond just one individual. It’s the whole style of governance that needs to become more responsive,” he said.

Hammack added that the administration has shown that it is listening to the concerns of the faculty.

“It’s well to keep in mind that the Faculty of Arts and Science doesn’t speak for the university as a whole,” Hammack said.

Meanwhile, other schools have not made public any discussion of their dissatisfaction with the administration. Chair of the Stern Faculty Council, professor Vasant Dhar, said the faculty of the Stern School of Business was satisfied with their representation on university issues.

“The Stern Faculty Council has found our administration to be responsive to Stern and university-wide issues we have raised,” Dhar said.

LSP professor Louis Pataki and chair of the LS Steering Committee said the administration has ultimate responsibility in decision-making.

“The question of a no-confidence vote in the NYU president has not been raised or suggested in any Liberal Studies faculty governance body,” Pataki said. “We need to have trust in our president and trustees to act in the best interest of the university.”

A version of this article appeared in the Wednesday, March 13 print edition. Nicole Brown is investigative editor. Email her at


  • REK

    I would just note that no one knows the percentage of ballots cast for or against the Vote of No Confidence. The voting is encrypted and the results will be known only after ballotting closes at 6pm on Friday, March 15th. The WSN could not have revealed anything, since no one knows anything about how the voting is going, other than number of people who have cast their ballot.

  • David Martens

    Mr. Sexton has jammed a multi billion project that can only be financed with debts from current and future students. His administration has never said how you will pay for these projects. How can the faculty be confident in your leadership? Since Mr. Sexton wants to run NYU as a corporation, at least provide transparency like corporations are forced to provide today.

  • Anthony Reynolds

    You end your article with a quote in support of Sexton by Liberal Studies’ Lou Pataki, the brother of former Republican governor George Pataki. A more representative view of the overall position of the Liberal Studies faculty might be more accurately represented by interviewing a few faculty members rather than only one faculty member who is ideologically predisposed to privilege corporate interests (look closely at who the NYU trustees are whom Sexton serves) over the educational mission of a…

  • Kate

    One Student’s Letter to John Sexton:

profile portrait
Felipe De La Hoz

Multimedia Editor | Felipe De La Hoz is a Colombian national studying journalism at the College of Arts and Sciences. Having been born in Colombia and raised in the United States, Mexico and Brazil, Felipe is a trilingual travel aficionado and enjoys working in varied and difficult environments. Apart from his photography, Felipe enjoys investigative reporting and interviews, interviewing the likes of Colombian ex-M-19 guerrilla fighters and controversial politician Jimmy McMillan. He has covered everything from governmental conferences to full-blown riots, as well as portraiture shoots and dining photography. Having worked under Brazilian photojournalists for Reuters and AFP, Felipe hopes to one day work on demanding journalistic projects and contribute to the global news cycle.

Ann Schmidt

News Editor | Ann is a liberal studies sophomore who lived in Florence during her freshman year. She plans on double-majoring in journalism and political science and is always busy. She is constantly making lists and she loves to laugh.


Daniel Yeom

Daniel started at the Features desk of WSN last Spring, writing restaurant reviews whilst indulging on free food and consequently getting fat. Last Fall, he was the dining editor, and he this semester he is senior editor. Daniel is in Gallatin (living the dream) studying Food & Travel Narratives, incorporating aspects of Food Studies, Journalism, and Media, Culture, and Communication. He loves food more than life itself.

Hannah Luu

Deputy Multimedia Editor | Hannah Luu is a ridiculously great Deputy Multimedia Editor. She is a sophomore from Northern California. If you think Northern California means San Francisco you might need to closely examine a map. She is passionate about NPR and being half Asian.

  • How to join:

    The Washington Square News holds open weekly budget meetings at its office located at 838 Broadway every Sunday. All are welcome to attend, no matter your background in journalism, writing, or reporting. Specific times for meetings by desk are listed below. If you wish to talk to an editor before you attend, feel free to check out the Staff page.

    5 P.M. 6 P.M. 6 P.M. 6:30 P.M. 6:30 P.M. 7 P.M.

    Applying for an editor position: Applications for editor positions during the fall or spring semesters are available twice each academic year and can be found here when posted. Applications for the Fall 2012 semester are closed, but check back for Spring 2013. Those who wish to apply are urged to publish pieces in the newspaper and contact current editors for shadowing.

    History of the Washington Square News:

    The Washington Square News is the official daily student newspaper of New York University and serves the NYU, Greenwich Village, and East Village communities. Founded as an independent newspaper in 1973, the WSN allows its undergraduate writers and photographers to cover campus and city news and continues to grow its strong body of award-winning journalists and photographers.

  • The WSN has a circulation of about 60,000 and can be found in over a hundred purple bins distributed throughout campus. It is published Monday through Thursday during the fall and spring semesters and online on Friday, with additional special issues published in the summer. The newspaper recently revamped its website during the Fall 2012 semester.

    Like few campus newspapers in the country, the paper is editorially and financially independent from the university and is solely responsible for selling advertisements to fund its production. The WSN, including its senior staff, is run solely by current undergraduate students and the business-division is largely student-operated as well.

    A Board of Directors comprised of alumni, NYU professors and working news media professionals serves as advisors to the paper. Board members have no control in the WSN's editorial policy or newsroom operations. Alumni of the newspaper are established and leading journalists in such news organizations as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NBC news, ABC news, Fox News, and USA Today.