Yesterday, The faculty of the NYU School of Law passed a vote of confidence in NYU President and former dean of the law school John Sexton.
Through a secret ballot at the meeting, faculty members voted yes, no or abstention, to the following resolution: “The faculty of the NYU School of Law expresses its support for John Sexton’s vision of NYU as one of the world’s great universities and expresses its continuing confidence in his leadership.”
There were 65 members present at the meeting. 59 voted yes, two voted no and three abstained. All the faculty members at the meeting were tenured or tenure-track faculty.
James Jacobs, a faculty senator and professor who teaches criminal law, criminal procedure and criminal justice, said there are approximately 108 total tenured or tenure-track faculty at the law school, and he was impressed with the turnout at the meeting.
“It was an overwhelming vote of support for John Sexton’s leadership,” Jacobs said. “That was the largest turnout at a faculty meeting I can remember.”
Additionally, seven faculty members, who were unable to attend the meeting, wrote letters to Jacobs expressing their support of Sexton. However, these letters were not counted as votes.
Jacobs said the vote is meant to show a different opinion of Sexton’s leadership than the recent discussions of a lack of confidence in the president.
“We wanted to counter what we regarded as unfair criticism that has been lodged against him in the last few months,” Jacobs said.
Jacobs and the other law school senators, professors of law Brookes Billman and William Nelson, had released a report to the faculty on March 25 with their opinion of why the faculty should support the resolution, but the faculty did not debate nor vote on the report.
The report highlights what the law school senators believe are Sexton’s successes, including NYU’s positive global reputation, increased fundraising and financial aid and increase in faculty members. The rest of the report refutes critiques that have been targeted at Sexton recently.
Jacobs expressed his hope that students also support Sexton and will speak up about what they know about him, specifically his leadership during Hurricane Sandy.
“I saw him walking among the students, encouraging the students,” Jacobs said. “I can’t believe that any of the students who lived through that would not have been impressed.”