Faculty hold teach-in to bring attention to no-confidence votesPosted on September 16, 2013 | by Nicole Brown
A group of NYU professors held a teach-in for the NYU community called The Crisis at NYU on Sept. 13.
Sociology professor Jeff Goodwin said he organized this discussion because many undergraduates wanted a bet- ter understanding of why five schools voted no confidence in NYU President John Sexton last semester.
At the teach-in, social and cultural analysis professor Andrew Ross said that students underestimate the impact they have and the need to voice their opinions.
“This year, it’s the students’ turn to step to the plate,” Ross said. “And if you do choose to step to the plate, we will stand with you all of the way.”
Each professor presented their views of one relevant topic to provide more information.
Professor of Media, Culture and Communication Mark Crispin Miller spoke about some of the faculty’s concern that the NYU 2031 Plan does not have enough academic rationale. Miller said when the plan is completed, only 40 percent of the expansion will be used for labs and classrooms.
East Asian studies and history professor Rebecca Karl discussed the lack of information the faculty has about the Global Network University and the concern about the quality of education at the global sites.
Psychology professor Jim Uleman and politics professor Christine Harrington said that shared governance is an ongoing struggle, as decisions about 2031 and the GNU have already been made without faculty involvement.
LSP professor Michael Rectenwald discussed the lack of representation of contract faculty. They compose 70 percent of NYU’s faculty, and none are tenure or tenure-track faculty.
Ross discussed student debt and said he believes students and their families have a right to know exactly where their tuition money is being spent.
Representatives from NYU’s Student Labor Action Movement spoke about their campaigns, and the NYU Graduate Student Organizing Committee discussed their efforts to gain unionization rights.
Gallatin sophomore Benjamin Talarico, who attended the teach-in, said he did not realize the degree of dissatisfaction with the administration and recommends students involvement.
“Educate yourself on the structure of the administration and the people who are on the administration,” Talarico said. “This is not a spectator’s sport.”
NYU spokesman John Beckman said NYU’s achievements since 2002, including increased applications for admission, award-winning faculty and improved financial aid and rankings show that there is not a crisis at NYU.
“No doubt there is room for improve- ment, and disagreement and debate are valued traditions here,” Beckman said. “But this emerging tendency to employ extreme rhetoric to trash the university in contravention of the facts is really regrettable.”
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Sept. 16 print edition. Nicole Brown is a news editor. Email her at nyunews.com.