Diversity apparent among NYU Shanghai inaugural classPosted on October 3, 2013 | by Afeefa Tariq
A month after NYU Shanghai welcomed its first class, previous concerns over space, campus diversity and civil liberties are improving.
According to an NYU press release published in 2011, the main campus would be located in Shanghai’s Pudong district to immerse students in Chinese culture. Currently, the campus is located on borrowed space at East China Normal University.
“Our permanent campus building in Pudong has all 15 stories built, it’s all glassed in, and the roof is on,” Jeffrey Lehman, the vice chancellor of NYU Shanghai. “We’re right on schedule to move in next summer.”
Lehman, who previously served as president of Cornell University and dean of the University of Michigan Law School, said the administrators are also seeing more diversity in its student body.
“Everything I see so far — from the multicultural performance groups during the talent show, to the multicultural parliamentary body that drafted the student government constitution, to the multicultural study groups preparing for classes — tells me our students are all in to seize their moment,” Lehman said.
During its inception, NYU Shanghai also received heavy criticism for opening campuses in repressed cities such as Shanghai and Abu Dhabi. The NYU press release said that students at NYU Shanghai were going to be encouraged to engage in open inquiry and classes would demonstrate academic freedom.
Usman Shahid, a freshman at NYU Shanghai, said he thinks that the Shanghai campus does not limit freedom of expression.
“Most of us are free to speak, write and do what we please,” Shahid said.
Amy Zhao, another member of the inaugural class of 2017, said she believes that the quality of education is the same as it is at the Washington Square campus.
“Since it is a new campus, the school pays a lot of attention to the quality of education,” Zhao said. “Our learning style is very flexible and we all have opportunities to chat with our professor personally.”
Zhao also said NYU Shanghai is culturally diverse.
“It is a very special environment because in China it is really hard to gather the people from forty three countries together and we even live and learn together,” Zhao said. “NYU Shanghai is a miracle.”
A version of this article appeared in the Thursday, Oct. 3 print edition. Afeefa Tariq is a contributing writer. Email her at email@example.com.
*A previous version of this article incorrectly stated “countries such as Shanghai and Abu Dhabi.” WSN regrets this error.