Sexton discusses community issues at University Senate meetingPosted on October 4, 2013 | by Nicole Brown
At the first University Senate meeting of the year, NYU President John Sexton announced how the university has made progress and answered questions previously submitted to him by the various governing councils.
Sexton praised the Student Health Center for two recognitions this past week. The LiveWellNYU program was selected as a 2013 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration grantee. NYU also became one of 30 universities to be awarded the JedCampus Seal, a recognition of demonstrated campus-wide mental health promotion and suicide-prevention from the Jed Foundation.
When noting part of the university’s efforts to prevent suicide, Sexton said the Wellness Exchange receives over 100 calls a day. The university also records a retention rate of students at 90 percent, which refers to the percentage of students who re-enroll at NYU at the start of each academic year.
“Student suicide is a national epidemic,” Sexton said. “Too few universities speak about it and address it correctly.”
Sexton also announced two new financial aid initiatives made possible by the Momentum Campaign, which has already raised over $200 million — the Finish Line Grant and the Global Pathways Scholarship.
The former is designed to help students finish their last semester at NYU after they have already accumulated a significant amount of student debt. The grant will offer up to $5,000, and is expected to begin next spring.
The latter will aid students who study abroad with the additional expenses they may not have in New York City, such as travel expenses. Sexton said the scholarship will help students with up to $4,000, and will begin next fall.
Sexton said financial aid is very personal for him, as he receives emails from students and talks to many in person about their difficulties paying for NYU and is struck by how much the students want to stay here.
Sexton introduced Board of Trustees member Evan Chesler, who helped initiate the Momentum Campaign, a six-year fundraising program for financial aid. Chesler shared his personal story about receiving a full scholarship from NYU after thinking he did not have a chance of attending college because his parents could not afford the tuition.
“[NYU] gave me a life, a life I never would have had without that scholarship,” Chesler said.
Chesler said the campaign seeks to help the students who do not currently qualify for financial aid from NYU, but would still struggle to pay tuition.
“We are losing students whom we should have,” Chesler said.
Faculty Senator-at-Large Warren Jelinek presented the Senate Committee on Organization and Governance report to the University Senate, regarding the representation of NYU-Poly and full-time contract faculty in the University Senate, but final decisions have not been made yet.
Sexton addressed a question submitted from the SSC regarding the weight of student input versus the weight of faculty input on university governance.
“We are one community, and we all have a role to play,” Sexton said.
He added that as a president, he has to find the right balance of voices, saying that different topics require different inputs.
Sexton also answered a question submitted by the Faculty Senate Council about his decision to remain at the university until 2016.
“That remains my decision,” Sexton said. “It’s 2016 because there is an agenda.”
He said the agenda includes decisions about space, the Global Network University, financial aid and more.
Faculty of Arts and Science Senator Adam Becker questioned Sexton about the criticism he received last semester into this summer, including what Becker called the loan scandal.
Sexton said he shouldn’t use the word scandal.
“We should make sure our facts are as accurate as possible,” Sexton said.
Sexton added that if his reputation is hurt in the process of allowing for the university to succeed, he is okay with that, but he will be president until 2016 and aims to improve the university.
Nicole Brown is a news editor. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.