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University Senate passes two recommendations; discusses NYU-Poly merger

Posted on December 5, 2013 | by Patrick Anker

The third and final University Senate meeting for the fall semester adjourned Dec. 5 after passing two recommendations and hearing the details of the merger with the Polytechnic University of NYU, which will occur on Jan. 1, 2014.

The university meeting heard usual updates from the Academic Affairs Committee, the Committee on Organization and Governance, the Public Affairs Committee and the Financial Affairs committee.

The two votes for submitted recommendations were adopted unanimously. The Student Labor Action Movement submitted one recommendation to change NYU’s code of conduct regarding apparel made in Bangladesh, and the Student Senate Committee submitted a recommendation to allow senators-at-large to serve more than two consecutive years in office — but not more than three years total. The SSC recommendation will go into effect, as it is an amendment to an existing policy in the University Senate Rule of Procedure, while the SLAM recommendation will be considered by NYU President John Sexton, the chancellors and then the Board of Trustees.

After the committees and council presentations, Katepalli Raju Sreenivasan, the NYU-Poly president and soon-to-be director of the NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering, provided an overview of what NYU-Poly has to offer NYU. Sreenivasan cited various information, including some rankings, which place NYU-Poly as number 2 in the United States for non-historically black school for minorities, number 3 on return in investment, number 9 for online graduates and number 12 for video game design.

“We need to focus on a transition from ‘reasonably good in a number of measures’ to ‘excellent in most,’” Sreenivasan said.

He said NYU-Poly’s finances are heavily based on student tuition. In 2012, students provided over 80 percent of the school’s funding whereas NYU’s budget consisted of 69.6 percent student tuition. NYU-Poly’s intellectual property income is roughly 10 percent of NYU’s income.

Sreenivasan said NYU-Poly anticipates the future within NYU, especially the idea of working with another school.

“[This is] not happiness from adding one more school to the numerous schools,” Sreenivasan said, “but [the happiness from] the collaboration with other schools.”

One senator asked about the physical distance between NYU’s main campus and NYU-Poly. Sreenivasan stated that it is an impediment, but the university is altering bus schedules to closer match the class gaps are being implemented to alleviate the hassle.

Another audience member asked how the merger will function. Sreenivasan said much of the assets will go to NYU, but buildings and permanent assets will remain part of the School of Engineering.

“Think of it as a restrictive endowment, like Stern,” Sexton said, referring to the Stern School of Business’ endowment, which can be only used for Stern purposes.

To close the meeting, Sexton thanked everyone and referenced recent NYU Abu Dhabi Rhodes Scholar Alexander Wang and congratulated him.

“It’s worth noting the wonderful place we find ourselves,” Sexton said.

Patrick Anker is a staff writer. Email him at news@nyunews.com.

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