Steinhardt faculty declares no confidence in President Sexton

Courtesy of NYU
Courtesy of NYU


The full-time faculty of the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development passed six motions yesterday, including one declaring that they have no confidence in NYU President John Sexton.

The motions and their results are as follows:

The Faculty of the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development
votes no confidence in the leadership of University President John Sexton.
Abstain: 22, No: 45, 
Yes: 117


The faculty of the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human 
Development, in light of the dire need to invest in our School and its development,
 calls on the Administration of the University to provide fiscal transparency on 
financial revenues and expenditures and to reduce the subvention expected by the
 University from the Steinhardt School.
Abstain: 5, 
No: 5, 
Yes: 177

Strongly endorses full participation of clinical/contract faculty in university faculty
governance in a form they decide is appropriate.
Abstain: 18, 
No: 19
, Yes: 148

Requests that University Faculty Senators Council consider ways of reviewing the evolving role of the University Provost;
Abstain: 16, No: 9, Yes: 160

Joins the NYU Tisch faculty in recommending elected faculty representation on the
Board of Trustees and on future searches for the university president and provost.
Abstain: 7, 
No: 11, 
Yes: 167

Requests the University administration to devise more effective ways of keeping the
faculty informed of university actions since efforts to use web-based communication
strategies have failed.
Abstain: 18, 
No: 7, Yes: 160

Steinhardt Dean Mary Brabeck responded to this vote with a letter to faculty of Steinhardt, highlighting the achievements of the school and university as a whole.

“I recognize faculty concerns about the financial challenges faced by NYU and the Steinhardt School.  Nevertheless, the results of the vote of no confidence, while not supported by a majority of the eligible faculty, are disappointing.

I am concerned that the current crisis at the University will interrupt Steinhardt’s positive momentum of consistent enhancement of academic stature.  The objective data on Steinhardt—as I have presented in my State of the School addresses each year—indicate that we have been on an uninterrupted upward trajectory.  We could not have been so successful without the strong support of the University,” she said in her letter.

In response to the third passed vote of no confidence, the Board of Trustees issued the following statement:

“The Board of Trustees fully supports and has full confidence in John Sexton and his leadership.

While the Board understands the concerns of the Steinhardt faculty – conveyed both by this vote and directly during our recent meeting with their elected representatives – we believe NYU’s enormous academic momentum, which has accelerated during John’s tenure, has greatly benefitted the Steinhardt School, and too little heed has been paid to that in today’s vote.

And, in response to the concerns raised about governance issues, we note that important and meaningful steps to improve faculty involvement – agreement on principles of shared governance, and faculty committees on space priorities, the global network, and educational technology — have been taken, which will give more voice to Steinhardt faculty, and faculty in all the schools.”

NYU spokesman John Beckman also issued a statement:

“The field of higher education is undergoing enormous change, and John Sexton is an innovator.  Change can elicit division in any community, as it certainly has at Steinhardt and at NYU more broadly.

John Sexton – who enjoys the Trustees’ full support and confidence – and the University’s leadership team will continue to focus on supporting NYU’s faculty as they pursue their research and teaching, supporting students as they pursue their degrees, sustaining NYU’s extraordinary and transformative academic trajectory, and continuing to take steps to enhance faculty consultation and involvement in University decision-making.”

Nicole Brown is investigative editor. Email her at [email protected]



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