New York City Mayor and NYU alumnus Bill de Blasio examined city issues in a discussion moderated by fellow NYU alumna and Fox Business Network anchor Maria Bartiromo on April 17 at the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts.
During the discussion, which was sponsored by the NYU Alumni Association and the NYU Leadership Initiative, de Blasio answered questions from Bartiromo about his first 100 days as mayor, his time at NYU and how he plans to overcome several challenges facing the city. Among the issues de Blasio addressed was improving public education, which he said is at the center of his vision for the city.
“We need to do better at the high school level to prepare our young people,” de Blasio said. “We need to do more with CUNY, a great tool we have to reach a lot of people. I think the higher education complex in this city is going to play an even bigger role in this city than it ever has.”
De Blasio went on to say that improving the city’s education system would create better qualified employees for businesses and more opportunities for higher paying jobs, especially in the tech industry.
De Blasio also called on NYU to be part of this process, asking students, faculty and alumni to use their connections to help their fellow New Yorkers.
“Getting this university more deeply involved in our public schools is crucial,” de Blasio said. “Folks who are part of this university and are connected to companies and sectors that can be employment engines for folks that have been left out of the economy.”
All of this, de Blasio concluded, will go a long way toward reducing the growing inequality between the rich and poor.
“The challenge of inequality in our society is increasing,” de Blasio said. “There are a lot of good people who have said, ‘Can you approach this on a local level?’ and my answer is we are obligated to do all we can do.”
Following Bartiromo’s questions, de Blasio took questions from students in the NYU Leadership Initiative.
Poly senior Stephanie Serrano, one of the student leaders who asked a question, said she was happy to hear that de Blasio’s thoughts on education were similar to her own.
“Having him — a mayor — have the same views as I do [is] very refreshing,” Serrano said. “I’m a chemical engineer, so the fact that he’s promoting STEM is fantastic.”
John Ambrosio is a staff writer. Email him at [email protected]