Town Hall may be last for Sexton


Sang Bae

President John Sexton answers questions about university expansion.

Jimmy Chin, Contributing Writer

President Sexton fielded questions about the university’s financial decisions at the Town Hall he hosted Wednesday at the Global Center for Academic and Spiritual Life.

The event began with the discussion of the controversial NYU 2031 plan. NYU Faculty Against the Sexton Plan led a lawsuit against the university, but the school won the case on appeal. The group is now seeking a higher appeal.

“There’s some theoretical possibility that the Court of Appeals could choose to hear the case, but we don’t think it will and we’ll probably hear that in the next couple months,” Sexton said.

Following a Financial Affairs Committee report, the University Senate will debate fossil fuel divestment at their next meeting.

Sexton then addressed concerns about NYU’s tuition and cost of living expenses now that the school is receiving a record number of applicants.

“The first thing I want to assure you is that there’s no plan to grow the size of the New York student body by any dramatic amount,” Sexton said. “Students are actually graduating with less debt now than they did from NYU five years ago, and that’s been a lot of hard work. And by the way, that’s less debt in unadjustment dollars.”

Sexton explained that the growth of NYU programs abroad will alleviate some of the crowding in the New York campus.

“With the circulation and study away sites, students will be going from here to study away either in Abu Dhabi or in Shanghai or in any of the other 10 sites, and a smaller number of students will be coming here to study away, so actually in a way, all things being equal, the number of students studying here in New York will get slightly smaller,” Sexton said.

Bakar Ali, a Wagner graduate student who voiced concern over the cost of tuition and living, said he was happy with
Sexton’s statement.

“Of course, I dont expect him to answer everything I had to present, but he did a wonderful job answering my question,” Ali said. “I felt very satisfied with his plan, his general plan for NYU, and for all the students. It’s very student-centered and tries to improve diversity and financial aid.”

Abbey Wemimo, also a Wagner graduate student, pressed Sexton to consider diversifying funds for NYU entrepreneurial ventures given the current emphasis
on technology.

Wemimo said after the event he hopes that the university does more to diversify funds after his feedback.

“We need more support. Right now there is a tremendous support for people doing technology,” Wemimo said. “For someone like me, I run a social venture that provides access to clean water for about 50,000 people, but at that point when we’re looking to scale, it would be nice to have a university like this to invest.”

Sexton responded by inviting Wemimo to email him with a proposal on a funding structure for student projects.

After reflecting on his tenure at NYU, Sexton concluded the event by entertaining the idea that this could be the last town hall he hosts as the university president.

“This conceivably, depending on how next year works out, this might be my last town hall,”
Sexton said.

A version of this article appeared in the Thursday, Feb. 19 print edition. Email Jimmy Chin at [email protected].