The Black and Brown Coalition plans to finalize an official list of demands on Nov.17, which it will then send to NYU’s administration. The demands range from increased funding for new staff positions to new considerations for future NYU expansion plans.
The group was formed in July 2012 to unite various cultural identities at NYU and build community ties. The group’s list of demands aims to accomplish these goals with specific policy proposals.
CAS junior Juan Manuel Calero Canaval, Chair of the Demands Committee, said the Coalition has been working on the project for some time.
“We’ve been compiling, gathering and editing the demands list since Nov. 17,” Calero said. “Approximately 40 students participated in the drafting process. They came from an incredibly diverse number of communities, not just on racial and ethnic grounds, but also religiously and in terms of LGBTQ.”
The list of demands is broken down into specific items. These include efforts to rename Bobst Library, increase the population of minority students on campus and fund a new building within NYU 2031 for the department of Social and Cultural Analysis to inhabit.
Calero believes that several measures can be put in place quickly, while others can help foster discussion within the NYU community.
“NYU will respond and look to each of our demands as far as the Ad Hoc Committee is concerned,” Calero said. “Many of the demands are actually easy to do and is just a question of paperwork, but most of the demands aim to force a conversation open on issues that are difficult to discuss transparently and thus almost impossible to address.”
Many proposals require significant funding, but Calero suggests that would not necessarily be a roadblock.
“The reality is that NYU has quite a lot of money, it’s just a question of where NYU chooses to allocate it,” Calero said. “We are demanding that NYU puts its money where its mouth is.”
He added that a number of the issues were less about just funding and more about effort.
“Many of the items do not actually require increased funding, but rather the creation of full-time positions in order to promote diversity, something that in hindsight doesn’t make sense as to why it doesn’t already exist,” Calero said. “Why isn’t there an Executive Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion at NYU when the university has been touting the flag of these concepts for so many years now?”
Matt Nagel, Director for Public Affairs at NYU, maintained that the administration would consider the demands and take action accordingly.
“We’re looking forward to receiving the list from the Coalition, which we understand may come next week,” Nagel said. “We’ll examine all the proposals seriously. In addition, the President and the leadership of the University Senate are putting together an Ad Hoc Committee on Diversity that will be specifically charged with studying proposals — including those from the Coalition — and making recommendations for action.”
Meanwhile some students have suggested that many of the Coalition’s demands are overdue at NYU. Christian Ghosn, a Tisch freshman, strongly agrees with the Coalition’s efforts to officially recognize Fall Recess as Indigenous People’s Day.
“I think that we as a community need to accept that progress has been made and certain changes need to take place,” Ghosn said.
Email Thomas Peracchio at [email protected]