As students prepare to tackle the next semester of their college careers, NYU also plans to commence its next chapter as newly elected President Andrew Hamilton leads the university into 2016 and beyond.
Following an eight-month international search process with over 200 nominees, Hamilton was chosen last March as President John Sexton’s successor and has wasted no time getting started. In his first week of work, he met with Lynn Videka and Charlton McIlwain, co-chairs of NYU’s newly created Diversity & Inclusion Task Force.
After students aired their disappointment in the institution for not addressing diversity concerns at a university-wide discussion in November, former NYU President John Sexton assured the community that issues regarding diversity would be addressed. However, it is unclear how Hamilton will follow through on these promises for policy change. The task force is expected to present its findings and make preliminary recommendations in April 2016.
Washington Square News spoke to Arielle Andrews of the Black Student Union last December to get her take on what she hopes Hamilton will do to promote diversity at NYU.
“Hamilton needs to further the agenda of diversity and inclusion at NYU,” Andrews said. “Creating a more welcoming space for all students, particularly students with marginalized identities, needs to be a top priority. NYU needs to do more to take care of students from diverse backgrounds once they get here.”
After being approved by the Board of Trustees last spring, Hamilton said making education affordable for students in low-income families is a priority. He plans to focus on continuing NYU’s fundraising campaigns, including the Momentum Campaign, in hopes of expanding financial aid opportunities for incoming students.
“During my time in Oxford, and indeed when I was provost at Yale, I placed the highest priority on affordability of education and most importantly about ensuring that the cost is not an impediment to those particularly from disadvantaged income backgrounds,” Hamilton said. “When I come to NYU I’m going to want to play a very active role in that fundraising campaign and I hope we will blow through a billion dollars quickly and actually set a higher goal.”
Undergraduates may finally breathe a sigh of relief as students have been up in arms in recent years over skyrocketing tuition costs. As the price of attendance soared over $70,000 some students began questioning the value of an NYU degree.
Stern sophomore Oscar Adelman said he hopes President Hamilton understands when a student and their family spends a quarter of a million dollars on a top-notch college education, they expect their investment to appreciate in value.
“The university and President should first and foremost work to ensure an NYU diploma is a solid long-term investment,” Adelman said.
Investment in new facilities and improvement of the university’s infrastructure is also one of Hamilton’s priorities during his presidency. He will be taking over the controversial NYU 2031 expansion plan, including the construction on the Coles athletic facility, in addition to overseeing the development of Tisch’s new proscenium theater.
These projects will undoubtedly pose a challenge to the Hamilton administration, as former President John Sexton faced severe backlash from the 2031 plan even before it broke ground. However, Hamilton said NYU’s expansion is key to providing world-class education at one of the nation’s premier universities.
“I hope I’ll be able to bring a very strong emphasis on core academic issues, the teaching that we offer our students, the high quality of research that’s carried out in NYC and in the overseas campuses,” Hamilton said.
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Jan. 25 print version. Email Anne Cruz and Lexi Faunce at [email protected]