Students from various NYU activist groups including SLAM, Divest and Amnesty International came together last Monday to form the Alternative Endowment Coalition. The coalition came about after repeated frustrations with how the university’s endowment is spent and meets every Monday.
Currently, members are planning how to gather funds from alumni and present to student families in hopes to unite student voices to gain influence on where university funds go. Gallatin sophomore Hannah Fullerton said they plan to leverage their large donation sums to get NYU to agree with student concerns.
“We are fundraising an alternative endowment to give us leverage to invest through a democratic, student-run way, rather than by a board of trustees handling the finances,” Fullerton said. “Right now, it’s all in the formation stage, but we want to have a board established within the month and a board of students who will manage this money and determine where it gets to go.”
She does not believe that currently the school’s money goes to the correct places such as financial aid. While students joke about things such bad dining hall food and slow elevators, she believes it is important to open up that conversation to identify why such high tuition rates do not fix these issues. The coalition plans to fix that.
CAS senior Kelly Davis said even though this is her last year at NYU, she hopes the coalition can influence the Board of Trustees to make better investments by demanding more moral, supportive and sustainable actions from the university regarding how it spends funds.
“I refuse to let go of new projects with this much power and energy and importance just because I am leaving,” Davis said. “I am doing this for the students who are at NYU now, for those who were here, and most of all for those who will come to NYU. Now is the time to put as much energy behind this as we are able to make sure it moves forward.”
When asked about how this group would affect NYU’s endowment as well as what the school thought about it, John Beckman, Vice President of Public Relations at NYU, did not comment on the coalition.
Stern senior Samir Goel wants to create a transparent financial system for students and wants this organization to create an open dialogue regarding the university’s issues, goals and outcomes.
“The AEC will impact students by bringing them together, exposing them to new viewpoints and helping the improve their abilities to push social issues across,” Goel said. “I think it will impact the university by forcing them to take seriously student demands for change and explore ways in which students can be integrated into the decision making process and focus on social returns in their decision making process.”
His priority in joining the coalition was to shift the way the university views financial and social priorities. He wants a mutually beneficial relationship between the coalition and its various students by exposing activists to business and exposing business-minded students to activism.
By involving multiple activist groups, the coalition hopes to enact change in multiple areas of social injustices.
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, March 7 print edition. Email Diamond Naga Siu at [email protected]