NYU SLAM Petitions in Bobst for Student Representation on Board of Trustees

Diamond Naga Siu
Student activists gather outside of Bobst, where they remained chanting while organizers entered into the library to speak with the University representatives.

The Fight for 15 finally saw results on March 24 when NYU sent an email to the community with its new minimum wage policy, so the Student Labor Action Movement is now embarking on a different fight — a student on the Board of Trustees.

Gallatin junior Hannah Fullerton is one of the SLAM movement organizers, and she summarized the new issue with the hashtag #ourschoolourvote.  It launched on Friday, Sept. 23.

“Today was our first action of the semester — it was a petition drop in Bobst, so we rallied outside the library and had some student speakers from SLAM and different organizations attest to why students on the board is important for the campus,” Fullerton said. “And then we came inside Bobst and was met by the head of public safety who escorted us up to the 12th floor to deliver our petition to the secretary of the board.”

Terry Nolan, the General Counsel and Secretary of the University, and CAS senior Drew Weber, one of the SLAM organizers, handed him the petition after arriving at the top of Bobst. Before going up to meet with Nolan, Weber said he was really surprised about this reception and had not anticipated this meeting.

“We went up there, handed the petition to Terry Nolan, and then he was like, ‘Alright. Thanks guys,’ so I think it was a simple miscommunication,” Weber said. “One thing that was significant about today was that a couple years ago, we would deliver a petition or a letter and maybe hand it to a security guard, and then it would disappear into thin air. This was different.”

He said because it was to one of the university’s leading Board of Trustees members who received the petition and asked who to share it with, the action demonstrated that the university now takes SLAM more seriously. Therefore, the club now aims to gain more concrete results by moving forward with its positive reputation.

Gallatin senior Katie Shane was one of the seven people chosen to represent SLAM at the 12th floor petition hand-off, and she said that her role was to make everything run smoothly.

“I think today was very successful — we got what we asked for,” Shane said. “We’ll see what happens with next steps. That’s what we’re still trying to sort out, and we think potentially a meeting with administration.”

SLAM prepares its members to speak with university administrators, and Shane, who has participated in such conversations before, said that this is because these meetings normally come with lots of emotion for their efforts towards bettering the NYU community.

Fullerton said that this campaign is very literal and wants to change the leadership with quantifiable results: student representation on the Board of Trustees.

“It’s pretty common at public universities to have student representatives on the board,” Fullerton said. “It’s much less common for private universities, but it has happened before. As we know it, the fact that NYU was the first private university to have a $15 minimum wage, so they have been known to be the first university to do something, and we are holding to them to this standard.”

Email Diamond Naga Siu at [email protected]

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