During his first calendar year at NYU, President Andrew Hamilton has worked to achieve the many goals he outlined at the beginning of his tenure. Hamilton began his presidency promising changes throughout the university, starting with listening to the concerns of both faculty members and students. He also pledged to address the growing challenge of affordability at NYU and promised to make diversity and inclusivity a cornerstone of his administration. Hamilton’s goals were bold and optimistic; they reflected the sentiments of the NYU community in the wake of a Sexton presidency.
The message initially put forth by the Hamilton administration was an admirable one, and his commitment to increased transparency and communication remains evident. Hamilton has made good on his promises to meet with both faculty members and students to discuss key issues, such as the Divest movement and the Incarceration to Education Coalition effort. The actions of his administration have been a stark contrast to those of his predecessor, John Sexton. He has held multiple town hall meetings on the subject of affordability and instituted reductions in the planned yearly tuition increases. Most recently, Hamilton has pledged to tackle big ticket issues such as diversity at NYU, the flaws in our global network and long-term affordability.
These goals, while commendable, do not lend themselves to practical or easy solutions. Rather than commit to abstract ideas like affordability and diversity, where it is difficult to gauge success, Hamilton ought to set up more easily achievable benchmarks so that the NYU community can watch the progress as it happens. It is not enough to simply establish a task force built on vague ideas without reasonable objectives. When goals are too lofty from the start, as some of Hamilton’s are, it sets them on a path towards failure. However, when there is clear evidence of progress on Hamilton’s projects, as there was with the IEC meetings and housing and meal plans cost increases, it affirms the community’s trust in him and his goals.
So far Hamilton’s administration has been a promising one, especially when viewed in conjunction with the actions of those who came before him. The president’s unambiguous commitment to diversity, inclusion and transparency — as well as his obvious enthusiasm for the job — should be an encouraging sign to all NYU students and faculty that change is soon to come. His methods, however, need to be as practical as they are noble. Hamilton has already assured the community that his administration will work to protect undocumented students, and in the coming years the onus will be on him to live up to this promise and his many others. It is clear that, with a realistic plan in place, he is more than capable of living up to the challenge.
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