Hearing Hamilton Face Up to Diversity Is Heartening

WSN Editorial Board

President Andrew Hamilton alerted the NYU community on Nov. 30 of his intention to further promote dialogue and transparency at the university. Two separate emails were sent concerning the specific actions and initiatives the university currently is and will be taking to assure the wellbeing of minority students at NYU. The first not only assured undocumented community members of the university’s unwavering support and protection, but also illustrated the ways in which the university will be defending the rights of these community members. The second email provided an extensive description of the assessments, policies and goals the university will implement in order to promote accountability in regards to the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Advisory Task Force at NYU. These updates were a pleasant consolation in wake of the many concerning events of the past month.

The Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Advisory Task Force was one of the cornerstones of Hamilton’s administration when he took office last fall. It was created with the bold intention of assessing the status of diversity at the university and taking direct action to improve conditions for NYU students and faculty members. Yet many — including those at this publication — had been skeptical of the feasibility of these promises, as the public had not been properly informed of its actions for the majority of the year. Hamilton’s letter on Wednesday made the first step towards righting those wrongs. The letter finally addressed the transparency issues that had been plaguing the task force since its creation and drew members of the NYU community into the fold. Although this discussion was long overdue, that does not diminish the significance of having this conversation at all.

Similar things can be said of Hamilton’s recent actions on the status of undocumented students at the university. In his second message to the community on Wednesday, he reassured students of NYU’s commitment to provide everyone with an equal opportunity to receive financial aid, no matter their immigration status. Hamilton also underlined the importance of NYU’s partnership with the NYPD on the subject of immigration policy, meaning that law enforcement agencies will not inform federal immigration authorities regarding a person’s immigration status. In the midst of increased backlash on undocumented individuals after this election, many students felt distressed about the uncertainty of what would come next. Hamilton’s proposals reflect a decisive and holistic commitment to the protection of these members of the NYU community.

These emails are encouraging for a number of reasons. The idealistic views espoused by Hamilton in his early remarks have now been supplemented with concrete and practical solutions. They are initiatives that we at WSN have long since supported, and Hamilton’s renewed interest is a sign that the goals he set when first taking office were not idle promises. Considering the current political climate, it is heartening to see Hamilton take such a clear, bold position on these issues. We can only hope the he will remain steadfast going forward.

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