Letter to the Editor: “Tisch New Theater Runs Into Drama”

John Beckman

Dear Editor,

I regret that today’s article by Natasha Roy, “Tisch New Theatre Runs Into Drama,” gave a misleading accounting of how the Tisch New Theater came to be suspended by the Tisch Undergraduate Student Council (TUSC).

The story suggests that TNT was suspended because of two seemingly minor instances of rule breaking.  In fact, not only were there other incidents that went unmentioned in the story, just as importantly TNT exhibited a pattern not just of breaking the rules, but also of being untruthful and unwilling to be accountable.

When the club attempted to reserve a room at the Gallatin school for auditions, they were informed that Tisch clubs were not permitted to do so.  They then had a Gallatin student book a room – claiming it was for a “study group” – but instead filled it to twice the room’s capacity, prompting complaints from many in the Gallatin community.  This led to their probation.

While on probation, TNT knowingly rented a truck from an unauthorized vendor. They then denied it.  The truth only emerged when an administrator contacted the student whose name was on the receipt.

As TNT was already on probation, TUSC decided that suspension was the appropriate response. Tisch administrators upheld that decision on the grounds that TNT had received a fair hearing.

No one denies that TNT serves a worthy purpose within the NYU community. And we understand that college is a learning environment, and that making mistakes is part of the learning.  But we expect that when students make mistakes, they will own up and take responsibility so as to learn from them, instead of trying to deflect blame.  Unfortunately, judging by some quotes in today’s article, it appears as though that lesson may still not be registering.

In the spirit of acknowledging errors, let me note one my own: I had previously indicated that drama chair Rubén Polendo would serve as the next faculty advisor to the TNT.  Mr. Polendo has met with TNT’s leadership to discuss how drama can better support the TNT going forward, but the actual advisor has not yet been determined.

– John Beckman, Vice President, Office of Public Affairs



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