For the past few years, one unfortunate characteristic of President Andrew Hamilton’s and his predecessors’ administrations has been a consistent failure to fulfill promises made to the NYU community. Chief among these failures has been the choice to renege on promises made in 2015 to divest from fossil fuels. Last June, the NYU Board of Trustees announced NYU would not be divesting, despite previous motions made by the NYU senate. Similarly, in October, NYU announced free tampons would be coming to NYU bathrooms, but that is yet to happen. Taken together, this reveals a larger pattern of lip-service by the administration where no real action is ever taken to live up to promises made.
This trend is evident now more than ever. On Nov. 29, Hamilton sent out an email implying that NYU was a sanctuary campus — educational institutions that refuse to share student’s immigration statuses with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. In this email, Hamilton assured the student body that NYU would not assist in any deportations, regardless of actions taken by the federal government under President Donald Trump. However, it was later revealed that this email was extremely misleading. It turns out that NYU will not voluntarily participate in deportations but will if ordered to by the court. The concept of a sanctuary campus stems from sanctuary cities, such as New York City. These are cities which vow to protect all immigrants, even if it means challenging the federal government. Just like with divestment and free tampon promises, the administration is not fulfilling the NYU community’s expectations.
The NYU administration loves to make big commitments. The promises keep students happy and create good press. However, in many cases, NYU fails to follow through. It is unclear whether NYU makes promises without intention of fulfillment, or if projects simply do not work out. Regardless, it is essential to the progress of this university under the Hamilton administration that NYU lives up to its commitments.
The danger with this tendency is that it erodes the student body’s fundamental trust in the administration’s intentions and abilities. While some of these failures might seem inconsequential, others — such as the university’s commitments to the environment and to protecting undocumented students — have tangible impacts on all of our lives and need to be taken more seriously. If they are not, students will start to see every commitment the university makes as a talking point to attract higher rankings and more students, rather than an actual goal.
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