Alumni are staying involved with NYU besides donating money — many are joining the campus-wide effort to make NYU a sanctuary campus. Gallatin alumni Carly Krakow and Bailey Theado began the NYU Alumni for a Sanctuary Campus movement nearly a month ago and have already received support from hundreds of other alumni.
Students and faculty are already involved in the Sanctuary Campus movement. They started a petition specifically for alumni — they will deliver it to NYU President Andrew Hamilton once it receives 1,000 signatures. In the letter to Hamilton, Krakow and Theado express their firm belief that the university is responsible for protecting NYU community members who are affected by President Donald Trump’s executive orders regarding immigration.
“As alumni who span the globe, we look to our alma mater as a leading and innovating institution and remain resolute in our commitment to NYU’s values,” the letter says. “We believe that it is critical that NYU stand up and support all those of the NYU community made vulnerable by these recent events. Action is essential to send an important message of support to our students, staff and community members, and to secure their protection in the face of an uncertain future.”
Krakow, who graduated in 2016, said in an email that she became involved in the movement after one of her previous professors, Vasuki Nesiah, contacted her about starting an alumni-backed petition to advocate for the sanctuary campus cause. From there, she and Theado created the petition.
“Reading the faculty’s letter made me especially proud to be an NYU alum, and it was great to see that the professors I admired during my time at NYU are on the front line of this this issue, fighting against the injustice of the executive orders,” Krakow said. “I am working on this abroad from England, where I am studying for a master’s degree in International Relations and Politics at the University of Cambridge. So many people here in the U.K. are outraged about the U.S. travel ban, and were delighted to see that the alumni of a major, global institution like NYU had rallied to produce this.”
Theado, a 2015 graduate, said that the alumni’s movement has grown through social media, and she was able to connect with other graduates she never met during her time at NYU. She believes NYU should declare sanctuary campus and be more proactive in protecting its students.
“I think other alumni are surprised that NYU has not declared itself a sanctuary campus and care enough to share the petition and ask others to sign,” Theado said. “I was really excited and motivated when I learned of other NYU alums who wanted to act.”
Gallatin alumnus Idan Sasson — who signed the petition — believes NYU should act beyond public statements that only pacify the community without taking actual action. He believes the university is capable of being a leading force with progressive policies.
“NYU talks a big game of progressive policy but often times fails to deliver tangible follow up,” Sasson said. “Trump’s ban and other discriminatory, violent and oppressive immigration policies affect the university in a very tangible way — students will not be able to travel freely, research may be frozen [and] scholarship may not be furthered. But beyond the ways that it impacts the university, it impacts our collective society, and powerful institutions like NYU should be at the forefront of resistance.”
Since the release of the petition, Sasson has helped spread it to his NYU friends. He plans to continue his support of the sanctuary campus movement by attending future organizing meetings and demonstrations.
Another Gallatin alumnus, Robert Ascherman, said that the university should work to serve the students above anyone else, as he does not believe that the university would function without its students.
“Sanctuary is clearly in our best interest. Maybe it’s not in the best interest of the Board of Trustees and especially people like John Paulson who’s a board member and Trump advisor but NYU is not for the Paulsons, Hamiltons and Sextons of the world. It for those who have to work in order to survive and don’t have some luxury homes provided through NYU.”
Krakow said that many NYU alumni feel strongly about the university’s sanctuary status and believes declaring sanctuary status is the best way for the university to protect its students who are negatively affected by Trump’s new policies.
“As NYU students, we are all taught to be proud of NYU for its truly global nature — an institution that attracts students from all over the world, and has a presence all over the world,” Krakow said. “It is logical and essential that NYU stand by the values it aims to represent by declaring sanctuary status.”
Email Natasha Roy at [email protected]