NYU Journalism to Sever Ties with NYU Abu Dhabi

Gallatin Faculty Urge Colleagues Not to Teach at NYUAD

A majority of the senior faculty of the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute signed a letter to President Andrew Hamilton on Nov. 2 saying that the department would sever the ties of its academic program to NYU until the university resolves issues of access to the campus.

The letter written by the journalism department was obtained by WSN from a journalism professor. The letter will be posted on the journalism department’s website either later today or on Monday, according to the professor.

Additionally, faculty in the Gallatin School of Individualized Study voted in overwhelming majority to encourage colleagues not to teach or participate in academic events at NYUAD, according to an email sent yesterday by College of Arts and Science Professor Rebecca Karl. In the email, Karl said she circulated the message to encourage faculty from other departments to consider adopting similar resolutions to the journalism department and the department of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies.

Journalism Professor Mohamad Bazzi and Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies professor Arang Keshavarzian both planned to teach at NYUAD but had their security clearances denied. They believe it was either because of their religious affiliation — both professors are Shiite Muslims — or their academic work that was critical of the United Arab Emirates.

“Since a member of our faculty has been prohibited from teaching at NYU Abu Dhabi, the Carter Journalism Institute is not prepared to continue its relationship with NYUAD,” the letter reads. “Our faculty, a number of whose members have made the trip to NYUAD or taught courses there, voted unanimously at its last meeting to suspend the Institute’s participation in the academic program in Abu Dhabi until these issues are satisfactorily resolved.”

Journalism Professor  and Director of the journalism institute Ted Conover said that finding someone to regularly teach the course that Bazzi was supposed to teach was the institute’s main participation in the academic program at NYUAD. He said his interpretation of the faculty resolution is that the institute will no longer take part in that until Bazzi is allowed to teach at the campus.

“It may be the case that some of our faculty will continue to engage with NYUAD outside of that perennial arrangement,” Conover said. “That is their prerogative; as director, I could not prohibit them from engaging with NYUAD even if I wanted to. While the language in the letter might leave open the possibility of a larger abrogation of ties with NYUAD — i.e., don’t even answer the phone if they call — I’m interpreting it in a more narrow way that I believe still makes our point.”

The letter criticized NYU for making no public statement on the visa denials and for not better leveraging its relationship with the UAE government — specifically its relationship with Khaldoon Al Mubarak, who sits on NYU’s Board of Trustees.

NYU spokesperson Matt Nagel said that although Hamilton shares the faculty’s concerns about the visa denials, he thinks that ceasing to participate in the academic life of NYUAD is not the right response.

As he wrote in his letter to faculty in the Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies department, President Hamilton believes that refraining from participating in the academic life of NYU Abu Dhabi misses the mark,” Nagel said in an email. “Doing so only punishes our fellow students and faculty there, who had no hand in the visa denial. Moreover, he believes that the presence of NYU in Abu Dhabi contributes to the diversity of ideas there, and that the NYUAD project should be a source of pride to the university.”

Email Mack DeGeurin, Sayer Devlin and Jemima McEvoy at [email protected].