The shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14 served as a wake-up call for many students at NYU and across the country. In the aftermath, students have mourned the lives lost and stepped forward as activists for increased gun control. NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing has signed a letter in support of gun control, making its position clear. However, it is now time for President Andrew Hamilton to call for significant gun control reform on behalf of NYU as a university.
Rory Meyers signed a letter by the American Academy of Nursing calling on Congress to create a bipartisan National Commission on Mass Shootings in the next 30 days. The letter, signed by 96 other organizations, identifies strategies to address seven challenges imposed by gun violence. The American Academy of Nursing urges the commission to take measures such as the establishment of an universal background check system that identifies a gun applicant’s dangerous history and requires all purchasers of guns to complete a background check, the enforcement of laws prohibiting high-risk individuals from purchasing firearms, the prohibition of assault weapon sales and the improvement of healthcare professionals’ role in preventing gun violence. The example set by Rory Meyers should be followed by the rest of NYU.
Hamilton has yet to make a statement specific to the events at Stoneman Douglas and the student activist movement that result, which is surprising, considering that Hamilton is not a stranger to political activism. In September 2017 Hamilton wrote to 31 members of Congress, imploring them to protect Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals students. Later, in December 2017, Hamilton again wrote to members of Congress to outline concerns about provisions in the tax bill that could be harmful to students and faculty at universities. As the largest private university in the United States, with an extensive alumni network, NYU’s words do have the potential to bear significant weight within the political landscape. The question is, why isn’t Hamilton speaking up about this? There have been over 12 school shootings within the span of two months, which should warrant a response from the president of a leading educational institution. Gun violence is an issue that directly impacts the safety of each and every member of the NYU community; therefore, we would like to see Hamilton address this issue with the same fervor as he has with other issues in the past.
We urge Hamilton to use his platform as president of NYU to advocate for gun control. Hamilton must address the NYU community and their safety concerns first and then call for the creation of the bipartisan commission outlined by the American Academy of Nursing by writing to members of Congress and utilizing connections with New York City legislators. We have seen admirable activism from students at Stoneman Douglas, NYU and beyond. Now we would like to see Hamilton follow the students’ lead.
A version of this appeared in the Monday, March 5 print edition. Email the WSN Editorial Board at [email protected].