When I walked into Tisch Hall, which is known as the Stern building, I could see the difference in quality compared to other NYU buildings — the superiority was unquestionable. Each room was filled with contemporary furniture, arranged strategically. With my friend, I took the elevator to the third floor, where I found myself looking into the third floor lounge through the glass wall that separates it from the hallway. The study area was immaculate. When I went to enter, however, there was a tap-in required. I took out my NYU ID and hovered it over the sensor — the door did not budge. I tried again. Nothing. Finally, I asked my friend, who goes to Stern School of Business, to use her ID — the door clicks open. I wasn’t able to enter because I don’t go to Stern.
Only 11 percent of students who apply to NYU Stern School of Business are accepted, as per the class of 2021’s admissions statistics. Such selectivity influences the accepted’s pride and contributes to a sometimes elitist attitude.I guess it is natural for some Stern students to feel better than others — I mean, they do have higher SAT scores. No matter the reason, an environment, which allows an exclusive group of students to feel superior to others just because of their school, is an unhealthy one. Yet, NYU further fosters these elitist beliefs with some frivolous exclusionary policies.
Printers around campus or in certain school buildings are open to all students, regardless of their affiliation — except for printers in Stern. Only Stern students are allowed to use Stern printers. The preposterousness of feeling elite because of a printer is comical, but it is not so much the method of exclusion but the exclusivity itself, that inspires a sense of superiority. The university also promotes the idea that Stern students are special by giving them emails that end in stern.nyu.edu in addition to their nyu.edu one. Apparently, it is not enough to have a normal NYU email like all other students. Instead, it must be made clear that these students are not from College of Arts and Science, Tisch School of the Arts, Gallatin School of Individualized Study or Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development — they are from Stern. Policies like these make one group of students feel superior and consequently, another group of students feel inferior.
The policies themselves may feel inconsequential — there are other printers and other lounges, and who really cares about the difference in domain name of email addresses? However small the policies may seem, the effects are an unjustified notion of superiority that serves only to harm both groups of students.
With recent coverage of Islamophobia and racism in Stern, it is apparent that this trend of superiority within Stern causes harm much greater than envy from other schools. This article so far has focused on the effects of elitism in Stern on students of other schools, but it affects those in Stern just as much, if not more. Furthermore, NYU appears to be making lackluster steps to prevent these attitudes and prides itself on separating Stern from the rest of the schools without accepting the implications of doing so. Supporting Excellence and Advocating Diversity President and Stern senior Nana Apraku notes that Sterns exclusivity comes with certain responsibilities.
“Stern particularly has its own agenda. We create our own everything,” she said in the article. “We have our own Welcome Week, our own emails. If you want to have your own community, you have to make sure that you have everything the NYU support system also has. If you’re going to create your own everything, have your own chief diversity officer; have your own policies and processes in place.”
If NYU is going to encourage exclusivity in our school, it has a responsibility to deal with the backlash. Harmful actions taken toward students that may stem from feelings of superiority that NYU has a role in arousing need to be dealt with quickly and seriously. For now, a clearer code of conduct and an office in Stern to deal with these issues will help deal with the symptoms of Stern’s elitist attitudes.
NYU should reverse some of these silly exclusionary policies to at least pretend not to show favoritism and give Stern students a little less to feel superior over. Letting other students use Stern printers and Stern lounges would be a step in the right direction, and honestly, should not even be something students need to ask of NYU. We all go to this school, and we all pay a lot to do so. No group should be treated to special privileges due to an unjustified, inflated sense of value — this only leads to harm within Stern and the NYU community as a whole.
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Email Victor Porcelli at [email protected].