President Hamilton Talks Avital Ronell, Trustees at University Senate Meeting

Victor Porcelli

The Board of Trustees’ lack of transparency and NYU’s handling of Avital Ronell’s Title IX investigation were among the many subjects discussed at the first University Senate meeting of the 2018-2019 school year on Thursday.

The ongoing controversy over the transparency of NYU’s Board of Trustees has sparked protests. When student government proposals for student representation on the board were rejected, additional proposals to allow for freedom of information at NYU were made.

At the meeting, President Andrew Hamilton gave an overview of various university initiatives, including the addition of an email address at which students can contact the Board of Trustees. He also spoke of several letters sent by the board to the NYU community concerning the issue.

“In those letters, there is a list of suggestions of approaches that could be taken to improve communication between the [University] Senate, between the wider university committee and the Board of Trustees,” Hamilton said.

One of these suggestions is the establishment of meetings between groups of trustees and specific committees within the senate.

The controversy over sexual harassment allegations made by graduate student Nimrod Reitman against NYU professor Avital Ronell was also a topic of conversation at the meeting. Hamilton said NYU will be assigning Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Science Phillip Harper to “look at those aspects of the doctoral student and mentor relationship.”

Hamilton also said that NYU will continue to work on the creation of Global Degrees, which would have students travel to multiple sites abroad while pursuing their major. Hamilton gave the example of an art history student traveling to New York, London and Prague to gain a more global understanding of the subject.

Hamilton confirmed that Wallkill Prison Education Program, which works to provide incarcerated people with college degrees, will be continued this year.

It was also announced at the meeting that NYU Dentistry will dedicate part of the dentistry building to a first-of-its-kind program meant to provide dental care to those with learning and physical disabilities.

Email Victor Porcelli at [email protected].

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