It is known that NYU’s Board of Trustees has the final say on financial matters and on resolutions passed in the University Senate and that they appoint the president and oversee the university’s expansion. However, questions of how or why they do these things can often be left unanswered.
This may change starting with the first Board of Trustees meeting of 2019, after which the Board will begin publicly releasing a summary of their meetings, according to NYU spokesperson John Beckman.
Last summer, the Board of Trustees rejected three resolutions that would have added students and faculty members to the Board. Since then, the body has made other efforts to increase transparency, a common criticism from students.
After rejecting the resolutions, the Board gave an explanation as to why they did so, something that the Chair of the University Senate’s Tenure Track Senators Council Wen Ling said was a step forward.
“In the past when they didn’t support [a resolution], all we know is that they did not support it,” Ling said. “We didn’t hear back. We get a cryptic email that the Board of Trustees did not accept the resolution, end of discussion.”
Going forward, the Board will not publish the minutes of their meetings, but they will release a summary report. This will be the first public document providing information on the Board’s meetings, which have been completely private in the past.
Since striking down the resolutions, the Board has moved forward with other initiatives to improve transparency, including creating an email account, hosting lunches with the Student Senators Council twice each academic year and having additional meetings with University Senate members.
Allen Mincer, a member of the University Senate’s Tenured Track Faculty Senators Council and Physics professor, said that he felt representation for faculty and students on the Board would be an improvement.
“I see no downside to seeing both faculty and students in the board and on the committees talking to those people, we’re the ones that are on the ground,” Mincer said. “My general view is the more input the better.”
However, Mincer said that the general trend of the board has been towards greater transparency.
“I think there’s more work to do,” Mincer said. “But the tendency, for the time that I’ve been [on the Senate], has been in the right direction.”
Email Victor Porcelli at [email protected]