The University Senate, which is the most powerful representative body within NYU, passed four resolutions this semester. They touch on issues including sustainability and sexual misconduct.
Comprised of students, faculty and administrators, the University Senate has the ability to propose changes to university policy through its resolutions. The Board of Trustees has the power to veto those resolutions. All that were passed this year have yet to be approved by the Board.
The University Senate most recently passed a resolution proposed by NYU Divest to decarbonize the university after a vote on the resolution was delayed by the Executive Committee. The resolution was revised by the Sustainability Working Group before passing with a 47-40 vote in April.
This resolution differs from the university’s carbon neutrality plan by requiring the university to completely divest from fossil fuels and to sever ties with gas plants that rely on fracking. A resolution similar to this, which called for NYU to divest from fossil fuels, was rejected by the Board of Trustees in April 2015 after it passed in the University Senate.
In the same meeting in April, a resolution titled “Resolution to Foster a Culture of Sexual Respect” passed unanimously. The resolution created an ad-hoc committee within the University Senate meant to review and assess resources for students who experience sexual violence and produce a final report by May 2021.
Another resolution passed in March to expand representation in the Senate’s Dean Council to include the Dean of Liberal Studies. Liberal Studies now has three seats in the University Senate: Dean Julie Mostov, a School Senator position held by GLS junior Antonio Kieschnick and a Full-Time Continuing Contract Faculty Senators Council member, Heidi White, who proposed the resolution.
In Fall 2018, the University Senate unanimously passed a resolution that determined that Commencement would take place in Yankee Stadium on May 22, 2019. A resolution of this nature has been passed 14 times in the last eight years.
At the most recent meeting, the University Senate struck down the “Human Rights at NYU Resolution” by a 39-36 vote. This resolution was originally introduced in November 2018 as part of the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, but once it passed Student Government Assembly, the university denounced it. The resolution was then revised to exclude any mentions of Israel and Palestine, and passed during a March SGA meeting.
Proposed, but not Passed
Despite SGA passing the proposal in September 2018, the Resolution on University-Wide Request for Information has not been brought to the University Senate. The resolution would allow students to request information from the university, and the university could only deny a request under certain conditions. At a November 2018 SGA meeting, SGA Chairperson Hüsniye Çöğür said that the Senate Committee on Organization and Governance is reviewing the resolution. In an interview with WSN, committee member David Moosmann said the committee is currently reviewing the resolution, but due to the large-scale policy changes that it proposes, it will take some time before the resolution reaches the University Senate.
Along with the four resolutions that were passed this year, Assistant Vice President for Sustainability Cecil Scheib announced an initiative to ban spending on plastic water bottles on NYU’s New York City campus at a University Senate meeting in February.
Email Mansee Khurana at [email protected]