First Public Document on Board of Trustees Meetings Released

Months after their last meeting, the Board of Trustees published its summary, which is intended as an act of good faith towards greater transparency.


NYU’s Board of Trustees. (via NYU)

Victor Porcelli, News Editor

The most powerful body within NYU, the Board of Trustees, said in March it would start publishing summaries of its private meetings. Three weeks after a university spokesperson said its June meeting summary would be posted in “a few days,” it finally was, and … it’s fairly underwhelming.

In the first public document about its inner workings, the Board approved various administrative positions within NYU Abu Dhabi and the budget and reelected many Trustees to the body — including William Berkley, who will serve another four-year term as Chair. It also alluded to further developing NYU’s London campus.

There were, however, a couple of interesting takeaways.

Anti-Semitism On Campus

The summary says, “The Alumni Affairs and University Life Committee discussed allegations in the media of campus anti-Semitism.” 

Last semester, a complaint was filed by a student to the Department of Education alleging the university has enabled anti-Semitism on campus. The complaint went as far back as April of 2018, when pro-Israel and pro-Palestine groups conflicted at a rave for Israeli Independence Day. Since then, multiple resolutions in student government have made references to Israel’s actions against Palestine, often calling for some form of protest.

Pro-Israel groups on campus continued to express that they felt the resolutions proposed, and anti-Israel protests by student activist groups, were anti-Semitic and contributed to them feeling unsafe.

Free Speech On Campus

In addition to anti-Semitism, the Alumni Affairs and University Life committee discussed “issues relating to the free exchange of ideas.”

NYU has invited multiple speakers to campus that have been ill-received. Vice Co-Founder Gavin McInnes was pepper-sprayed when he came to campus, causing his speech to be cut short. Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger was interrupted four times when he spoke at Stern, with protestors inside and outside the building during the entirety of his talk. Most recently, NYU postponed the reception of conservative pundit Milo Yiannopoulos due to a request from Mayor Bill de Blasio, who said he was concerned about safety.

The Board’s initial promise to release summaries of their meetings was in response to three resolutions that would have added student and faculty representation to the Board and increased communications between the Board and the NYU community.

Months after their annual year-end meeting in June, a summary of it still had not been released. 

When WSN asked about this on Sept. 3, NYU spokesperson John Beckman said the summary would be released soon.

“A summary of the minutes of the June Board meeting will be posted within a few days,” Beckman said. “We regret the delay; we’re committed to sharing these summaries, and we’re planning on posting them more promptly in the future.”

Additional reporting by Julia Baxley.

Email Victor Porcelli at [email protected].