NYU campus safety hires new administrator

Patricia McSteen, Ohio University’s former dean of students, will join the campus safety department next week to bolster community outreach.

Abby Wilson and Gabriel Hawthorne

Patricia McSteen will join NYU’s Department of Campus Safety as the senior associate vice president and deputy of global campus safety. McSteen was most recently the student affairs administrator and dean of students at Ohio University. (Image courtesy of Patricia McSteen)

Patricia McSteen, a former interim senior associate vice president and dean of students at Ohio University, will join NYU’s campus safety department as the second in command. McSteen will report to NYU’s head of campus safety, Fountain Walker, and will work to increase community engagement. Her hiring was first reported by The Post, a campus publication at OU.

As the senior associate vice president and deputy of global campus safety, McSteen will act as a liaison between campus safety and other NYU departments. Although this is her first time in a public safety role, she brings extensive knowledge in student affairs from her 25-year career at OU.

“I invited our chief of police to come talk about freedom of expression, student protests and the role that the police department plays in demonstrations,” McSteen said. “Being able to facilitate those conversations with people really strengthened one another’s understanding — the law enforcement as well as the students’ understanding of one another.”

Although there are several associate vice presidents and directors on the campus safety team, McSteen will focus on building relationships with NYU schools, representing campus safety to the university administration and helping Walker manage his office. Walker said that the new position was created for two main reasons.

“One, I need a deputy, and the second part is to work on what I consider to be our community engagement initiatives,” Walker told WSN. “I want to go beyond the normal or expected ‘safety in the city’ things. There’s much more to it than that.”

McSteen has worked with the office of the dean of students at OU since 1997. While under the student affairs department, she worked closely with counseling and psychological services, the school’s advocacy program for survivors of sexual assault, and the campus involvement center, which oversees the university’s extracurricular programming.

Kathy Fahl, OU’s interim associate dean of students and a co-worker of McSteen, said one of the reasons she started working at the school was McSteen’s welcoming personality.

“She has the ability to recognize issues and bring together the people who can solve them,” Fahl wrote to WSN. “She started our behavioral intervention team when it was not a common practice across higher education institutions. Patti brought together law enforcement, academics, student services, housing, and counseling professionals to work collaboratively to help students of concern.”

McSteen’s hiring follows a semester of several campus safety-related incidents at NYU. In September 2021, a student was shot outside of a Tandon School of Engineering building, and in November, NYU’s Washington Square campus received bomb threats. Walker said, however, that her position was not created directly in response to these incidents.

“With her help and her experience, she can really help us enhance our current [safety] lesson plan,” Walker said, referring to current campus safety programming. “We work with [the Office of Global Inclusion], we work with student life, but Patti knows the lingo … my hope is she can incorporate that into our campus safety training.”

Walker said he believes McSteen will be able to improve campus safety office conduct and form a partnership with the Office of Global Inclusion to build new community outreach approaches. McSteen will start her new position at NYU on Feb. 15.

Contact Abby Wilson at [email protected] and Gabriel Hawthorne at [email protected]