New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

Student gov’t deliberates faculty complaints, initiative fund and new provost

At its first meeting of the semester, the Student Government Assembly discussed students submitting complaints against faculty, updates on its initiative fund and prospects for a new provost.
Susan Behrends Valenzuela
(Susan Behrends Valenzuela for WSN)

Student government leaders expressed concerns about students’ ability to submit complaints against faculty, announced open applications for their initiative fund and discussed what they would like to see in NYU’s next provost at a Student Government Assembly meeting on Thursday. 

At the meeting, Heidi White — Liberal Studies faculty senator and clinical professor — noted changes made to Title IIV of the university’s faculty handbook in November, which had previously stated that students were allowed to submit complaints against faculty members. White said the revised handbook does not contain directions for students to submit complaints, and that it now gives deans the power to initiate disciplinary action against faculty.

“In my experience with NYU, they look at the subtle differences and you have to be careful that there’s no loopholes,” White said at the meeting. “You need to have these things in the policy.”

The complaint submission process had originally instructed students, faculty and staff to file complaints with their respective dean, who can informally try to instigate a solution before proceeding to a faculty committee. White said that when she tried contacting NYU about the changes to the handbook, the university directed her to the Office of Equal Opportunity.

White noted that, despite receiving a redlined copy that traditionally highlights all the changes, there was no indication of the section’s removal. White said she plans to write a more detailed account of the situation and share it with several on-campus organizations, including the SGA, in an attempt to spread awareness. 

“We look forward to reading the memo that Heidi White and her committee are working on and will be sharing with us shortly,” SGA chair Ryan Carney said in a statement to WSN. “Given that this may have an impact on students, SGA looks for greater clarity by continuing conversations with the chair of the faculty senator council and the provost about the changes to the faculty handbook.” 

At its Thursday meeting, the SGA also opened applications to submit project ideas for its $500,000 initiative fund. The student government had said the purpose of the fun is to address and implement student requests. Carney told WSN that some of the initiative fund’s plans include a food pantry in the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development and new water fountains at the Kimmel Center for University Life. 

SGA members also discussed what they’d like to see in NYU’s next provost. The university had formed its search committee for a new provost in December of last year, with current interim provost Georgina Dopico having held the position since summer 2022. Members of the SGA said they hope the future provost has a strong focus on artificial intelligence and technology development, creates more resources allocated toward graduate research and has greater transparency regarding funding across schools. 

“This role has a lot of influence over student success,” Carney, who is also on the provost search committee, told WSN. “They do a lot of great work for NYU and New York City, and the United States and around the world.”

Contact Dharma Niles at [email protected].

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About the Contributors
Dharma Niles
Dharma Niles, Deputy News Editor
Dharma Niles is a first-year student currently studying journalism and politics at CAS, and has yet to choose between the six different minors she'd also like to pursue. You can generally find her playing NYT games, skittering around the city with a Celsius in hand or on Instagram @dharmaniles.
Susan Behrends Valenzuela
Susan Behrends Valenzuela, Editor-at-Large
Susan Behrends Valenzuela is a senior studying studio art at Steinhardt and minoring in Media, Culture, and Communication. She is passionate about the intersection of art and media, and is particularly fond of zines and small magazines. When she's not working or making art, she can be found co-running an art zine with her friend, rollerskating, sewing, baking or scrolling through Instagram.

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