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 pushes for NYU to open Kimmel stairs, cut ties with Starbucks

The student government approved two resolutions, one calling for the reopening of the Kimmel Center staircase and another demanding that NYU remove its on-campus Starbucks location.
Matt Petres
File Photo: NYU campus safety officers guarding the Kimmel staircase on Oct. 12, 2023. (Matt Petres for WSN)

The student government presented and passed two resolutions at a Student Senators Council meeting on Thursday, one addressing the reopening of the Grand Staircase in the Kimmel Center for University Life and the other calling on NYU to cut its ties with Starbucks. 

The first resolution, proposed by Lamisa Khan — the Student Government Assembly senator at-large for Muslim women — is calling on NYU to reopen the Kimmel stairs, which have been closed since Oct. 12 due to levels of “protest activity” last semester, according to the university. The proposal states the Kimmel stairs “bring a sense of community” for NYU students and that the other staircases in the building currently in use are “overcrowded” and pose a “fire hazard and safety issue.” NYU has not said when or if the steps would be reopened.

The second resolution, co-authored by Khan and SGA director of operations Angela Chou, is demanding that the university replace its on-campus Starbucks location on West Fourth Street — which accepts Dining Dollars from student meal plans — with a local coffee business starting the 2024-25 academic year. The proposal claims that having a Starbucks location on campus violates NYU’s Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment policies as well as its Code of Ethical Conduct, citing the company’s alleged “documented history” of labor violations such as “child labor, forced labor, sexual harassment and assault, and other human rights abuses.”

Both proposals are awaiting approval from the majority of the SGA before going through the University Senate Executive Committee, a group of seven administrators, faculty and a student representative. 

“We’ve heard a lot of the students’ complaints and that’s something that we definitely wanted to heavily consider and prioritize,” Chou said in an interview with WSN. “For this specific resolution, we focus on ethical sourcing of Starbucks because we also thought that that element was critical in the discussion.” 

In February, a group of students gathered inside Bobst Library to deliver a petition addressed to NYU president Linda Mills, which called on the university to end its contract with the on-campus Starbucks location due to the company’s alleged “unrelenting union-busting campaign.” SGA chair Ryan Carney told WSN the resolution intends to follow the precedent set by the removal of Chick-fil-A’s Upstein location in 2021 due to its alleged association with homophobic organizations

In December, the SGA passed a resolution intended to protect pro-Palestinian speech on campus. The University Senate Executive Committee recently voted to postpone it, citing that the resolution was “not ready” and did not “have wide student body support.” The Undergraduate Academic Affairs Committee, a group of students and faculty that advises NYU’s administration, will discuss the resolution on March 14.

“It is always frustrating when you are at an impasse with the administration,” Khan told WSN. “But by having such a large student support and having SGA as representation of all NYU students, we can address concerns directly with administration that are not the same avenues as a resolution.”

Contact Maisie Zipfel at [email protected].

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About the Contributors
Maisie Zipfel
Maisie Zipfel, Deputy News Editor
Maisie Zipfel is a first-year double majoring in Journalism and Politics, and double minoring in Gender and Sexuality Studies and Spanish. She is a Yerba Mate enthusiast, a Taylor Swift fanatic and an anti-Greek Life turned sorority girl (Deeph or Die). When she’s not writing in the WSN basement you can find her isolated in Palladium for NYU’s Competitive Dance Team practice, obsessing over her Four-Year Plan or trying to weave in time to take a nap. You can reach her on instagram @maisiezipfel, on LinkedIn (her favorite social media platform) @MaeZipfel or preferably on Venmo @mkzipfel.
Matt Petres
Matt Petres, Photo Editor
Matt Petres is a first-year studying Economics. He is from Chicago, Illinois and likes to bike and kayak. You can contact him on Instagram @matt.petres

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