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

Guest Essay: A call for a special University Senate meeting

Ryan Carney is the chairperson for the Student Government Assembly.
Krish Dev
The Gaza Solidarity Encampment outside Paulson Center on Sunday evening, 48 hours after it was first set up. (Krish Dev for WSN)

Guest essays reflect opinions from writers beyond WSN. If you’d like to submit a guest essay for consideration, please email [email protected].

Forty-five minutes is all the time that administrators, faculty and student representatives spent at the last University Senate meeting on April 25, against the backdrop of 120 students and faculty arrested the previous Monday. A typical meeting lasts about two hours.

After the statements from AAUP, SGA, GSOC and other faculty and student organizations criticized and condemned NYU’s response to the encampment, this Senate meeting with students, faculty, deans and administrators would have been an opportune time to clear the air and address the concerns.  Instead, student representatives including senators at-large — who represent underrepresented and marginalized students on campus — were silenced and cut off from asking questions during the meeting. 

After months of telling SGA that the Resolution Reaffirming Academic Freedom on Campus was too divisive and problematic for the community, look at where we are now as a university: Our campus and our community are divided and fractured, especially after what happened on Monday. 

NYU cannot further delay the conversation about academic freedom, protest, dissent and freedom of expression, and what that looks like on campus. 

My role and task is to represent all students and ensure their voices are heard by NYU senior leadership. At this very moment, that is not the case, especially not after the Senate meeting where open dialogue was actively limited and muted.

President Mills concluded at the end of the Senate meeting: “We’ve done the best we can to try and do that, address things with safety and security of our campus.”

If this holds true, let’s have a special meeting where we discuss safety and security so that NYU senior leadership can share the additional details with deans, student representatives, faculty and administrators as to what happened on Monday, and we, as the community, can better understand the complexity and enormity of what was at stake.

I want to remind everyone that the members of the Student Senators Council can engage in productive and respectful conversations regarding academic freedom, freedom of speech, protest and dissent. This is because they have had such discussions multiple times, including back in November, and throughout my four-year tenure in the governing body. The notion that the Senate cannot have this type of conversation is disrespectful to the distinguished members of the body. Let us not underestimate the abilities of our academic community.

In the words of President Mills: “If we allow for a freer exchange of ideas and begin fighting for what we love instead of against what we fear, the potential for what we can accomplish is immeasurable.” 

President Mills, I agree. Let’s come together as a community and begin these conversations.


WSN’s Opinion section strives to publish ideas worth discussing. The views presented in the Opinion section are solely the views of the writer.

Contact Ryan Carney at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Krish Dev
Krish Dev, Multimedia Editor
Krish is a first-year planning to major in Computer Science and Linguistics at CAS. In his free time, he enjoys posting photos on @krish_dev.creations, obsessing over geography, watching new films with friends, taking public transport to new places and letting Arsenal make or break his week.

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