Letter to the Editor: ‘Why Is NYU Hiding Its Resources?’


Echo Chen

(Illustration by Echo Chen)

By Marc Wais, Senior Vice President for Student Affairs

I read with interest your recent editorial, Why is NYU Hiding its Resources?, and I wanted to address some of the points you made in regard to the Courtesy Meals program and the resources we provide to survivors of sexual misconduct, which your editorial suggests that we are underpromoting.  

As with many new programs, including most recently the menstrual hygiene products distribution program and the NYU Chat Bot, Courtesy Meals was initially launched as a pilot to determine student receptivity, and we solicited input from students throughout the pilot process. The program officially launched during the 2018-2019 academic year, during which time it was promoted in the following ways:

  • NYU Weekly email newsletter to all students
  • University Senate Meeting presentation in spring 2018
  • Student Government received monthly updates
  • Resident Assistants and Student Affairs Deans and Directors received updates
  • Social Media InstaStory (viewed by 15,000 subscribers)
  • Reality Show, fall 2018 performance

Our goal is to ensure that this program continues to be accessed by the students who need it and we welcome any suggestions individual students or the Washington Square News might have as we work towards this goal. 

As for the resources we provide to survivors of sexual misconduct, the clinical services you outlined in your piece have been provided through the Wellness Exchange for many years and they predate the federal mandate you cite. (The exception is the rape kit — which is always provided by the hospital.) We provide other appropriate medical care, if necessary, at the Student Health Center. As you noted in your piece, we aggressively promote access to the Wellness Exchange and all medical services.

A challenge your editorial presented was how we best promote the vast array of programs and services we offer for students within the context of NYU’s scale and complexity — while remaining sensitive to the fact that students are seemingly inundated with communications 24/7. In fact, it was in response to student appeals to simplify our messaging that we focused our promotional resources on the Wellness hotline, which is the simplest and most effective step towards accessing services at NYU.  

That said, we’re always open to continuous innovation and, once again, we welcome ideas any member of the community may have on how best to get the word out. Anyone should feel free to contact me and my staff with ideas anytime at [email protected] 

Marc Wais is NYU’s Senior Vice President for Student Affairs. 

Opinions expressed on the editorial pages are not necessarily those of WSN, and our publication of opinions is not an endorsement of them.

A version of this article appeared in the Sunday, September 15, 2019 print edition. Email Marc Wais at [email protected]