Letter from the NYU President

As I walked to NYU this morning, I passed coffee shops and classrooms around campus filled with excited and happy young people, all busily engaged in conversations with people with different backgrounds and perspectives. Muslims and Jews, men and women, straight or gay or transgender, european, asian, african. Just a complete mix of young minds from around the world, all engaged in rapt discussion.

I thought about how fortunate we are to be in a place where can bring your identity with you, yet you are not defined by it. People here are interested in who you are, but they don’t reflexively reduce you to a member of some group.

Coincidentally, this evening NYU’s new president sent an email out to our entire university community. I was so inspired by his moving and thoughtful words that I am sharing the letter with you, in its entirety:

Dear NYU Community Members,

Affected by a sharp national sense of divisiveness, many in our community are worried and unsettled, both by national events and by the echoes here on our own campus.

The effects of the election will play out across the country in the coming days and years. Here at NYU, we should remind ourselves who are we as a community: we reject intimidation and discrimination; we strive for diversity and inclusiveness; and we are a community in which each person takes as his or her responsibility the welfare and well-being of others, irrespective of citizenship, faith, race, national origin, gender, sexual orientation or any of the other identities that might, but surely need not, divide us.

A community is defined by its ideals as much as its membership. These are ours. And we should conduct ourselves in accord with them now and at all times.

With that in mind, I wanted to mention two specific items:

First, there was an incident at Tandon School of Engineering earlier in the week that involved the defacement of the door of the Muslim prayer room. The police were called and you can read here the statement we posted which clearly states that this behavior is unacceptable.

Also, I know that many on our campus have specific concerns about the status of undocumented students at NYU. The university’s program to provide funding to undocumented students will continue; it will not be affected by any changes in federal funding. As is the case now, undocumented students will be treated exactly as all other students at NYU with regard to housing, privacy and all other matters.

Our home city, New York, is a “sanctuary city.” This means that municipal law enforcement agencies do not alert federal immigration authorities about the immigration status of undocumented individuals except in very specific circumstances, such as in response to a judicial warrant for an individual wanted for a violent or serious felony. Moreover, NYU’s Department of Public Safety officers are not “sworn peace officers” and they do not have police powers; they are not asked to and they do not convey an undocumented individual’s status to any other governmental entity.

You will find below a list of resources and events that maybe helpful to you.

Above all please stay connected with your colleagues and friends. This is an unusual time as our government undergoes transition, but rest assured that NYU will remain steadfast in adhering to its values and ideals.


Andy Hamilton

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