Diversity at NYU

In recent weeks, new efforts to address diversity at NYUNY and NYUAD have been announced.

Dec 03, 2017

diversity Illustration by Joaquín Kunkel

In recent weeks, diversity has been both a point of controversy and a subject of new initiatives at NYU New York and NYU Abu Dhabi. At NYUNY, a psychology professor was reported for alleged transphobic rhetoric. While at NYUAD, in a much publicized story, a professor was denied a visa to teach in the UAE, which he claimed was a result of his religious affiliation. New efforts to address diversity on both campuses have also been announced in recent weeks.

At NYUNY, the professor accused of transphobic comments was reported via NYU’s bias response line, a mechanism for members of the community to report any episode or pattern of exclusion. NYUNY’s primary student publication Washington Square News followed up with an editorial calling for action against the accused professor. At the time of writing, no notable action had been taken by the university.

Submissions to the bias response line are subject to review by an employee of the Office of Equal Opportunity, providing students with a safe avenue to report violations with which they otherwise may be unsure how to proceed. NYUAD will be instituting its own bias response line following NYUNY’s lead. The NYUAD bias response line will function through a similar process as NYUNY’s, but will be tailored to Saadiyat-based institutions.

NYUAD Student Government stated that, “NYUAD will be getting a bias response line by the end of the semester. A bias response line is a mechanism through which members of our community can share or report experiences and concerns of bias, discrimination, or harassing behavior that may occur within our community.”

NYU President Andrew Hamilton and Chief Diversity Officer Lisa Coleman are now also leading an effort called [email protected] to appraise NYU’s current levels of inclusion.

In an email sent on Nov. 14, Hamilton described [email protected] as “a key tool to allow us to identify areas of success, uncover challenges and develop strategic initiatives to make our community more inclusive, equitable, and welcoming.”

Responses may only be submitted by current NYU students, but the identities of students will be masked once their validity as current students is confirmed. The results from the assessment, which will be open until Dec. 14, will be shared publicly as early as next semester.

“Remember — every voice moves us one step closer to understanding each other, and ourselves as members of a unique university community. Thank you in advance for being a part of this inaugural effort. We look forward to our collective work together to make our University an even more inclusive one,” wrote Hamilton as he concluded his message.

In a second email regarding the [email protected] assessment sent on Nov. 29, Hamilton pointed to the hiring of Lisa Coleman, NYU’s first ever Chief Diversity Officer, as a direct effort by NYU to make its community more inclusive.

Herbert Crowther is Deputy News Editor. Email him at [email protected]

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