NYU’s University Senate met on Thursday, April 25 and passed two of three proposed resolutions in their last meeting of the 2018-2019 academic year. The three resolutions proposed were entitled Human Rights at NYU, To Foster a Culture of Sexual Respect and For Decarbonization. Each was presented by selected students to members of the Senate and questioned by specific committees before being commented on by the full body. The University Senate
is a body for discussing NYU-wide policies and practices, as well as making reform recommendations to the President and Chancellor. It can only directly act on academic issues which impact more than one school of NYU.
The first resolution presented and discussed, Human Rights at NYU, which was previously titled Resolution on the Human Rights of Palestinians narrowly failed to pass the Senate with a vote of 46 to 49. The resolution called for NYU to implement a socially responsible investment program and was first introduced in November of 2018 as part of the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions
program which seeks to end support for Israel. “Therefore be it resolved that NYU enacts a socially responsible investment policy for the university endowment that implements a screen on ethical investments that uphold human rights for all,” the resolution read. NYU President Andrew Hamilton has previously garnered both harsh criticism
for speaking out against the BDS movement in the past.
“We believe the university exists to bring people together not to separate them,” Hamilton said
“For this reason I am opposed to BDS. The university will not participate in boycotting of academics based in Israel. We believe in academic freedom and the free flow of ideas. Boycotting is antithetical to that vision.” The resolution failed amid cries of outrage and online uproar, as students took to social media
to decry the outcome.
To Foster a Culture of Sexual Respect was seconded and passed unanimously by the Senate. The resolution aims to reconstruct the Ad Hoc Senate Advisory Committee on Sexual Misconduct
previously established in 2014 to expand its scope to include the creation of a culture of sexual respect at NYU.
The resolution states that “We sought to advance meaningful action and make significant progress towards preparing out communities to meet the challenges of sexual violence and misconduct with respect and kindness… We do not ask the University, or any group or individual to take responsibility and we do not seek to assign blame but we are steadfast in our belief that not act is to be complicit.”
The Resolution for Decarbonization passed the University Senate with a vote of 47 in favour and 40 against. The resolution calls for decarbonization through the divestment of fossil fuels and calls for the university to instead rely on renewable energy for power, heating and transportation through “maximizing its reliance on onsite and grid renewable capacity.”
The resolution also requested an extension of NYU New York’s sustainability efforts to the rest of the Global Network. In addition to proposing measures to increase the university’s transparency on its sustainability movement through initiatives such as creating in-person public forum to discuss suitability, the resolution also calls for NYU to publish its greenhouse gas emission reports. The resolution is at odds with NYU’s stance and proposal on carbon neutrality as it emphasizes fossil fuel divestment, while NYU’s previous proposal for carbon neutrality focused on the creation of energy efficient buildings and reduction of energy and food waste.
Ming Ee Tham is Deputy News Editor. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.