Illustration by Baraa Al Jorf

NYU Administrators Hospitalized after Flexing too Hard on WSN

While some call the response excessive, their injuries will no doubt make them heroes among the NYUAD community for generations.

Feb 29, 2020

This article is a contribution to The Gazelle's satire column.
On the morning of Feb. 25, senior NYU staff members Bird Beakman and Cat Charmer independently checked themselves into local emergency rooms. Both NYU employees tore several of their muscles the day prior while flexing NYUAD’s admission and outcome statistics on the Washington Square News Editorial Board. While some call the response excessive, their injuries will no doubt make them heroes among the NYU Abu Dhabi community for generations.
The cascade of events resulting in their overexertion began the morning of Feb. 18, when the Washington Square News Editorial Board published yet another opinion piece decrying the failure of NYUAD to behave as a respectable academic institution.
The article cited a litany of concerns regarding labor rights violations by subcontractors during campus construction, as well as questions of academic freedom in the UAE. Of particular note, the Editorial Board pointed to what it perceived as the debilitating censorship caused by this university’s refusal to assume control of the UAE immigration system and NYUAD’s baffling choice to maintain a good working relationship with the government of Abu Dhabi. For these reasons, the Editorial Board came to the logical conclusion that any and all NYU subdivisions should cut ties with the portal campus.
It’s quite unreasonable to expect a respectable publication like WSN — no doubt hit hard by the industry-wide decline — to fill its many pages without periodically indulging in the time-honored trope of attacking the Abu Dhabi and Shanghai campuses. Indeed, without the portal campuses, WSN might need to shut down for lack of material.
Aware of the sensitivity around this issue, Beakman and Charmer drafted a response. Hoping to kill two birds with one stone, their Letter to the Editor not only offered an alternative perspective to that of the Editorial Board but also offered WSN the rare opportunity to publish prose that was both well-written and based on substantiated evidence.
“I’m responsible for NYUAD’s Public Affairs,” Charmer explained whilst showing her bulging biceps. “It was high time these unilateral attacks got a response.”
When asked whether she felt the flex was in any way excessive, Charmer responded that she considered her language to be “quite tame.” As she elaborated, “The milk in my fridge is almost the same percentage as our admission rate and we’ve produced more Rhodes Scholars than there are scholars on the island of Rhodes. But we didn’t say that, did we? No, we just gave them the numbers raw. That’s restraint if you ask me, Beakman and I could have gone way farther.”
Quite unexpectedly, members of both NYUNY and NYUAD administration actively intervened to address the crisis before it grew in scale. This uncharacteristic decisive action made a bold statement against the troped history of editorials targeting the Abu Dhabi campus.
Speaking to this point, Charmer concluded the interview with a passionate defense of her work.
“Even after you strip away all the sensationalism our critics mobilize against us, it's important to remind everyone that we should not be judged only by the worst thing we’ve ever done. Reducing us to our greatest regret rejects the aspirations we’ve sought to realize. It ignores the opportunities we provide to a student body diverse in national and socioeconomic privilege. Most importantly, it is a disservice to the staff, faculty and students who’ve spent the last ten years making NYUAD into a more perfect version of itself.”
As Beakman, gesticulating despite his neck brace, explained, “We saw it as a public service. We wanted to remind everyone that a warts-and-all image of NYUAD must also include the and-all. So, yeah: we flexed. Maybe even a bit harder than we needed to. But our vanity is no greater than those brash enough to cast final, moralistic judgments on a complex institution with which they have little to no first hand experience.”
Ian Hoyt is a Satire Writer. Email him at
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