Illustration by Tom Abi Samra

Letter From The Editors: A Young Campus Must Remain Open to Criticism and Change

The Gazelle Management reflects on our role as a disruptor at NYUAD, always attempting to hold our university accountable and strive for change. For that, we need an administration always willing to listen.

In 2020, as NYU Abu Dhabi completed 10 years, The Gazelle completed seven. At its inception in March 2013, The Gazelle was created with the goal of being “an independent student voice, free of administrative oversight … fulfill[ing] the need for open discussion, reflection and informed analysis of this institution and the students’ place within it.” Over the years, The Gazelle has sought to consistently monitor, critique and readjust the moral compass of the community when need be, in the constant quest to make it a safer, more conducive and more inclusive space for all its students.
To this date, major changes in the way NYUAD’s sexual misconduct support is offered on campus have been sparked by articles on The Gazelle. We have reported on the gaps in mental health resources on campus, shed light on the Eurocentrism in our curriculum, institutional blindspots impacting low income students and the damaging consequences of the changes to the disbursement of our stipends.
In all of these cases, The Gazelle urged the university to take responsibility for the times their intent did not meet outcome. In some cases, this resulted in tangible change, such as better sexual respect education and curricular changes. There is, however, much work to be done.
Amid a global Black Lives Matter movement, without the editorial heft of a full staff, The Gazelle served as a platform to discuss the realities of racism and anti-Blackness at NYUAD, centering only Black students as they reported on institutional racism, the indignities of being a Black woman on campus and the challenges of Black student organizing at NYUAD.
Through these articles, Black students held our community accountable to make this a safer space for Black students and community members. And while the university has since made a significant number of changes, including centering Blackness in recent hiring decisions, the creation of an Implementation Committee on Race, Diversity and Belonging and the establishment of a speaker series on Race, Diversity and Learning, it has a long way to go; we strive to continue in this role with an unwavering dedication and commitment.
Not every call to action, decry of institutional negligence and investigative reporting has been met with an appropriate response. Yet, our staff have bravely persisted, capturing student sentiments in the aftermath of the cancellation of study away programs, called for compassionate pedagogy in the midst of a pandemic and shed light on price inflation in our campus convenience store.
This year, however, our priority has been to remain steadfast in our commitment to uplifting marginalized communities on this campus. We have attempted to make sensitive editorial choices, though we may sometimes falter in that effort. It has not been easy, given the extenuating circumstances we are in today. Many of our students have taken leaves of absence. Many more attended classes remotely from their home countries. Others have gone local for the semester. But our staff has held strong across continents and timezones, publishing 261 articles over 13 issues.
Nonetheless, no publication can be an agent for change without an administration that is willing to listen. Ultimately, as a young campus, NYUAD must always remain open and willing to respond to student feedback and change.
Parts of the administration often remain unresponsive, justifying this lack of transparency by pointing to previous instances of misquoting, mishaps in journalism ethics or scathing opinion articles about that department. On the former, we apologize for any potential errors that have been made in the past. We will always strive to be fair in our critiques and to uphold the tenets of journalism. But on the latter, it speaks poorly of departments on campus to be unwilling to be held accountable by the student newspaper. Refusing to engage in interviews for news or feature pieces on the basis of critical opinion pieces goes against the spirit of humility necessary for us to grow.
As we look to the future, we ask for more cooperation from the administration and more participation from the student body to support us in our goals. We cannot disrupt without this.
Laura Assanmal and Kaashif Hajee are Editors-in-Chief. Abhyudaya Tyagi is Managing Editor. Email them at
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