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BY SAM SPOKONY | New York University Arts and Science faculty have decided to hold a vote of no confidence in the leadership of John Sexton, the university’s president for the past 11 years.
At a Dec. 13 meeting, 56 percent of the 279 faculty members supported holding the no-confidence vote. It will be a largely symbolic gesture but, if it were to pass, the vote would also likely send a powerful message to an administration that many believe is in the process of severely damaging Greenwich Village with its multibillion-dollar N.Y.U. 2031 expansion plans.
The impending no-confidence vote, which will not be held until March 11-15, highlights a sharp divide within the N.Y.U. community that has existed ever since the expansion was first proposed.
Last week, in advance of the Arts and Science faculty meeting, Martin Lipton, chairperson of N.Y.U.’s board of trustees, wrote a statement reaffirming the board’s full support for Sexton.
And in response to the Dec. 13 vote, N.Y.U. Faculty Against the Sexton Plan — a group with more than 400 members, which has brought legal action against the university administration over the expansion plans — released its own statement, calling N.Y.U. 2031 “the straw that broke the camel’s back.”
“It should now be clear to all that N.Y.U.’s faculty has lost its faith in this administration to lead N.Y.U. in a way that is educationally productive, inclusive and financially sound,” the statement read. “The no-confidence vote is a response to a pattern of top-down decision making by President Sexton and his administration that has produced a crisis in faculty governance at N.Y.U.”
Arts and Science is the largest academic community at N.Y.U., comprising the College of Arts and Science, the Graduate School of Arts and Science and the Liberal Studies program. It is one of the 12 schools whose representatives comprise the N.Y.U. Faculty Senators Council.