To President Sexton and Vice-Chancellor Bloom
In the course of the last month, the NYU-AAUP chapter officers addressed two separate letters to you: the first regarding conditions of labor compliance at NYUAD, the second regarding the recent arrests in the UAE. We have not received any responses.
The substance of our letters was shaped by concerns about potential damage to NYU’s name by rights violations in the UAE. The chapter is beholden by the AAUP principles commonly observed by American universities to express such concerns, and it does so in order to safeguard NYU faculty interests. NYUAD is officially bound by the same AAUP principles regarding academic rights and freedoms. Our letters were intended as reminders that these principles cannot be selectively applied or cherrypicked–as an institution we either abide by them or we do not.
In the past, similar letters about NYUAD policy, which reflect widespread faculty concerns, have elicited a response from Josh Taylor (who is responsible for NYUAD communications), but only at our prompting. Most recently, we noted the following comment from Mr. Taylor in a Chronicle of Higher Education article on the subject of the recent detentions of UAE democracy advocates, including a Sorbonne professor
“Josh Taylor, a spokesman for NYU Abu Dhabi, said in an e-mail message that the administration will stay silent on the arrests. ‘We believe that we can have a far greater impact on creating a more informed, responsible, and just world, by creating powerful centers of ideas, discourse, and critical thinking, than by simply firing off a press release,’ Mr. Taylor wrote.”
We wonder if this is how the NYUAD administration wants NYU faculty to learn about policy decisions? Through comments in the press from its public affairs officer?
We believe that when a group of faculty addresses its legitimate concerns to the institution’s leaders, they deserve a response from the leaders, and not from a university spokesperson (with all due respect to Mr. Taylor) who handles public relations on behalf of the administration.
Andrew Ross, president, AAUP-NYU
Mary Nolan, vice-president, NYU-AAUP
Marie Monaco, secretary, NYU-AAUP
Anna McCarthy, treasurer, NYU-AAUP
Rebecca Karl, at-large committee member, NYU-AAUP
Rana Jaleel, graduate representative, NYU-AAUP