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Gallatin’s Vote of No Confidence

May 08, 2013

The faculty of NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study voted on a measure of no confidence concerning John Sexton’s leadership last week. The resolution passed, though -- when one takes abstentions into account -- a majority of Gallatin faculty didn’t support it.

Susanne Wofford, Gallatin’s dean, issued the following statement when the vote’s results were released:

“The Gallatin faculty has presented a divided vote on the ‘no confidence’ resolution regarding university leadership: 23 voted in favor of a statement of no confidence; 21 voted against the statement of no confidence, and 6 abstained.”
“I am glad that many faculty members—21 of the eligible 50 full-time faculty —felt that a vote of no confidence is not called for at this time and voted against the statement. I am sorry, however, that 23 full-time faculty at Gallatin expressed the view that they do not have confidence in the leadership of NYU. I respect their views, but I disagree with them. Given the support for faculty manifested during John Sexton’s tenure as President in the form of a major increase in the number of new faculty lines in core liberal arts subjects, including in the Gallatin School, I believe that his leadership has been crucial to defending and strengthening the liberal arts ideal at NYU at a time when many universities have been cutting faculty numbers, or shifting priorities toward the technical disciplines. Over this period, financial aid has increased significantly, and we have made serious efforts to improve diversity of all kinds. In addition, Sexton’s leadership in developing the Global Network University has provided exceptional opportunities for our students and faculty.”
“I believe deeply in the value of faculty governance, and care about the values and goals expressed by the faculty who have expressed “no confidence” with their votes. But I also believe that the university is making important strides towards giving faculty a greater role in governance and towards increasing actual faculty decision-making power. These developments should be supported. I certainly will work hard with faculty members on both sides of this vote to continue to strengthen faculty governance at Gallatin and at NYU, to develop more financial aid and to find strategies to increase diversity, as well as to sustain and deepen the academic values that we all hold very dear. I am committed to listening to my colleagues and coming to understand more fully what their concerns are so that we can work together to improve the Gallatin School and NYU.”

Following the vote, Martin Lipton, who has been affiliated with NYU for six decades as student, alumnus, adjunct faculty member, trustee, and – since 2001 -- chair of NYU’s Board of Trustees, issued a statement reaffirming the Board’s unequivocal support for John Sexton.

--John Beckman

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