July 25, 2012
For Immediate Release
Contact: Andrew Berman, Executive Director, Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation: 917-533-1767 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Linda Cronin-Gross, LCG Communications: 718.853.5568; 917.767.1141; email@example.com
VILLAGE RESIDENTS AND NYU FACULTY RESPOND TO
JOINED BY COUNSEL, LAW FIRM GIBSON DUNN,
Manhattan – Opponents of NYU’s massive Village expansion plan responded to the City Council’s approval of the plan today.
A broad coalition of Village residents and NYU faculty, staff, and graduate workers had urged the full City Council to vote down the NYU plan – see the letter HERE.
Opponents of the NYU plan had offered several alternative approaches which both the university and the City Council refused to consider. The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation had commissioned a study showing that locating new NYU facilities in the Financial District, Downtown Brooklyn, or Long Island City rather than on the proposed sites would be less expensive, more environmentally efficient, and have greater positive economic impact, (read HERE), while submitting reports to the Council illustrating that other cities and universities facing similar expansion struggles chose to locate their facilities in satellite campuses (read HERE) or to simply spread their facilities over greater distances (read HERE). NYU faculty opposing the plan (NYU Faculty Against the Sexton Plan) urged the university to instead make better utilization of existing space, and move administrative and other functions which do not need to be there out of the Village to open up more space for the classrooms and laboratories the university claims it needs (read HERE). An unprecedented thirty-seven NYU departments passed resolutions opposing the expansion plan (read HERE).
"It’s truly a shame that the City Council ignored the pleas of thousands of New Yorkers and the vast majority of NYU’s own faculty, staff, and graduate workers to approve this horrible plan. It is stunning that the Council would vote to sell off public parkland, overturning long-standing agreements under which NYU was given public land a generation ago, just to satisfy the grandiose schemes of a private university’s super-rich board and president. The NYU expansion plan will turn a residential neighborhood into a company town and subject it to twenty straight years of construction The Council ignored the grave environmental impacts of this plan and the much better options that had been put forward for NYU to locate new facilities in the Financial District; this is a sad day for democracy in New York City. We will be working closely with our partners in the NYU faculty and with our lawyers at Gibson Dunn to pursue every avenue available to us to remedy this tragic wrong which has been imposed upon the people of the City of New York," said Andrew Berman, Executive Director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (GVSHP).
"Today the faculty of NYU join our neighbors in the Village to express our profound dismay and disappointment that the City Council has refused to listen to its constituents and has instead passed this massive, unnecessary expansion plan. The NYU 2031 plan has little to do with education, and everything to do with real estate and expansion for expansion’s sake. This decision does not represent a compromise, or a reasonable solution to NYU’s space needs. How can nearly 2 million square feet and twenty years of demolition and construction, and four high rise buildings crammed into a historic residential neighborhood be justified? The broad majority of NYU’s faculty oppose this plan; an unprecedented 37 departments/divisions have already voted to oppose it. It’s hard to believe that the Council voted for such a huge expansion without requiring a financing plan from NYU’s administration. Sadly, much of the cost of this multi-billion dollar expansion will be passed on to our students in the form of ever more student-debt. We don’t think this is right or true to our academic mission. Yesterday, we joined the launch of a new City-wide campaign, called StandUp4NYC. We will also be pursuing other actions, including legal action. As good neighbors and as faculty, we pledge to keep on fighting until we succeed in halting this plan," said Patrick Deer, NYU Associate Professor of English in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences on behalf of NYU Faculty Against the Sexton Plan (NYU FASP).
"The concerns of Greenwich Village residents and NYU faculty were consistently ignored. The City Planning Commission and City Council did not use a fair process – it was a cram down. Any fair judge will send this plan back to the drawing board, so we look forward to our day in court," said Jim Walden, an attorney with Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher representing GVSHP and NYUFASP.