The War in Washington Square
By JEFF GOODWIN
Published: March 20, 2013
LAST week the faculty of arts and science of New York University approved a no-confidence resolution against the university’s president, John Sexton. I had introduced the resolution in December, and in the ensuing months it generated one of the largest campus debates in recent memory. The final no-confidence vote, the first in N.Y.U. history, was decisive: 298 to 224.
How did Dr. Sexton lose the confidence of so many faculty members? By ignoring us. Of course, many professors everywhere feel overlooked by today’s generation of jet-setting university presidents. But we have very specific complaints: above all, Dr. Sexton has consistently refused to address concerns about plans to expand N.Y.U. offices and dorms into the part of Greenwich Village south of Manhattan’s Washington Square Park, where many of us live.
This expansion plan is known as N.Y.U. 2031, indicating the year in which all the building will be complete. The very name told us that we’d be living on a construction site for a couple of decades.