Good afternoon all,
We are writing both to thank you for meeting with student representatives from NYU Student Labour Action Movement (SLAM) and NYU Divest for Climate Justice yesterday afternoon, March 29th, and to follow up with a recap of our campaigns’ actions this week, our collective demands, and our March 29th meeting with Ms. Lynne Brown and Mr. Thomas Ellett.
NYU SLAM and NYU Divest began occupying the Bonomi Family Admissions Center on Monday March 26th. We began this occupation over a set of demands listed within a letter that was delivered to the admin, with trustees cc’d on this email, on the morning of March 26th (This letter is re-attached below as .pdf file).
As Ms.Brown was initially out of office and unable to respond to our letter by the end of Monday, the 26th, we halted our occupation after business hours on the same day, and returned to the Admissions Center on the morning of Tuesday, the 28th. We then received a note from Ms.Brown confirming her receipt of our letter and her plan to “make the trustees aware” of it. She also noted that deliberating and responding to our demands would take the administration and trustees “several weeks.”
We followed up with several clarifying questions, including: a) how Ms.Brown intended to “make the trustees aware of our letter” and b) a request to be cc’d on this correspondence, and for Martin Dorph and/or the Investment Office to provide us with information on NYU’s investments that we have been requesting since November of 2017 (specifically, when NYU’s holdings in Anadarko and Noble were dropped, and what, if any fossil fuel holdings remain in NYU’s name).
These questions remain unanswered.
Both student groups understand that serious deliberation of the demands requested within our joint letter will legitimately take weeks of discussion, and as such, we crafted the ask for a public town hall between trustees and students.
Alongside the University Senate approving a resolution for student and faculty membership in the Board of Trustees, this new demand looks to create a platform for transparency and accountability at the highest level of decision-making at NYU.
This ask was delivered to all cc’d on this email on the evening of March 28th, and our collective groups prepared to occupy the Kimmel staircase overnight until we were granted the opportunity to meet and discuss our campaigns’ expectations in a meeting with Ms .Brown and Mr. Ellett on the afternoon of March 29th.
During the meeting we made clear our demand for a public town hall meeting that will
During this meeting Ms. Brown confirmed to respond to both our first demands (again, listed in the letter attached to this email) in a more timely fashion than initially stated and to respond to our above demands by the end of next week (Friday, April 6th).
Student representatives within the meeting brought Ms. Brown’s aforementioned commitments to our respective groups, as well as to constituents outside of our immediate campaigns. We deliberated and found it necessary that this town hall last at least 2 hours. We also agreed to respect Ms.Brown’s ask for us to cease our public demonstrations throughout the remainder of this week and the following; that is, while we wait for a response to our asks. However, we are troubled by the threats of disciplinary action, as they prove nothing but the incapacity of the administration to properly communicate with the student body and to adequately respond to questions that have been raised for five years. These threats belittle the joint efforts that have been made by the whole of the student body: in the student senate, in NYU SLAM, and in NYU Divest.
This said, it is of the utmost importance to both campaigns and our allies across the student body, that the administration seriously deliberates upon and thoughtfully responds to our above demands, alongside the ones attached to this letter.
We are prepared to escalate to an indefinite occupation of the Kimmel staircase on Monday, April 9th if we do not receive a response by the end of next week, or if we are unsatisfied with said response.
We look forward to future negotiations and hope you all have restful weekends.
NYU Divest and NYU SLAM