November 22nd 2018

Dear President Hamilton,

As faculty at New York University, a global network university with a presence spanning six continents, including a campus in the United Arab Emirates, we are shocked and concerned by news of the sentencing on November 21 of Matthew Hedges, a UK-national and Durham University doctoral candidate, to life imprisonment by a court in the UAE on a charge of spying for the UK government.  Mr. Hedges was sentenced after a five-minute procedure without defense counsel in attendance.

We concur with the Vice Chancellor of Durham University that there is no evidence  to suspect Mr. Hedges of engaging in anything other than legitimate academic research and note the statement of the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office that  “[w]e have seen no evidence to back up charges against him.”  

Given this, we believe it is essential for NYU to condemn this flagrant violation of academic freedom in a country where NYU operates a portal campus supported by UAE government financing.

We therefore call on the University leadership to take the following steps promptly:

1. We urge Andrew Hamilton, as president of NYU, to issue a public statement condemning the arrest and sentencing of Matthew Hedges, as well as his prolonged detention under conditions tantamount to torture. The statement should make it clear that the UAE’s treatment and sentencing of Mr. Hedges have grave implications for NYU’s ongoing operation in Abu Dhabi.

2. Our university should convene an open forum at its Washington Square campus to discuss ways of upholding the principles of academic freedom throughout the Global Network University (GNU). A permanent standing committee devoted to academic freedom should also be convened consisting of volunteers from all GNU sites. All faculty, students, and staff should be invited to submit their experiences and concerns to the standing committee, with an explicit assurance that those who do so will be fully protected from retaliation on the part of administrators and senior faculty members. It is the understanding of faculty on Washington Square and at the Global Network University sites that the university administration will do its utmost to protect their academic freedom at their workplace in accord with the full spectrum of AAUP protections.

3. The NYU administration should establish steps to be taken whenever government officials or policies encroach upon academic freedom of students or faculty at a campus or program site. Information about such encroachments, when they occur, should be publicly available.

In NYU President Andrew Hamilton’s most recent  communique to the university community, he highlights that NYU has an unparalleled level of global engagement. We call on him and the NYU administration to live up to this unique responsibility by voicing his unwavering commitment to academic freedom and to NYU’s Code of Ethical Conduct, which governs nondiscriminatory access to Global Network University (GNU) sites.


  1. John Archer, Professor, Department of English
  2. Rebecca E. Karl, Professor, History Department
  3. Nicholas Mirzoeff, Professor, Media, Culture and Communication
  4. Zachary Lockman, Professor, MEIS and History
  5. Andrew Ross, Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis
  6. Lauren Minsky, Assistant Professor, History Department, NYUAD
  7. Paula Chakravartty, Associate Professor, MCC and the Gallatin School
  8. Sonya Posmentier, Associate Professor, Department of English
  9. Gianpaolo Baiocchi, Professor, Gallatin School
  10. Mohamad Bazzi, Associate Professor, Journalism
  11. Michele Mitchell, Associate Professor, History
  12. Julie Livingston, Professor, SCA and History
  13. Dana Polan, Professor, Cinema Studies
  14. Marie Monaco, Associate Professor, Department of Neuroscience & Physiology
  15. Arang Keshavarzian, Associate Professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies
  16. Daniel J Walkowitz, Professor Emeritus, History/Social and Cultural Analysid
  17. George Shulman, the gallatin school
  18. Emanuela Bianchi, Associate Professor, Comparative Literature
  19. Richard Halpern, Professor, Department of English
  20. Lisa Duggan, Professor, Social & Cultural Analysis
  21. Mona El-Ghobashy, Clinical Assistant Professor, Liberal Studies
  22. Monica Kim, Assistant Professor, History
  23. Rajeswari Sunder Rajan, Professor, English
  24. Steven Hahn, Professor of History, History Department
  25. Nikhil Pal Singh, Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis and History
  26. Leila Pourtavaf, Visiting Assistant Professor, Middle East and Islamic Studies
  27. Brett Gary, Associate Professor, Media, Culture, and Communication
  28. Bertell Ollman, Professor Dept. of Politics
  29. Martha Hodes, Professor, Department of History
  30. Ritty Lukose, Associate Professor, Gallatin
  31. Jim Uleman, Professor, Psychology Dept.
  32. Diana Taylor, University Professor, Performance Studies and Spanish
  33. Natasha Schull, Associate Professor, Department of Media, Culture, and Communication
  34. Steven Lukes, Professor, Sociology
  35. Hasia Diner professor
  36. Anna McCarthy, Professor and Chair, Cinema Studies
  37. Tejaswini Ganti, Associate Professor, Anthropology
  38. John Waters, Clinical Asst Prof, Irish studies Program
  39. Barbara Weinstein, Silver Professor, History
  40. Michelle Lee, PhD Student, Psychology Department
  41. Gregory Murphy, Professor, Department of Psychology
  42. Paula McDowell, Professor of English
  43. Pauline Fernandes, Instructor, SPS Division of Programs in Business
  44. Dan Streible, Assoc. Professor, Cinema Studies
  45. Roozbeh Kiani, Assistant Professor, Neural Science
  46. Jonathan Winawer, Assistant Professor, Psychology
  47. Bambi B Schieffelin, Collegiate Professor, Professor Anthropology
  48. Angela Zito, Associate Professor, Anthropology/Religious Studies
  49. Suzanne G Cusick, Professor of Music, FAS
  50. Alexander Rich, PhD candidate, Department of Psychology
  51. Anamaria Alexandrescu, Ph.D. student, Medical School
  52. Elayne Oliphant, Assistant Professor, Anthropology
  53. Jeongmin Kim, GPS Teaching Fellow, NYU Shanghai
  54. Emily Boeke, Doctoral Student, Psychology
  55. Lenora Hanson, Assistant Professor, English
  56. Paul Bergin, Research Associate, CNS
  57. Amir Minsky, Assistant Teaching Professor of History, NYUAD
  58. Sharon Friedman, Associate Professor, Gallatin
  59. Ayse Baltacioglu-Brammer, Assistant Prof., History-MEIS
  60. Rayna Rapp, Professor, Anthropology
  61. Jeff Goodwin, Professor, Sociology
  62. Katherine Thorson, Postdoctoral Researcher, Psychology
  63. Tao Goffe, Assistant Professor, Social and Cultural Analysis
  64. Keith Miller, Curator The Gallatin Galleries, Gallatin School
  65. Nicole Eustace, Professor, History
  66. Jane B. Malmo, Teacher, Department of Drama
  67. Ruvanee Vilhauer, Clinical Associate Professor, Psychology Department
  68. Andra Mihali, Postdoctoral fellow, Center for Neural Science
  69. Susannah Levi, Associate Professor, Communicative Sciences and Disorders
  70. Ben Stillerman, PhD candidate, Psychology
  71. Marita Sturken, Professor, Media, Culture, and Communication
  72. Manu Goswami, Associate Professor, History Dept
  73. Thuy Linh Tu, Associate Professor, SCA
  74. Kim Phillips-Fein, Associate Professor, Gallatin School and History
  75. Ailis Cournane, Assistant Professor, Linguistics
  76. Marion Kaplan, Professor, Dept. of Hebrew and Judaic Studies
  77. Catherine Coray, Assoc. Arts Professor, TSOA Drama/NYUAD Faculty Affiliate
  78. Adam H. Becker, Professor, Classics and Religious Studies
  79. Herrick Chapman, Professor, History and Institute of French Studies        
  80. Carol Anne Spreen, Associate Professor, International Education, ASH        
  81. Howard Besser, Professor, Cinema Studies                
  82. Martin A. Schain, Professor of Politics, Emeritus                
  83. Laura Slatkin, Professor, Gallatin School and Comparative Literature         
  84. Molly Nolan, Professor emerita, Dept. of History                
  85. Vasuki Nesiah, Assoc. Prof. of Practice, The Gallatin School                
  86. Thomas Thesen, Associate Professor, Neurology,                 
  87. Maureen N. McLane, Professor, English                
  88. Avital Ronell,  University Professor of the Humanities                 
  89. Romain Ferrali, Postdoctoral Associate, NYUAD Social Science Division        
  90. Aaron Chow, Research Scientist, Division of Engineering                
  91. Barbara Browning, Professor, Dept. of Performance Studies                
  92. Lisa Gitelman, Professor of English and MCC                
  93. Susan Murray, Associate Professor, Media, Culture and Communication        
  94. Marjorie Rhodes,  Associate Professor, Department of Psychology        
  95. Sally Guttmacher Emeritus Professor, Global School of Public Health        
  96. Jini Kim Watson, Associate Professor, English                
  97. Pacharee Sudhinaraset, Assistant Professor, English                
  98. Bruce Grant, Professor, Department of Anthropology
  99. Joshua Sooter, PhD Candidate, NYU History Dept. (Dissertation Fellow at NYUAD)        
  100. Laura Viidebaum, Assistant Professor, Classics                
  101. Jay Van Bavel, Associate Professor, Psychology
  102. Tessa West, associate professor, Psychology
  103. Raffaella Cribiore Professor Department of Classics
  104. Stephen Duncombe, Professor, Gallatin School & Media Culture and Communication
  105. David Konstan, Professor, Classics
  106. Cayetana Adrianzen Ponce, Phd Candidate History.
  107. M. Florencia Assaneo, Postdoctoral Associate, Psychology Department
  108. Robert Young, Professor, English
  109. Gabriel Young, PhD Student, History and Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies
  110. Patricia Crain, Professor, English Department
  111. Alex Boodrookas, Ph.D. Candidate, Departments of Middle Eastern Studies & History
  112. Karen Holmberg, Visiting Asst Professor, Gallatin School
  113. Dipti Desai, Associate Professor, Art and Art Professions
  114. Sinan Antoon, Associate Professor, Gallatin
  115. Sara Pursley, Assistant Professor, MEIS and History
  116. Elaine Freedgood, Professor, English
  117. Jean Randich, Adjunct, Drama
  118. David W Hogg, Professor of Physics and Data Science
  119. Simón Trujillo, Assistant Professor, English
  120. Amy Whitaker, Assistant Professor, Visual Arts Administration
  121. Susie Linfield, Associate Professor, Journalism
  122. Peter Nicholls, Professor, English
  123. Sylvia Molloy, Schweitzer Professor in the Humanities Emerita,  Spanish and Portuguese
  124. Alejandro Velasco, Associate Professor, Gallatin and History
  125. Walter Alvarez, Adjunct Asst. Professor, Silver School of Social Work
  126. David Poeppel, Professor, Psychology
  127. John Victor Singler, Professor Emeritus, Linguistics
  128. David Sider, professor, classics
  129. Fred Myers, Professor, Anthropology
  130. Diana Turk, associate professor, Teaching and Learning
  131. Aviva Slesin, Adjunct, Open Arts/Tisch
  132. Marta Peixoto, Associate Professor, Spanish and Portuguese
  133. Chyng Sun, Clinical Professor, SPS
  134. Crystal Parikh, Professor, English and Social & Cultural Analysis
  135. Sukhdev Sandhu, Associate Professor, English/ Social & Cultural Analysis
  136. Martha Rust, Associate Professor, English
  137. Brigitte Miriam Bedos-Rezak
  138. Faye Ginsburg, Kriser Professor of Anthropology,
  139. Linda Gordon, University Professor of the Humanities, dept. of history
  140. Jill Lane, Associate Professor and Director, Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies; Spanish & Portuguese
  141. Richard Sennett, Professor of Sociology, emeritus
  142. Erik Meddles, French Studies and History
  143. Kathleen Gerson, Collegiate Professor, Sociology
  144. Natasha Iskander, Associate Professor, Wagner School of Public Servi ce
  145. Gary Holden, Professor, Silver School of Social Work
  146. Patrick Deer, Associate Professor, English
  147. Patrick E Shrout, Professor, Psychology
  148. Liam Murphy, Professor of Law
  149. Sibylle Fischer, Associate Professor, Spanish and History
  150. Camille Rullan, Graduate Student, Center for Neural Science
  151. Colin Vanderburg, PhD student, Department of English
  152. Michael Shenefelt, Clinical Professor, Liberal Studies
  153. Valerie Nunez, Research Scientist, CNS
  154. Heidi White, Clinical Professor, Liberal Studies
  155. Paula England, Silver Professor, Sociology
  156. Rustin Zarkar, PhD Candidate, MEIS
  157. Geoffrey Levin, PhD Candidate, HJS/History
  158. Helga Tawil-Souri, Associate Professor, Media Culture and Communication
  159. Thomas Abercrombie, Associate Professor, Anthropology
  160. Kathy Engel, Associate Arts Professor, Dept of Art & Public Policy, Tisch
  161. Harvey Molotch, Sociology and SCA
  162. Mark Crispin Miller, Professor, Media, Culture and Communication
  163. Julia Jarcho, Assistant Professor, English
  164. Athena Vouloumanos, Associate Professor, Psychology
  165. Terry Knickerbocker Distinguished Teacher Dept. of Drama
  166. Isra Ali, Clinical Assistant Professor, Media Culture and Communication
  167. Katherine Hurbis-Cherrier, Associate Professor, Undergraduate Film and Television
  168. Thomas Bender, University Professor of the Humanities, Emeritus
  169. Busra Tanriverdi-Ozkan, PhD student, Psychology
  170. Ana Dopico, Associate Professor, Department of Comparative Literature, Department of Spanish and Portuguese
  171. Timothy J. Reiss, Professor Emeritus, Comparative Literature
  172. David Larsen, Clinical Associate Professor, Liberal Studies
  173. Rossen Djagalov, Assistant Professor, Russian and Slavic Studies
  174. Allison Korinek, PhD Student, History and French Studies
  175. Mitra Rastegar, Clinical Assistant Professor, Liberal Studies
  176. Theresa Aiello, PhD; Associate Professor, retired, active, Social Work
  177. Ahmed Hafezi, MA Student, History
  178. Valerie Forman Gallatin School
  179. Andrea Gadberry, Assistant Professor, Gallatin School and Department of Comparative Literature
  180. Rachel Welsh, doctoral candidate, History
  181. James Ryan, Associate Director, Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies
  182. Eugene Nicole Professor of French Dept of French
  183. Lala Straussner, Professor, Social Work
  184. Christine Harrington, Professor, Politics Department
  185. Ruth Ben-Ghiat, Professor, History
  186. Ann Pellegrini, Professor, Performance Studies & Social and Cultural Analysis
  187. Ada Ferrer, Professor, History & CLACS
  188. Amy Zhang, assistant professor, anthropology
  189. Michael S. Landy, Professor of Psychology and Neural Science
  190. Rebecca Anne Goetz, Associate Professor of History
  191. Carley Moore, Clinical Professor, Global Liberal Studies
  192. Dara Rossman Regaignon, English and Expository Writing Program
  193. Edward Ziter, Professor, Drama
  194. Renee Blake, Associate Professor, Linguistics and Social & Cultural Analysis
  195. Mara Mills, Associate Professor, Media, Culture, and Communication
  196. Larry Lockridge, Professor Emeritus, English
  197. Rosalind Fredericks, Associate Professor, Gallatin
  198. Rebecca Amato, Gallatin
  199. Asli Igsiz, Assistant Professor, Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies
  200. Beth Boyle Machlan, Senior Lecturer in the Humanities, Expository Writing Program
  201. Raymond J. Ricketts, Senior Language Lecturer, Expository Writing Program
  202. Justin Warner, Lecturer, Expository Writing Program
  203. Nader Uthman, Clinical Associate Professor, MEIS
  204. Ian Alexander, PhD student, MCC
  205. S. Heijin Lee, Social and Cultural Analysis
  206. Jameson Fitzpatrick, Language Lecturer, Expository Writing Program
  207. Kristin Horton, Associate Professor of Practice, Gallatin School
  208. Adam Penenberg, Dir. of Undergraduate Studies - Journalism        
  209. Emily Apter, Professor of French and Comparative Literature
  210. Jussi Valtonen, Postdoctoral Researcher, Psychology
  211. Megan Shea, Senior Language Lecturer, Expository Writing Program
  212. Elizabeth Ellis, Assistant Professor of History
  213. Ali Mirsepassi, Professor, Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies
  214. Eric Klinenberg. Professor. Sociology
  215. Fabienne Doucet, Associate Professor, Teaching & Learning
  216. Olivia Birdsall, Senior Language Lecturer, Expository Writing Program
  217. Andrew H. Lee, Curator, Division of Libraries
  218. Renee Blake, Associate Professor, Linguistics and SCA
  219. Bijan Pesaran, Associate Professor of Neural Science
  220. Elizabeth Bauer, Clinical Associate Professor, Psychology
  221. Margaret Satterthwaite, Clinical Professor of Law
  222. Mike Peachin, Professor, Classics
  223. Dennis Geronimus, Associate Professor, Art History
  224. Miriam Basilio, Assoc. Prof. Art History/Museum Studies