NYU's Arts and Sciences Faculty Vote No Confidence in President John Sexton

Categories: John Sexton, NYU

Though not binding, the vote is a setback for John Sexton and his agenda of NYU expansion.
The week-long electronic balloting just closed, and the results are in: Faculty in New York University's School of Arts and Sciences have voted in support of a resolution of no confidence in the university's president, John Sexton, and his administration.

The voting was open to the school's 682 tenured or tenure-track faculty, of whom 569 took part. Of the votes cast, 298 professors (52 percent of those participating) voted no confidence, and 224 (39 percent) voted to support Sexton.

The resolution has passed, though it is not immediately clear what implications it will have. In announcing the result of the vote, New York Faculty Against the Sexton Plan called on Sexton to resign and on the trustees to accept his resignation.

"As the Trustees comprise the third tier of shared governance, we hope they will act quickly to restore faculty morale, by working with us to turn NYU into a more open university-one that is transparent in its financial dealings, and more democratic in its management of academic affairs."

Other divisions at NYU are considering holding their own no-confidence votes may now move forward with them. Prior to the vote, the school's board of trustees had publicly reaffirmed their support of Sexton, so the vote alone is unlikely to drive him out of office.

Andrew Ross, a vocal critic of Sexton and his policies, said he expects the struggle over the direction of the school will shift from faculty-against-president to faculty-against-trustees. "They represent the concentrated power of Wall Street," he said. "For us, I think that fight will be an opportunity to shine a light on the Trustees, which rarely happens."

Update: NYU's central administration has released this statement from John Sexton:

"I have spent the majority of my professional life at NYU. In those three decades, I have been animated by a single purpose - to serve my institution well, and to try to improve it. Through a collective effort involving trustees, alumni, University leadership, and faculty, we have during the past 30 years transformed NYU from a decent regional university into an international research university that stands among the top institutions in the world. This stands as a great collective accomplishment.

"Now we are in a time of tremendous pressure on higher education, and my goal is to sustain that academic momentum while adapting NYU to a dramatically changing environment. Over the past several months, there has been vigorous debate about NYU's direction, resulting in both expressions of support - from the Medical School, from the Nursing School, from the Dental School, from the Deans of all the schools, as well today's email to the NYU community from the Trustees - and now this expression of dissatisfaction from FAS.

"In the university setting, we believe in debate and criticism; it helps us improve. That will be particularly important in the months and years ahead, because we are at a moment that compels meaningful change in higher education.

"It is also the case that faculty must be at the center of the academic endeavor and involved in the decision-making. We have taken some important steps in that direction and, particularly with this vote in mind, that effort will continue. I look forward to working with the faculty to maintain NYU's academic trajectory and prepare for the challenges ahead."

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As a recent NYU grad, I believe that John Sexton understands the way of the future and that the CAS faculty is stuck in the past. The way I see it a college education, particularly at the undergraduate level, is less and less about furthering knowledge and more and more about obtaining a skill set for the workplace. John Sexton understands this, and attempts to find a balance between building NYU's brand in the professional world and its reputation as a prestigious higher-learning institution. CAS faculty - and many old-timers in the Village - are too attached to the way things were. They care too little about students succeeding and having the necessary tools (including modern educational buildings) to do so, to the point that those obtaining good, well-paying jobs are often reviled. Elite academia is not, and cannot be, for everyone. Certainly NYU has its problems, but it is my belief that John Sexton is aware of them, and that his thought-out plan will allow NYU to increase its endowment and better the lives of its students over time. Let's get aboard the John Sexton-led train to a better future, and hop off the CAS faculty-led one unable to adapt to current times.


This historic vote, above all else that it signifies not only for our school but for college education nationwide, is a testament to faculty democracy and the ideals and spirit of shared governance. Instead of cowering in the face of the admin’s bullying and refusing to fall for its blandishments and crocodile tears, we, individually and collectively, raised our voices and spoke truth to power on behalf of those who genuinely represent of our university — who are its very lifeblood. Not the bureaucratic brass, the cronies of the president and trustees and the overpaid talking heads that continue to threaten to take over our educational institution and cynically turn it into a corporate brand and real estate giant, but our students, our alumni and my fellow faculty. The oldest and most prominent of NYU schools, the College of Arts & Science, has now made itself heard and there’s no denying (or hiding from) the result. Of all the tenured and tenure-track faculty eligible to vote, a staggering 83.4% made their voices heard. As you note, of those voting one way or another (i.e., not abstaining), 57% no longer have confidence in Sexton. Those who still support him? Less than 40%. And still — disappointingly but predictably — our president, as tone-deaf and unresponsive as ever (behavior which largely led to the extraordinary measures of a Vote of No Confidence in the first place), chose to respond with the following: “In the the past several months, there has been vigorous debate about NYU’s direction, resulting in both expressions of support – from the Medical School, from the Nursing School, from the Dental School, from the Deans of all the schools, as well today’s email to the NYU community from the Trustees – and now this expression of dissatisfaction from FAS.” First of all, the medical schools never held a faculty vote. The backing came from the schools’ admin! The College of Arts and Science most certainly DID exercise its democratic rights to assemble, debate and vote, despite all manner of obstruction thrown our way. Second, this vote was anything but an “expression of dissatisfaction.” Pres. Sexton, it was an expression of no confidence in your leadership. Nothing could be a graver indictment from your faculty. At Harvard, a few years back, it was “just the faculty of Arts & Science” too. We all know what happened to Larry Summers a few months later. And you can be sure that there will likely be more schools voting on no confidence soon across NYU. A point will come, must come, when Sexton and the trustees, whose own rapid response was verging on insulting in its high-handedness, will have to listen. As a colleague of mine aptly put it upon reading the trustees’ response, it “sounds exactly like the true voice of power, emerging from the inner boardroom sanctum.They never show their face, and they never show their hand. Now they have been forced to do so…” The light next to be shined on the darkest corners of our administration’s mismanagement is sure to be trained on them. This demand for openness and accountability — let’s start with fiscal transparency — would be a victory not only for faculty democracy but also for our students, constituting the most heavily-indebted student body of any private university in the entire nation. While Pres. Sexton’s salary (now standing in at $1.5 million) grew by an average of over 11% from 2002-10 alone, while tuition rose by 5.24% from 2002-10. And all the while, our trustees and president see fit to reward fellow administrators with the most obscenely lavish severance packages and homes? This must stop and stop now. Those of us WHO ARE NYU: Let us do everything in our power to ensure that yesterday’s VNC is but the first of many larger and more lasting victories for our university and those who have invested all they have to make it an intellectual, creative and productive community that we can all be proud of again.


As a student of NYU Gallatin School of Individualized Study, which allows me to pursue my passion in the hands of the most compassionate, I have ever been thankful of nyu. I cannot claim to know of John sexton grandeur plans, which statistics shows the success of, but from my phone conversation with John Saxton regarding NYU's deceitful financial aid policies and immoral treatment of students, I have come to learn the value students hold in his minds, which I would claim to be insignificant.

Mr.Saxton's plans have been successful so far, but to what degree in the future? I am glad to know that I am not alone in my view towards Mr.Saxton (as an Insignificant student), and to have the faculty's courage in their expression.

What good is the expansion of (at this point) an empire, without the support of its foundation? I hope this is a wake up call in which it prevents our president's past successes from clouding his vision of the future, and that it will turn his eyes back into the current NYU body, rather than for its greed-full plan of expansion.


John Sexton poster boy for higher greed not higher ed.....his best friend Jon Corzine what a coincidence --- Sexton ran down to testify Mike Bloomberg and his mini-me must have a third term.  In bed with Rudin family greed as well so we have no Trauma Level 1 Hospital in the West Village with AIDS care and a Rape Crisis Center.  Another king oligarch central loses his head, the king is dead, Sexon mega dormed the East Village to death. Look at St. Ann's 1847 NYU's illegal air sale purchase by USPS also corrupt -- visit 120 East 12 see their handwork -- eye full...St.Ann's Facade from 1847 hangs like an Albatross on the hideous zone busting mega dorm.

Take Amanda the People's Burden with you.  Bloomberg, Quinn his mini-me, City Council puppets even our ex communists Rosie Mendez and Margret Chin green lighted NYU and Rudin corruption.

Waiting for the next oligarch and puppet politicians to fall.  No to Quinn as mayor and Scott Stringer admits he is not qualified to be Comptroller.  Stay tuned big falls to come.... CityTime crime and even bigger ECTP 911 --- we hear HP corruption can't be covered up much longer all those law suits even Chubby check suing HP on penis size app besmirching his good name...

John Sexton, John Corzine.....who's next?  Mike Bloomberg? He and Quinn pushed CityTime and ECTP 911, NYCAPS right there 3 billion dollars of tax payer dollars abused big and bad....stay tuned...no wonder Quinn and The New York Times want to move up the election!

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