Opponents of NYU Expansion Get Day in Court

Judge Gives Attorneys 2 Weeks to Submit More Evidence

Thursday, July 18, 2013

NYU, expansion Birds-eye-view of NYU's expansion plans (Courtesy of NYU)

A court hearing about whether New York City officials improperly approved New York University's expansion plan focused on whether some of the land in question was park land.

Attorneys representing NYU faculty members and Greenwich Village community groups told a New York State Supreme Court Judge on Thursday that the university's expansion will be built on land that should remain park land.

But NYU's attorney told the court the park land was initially dedicated to be used as a street.  "You can't transfer streets to parks," said Alan Levine, representing the university.

The expansion will add about 2 million square feet of new buildings in the Village. 


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Comments [1]

Pen_Is_Mightier from New York

The NYU administration’s expansion plan, which, in actuality, is nothing more than a real estate venture masquerading as an academic necessity (case in point, only 18% of the first decade of construction is earmarked for instructional use), is going to wreak as much damage to its own institution, internally, as it is to the surrounding neighborhood that it has long called home. As sad as it is to admit for a faculty member like myself, it's as if the university is fast becoming a giant parasite, intent on destroying its host.

With regard to the risk that the expansion in its current form poses from within … While our students’ sky-high tuition is financed by student loans backed by the federal government, the administration is seeking to go ahead with a two-decade long, 1.9 million-square-foot, $6 billion expansion plan … and, worse still, is silent on the finances of it all!

Should anyone be in the least bit surprised by the 39 departmental resolutions – including the Stern Business School and the Economics Dept. – against NYU 2031 and the five Votes of No Confidence in Pres. Sexton that have followed since university-wide? Or surprised by the most recent call by the faculty for the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Martin Lipton, who continues to express unflinching support of Sexton and ignores our pleas for less divisive and more responsible leadership, to resign?

If the university has so much money burning a hole in its pocket -- something I have a great deal of trouble believing, given our relatively modest endowment, which just dipped to 2.8 billion – should it not be spent on more generous financial aid and the recruitment of the best faculty? That is to say, on academic excellence -- and NOT on Jack Lew’s obscene $685,000 severance payment in 2006 when he left to take an even higher-paying job at Citigroup … or Lew’s mortgages of roughly $1.5 million, about a third of which was forgiven by the university … or outgoing Law Dean Richard Revesz’s equally staggering loan of $6.4 million (for a W. Village townhouse and a 65-acre spread in CT), which just grew by nearly $900,000 in the last year alone … or Pres. Sexton’s own Fire Island villa retreat, $1.5 million annual salary and upcoming $2.5 million bonus? In the last 13 years, NYU has doled out 281 loans totaling nearly $90 million to its "star administrators" and privileged faculty – with nearly a third of the loans for the purchase of primary residences being forgivable. Just think about it – the second vacation homes, the forgivable loans, the gifted parting bonuses … This is all happening at the most expensive university in the nation, where our students are working up to three jobs and drowning in debt.

The bottom line in this entire infuriating affair: Pres. Sexton and our Trustees Board of lawyers, real estate moguls and branding experts do not ask for what the university needs. They take what they want. Whatever the cost.

Jul. 19 2013 01:52 PM

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