NYU, In the Midst of a Years-Long Salary Freeze, Announces New Shanghai Campus

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03/31/2011 3:28 PM |


This weekend, NYU President John Sexton announced the creation of NYU Shanghai, a new degree-granting NYU campus in Shanghai, to begin classes in 2013 on a template similar to NYU Abu Dhabi.

In an email sent out to the NYU community, J-Sex called NYU Shanghai part of “NYU’s evolution from being ‘in and of the city’ to being ‘in and of the world,'” which is basically code for the enormous hard-on he has always had for the best and brightest puffs in the vaportrail of the tilting global balance—beginning with the celebrity-faculty hiring spree that began in the early aughts, and now manifests as this visionary commitment to the class that reads The Economist on frequent flights to exciting new repressive states. But at what cost?

NYU has frozen salaries of faculty twice this decade (while both times raising rent for faculty housing); as of the 2010-2011 budget, this was still in effect.

As for staff who’re similary salaried, as opposed to hourly, employees, there’s a small pool of money set aside for small (less than 2%) raises for administrators who are anonymously recommended for it (one way in which they might become eligible is by being creative about saving money). For some, this is the only raise they’ve received in the time between the announcement of NYU Abu Dhabi, in 2007, and now; that’s not about to change.

NYU departments are currently preparing their Annual Progress Reports for the 2011-2012 academic year; looking at the APR guidelines for all Arts & Sciences programs, we scroll down to section 6, “Operating Budget.”

Let’s skip over the parts where departments are encouraged to “critically examine budgets… before requesting any additional funds” for operations, and where it’s “request[ed] that units provide justification for” everything they print out on paper (which is expensive, apparently). Section 6.1, “Administrative Staffing Plan,” reads:

For 2011-2012, we will not be entertaining requests for new positions, upgrades or additional compensation. Suggestions for organizational restructuring which may result in improved efficiency, delivery of services, and headcount or budgetary savings are welcome. Please contact the Director of Human Resources Administration, REDACTED, to discuss these ideas before including them in the APR.

So still no raises, and an invitation to discuss “restructuring” which may result in “headcount or budgetary savings”. I can’t imagine what that means.

The presumption which has guided NYU over the last decade, and which very evidently continues to guide NYU, is that there are no practical limits to its potential for growth. This is also the presumption that guided the global economy last decade, and NYU’s assumptions are based on similarly shaky foundations. NYU also boasts a widening gap between student need and financial aid awards, which is probably why it a href=”http://nyulocal.com/on-campus/2011/02/07/what-does-659-million-in-student-debt-look-like/”>leads the country in student debt.