32 people signed the petition since September 22, 2009

Petition to the Trustees of New York University

In his e-mail to the University Community last week, NYU Board of Trustees Chair Martin Lipton announced that John Sexton's term as NYU's president would be extended until at least 2016. Although Lipton's message was directed to the University Community, Lipton and the Board failed to consult that community, its faculty, students, and staff in making this decision. We can think of few decisions more important to the life of the university than who ought to serve as its president and how long a term the president ought to serve. Opinions may differ over the performance of the current president of NYU, but the faculty is united in believing that it must be consulted on the appointment and re-appointment of NYU's president as well as on the length of the president's term.The process problems exhibited in Lipton's letter represent an unfortunate repetition of the problems when John Sexton was appointed to NYU's presidency seven years ago. That appointment was made with no faculty consultation and without a national search.NYU's Board of Trustees has the final responsibility for making the presidential appointment, but the decision-making process should involve full consultation with faculty and students about the performance of the incumbent. The fact that neither the Board nor the President saw the need for any such consultation raises questions about the commitment of both to joint faculty-administration governance of the university. We the undersigned faculty call upon NYU's Board of Trustees to negate the Lipton letter and set up a process to decide on the president's re-appointment in which faculty are consulted both on who NYU's president ought to be and the length of the presidential term.We also urge that students and staff be included in this process so that the entire university community can participate. Such an inclusive process would accord NYU's president greater legitimacy as a university leader since it would make the president the choice of its large community rather than merely the NYU Trustees.

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