NYU Faculty Vote ‘No Confidence’ on President Sexton

New York University President John E. Sexton has lost the support of the majority of his faculty colleagues, according to the results of the no confidence vote taken among faculty members of the university’s School of Arts & Science. The final results of the week-long vote was 52% agreeing with the statement that they had no confidence in the school leadership, with 39% disagreeing and 8% abstaining.

According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, 83% of the 683 faculty members eligible to vote cast a ballot. Although the vote is not in any way binding, faculty members voting hope that it will serve as a lynchpin for serious discussions among the university leadership about the direction of the school.

The vote of no confidence followed months of complaints about what Mr. Sexton’s critics have described as his autocratic nature and top-down management style. The faculty critics have voiced concerns about some of Mr. Sexton’s most-ambitious efforts, with some professors questioning the educational quality of NYU’s programs overseas and many railing against the university’s large-scale redevelopment plan, which would turn Greenwich Village, where many faculty members live, into a construction zone for nearly two decades.

The voices of the faculty don’t carry nearly the same weight of the university’s Board of Trustees, which The Chronicle also reports passed a resolution last month supporting both Sexton’s stewardship of the school and the direction the school is taking. The text of the resolution included a passage that praised Sexton for transforming NYU from a strong regional player to one of the premier universities worldwide.

Martin Lipton, the board chairman, reiterated in a statement on Friday that the board “unanimously and strongly” supports Mr. Sexton. “In a time of great challenges to higher education, John Sexton has become a nationally recognized innovator while, at the same time, maintaining excellence,” Mr. Lipton said. “It is clear to us that NYU is a great success story.”

In a statement released late last week, Sexton said that he was grateful for the Board’s support, and noted that he has received a similarly positive assessment  from the deans, as well as from faculty members of the university’s professional schools, including the medical, dental and nursing schools. He did note that faculty support was important, and noted that although he himself and his team have taken steps to draw that support, as well as canvass the faculty opinion on his plans, these efforts will continue in the future.