“IT’S LIVER TIME” and other orders of business

My friend Liz Born has a brand spankin’ new website to show off her fancy artwork, and you should really check it out.

Next, new column. Originally published in the Washington Square News, 09/25/08. I’m not really sure if it’s my finest showing ever, but…

Manhattan next for NYU, so we get what we want

Damon Beres

As a student at this university, I worry sometimes about whether I’m really being treated to everything I deserve. With recent NYU conquests, including the former Polytechnic University and the campus in Abu Dhabi, it seems like the sky is the limit in terms of our administration’s finances and potential subjugations. The key question then is what more can NYU possibly do to afford its student body the luxuries for which it so earnestly thirsts?

A good first step might be to think locally. Why rely on the charity of an Arabian crown prince when there’s progress to be made right in our own backyard? I’m loathe to think that we’re squandering money on a misguided ideology that could make significant strides in globalized education and communication when our students here want for so much. It’s especially problematic considering that my tuition is paying for John Sexton to think about Abu Dhabi; we’re not going to be able to enjoy this brand-new academic experience, so why should anyone else?

In order to show NYU students here and now that we’re good and cared for, the school should give careful consideration to purchasing the island of Manhattan. The advantages of such an action should be immediately apparent to any student here who has ever wondered why NYU is bothering with a portal campus that will bond our university to one of the most important regions on Earth, a portal campus that will educate thousands and connect people worldwide. After all, we have problems here that need to be taken care of.

First, it’s concerning that there are still colleges in the city that NYU doesn’t own. I don’t like the idea that there’s anyone getting an education in this town that isn’t doing so via a tenuous connection to NYU. It’s ridiculous. Plus, what a way to get rid of the competition. Is Columbia University too good for us? It won’t matter once we buy them!

And how about the issue of needing to walk all over the place? Talk about inconvenience. With the proposed Manhattan Initiative, NYU students could take Safe Ride anywhere in the city. No more of this subway or exercise nonsense. NYU kids deserve better than that.

Plus, we’ll have fixed our housing problem if the plan goes through. Gramercy Green will look like it belongs in the projects once we can compare to the new Trump Palace residence hall on the Upper East Side.

Is this so much to ask? NYU students are accustomed to certain standards of living. We always seem to get the best. We’ve come to expect the best. Yet things get hairy when the administration stretches its tendrils beyond our walls. We begin to question where our money is going and why.

NYU’s administration has been the target of much criticism for its spending, especially given that its budget is not completely transparent. It’s investing in a dream — Abu Dhabi — that holds much potential but no guarantees. Yet its students clamor for cash to be spent here, where it feels tangible. Responses to my previous column (“Gramercy Green is waste of luxury building, NYU money,” 09/10/08) seem to indicate that most applaud the choice to spend hundreds of millions on the plush new dorm, while many are critical of the Polytechnic merger and Abu Dhabi project. There is an ever-growing rift between the views of the administration and the desires of students.

Most here would probably admit that they aren’t altogether onboard with every decision NYU makes with our tuition dollars. Rest assured that everyone isn’t getting what he or she wants though and that you don’t always want what you get. Simply put, there needs to be more communication between the school and its students on where our money is going. Town Hall meetings and the like help, but they are not enough; we need more transparency.

Damon is deputy opinion editor. E-mail him at dberes@nyunews.com.



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