New York University President John Sexton will not continue has the head of the university past 2016, according to a university-wide e-mail circulated by NYU’s Board of Trustees yesterday. In the same e-mail, the board acknowledged the bad press surrounding its lending program for professors, which allowed Sexton, among others, to put money down on vacation homes and beach houses.
NYULocal broke the story yesterday afternoon, saying that the board used neutral language to say, yup, they will not be renewing Sexton’s contract after it is set to expire in 2016. He began his term in 2002, after having served as dean of NYU Law since 1988.
It has been a tough year for the administrator. Recently he’s been on the losing end of multiple no-confidence votes across the university, but Sexton’s entire tenure has been dogged by accusations that his corporate leadership style sidelined faculty and students as the university embarked on its largest physical expansion in decades.
Known as the “NYU 2031” plan, the university would add up to 3 million square feet to its physical plant in the Village.
Beyond its plans for growth, NYU just could not get enough bad press in the last year. In June NYU abruptly dismissed Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng, who was studying as at the law school after fleeing from to the US from Beijing. The move widely perceived as a pound of flesh to Chinese authorities to allow expansion of NYU’s Shanghai campus to continue.
Not long after, the New York Times revealed NYU’s program of providing forgivable loans to lure star professors, loans many of them (Sexton included) used to buy getaway homes. The university took a sound lashing from the press over the program, whose clear excesses seemed vulgar against the backdrop of NYU’s skyrocketing tuition and aggressive expansion program. In the same email announcing Sexton’s impending departure, trustees also announced plans add further oversight to the lending program.
It’s unclear which of Sexton or the Board of Trustees had had enough first, but Sexton’s critics throughout the university might hail this as a victory regardless.