Public Safety assures senate of campus' safety


Public Safety assures senate of campus' safety


By: Sergio Hernandez
Posted: 4/20/07

The University Senate adjourned for the academic year yesterday after meeting to address a number of campus-wide issues including a report on NYU's emergency preparedness in the wake of Monday's Virginia Tech University shootings.


Public Safety vice president Jules Martin and emergency management director Jim Kerr delivered a report on emergency preparation and response at NYU, informing the senate of the measures in place to handle campus emergencies.

Martin lauded NYU's Office of Public Safety, calling it "second to none" in terms of campus security and emphasizing the importance of strong partnerships with outside agencies such as Federal Emergency Management Agency or the city's Office of Emergency Management.

Kerr's presentation, meanwhile, outlined NYU's "emergency plan," which he said would emphasize the importance of "communication, mobilization and action" when responding to campus emergencies.

Following Kerr's presentation, John Lee, a student senator from the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development, voiced his concern about NYU's safety priorities.

Specifically, Lee used the example of Cho Seung-Hui, the Virginia Tech student who killed at least 33 people - including himself - in a shooting spree at that campus on Monday. Lee, who cited what he called a lack of community at NYU, said he believed a Virginia Tech situation could also arise at NYU and that the university's plans focused too much on response rather than prevention.


Lynne Brown and Alison Leary, co-chairs of NYU's Environmental Sustainability Task Force, delivered a report to the senate on the university's Green Action Plan - the series of environmental-responsibility initiatives it announced last fall. Brown said the Task Force would deliver a full report to the university community by the end of the semester, which would include an update on the university's Sustainability Fund.

In February, the Task Force announced it would award funding to certain student- and faculty-proposed projects that would contribute to NYU's greening efforts.

The Task Force received 46 proposals, 15 of which a Task Force subcommittee had recommended for funding awards, Brown said. She added that the awards range from thousands to tens of thousands of dollars and will be publicly announced in early May.


Cheryl Mills, NYU's senior vice president, general counsel and university secretary, briefed the senate on New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's scrutiny of student lenders and their ties to private colleges.

Cuomo's investigation, announced in February, aimed to examine whether universities were receiving kickbacks for listing certain lenders as "preferred lenders."

Mills said NYU picks its preferred lenders through a "request for bids" process in which it chooses lenders who offer the lowest rates and the highest coverage for students.

Early this month, NYU signed an agreement with the attorney general's office that will require the university to return $1.3 million to Citibank, one of its preferred lenders.

Mills said NYU had picked Citibank as a preferred lender because its loans offered the lowest rates and were available to 80 percent of students. Mills also said that Citibank had offered part of its profits to NYU, which the university agreed to take and use for financial aid. Citibank has said it will credit the returned $1.3 million to students' accounts.

During the meeting, President John Sexton called Cuomo's investigation "an aggressive exercise of government power" and said NYU's signing of the agreement had nothing to do with wrongdoing, but was because the university was not interested in prolonged litigation.


The senate also passed a proposal that will add an extra day to the Columbus Day "fall break" beginning in the fall 2008 semester. Proponents of the measure said making Columbus Day a four-day weekend would alleviate stress commonly felt by undergraduates in mid-October. Meanwhile, opponents of the calendar change said they were concerned about its impact on graduate students and whether the extended weekend would really reduce or just postpone the "stress" problem.


Original Source:<a href=> Washington Square News - April 20, 2007</a>


Sergio Hernandez


Washington Square News




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