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Sexton, students converse at town hall

Denise Fabella for WSN

The Student Senators Council hosted its first town hall meeting of the spring semester with NYU President John Sexton on Feb. 11. Prior to the event, students prepared questions to pose to Sexton.

Students asked about privacy, student wellness and funding for the Global Network University.

A recent transfer student from the American University in Cairo asked about the possibility of new portal campuses opening or upgrading in the coming years.

“I think between now and 2020, it’s unlikely that a new portal campus will open,” Sexton said. “It’s a huge undertaking.”

The same student followed up and asked why certain courses at portal campuses are not the same as those offered in New York.

“As a strategic and general matter, I’m pushing hard that there should be more interoperability among courses,” Sexton said. “And that’s possible [through] communication among departments and faculty, and there should be a presumption against not giving credit, at least inside our own university for a course that’s offered here and there. So we’re moving in the direction of addressing that.”

CAS junior Jeremy Lakin, executive vice president of the Inter-Greek Council, asked how much space from the NYU 2031 expansion plan will be used for student life.

Sexton encouraged students to look forward to the new university additions, as there will be a large amount of space available specifically for future students once the expansion plan is finished. He used the Kimmel Center for University Life as an example of looking ahead, as students did not have an extensive student center before 2003.

“I’ve often urged [students] to think forward,” Sexton said. “To plant trees under which others will sit — to sacrifice forward, which is a very noble thing to do.”

CAS freshman Amaani Aisha Hussain expressed her concern for student wellness after the death of classmate Titan Lee-Hai earlier this semester.

“I was wondering how the attention given to student security, student support and alcohol and drug prevention will be changed,” Hussain said.

Sexton said the university weighs several concerns following incidents.

“If a student dies, we have the same two principal concerns,” Sexton said. “The first is we have a concern that we honor as best we can that student’s family’s wishes about how they want to handle the situation. And that usually means respecting their privacy. And the second is how do we make sure that the rest of our students are as well as they can be.”

CAS senior Mariam Ehrari, chair of the Student Senators Council, said she appreciated the array of questions and hopes for a bigger turnout at the next and final town hall meeting of the 2013-2014 school year.

“Knocking on the administration’s doors will affect [the university’s] decisions and make change,” Ehrari said.

Hussain said the meeting encouraged her to become involved in effecting change.

“From his answers, I don’t see any serious solutions being developed, but I hope to make them happen in my time here,” Hussain said.

A version of this article appeared in the Wednesday, Feb. 12 print edition. Tricia Woodcome is a contributing writer. Additional reporting by Ann Schmidt. Email them at [email protected]

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