Letter from NYU-AAUP President to Linda Mills on NYPD’s Violent Aggression Against Students and Faculty

26 April 2024

Dear Linda,

I don’t understand what the logic is for a University President to visit the NYPD’s violent
aggression upon her faculty and students. At what cost? Is it really worth it to alienate so very
completely those of us who had committed to working with you? Is it worth it to make even less politically committed colleagues wonder how you could “lead” in such a wrong direction?

You haven’t once reached out to discuss anything with any one of us who works on the ground with the students. Remarkably, you haven’t once reached out to the students themselves. You have now ignored our numerous letters and our many offers to mediate between the students and your “team.” You have barricaded yourself in, and you have had us– faculty and students–declared trespassers on the campus where we work and where the students pay to learn.

If you were to witness how much care and love and how much trusting community is being
formed among the students and between students and faculty, you might understand what a
resource you have at this institution. You might even learn a lot about how encouraging this
generation of multi-cultural, multi-religious, multi-racial, multi-gendered young people is, and
how beautiful are their capacities for working together and protecting one another from harm.
You also might understand that arresting your way out of their commitments to see this
institution do better will not be effective. The students have analytical and coping skills that they are honing despite and even because of your ordered assaults. At the same time, we faculty grow in our appreciation for their discipline, intelligence, integrity, and courage, even as we grow in disappointment and revulsion at the lengths you are willing to go to crush their spirit and violate their beings. All this love and community is being formed at NYU, the very NYU you pretend to “lead,” and all you’d have to do is to look and listen. Instead, you tighten your circle of yes-people around you and turn the institution’s back against its most extraordinary resources.

I am appalled and revolted. It must be record time from your crowning to drowning in
opprobrium. You have certainly lost my confidence, along with the trust and confidence of a
large swath of this institution.

Rebecca Karl