TheNew York University and the Vote of No Confidence

ValerieD. Long

NovaSoutheastern University

TheNew York University and the Vote of No Confidence

Accordingto &quotInside Higher Ed`s News,&quot 2016, The New York University(NYU), a private nonprofit, nonsectarian research university, isamong the best research institutions. The school is based in New YorkCity. The school utility program is based on a semester-basedacademic calendar. Recently, the university was ranked position 36among other world`s universities. The university is divided intodifferent schools and colleges. The school of arts and sciences isthe largest. In this university, the management or administration isseparate from the faculty or academics. Nonetheless, some personnelhave joint responsibilities. There are five major institutions of theUniversity of New York (&quotInside Higher Ed`s News,&quot 2016).During the early 1990s, the university faced the major transition tobecome a global university. By this time, the number of applicationsto join the institution became enormous. The open admission policywas slashed in a bid to ensure internal controls worked. So far, theuniversity was identified by its high mark of international studentsthan any other in the US (&quotJohn Sexton`s Global Campus Plans forNYU,&quot n.d). As such, all the right results and good attributesabout the university came as a result of better and able leadership.A president heads the University, symbolizing the highest leadershipauthority. In 2002, the leadership for the presidency was passed fromL.J. Oliva to Sexton. Initially, Sexton had served as the Dean of NYUSchool of Law. He served in this capacity for four years (&quotJohnSexton`s Global Campus Plans for NYU,&quot 2016). Within the fouryears, Sexton was able to prosper by introducing his unique style ofleadership. He was able to transform results to even higherstandards. As Sexton continued to enjoy success in the manner ofadministration, sexton`s ambitions grew even stronger. He wanted theuniversity to remain a global competitor in the field of research.Consequently, he laid down strategies to ensure guaranteed success,and as a result, Framework 2031 was born. This framework comprisedthe first NYU strategic plan. The structure identified four keychallenges that affected the University (Devito &amp Dornbush,2012).

Thefirst was the domestic challenge anticipated. The second challengewas that NYU and the American Higher Education would face seriousproblems from abroad. The third challenge positioned the universityat a disposal. This meant that the university might not be able tocarry on its plans and operations due to financial constraints. Thefourth challenge stipulated that there was a lack of sufficientphysical space for the university to conduct its future expansionprojects. Kiley, 2013 states that these four factors continued todrive the framework NYU 2031 objectives to become a high researchinstitution. Items on the agenda included an expansion proposal forthe NYU`s footprint in Washington Square. There was also a proposalto develop an academic center, build the health corridor inManhattan, as well as other main projects. Some of these projectsentailed the creation of mergers and acquisitions such that theymerge between NYU and the Polytechnic Institute. All these items wereformulated during the leadership of Sexton. Then, major challengesbegan to emerge. The proposal to construct two superblocks near thecore campus was met with resistance. A neighboring community that wascomprised of veteran advocates filed a restraining order arguing thatspace revolved around a public green space among other issues. Thoughthe NYU 2031 had anticipated such challenges, the amount of forceexerted was unexpected.

Positionheld by Sexton, the NYU FASP, and board of trustees

AboutNYU 2031

Thementioned issues in the introduction part have different dimensions.Based on the review of the different articles about NYU, there areseveral emergent issues. To start with, John Edward Sexton was anambitious lawyer and academician. He became the fifteenth presidentof NYU from 2002 to 2015 (Jaschik, 2013). Before his presidency, heserved as the Dean of the school of law. He was able to elevate theschool of law to top five best schools in the US. The passion ofambitions drove Sexton. When he became the president, hisadministration followed suit to ensure that they delivered qualitywork. Consequently, the government backed his every move due to hisprecedent. During one of the statements he released recently, hestated that through a collective responsibility, he was able to meethis objective as the president (Jaschik, 2013,). He emphasizes thatthe university leadership, the faculty, and the alumni worked hand inhand. It is concurrent that President Sexton and his team of leaderswere united in formulating NYU 2031. The management maintains that ithas been open to criticism and debate (Pinto, 2013).

Thedevelopment of the NYU 2031 agenda is seen as an ambitious project.There are short term and long term burdens that encircle the planwhich the administration was and is well aware of. But for somereasons, the management argues that these developments will yieldpositive results (Pinto, 2013). For instance, the plans concentrateacademic and residential space at the university`s core. As argued bythe Sexton administration, the different agendas will build a strongsense of community unity and allow for the most efficient use ofspace (Devito &amp Dornbush, 2012). The plan is set to improvefacilities such as traffic, and pedestrian flow in cases wherephysical planning will change according to NYU 2031. Sexton believesthat the physical planning agenda honors the architecturalsignificances of a transformational period in New York City (Devito &ampDornbush, 2012).

Ina recent sitting in the New York City Hall, Sexton, as he wasanswering questions regarding their physical construction plansacknowledged that they over indulged. He stated that the developmentplan would cause major impacts to the community (Jaschik, 2013).Nonetheless, he was not remorseful whatsoever. He stated that it iscritical to complete the objectives of NYU 2031 (Berger, 2012). Hesaid that the projects were mainly academic and should not becategorized as a development project. His statements are unanimouslysupported by most of the deans in the university (&quotInside HigherEd`s News,&quot 2016). The school administration feels that NYU 2031objectives are honest and necessary for the growth of the university(Berger, 2012).

Theschool administration, as it continued to pursue its manifest, itfaces consistent pressure from different organs emanating from theuniversity and outside. Some of the reasons raised entail historicalmonuments or historical reflections such as the demolition of theWashington Square Village Garden (&quotInside Higher Ed`s News,&quot2016). Some of the physical features are historical, but theadministration does not worry about destroying them. As a response,President Sexton and his administration maintain that all theobjectives are as a stimulus-response towards meeting the needs ofthe students (&quotInside Higher Ed`s News,&quot 2016). The citycouncil is supporting Sexton and his administration by voting theseplans into action (Berger, 2012). Consequently, members of the NYUfaculty started raising opposition for these projects. They sitenumerous overflows of the NYU 2031 objectives. The vices of theobjectives are said to flood the goodness of the project according tothose who are in the opposition (&quotInside Higher Ed`s News,&quot2016).


Overhis tenure, President Sexton developed opposition within hisinstitution. Some university professors became angry with leadershipin the school. These professors have since been calling for theresignation of Sexton and some of his fine men such as Martin Liptonand Wachtell (&quotInside Higher Ed`s News,&quot 2016). NYU Facultyagainst the Sexton Plan (FASP) is a group of university members thatclaim to represent above 400 professors. The organization is said tooppose the objectives of Sexton leadership (&quotJohn Sexton`sGlobal Campus Plans for NYU,&quot 2016). They claim that all thatthe agenda entails is an individualistic push to succeed. They opposethe move to expand the university both at home and abroad citing thatthe move is solidly based on the back of debt-saddled students andunderpaid staffers (Berger, 2012). They stipulate that some of theleaders have held their positions for over a decade and a half.Consequently, they are deemed inappropriate since they have generatedattachments to their jobs, and as a result, they become driven byself-motives (&quotJohn Sexton`s Global Campus Plans for NYU,&quot2016).

Thespecial interests presented by this group are aggravating the rightsof the unheard voices. The Union states that Sexton and hisadministration exploit students for self-gain. Some of the gainsmentioned include funding administrative benefits and their realestate ambitions. In their statements, they state that NYUadministration squeezes billions of dollars from students. There areno clear reports that offer an explanation as to where the money istaken or how it is used. The controversies of NYU go deep to includehiked tuition fees, large fees, questionable recruitment tactics, andexpensive health insurance, among others. Most of the students havelaunched complaints of financial constraints imposed by the NYU(&quotJohn Sexton`s Global Campus Plans for NYU,&quot 2016). Whatcharges the spirit of FASP is the extent students have to go tomanage fee payment. According to FASP, the amount of funds charged tointernational students does not go to financial aid (Pinto, 2013).

TheNYU expenditure is also a major issue raised by FASP. They state thatmost of the items they purchase or projects they engage in areexaggerated. For instance, the cost of real estate abroad isextremely hiked (Rollag,K., n.d.).They also state that they have observed exploitation of adjunctionsin the global network. They say that the administration overpays itsemployees in the name of exploiting students.

Boardof Trustees

Theboard of trustees makes sure that the views of all the stakeholdersare taken care of. As such, they are the custodians of the short-termand long-term interests of the institution. Their responsibilitiesare broad in nature (&quotInside Higher Ed`s News,&quot 2016). Theyare charged with advancing university`s reputation, monitoring andaiding the faculty in expanding and achieving progress of researchand educational objectives, admission criteria, financial stability,among other functions (&quotInside Higher Ed`s News,&quot 2016).NYU board of trustees stipulates that it has overwhelming joy in theleadership of Sexton over the last decade and the achievements he hasbrought to the university. They could not agree more with the factthat he is responsible for ensuring that the University remained atthe top position in the United State when it comes to research andtechnology (Jaschik, 2013). It is also notable to state that thedeans and the FASP have one common voice in agreeing that Sexton hasbrought success in the university. They both state that theleadership of Sexton is characterized by a unique style, charisma,style, and intimacy. His personal attributes are said to be keyinspirational factors to the faculty and deans as well as to theadministrators. The board reviewed the NYU 2031 and endorsed itunanimously and periodically supported the changes that came as aresult of its revision (Jaschik, 2013).

Nevertheless,the board of trustees has some issues that are a major concern tothem. They fear that the Sexton administration engages in governmentpolicies without any engagement. The faculty is most the mostaffected since the administration does not consult them. Some of thedecisions that are cited include instituting academic programs,making important policy decisions, and shaping the university withoutengaging the faculty. The failure to indulge is the primary cause ofall the friction witnessed in the main objectives (&quotJohnSexton`s Global Campus Plans for NYU,&quot 2016). There haveoccurred unnecessary inefficiencies and hostilities beyond reasonablelengths. The board also stipulates that the administration ispersistent in appointments and does not consult primarily workinggroups on space priorities (Berger, 2012). There is no delegation oftasks, and as such, the faculty is well conversant with appointmentfunctions than the administration. Majorly, the trustees mentionissues of lack of administrative accountabilities to the faculty as amajor challenge undermining its capacity. They fear that growing theuniversity leadership under Sexton has made it a self-reinforcingecho chamber (Devito &amp Dornbush, 2012). Consequently, theadministrators are not entirely aware of their positions but ratherpledge their loyalty to President Sexton. Up to this point, all themembers or stakeholders tend to believe that Sexton leadership is nolonger beneficial but rather a liability (&quotInside Higher Ed`sNews,&quot 2016).


Thedefinition of anarchy is a widespread disregard of rules in the wayof doing things. As such, this kind of mechanism is characterized byseveral factors. Some of the characteristics include ambiguous goals,unclear choices, and secluded decision participation in decisionmaking (Hendrickson et al., 2013). The case of NYU demonstrates aprecise definition of advancing organized anarchy. The leadership ofNYU can be described mechanized. It is evident that the skillsemployed by Sexton were excellent when he started to lead buteventually, ambiguity developed. Primary administration functions arelagging on their job since they have grown too dependent on theSexton leadership (Hendrickson et al., 2013).

Thereare several ways that we can demonstrate organized anarchy. In mostcases, the chain of command becomes short. In most organizations,there are clear cut lines of communication and organization.Reporting has a regular way channel. Decision making is also devisedin an organized manner. Nonetheless, the board of trustees at NYU isin conflict with the administration for failing to follow thechannels of leadership. As such, the faculty is denied severalopportunities to engage in effective decision making.Consequentially, they fall into friction with how the universityresources are used or how admissions are made (Hendrickson et al.,2013).

Inplaces where organized anarchy is the order of the day, there is noproper following of policies. A good presentation of this facet isseen in Sexton administration. The administrations, led by PresidentSexton and the rest of the stakeholders have set out clear policies,procedures, and channels of communication to enable the smoothrunning off campus business (Devito &amp Dornbush, 2012).Nonetheless, these systems are only induced to the front lineemployees. There are institutions set to deal with different aspectsof the university. As such, the faculty is charged with severalresponsibilities. Nonetheless, they are surprised when admission ismade under the shadows of the president. The school fees issue is aweighty issue in the wake of all the stakeholders. Consequently, allare supposed to deliberate on the best way forward and the best ratesthat will be comfortable to most of the students (Hendrickson et al.,2013).

TheHR is charged with responsibilities of ensuring that there areorganizational compliance and good governance. Under suchinstitutions, there must be references on different departments. Thisgoes hand in hand with control of the communication structure. It ispainful and hurting to understand the realities of organized anarchy,and as it happens, the managers are always on the verge ofcontrolling communication. The case of NYU is seen where theadministration refuses or deviates from typical ways of documentationand dissemination of information (Hendrickson et al., 2013). Thefaculty`s complaints are evidence that managers` act, in particular,configured manner. Furthermore, the administration fails to explainthe exaggerated rates of real estate abroad, the increment in schoolfees and how admission is made. Goal ambiguity is also a majorcharacteristic of NYU (Kiley, 2013). The major stakeholders do notagree with each other on the way they should venture into NYU 2031.The administration seems to have their agendas because there are noclear-cut ways of handling the objectives of NYU 2031. There are somany questions raised by the faculty about the organizational chartof the University. To sum up this part, professional bureaucracy, asa tool aiding corporate anarchy, is clearly evidenced by the type oforganizational structure and chart of NYU (Kiley, 2013, March 18).The highest level of leadership is the board of trustees followed bythe president. The president is followed by his staff members and theuniversity board committee and then the faculty (Hendrickson et al.,2013).

Voteof No Confidence

Amidstall the issues arising in the university, the faculty felt that itwas time to change the leadership of the university. Consequently,they have lobbied amongst one another and voted a vote of noconfidence with President Sexton (Berger, 2012). So far, thepresident is on fire. He is attacked for majorly the reasonsdiscussed above. To mention a few, the faculty believes that there isfoul play in how pay and perks for college administrators areadministered. They wonder about the money being lent to stakeholdersfor vacation homes, limiting its housing assistance to primaryresidence (Berger, 2012, July 25).

Adifferent way of seeing NYU 2031 has cupped the eyes of many people.The faculty states that this project is a self-manifestation ofgreed. Sexton emphasizes on expansion and prestige. He does not payany regards to the costs involved nor the implications. Such factorshave elevated the amount of money that people are asked to pay togreat heights. The donors are also not happy with the currentfinancial trends of the University. Recently, there have been twomore votes of no confidence from two other schools making the totalof four. All the four schools have their faculties voting noconfidence against the president. As a result, Sexton is said to exitoffice once his term expires later this year (Kiley, 2013).

WhatI Would Do

Ifthe president had maintained his governance trend as he started histenure, the votes of no confidence would be unheard of. The NYU 2031is a very benefiting object to the campus. I believe that to haveeverybody on board, several aspects of leadership have to be observedand maintained(Junarso, 2013).As the president of the university, NYU 2031 is a very good idea.Consequently, the next procedure is to constitute a team that willhelp in stirring forward to accomplish the objectives. Remaininghonest and even raising the bar of honesty higher would be one of myimmediate resolute. The administration that I head should be areflection of the things we believe in. Ethical behavior is a majorpush to seeing that the objectives of the NYU 2031 are met. Anotherundertaking that I would employ is the delegation of duties androles. For instance, the faculty would be very helpful in carryingout admission and solving admission issues(Junarso, 2013).Finessing the NYU brand vision would be essential to creating anorganized systemic transition of roles. Being the leader, I wouldteach others to trust me first. This will enable delegation functionsto the appropriate departments. Overindulgence will lower the qualityof work hence trust is a vital commodity (Collins, 2014).

SinceI know too well the things I want to be accomplished in my head, Iwould try as much to ensure there is a flow of communication. It isimportant for every stakeholder in the running of the universityunderstand what is to be done. My vision, NYU 2031, should be mypriority to ensure that all the team members understand and relate toit as if it were their formulation. The future of the brand willalways become worrisome as days go by. Things will start to goagainst the way they are planned. Nonetheless, being a leader, Ishould be able to know when to put out fires and maintain the teammorale. This happens if my confidence level will remain high(Junarso, 2013).It is my role to ensure that all employees are aware that setbacksare normal the vital thing is to stay focused on the goals. Insummary, leading by example is the main description of a real leader.As a real leader, I will show commitment by leading by example.Alongside commitments, I will demonstrate a positive attitude towardsthe cores of the business (Collins, 2014).


Thereare many aspects that emanate from the NYU case study. For instance,several leadership skills originate from Sexton. Being visionary isan important aspect in creating leadership that will amount tosuccess. As seen in the case study, NYU is driven to great heightsdue to cohesion in leadership. Nonetheless, there are significantlessons learned the hard way from the case study. Failure tocommunicate through the tiers of communication will always bringconfusion and friction. Lack of transparency and weak administrationconcepts will lead to the lack of common objectives. Sexton would nothave faced the vote of no confidence if he did not neglect theprinciples of leadership.


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