Monday, February 20, 2006

Sexton at the UN Thursday

Sexton will be speaking at the UN on Thursday along with the former President of the University of Jordon (also former Prime Minister of Jordon--does Sexton have presidential ambitions?) and various UN personnel. The panel discussion will take place from 2:30-5:30 at the UN. The theme of the presentation is "Dovetailing Good Leadership and Good Governance," and will include the introduction of a "leadership training" program for young diplomats and professions (see the official press release).

Nerds think that GSOC does a much better job of leadership training than the NYU administration does. At least we get to lead something in GSOC!

Anyway, let's just have a brief digression into what "leadership" and "governance" are for the UN, based on an unsystematic literature review conducted via Google.

As for leadership: though leadership as a word really just refers to the fact that someone is in charge, the United Nations University International Leadership Institute, one of the groups involved in sponsoring Thursday's panel, notes that good leadership is "guided by principles of service, stewardship and accountability."

Service, in this context, probably refers to the idea of rendering assistance to others. I suppose that Sexton is "rendering assistance" to his cronies--presidents of other private universities--and in that way could be said to be showing leadership. But he is certainly not "rendering assistance" to the members of the institution he is charged with leading. Stewardship generally means being responsible for the resources under one's control. Estimates of the dollar amount spent on legal fees alone in NYU's first attempt to bust GSOC are upwards of $4 million (sources available upon request), and who know how many tuition dollars this time have been diverted from NYU's coffers to those of Proskauer and Rose? And as for accountability, we'll come back to that below.

As for governance: the United Nations Economic and Social Comission for Asia and the Pacific defines governance as "the process of decision-making and the process by which decisions are implemented (or not implemented)." The same document also notes that when we talk about "good governance," we are talking about governance which " participatory, consensus oriented, accountable, transparent, responsive, effective and efficient, equitable and inclusive and follows the rule of law. It assures that corruption is minimized, the views of minorities are taken into account and that the voices of the most vulnerable in society are heard in decision-making. It is also responsive to the present and future needs of society."

Sexton's handling of GSOC, our contract demands, and our strike? Well, there has been no oportunity for participation of graduate students or faculty in decision-making with regards to GSOC. Given this lack of participation, there has clearly been no room for consensus. Particularly given the irregularities with regards to how Sexton was appointed and the lack of power that faculty had in choosing him and have in approving his actions (and the even greater lack of power felt by the rest of the community), Sexton is clearly not held accountable. Transparency? Well, we do know what the decisions are. But it is very unclear who has responsibility for what and why. Sexton is clearly not efficient, considering it took until long after spring semester started for the administration to figure out who to sanction for the strike and even when the ax fell, it fell improperly (metting out two-semester penalties to those who were supposed to receive one semester, for instance). Sexton's governance is clearly not "equitable and inclusing," nor does it make sure that the voices of the "vulnerable" and "minorities" are heard--otherwise we'd have a contract. It doesn't follow the rule of law, either, as much of the reprisals with which we have been threatened would ordinarily be considered illegal under the NLRB--even without having a union contract (more on this another day). We don't know about corruption, but given the faces on the NYU Board of Trustees, we wouldn't be surprised. And last but not least, Sexton's "governance" is clearly not responsive to the needs of his institution, which include a fair contract for GSOC and a good education for undergraduates.

In conclusion, why would the UN want to hear what Sexton has to say about leadership and governance? He clearly does not know how to practice it (especially according to the UN's own definitions), so don't listen to him preach.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

is gsoc going to be picketing outside this event?

2/20/2006 8:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

(because they should, was my implied point).


2/20/2006 8:28 PM  
Blogger specter of marx said...

Where Sexton goes, GSOC follows...

2/20/2006 11:59 PM  

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