NYU has evacuated its campus in Tel Aviv in light of the violent situation currently heating up between Gaza and Israel. The university suspended its Tel Aviv program for the rest of the semester, and is currently considering whether to reopen for the spring term.
“But it is not a decision we need to make today or tomorrow,” John Beckman, the university’s vice president for public affairs, told NYU Local Sunday evening.
The campus’s 11 students, along with faculty, flew from Tel Aviv to NYU’s campus in London. Academic staff are working with the students now to determine how they will finish out the semester. Each of them have the choice to transfer to NYU’s campuses in London, Prague, Florence, or New York.
NYU administrators did not think the students and staff were in “proximate or imminent danger,” Beckman said. “We wanted to avoid a situation where the students would get to the end of the semester and have difficulties returning home.”
But, given the “high priority we always place on student safety,” as well as their confidence that students would be able to complete their academic term elsewhere, “we thought this was the prudent course,” he said.
The mood on campus was disappointed but cooperative, according to Beckman.
The students expressed some disappointment at not being able to stay till the end of the semester, and the compressed timetable for making their goodbyes, but the group’s morale overall was good, and everyone understood the University’s reasoning and was cooperative. They wanted to stay together as a group as they went to London, and we were able to make sure that happened.
Students accepted to study in Tel Aviv for the spring 2013 semester have been notified by NYU about the possibility that the campus may not reopen, according to Beckman, and the university has said it will let those students know when a decision has been made.
We’ll keep you updated as we learn more.