Migrant workers involved in the construction of New York University’s Abu Dhabi campus faced harsh conditions, The New York Timesreported.
In interviews with dozens of workers, the newspaper found that conditions were “starkly different” from those articulated in the university’s “statement of labor values," with the migrant workers reporting that they had to pay fees to recruitment agencies of up to a year’s wages (and had never been reimbursed, contrary to NYU’s stated policies), that they worked 11- to 12-hour days, six to seven days a week, and that they were not permitted to hold on to their own passports.
Some workers lived in squalid conditions, 15 men to a room, rather than the prescribed maximum of four. Workers involved in the NYU campus construction who went on strike against their employer, the BK Gulf corporation, reported being beaten by police, jailed and deported.
NYU officials told the newspaper that they could not vouch for the treatment of individual construction workers, who are not university employees but instead work for companies that are contracted or subcontracted by the Abu Dhabi government agency overseeing construction. The companies are contractually obligated to follow the university’s statement of labor values. The university hired an engineering firm, Mott MacDonald, to monitor working conditions and issue annual reports, the latest of which, released last month, noted some challenges but was largely positive in its assessment; Mott MacDonald declined to comment for the Times article.
But in statements later on Monday, as reported by NYU Local, a student-run blog, President John Sexton called the events "if true as reported, troubling and unacceptable."
The first U-Multirank rankings were released on Tuesday. Created as part of a European Union-funded effort to rank a broader array of higher education institutions on a wider number of measures, U-Multirank allows users to develop their own personalized rankings of universities based on indicators related to teaching and learning, research, knowledge transfer, international orientation and regional engagement.
European institutions make up the majority of universities that participated in the initial round of data collection. Although the ranking includes publicly available bibliometric and patent data for more than 100 American universities, just nine U.S. institutions -- American David Livingstone University of Florida, Colorado State University, Dartmouth College, Fairfield University, the Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering, James Madison University, Oregon State University, The State University of New York at Buffalo, and Tufts University -- supplied comprehensive data for the ranking.
Legislation moving in the New York Senate and Assembly would require colleges to disclose the actual costs of study abroad programs and any financial relationships between study abroad providers and colleges, The Albany Times Union reported. Legislators are concerned that some study abroad programs actually cost colleges much less than institutions reveal to students, who may be paying the equivalent to the higher expenses they face at their home institutions.
"Allowing H-1B spouses to work would be an important change," Stephen Yale-Loehr, a professor of immigration law at Cornell University Law School, told The Wall Street Journal. "Sometimes people aren't willing to come to the U.S. if their spouse can't work."
Universities in South Korea are increasingly hiring faculty members off the tenure track, The Korea Herald reported. Universities say that they are pressured to hire more full-time faculty members, but lack the funds to hire those who would be eligible for tenure. The non-tenure-track faculty members are hired for one or two years, and must be renewed to stay on, and they are paid about half of what tenure-track faculty are paid.