A new state Senate report blasts this year’s merger of New York University and Polytechnic University as flawed — and defiant Polytechnic alumni, who have been unsuccessful in their bid to prevent the Downtown engineering campus from being taken over by the Manhattan-based liberal arts school, are saying, “We told you so.”
Some board members and alumni of the 154-year-old Downtown Brooklyn university have sought to squelch the merger with the expansionist Greenwich Village academy, claiming conflicts of interests and a 1973 state agreement that suggested that NYU is barred from having an engineering program.
Amid such charges, state Sen. Kenneth LaValle (R–Long Island) negotiated a 30-day postponement of the Feburary merger vote so he could proceed with an inquiry.
After that delay, the boards of both schools voted to join the two institutions, which must be approved by the state Board of Regents.
LaValle’s just-released report dismissed some the alleged misconduct — but it did criticize Polytechnic for these improprieties:
• “The affiliation negotiations between Polytech and NYU were being conducted by [Poly] President Jerry Hultin months before they were announced to the rest of the Board.”
• “Board members who were not supportive of the affiliation were excluded or marginalized from the working committees set up [to] address affiliation.”
• “An updated appraisal of Polytech’s real property was never obtained.”
Anti-merger forces said the findings buttressed their ongoing opposition to NYU’s acquisition of their alma mater.
“This fits into what we’ve been saying all along — that it’s been rushed for no reason,” said Edward Sawchuck.
Officials at NYU did not respond to requests for comment. Poly Board Chairman Craig Matthews said in a statement that LaValle’s report “expressed no basis to object to the merger.”
He said both schools would move ahead to “secure approval by the Board of Regents” — and the result would be a “top-tier research, technology, and engineering institution that will benefit our students, New York City, the nation and the world.”