Housing for the workers building the NYU campus at Abu Dhabi
NYU has come under significant criticism for the terrible conditions of the workers building it’s Abu Dhabi campus. Here is an excellent discussion of the connections between a single NYU trustee and the treatment of those workers.
Khaldoon Al-Mubarak sits on the NYU Board of Trustees. He is also the CEO of one of the main construction companies building the school’s forthcoming outpost in the United Arab Emirates.
That company, Mubadala, was named in a recently released 72-page report detailing how a third of the workers at the construction site were systematically exempted from the higher labor standards NYU had promised in its “Statement of Labor Values.” The statement was designed to protect workers from the harsh conditions migrant laborers typically face in the UAE.
The decision to build the campus in Abu Dhabi came on the heels of a $50 million donation to the university from the government of Abu Dhabi, and Al-Mubarak was installed as a trustee after plans for the campus were announced, according to the New York Times.
“He was central to this whole exemption scheme,” said Hugh Baran, a first-year student at NYU School of Law who was one of several people to confront an administrator about the issue last week. “Given that this is his company, he surely had some knowledge [of the labor conditions].”
The damning report outlines an investigation by a firm hired by the government of Abu Dhabi, Nardello & Co., that ostensibly aimed to verify media reports of substandard labor conditions at the site.
The construction companies, including Mubadala, had established an “exemption” that excluded short-term employees from the guarantee of improved working conditions promised by NYU, according to the report. This exemption could also be applied to lower-cost contracts.
The report found that some people affiliated with NYU “said they were aware of a time threshold” that allowed different working conditions for short-term employees.
Oh I’m sure they were aware and totally fine with it. This NYU deal is about nothing but cash for top university administrators and their friends. It is utterly corrupt and the fact that its own professors can not enter Abu Dhabi to report on these labor conditions shows just how debased this deal and the administrators who support it have become.
Is there anything the modern university president won’t do for money?