Andrew Ross, my colleague from the Department of Social Cultural Analysis, has been one of the more vocal skeptics where NYU Abu Dhabi is concerned. But even he had to applaud the steps that NYUAD has taken toward the improvement of conditions for workers in Abu Dhabi.

In a recent e-mail sent to the NYU group Faculty Democracy with the subject heading “Breakthrough on NYU Abu Dhabi,” Ross wrote: “It’s rare to be able to applaud the administration’s effort to do the right thing, but there’s no doubt this is a promising development. These provisions, if they are enforced, will better the daily conditions of a lot of workers in a meaningful way.” He did add a warning of the need for monitoring and enforcement and wished that the university had been able to go even further on certain issues. At a press conference held by Human Rights Watch at NYU on Monday, Ross reiterated these views.

I’m not surprised to see Human Rights Watch admit that NYU has made a laudable contribution to the improvement of labor conditions in the UAE. I’ve always believed in my NYUAD colleagues’ commitment to building a campus of which we all can be proud.

You can read about the steps that the university has taken on the NYUAD site: Additional Information on the Construction and Operation of NYU Abu Dhabi.

Here are links to some of the press coverage:

Washington Square News (NYU’s student newspaper): “Rights Group Applauds NYUAD

Reuters: “NYU imposes strict labor standards for UAE campus

Associated Press (via “NYU adds worker rights rules to Abu Dhabi contract