Andrew D. Hamilton, vice chancellor of the University of Oxford and a former provost of Yale University, will be the next president of New York University, it announced on Wednesday. Mr. Hamilton will succeed John E. Sexton, the controversial leader who has overseen the university’s radical growth since he took office, in 2002.
The announcement came three days after one of NYU’s professors, Andrew Ross, was denied entry to the United Arab Emirates, where the university has a branch campus. Mr. Ross has been an outspoken critic of the treatment of the migrant laborers who built the Abu Dhabi campus.
In an interview on Wednesday, Mr. Hamilton declined to comment on the incident other than to say he was aware of it and to stress his commitment to academic freedom. “Academic freedom has been a bedrock in my career,” he said. “For me it’s a bedrock of the success of great universities, and in that regard it’s nonnegotiable. It’s a critical part of how the academic process works.”
Mr. Hamilton added that he had been attracted to NYU because of its “bold” and “exciting” international expansion, but he said he would concentrate on “consolidating” that progress.
Some faculty members and others have criticized Mr. Sexton for what they call an autocratic management style and disrespect for shared governance. Among the controversies surrounding his leadership are the loan of at least $1 million to Mr. Sexton to build a vacation beach house; an “exit bonus” of $685,000 to a departing executive vice president (and the current U.S. treasury secretary), Jacob J. Lew; and a campus expansion into Greenwich Village. Faculty members in four of NYU’s schools have voted no confidence in Mr. Sexton.
In a written statement, Mr. Sexton said, in part, “I love NYU, and I could not be more thrilled with the selection of Andrew Hamilton. I know and admire him, and I am certain he will do great things for the university.”