08/14/2013 07:24 pm ET Updated Aug 14, 2013

John Sexton To Step Down As NYU President By End Of 2016, Trustees Vow Reforms


New York University President John Sexton will leave office once his contract is up in 2016, the school's Board of Trustees said in a campuswide letter Wednesday.

Although the board "is extremely satisfied with the direction and leadership of the University," the letter said, "John Sexton’s agreement with the University to serve as President extends to 2016 and he has made clear that he will not serve beyond that."

Sexton, 70, has been NYU's president since 2002. In 2009, the trustees requested he stay until at least 2016. Sometime in the next three years, the board will launch a search committee to find a new president, with faculty and student input, the board said.

The letter came from a special board committee that was established in April as Sexton faced multiple votes of no confidence from university faculty. The committee was tasked with developing proposals to resolve the concerns of staff and students alike.

"The recommendations announced today by the Special Committee recognize the valuable input of faculty members and students," Martin Lipton, chairman of the NYU Board of Trustees, said in a statement.

NYU's administration has come under fire for its NYU 2031 expansion plan, which would grow the campus by 6 million square feet, and, more recently for helping some university executives buy vacation homes.

NYU faculty have demanded the resignation of Sexton and Lipton, and criticized the administration for not including more faculty voices in decision-making.

Wednesday's letter was an attempt to diffuse some of the tension, and included a proposal "to establish a Joint Committee of the Board with membership to be filled by board members and representatives of the key constituencies in the NYU community," with faculty from each school of the university.

While the letter defended NYU's housing lending -- "The primary purpose of the home loan programs is straightforward: Recruiting and retaining the best possible faculty" -- the committee recommended increasing oversight, and ensuring loans are for primary residences only.

As NYU Local notes, the committee also recommended allowing non-tenure-track faculty representation within the university's governance, such as on the faculty senate.