When NYU began constructing their satellite campus in Abu Dhabi, a region notoirous for exploiting migrant workers, the school’s representatives vocal about protecting the rights of those hired to build it. They promised that the workers would live in safe and decent conditions, hold onto their passports and have the right to object to unfair or inhumane conditions. However, a recent investigation by The New York Times found that these requirements were not being upheld:
The Times found that almost all workers had been charged steep recruitment fees (usually of about a year’s wages) to get their jobs, that few were being paid what they had been promised, that some lived in miserable conditions, and that a group of workers who went on a two-day strike were arrested, jailed, beaten and deported.
NYU has reportedly apologized to workers who were abused and has promised to conduct a thorough internal investigation as to what went wrong. The Guggenheim has also come under fire for worker conditions at their site on nearby Saadiyat Islan. The NYUAD website advertises a “robust research environment” as one of the draws for students, with specific focuses on politics and history of the region and study of the surrounding ecosystems. (Photo: Koh Terai)