Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr.’s side gig as a consultant to New York University has apparently won him some enviable New York City housing benefits, according to a new report.
In a perk that is supposed to be reserved for select NYU staff, Gates is leasing a “luxury” apartment from NYU for the school’s “faculty rate,” reported The New York Post.
The steep markdown on the posh faculty pad, likely worth thousands of dollars a month, was arranged by NYU President John Sexton, who has come under fire for helping the school's star professors and administrators buy lavish vacation homes.
Gates is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard University, as well as director of the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research.
Gates, who uses a home in Cambridge for his primary residence, told The Post that he is being extended the courtesy because NYU President John Sexton is trying to woo him away from Harvard.
"It isn't exactly a secret that President Sexton would very much like to recruit me to the NYU faculty," Gates said.
"Although I do not have an offer from NYU, and while I am very happy at Harvard, were I to move anywhere ... no university would beckon to me more strongly than NYU," he added.
Gates is reportedly paying thousands of dollars beneath the going rate for a two-bedroom apartment in the tony Chelsea neighborhood that would normally be rented for more than $9,000 per month.
To be fair, it is fairly customary for high profile academics to be showered with fringe benefits from the institution that they work for. But, of course, that logic doesn’t apply here since Gates isn’t on NYU’s payroll in the first place.
The Post reported that the issue has apparently affected other members of the NYU community, who most likely wouldn’t mind having similar benefits extended to them.
The real estate perks come as NYU students have been slapped with the some of the highest tuition fees and skimpiest financial aid in the country. Growing ranks of non-tenured NYU professors grumble of stingy housing options as Manhattan rents soar.
When questioned, an NYU spokesperson seemingly danced around the topic by saying that Gates “participates in a range of activities in the academic life of the NYU community,” according to the Post.
In 2009, Gates and his housing first made the news for all the wrong reasons when he was arrested at his Cambridge home after attempting to forcibly enter when he found himself locked out.
The incident made national news and resulted in a visit to the White House, where President Obama played peacemaker between Gates and his arresting officer, Sergeant James Crowley of the Cambridge Police Department.