NYU students want to rename department after billionaire art collector

New York University students want school officials to rename a building dedicated to a billionaire art collector who was ordered to return antiquities looted this week, according to a report.

In a settlement with the Manhattan District Attorney, philanthropist Michael Steinhardt agreed to hand over 180 items worth approximately $70 million.

The agreement allowed Steinhardt to avoid any criminal repercussions for possession of the illicit items.

But students at NYU’s Steinhardt School for Culture, Education and Human Development — named after the philanthropist — want to clean up the association, according to the student newspaper.

Anthony Cruz, the department’s undergraduate government chair, told Washington Square News he would push for Steinhardt’s name to be removed.

Philanthropist Michael Steinhardt has been accused of possessing 180 stolen antiquities from 11 countries including Egypt, Greece, Israel, Syria and Turkey.
REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
NYU's Steinhardt School for Culture, Education, and Human Development.
NYU’s Steinhardt School for Culture, Education, and Human Development.
Google Maps

“We really underscore again how his actions and his behavior really go against the very core of the mission and the values ​​that we should have as a school and as an institution,” Cruz said.

The department is named after Steinhardt after he donated $10 million to the school in 2001.

Michael Steinhardt was no stranger to owning sculptures of historical figures.
Michael Steinhardt was no stranger to owning sculptures of historical figures.
Manhattan District Attorney
A vintage helmet officially belonging to Michael Steinhardt.
Billionaire Michael Steinhardt is banned from collecting antiques for life.
Manhattan District Attorney
Billionaire Michael Steinhardt owned a Larnax (left), a Death Mask (center) and a Stag's Head Rhyton (right).
Billionaire Michael Steinhardt owned a Larnax (left), a Death Mask (center) and a Stag’s Head Rhyton (right).
Manhattan District Attorney
Michael Steinhardt held an award in possession of a Sardinian idol.
Michael Steinhardt held an award in possession of a Sardinian idol.
Manhattan District Attorney
Michael Steinhardt owned a bronze griffin protome.
Michael Steinhardt owned a bronze griffin protome.
Manhattan District Attorney

Students previously tried to clear his name in 2019 after Steinhardt was charged with sexual misconduct allegations.

But the school declined to take action after an investigation.

“I think a lot of other NYU students are going to feel the same way about the school’s name change as well,” student Olivia Hughart told the outlet. “We want our school to be represented by people we all consider to be leaders.”

Michael Steinhardt owned gold masks.
Michael Steinhardt owned gold masks.
Manhattan District Attorney
Michael Steinhardt previously owned an ivory plaque.
Michael Steinhardt previously owned an ivory plaque.
Manhattan District Attorney

Cruz said he would release an official statement on the matter signed by Steinhardt’s undergraduate and graduate student governments in the coming days.

Norma D. Ross