Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

NYU Tisch dean replies to pleas for tuition refunds with bizarre video of her dancing to R.E.M.

Illustration for article titled NYU Tisch dean replies to pleas for tuition refunds with bizarre video of her dancing to R.E.M.
Photo: Left: Steven Ferdman/ Right: Sean Zanni (Getty Images)

Things are tough for most people right now, but university/college students who are just about to finish off their spring semester are facing a specifically difficult time. With on-campus classes postponed, many schools are offering virtual lessons in their place, which may be better than nothing but definitely aren’t an ideal replacement for many forms of learning. This is especially true for those enrolled at NYU’s Tisch School Of The Arts, where traditional classes have been suspended, leaving students without access to important equipment and hands-on instruction.

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Those affected have tried to address this by asking for partial tuition refunds, but Tisch administration has so far refused to offer any compensation. In a recent, confounding example of the school’s response, Dean Allyson Green has also decided to couple an email reiterating that no refunds were coming with a video attachment showing, for some godforsaken reason, her dancing alone to R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion” in an alien’s version of sympathy.

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The video was shared on Twitter by @michale_price, who also explained that it was accompanied by an invitation for a bunch of students already pretty mad at Tisch as a whole “to ‘dance along’ with her.” The clip is really breathtaking stuff—something that can only be described as a kind of intentional Star Wars Kid video, made far more embarrassing by the fact that Green apparently didn’t doubt the wisdom of its creation during any of the many steps it would’ve taken to go from filming it to sending it along to students.

She posted it on the school’s Vimeo page, obviously pretty proud to show off a clip that begins with her theatrically shrugging her shoulders and goes on to feature two full, Patagonia-vested minutes of an adult singing and enthusiastically dancing along to a song in her bedroom.

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The response, you may be surprised to hear, has not been kind. Tisch student Eli Yurman wrote an open letter to the dean that asks how Green could “think this would do anything but piss everyone off.”

“We get that the financials of a private university are complicated,” Yurman writes. “We get that you can’t just wave a wand and give people their tuition.” But, the letter continues, “the video is not cute. It’s uncomfortable to watch, it goes on for too long, you end it by staring at the camera for a good eight seconds, none of it is working in the way you think it’s working.”

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Tisch alums Rachel Bloom and Anna Drezen have also chipped in, with Bloom saying the school’s response has made her “ashamed to say this is my Alma Mater” and Drezen calling its tuition prices and coronavirus response “immoral.”

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No observation so succinctly sums up how puzzling and infuriating the dance video is than one tweeted by @frank_stop, which simply states “LOSIN’ MY TUITION.” Keep that line in mind if you decide to wince through another viewing, paying attention also to how on-the-nose it is when Green, arms flying around, sings, in her extremely unhelpful response to a difficult situation, “Oh, no, I’ve said too much. I haven’t said enough.”

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[via NBC New York]

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Contributor, The A.V. Club. Reid's a writer and editor who has appeared at GQ, Playboy, and Paste. He also co-created and writes for videogame sites Bullet Points Monthly and Digital Love Child.

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