On Saturday, April 4, 2019, Thomas Waters, a former Urban Studies adjunct faculty member at Barnard, passed away. 

Waters’ time at Barnard consisted of his dedication to the Barnard-Columbia Urban Studies program as an adjunct lecturer. According to archived bulletins from Columbia College, Waters taught in that program from 2014-2018. His biography on the website for the Community Service Society of New York (CSSNY) indicates that he taught classes on urban politics and research methods for Barnard as well as Marymount Manhattan and the City College of New York. Bwog has reached out to the Urban Studies department to determine which classes he taught during his time at Barnard. 

While at Barnard, he was well-known for his work with the Barnard Contingent Faculty Union, who released a statement on his passing via their Instagram account. According to this statement, Waters’ passed away “after two weeks of illness consistent with COVID-19.” Union members praised Waters as “a beloved and supportive colleague” who was a leader in union organizing and a dependable presence at actions and events in support of BCW-UAF, even during times when he did not teach at the college.

Waters’ activism was not limited to his work with BCF-UAW. He was also a member of CSSNY, which serves low-income workers as an independent, nonprofit organization. As a member of CSSNY, Waters aided the organization’s Policy, Research, and Advocacy department by examining the effects of low-income housing policies on New Yorkers. CSSNY released a statement regarding Waters’s passing. In it, they praised Waters as a “brilliant analyst and a powerful advocate.” They also noted that his research on “the dwindling supply of subsidized and regulated apartments” in the city has helped address the needs of low-income New York residents and cited this research and organizing as part of the foundation of the 2019 rent regulation expansion in New York State. His impact on housing advocacy in NYC is also evident in the outpouring of condolences from housing advocates and groups like Housing Justice for All and the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development on social media.

Barnard College has released a statement regarding Waters’s passing, offering their condolences for Mr. Waters’ family, friends, and colleagues at this time. The statement can be found at the bottom of this post.

Bwog sends our condolences to Tom Waters’ wife Hilary, his son, Daniel, and his other friends, family, and colleagues at Barnard and across the city. 

Editor’s note, 4/6/2020, 6:48 pm: This article was originally published “Barnard Faculty Member Tom Waters Has Passed Away.” At the time of his passing, Waters was not an active faculty member at Barnard College. The article’s title has been updated accordingly.

Barnard Contingent Faculty Union Statement:

BCF-UAW mourns the loss of our former member Tom Waters, who passed away on April 4 after two weeks of illness consistent with COVID-19. As an adjunct faculty member in the Barnard-Columbia Urban Studies program, Tom was a beloved and supportive colleague and a pillar of our union. He was a leader during all stages of our union organizing—a calm, reliable, committed voice and presence in meetings, protests, and open letters—providing an example of solidarity that was crucial to our collective success. Even at times when he wasn’t teaching at Barnard, we could count on him to show up for our actions and events. Tom was also a doctoral candidate in Political Science at the CUNY Graduate Center and worked at the Community Service Society of New York, an advocacy group for low-income New Yorkers. His engaged scholarship and extensive writing on affordable housing policy contributed to improving the lives of many New Yorkers. Our thoughts are with his wife Hilary and son Daniel. We will miss him deeply.

Barnard College Statement:

Barnard College sends our deepest condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of Tom Waters, who formerly served as an adjunct faculty member in our Urban Studies Program.

Barnard Hall via Bwog Archive