THE WEEKLY BLAB
Volume 13, Issue 12–February 19, 2019
One of My Less Favorite Job Responsibilities
There are various things that come with the job of being president, many of them pleasant (such representing the College at lots of events) and some less pleasant. One of the jobs I like least is deciding when to delay or cancel classes due to the weather. It’s a no-win situation, in that there is a strong contingent that thinks that we should cancel if there is the slightest chance that someone might slip or skid on snow or ice, and another strong contingent that thinks “Hey—this is the North Country—we should be used to snow and ice, so why cancel?”
The way we actually make the decision is that our Chief of Police, Al Mulkin, checks out the situation across the county and on campus and calls me early in the morning to make the decision. After we tentatively decide, we call our P.R. team of Travis Smith and Greg Kie, who add their perspective and make the final decision on the message to send out.
The most recent weather closing challenge was the big storm that was supposed to hit Canton last week. As it turned out, for some, it was a bit less than predicted—we got about six inches in Canton. St. Lawrence County is a big place though and there were several areas that got quite a bit more than that. The snow was supposed to begin at 1 PM on Tuesday, but the conversations began at about 6:00 AM that morning, since most of the elementary schools announced they were closing by noon to make sure that the busses could get the kids home safely. Other places cancelled evening programs and at least one college announced it was delaying its start on Wednesdayuntil 10 AM. We decided to wait and see what was actually happening and agreed we would review the situation at about 2 PM. One o’clock came and went without any snow, which began around 2:30 PM. It wasn’t doing much, so we decided to not cancel classes.
As it happened, we had an exit interview with a business accreditation team that afternoon. I was seated opposite the windows in the room and about halfway through the meeting, at about 4:00, it seemed like it was a white-out and I began to wonder if we had made the right call not to cancel classes. It stopped after a few minutes and when the meeting ended and we left to go home a little after 5, it was snowing moderately had only accumulated an inch or so. When I got home, it started to snow harder at about 5:30, but then it stopped again at 6:15 and stayed clear until 9 PM. It started to sleet at 9:30 and kept that up on and off for a while, turning to snow again at 11 PM. So, all in all, I think we made the right call for that evening.
Wednesday morning, I got a call at 5:00 AM to let me know that the back roads in the county and on the campus we still slippery and some were unplowed, so it would be wise to delay opening until 10 AM. We sent out that message and I went back to sleep. When I got up and went outside at 7:30, there was about five inches of snow, but it was pretty powdery and it brushed off of the car easily. There was also a thin veneer of ice on the windshields, but since it had warmed up to about 30°, it softened quickly from the defrosters and I was scraped off and ready to go. It was still snowing lightly but the roads were clean and I got to campus with no trouble or delay, which made me think we might have over-reacted and shouldn’t have delayed opening. As other people arrived, I heard that it wasn’t quite so easy where they lived—many were trapped in their driveways and had to shovel their way out, and the roads in many places were still badly plowed. Almost every school in the area was closed, so lots of people had to make accommodations for childcare as well and appreciated the extra time the delay gave them. It snowed on and off most of the day, ending later than predicted, but the road crews were able to keep up with it. So, all in all, I think we made the right call for the delay as well. Your mileage may vary.
And Even More Travel
In the last issue of the BLAB, I told about my two trips to Florida in January, but my travel for that month wasn’t done yet—there was one more trip to Albany for the Chancellor’s State of the University System speech. We had also been asked to present a showcase about our eSports program during the breakfast time before the speech, but when we asked if a monitor would be available for our use so that we could show a video, we were told we’d have to rent one. Since that was pretty expensive, we decided to bring our own and drive down instead of flying.
Lenore VanderZee (Executive Director for University Relations) and I left campus a little before noon, having loaded the car up with the computer and large monitor (pretty heavy), as well as stickers, brochures, and little tins of mints with SUNY Canton’s logo on them to give away. The drive was fine for the first hour—sunny with clear roads. When we stopped in Tupper Lake for some lunch it had begun to snow very lightly. We had a nice lunch at a little sandwich shop called “Well Dressed Food” on the main street, but by the time we finished, it was snowing very hard. As we headed out of the village near the lake, it was full white-out conditions and we thought we might have to stop and wait for things to clear or to cancel entirely. I decided to keep going but to drive slowly and a few miles later things improved—the snow got much lighter and the roads had at least been plowed a while back, so you could still see some asphalt where previous cars had gone. It was pretty much like that all the way across the Adirondacks—better in some places, worse in others—until we reached Interstate 87 in Pottersville. The interstate was reasonably well plowed and the snow had stopped, so we had an easy ride from there. It was very cold in Albany—about 7° at 5 PM when we arrived—and we decided to go straight to a restaurant for dinner so we wouldn’t have to go out again. After a nice dinner at Lazeez (an Indian restaurant as you’ve probably guessed), we drove to the hotel, checked into our rooms, and I was done for the night, going to sleep soon after.
After meeting for breakfast at the hotel, we went to the Albany Capital Center and set up our showcase, finishing at a little before 9 AM. People began to arrive and we got a lot of traffic from people who were interested in what we are doing in eSports. Some other campus presidents were interested in setting up their own programs and various people from SUNY wanted to know how well we were doing with it. Several other SUNYs also had showcases of various initiatives on their campuses, including a couple that had interesting environmental projects.
Chancellor Johnson’s speech started at 11 AM and was very good, highlighting how higher education is a necessary path to employment, social mobility, and the American Dream. She said: “Increasingly, higher ed is the only path to opportunity” and noted that people with college degrees earn 80% more than those with a high school degree. She focused on four key themes: individualized education, innovation and entrepreneurship, sustainability, and partnerships, which are areas that we’re focusing on at SUNY Canton as well. Some of the new initiatives in SUNY for 2019 will include PRODI-G(Promoting Recruitment, Opportunity, Diversity, Inclusion and Growth), a plan to enable campuses to hire and retain up to 1000 new faculty to increase diversity; SUNY Online, a system-wide initiative to increase opportunities for exclusively online learners through campus partnerships; SUNY Achieve, to expand remedial support and improve retention through student-centered pathways; and a SUNY Green Revolving Fundto provide loan funds for projects what will reduce carbon footprint and energy use. The loans will be paid back through energy savings realized on campus.
One of the most moving moments of her speech came when she spoke about her own grandmother leaving behind everything she knew 110 years ago and immigrating to the United States, because “That’s where she wanted to live [as she paused for a moment, her voice choking up] and raise her family. It was a dreamland of infinite opportunity, this New York.” She spoke about how excited she was to find her grandmother’s name on the ship’s manifest (which she showed in a slide) when she visited Ellis Island. It brought a tear to my eye as well, because that’s the story of my own family as well, as it is the story of so many other New Yorkers and Americans.
She ended by saying “We want every single New Yorker to understand if they enroll at SUNY and work hard, they too can achieve their dreams. At SUNY, we enable equality of opportunity, as the most important work in the world, and I know that every single one of the 91,000 employees understands that, and we all take great pride in it. As you make the effort this year to realize the ambitions I’ve outlined today, I know that you also understand that we are working to restore the essential promise of America, in the state which first welcomed so many of our ancestors from distant shores,” Chancellor said. “I am so delighted to be able to join forces with our students, our faculty, our staff, our campus leadership, Governor Cuomo, the legislature and the citizens of New York State to underscore that New York remains what it always has been—a beacon, an inspiration, and a place of shining hope for all.”
You can see the entire speech below.
After the speech, some last-minute discussions, and goodbyes, we loaded the car back up and headed up Interstate 87 at about 12:30. We stopped at an Indian buffet in Half Moon (just south of Saratoga) where the food was good, but a bit on the lukewarm side. The rest of the ride up I-87 was fine, with sunny weather and a clean road. That all changed when we got off the highway in Pottersville, with the clouds rolling in and a light snow beginning. The roads had been plowed some time earlier but got worse as we went through Newcomb and got to Long Lake. They were downright lousy from there through Tupper Lake to Sevey Corners, where we turned north on NY 56. Two miles later, we were above the snow area and the sun came out in time for us to enjoy a nice sunset and clean roads the rest of the way to Canton. What a difference even a few miles can make in the Adirondacks.
This past weekend was a really good one for Roo sports fans. SUNY Canton hosted six games: two each in men’s and women’s hockey and one each in men’s and women’s basketball. Overall, we finished undefeated, with five wins and one tie.
On Friday at 4 PM, our women’s hockeyteam defeated Becker College 4-1, with goals being scored by Noelle Niemiec, Sarah Kosnaskie, Kelly Leathem, and Hannah Brady. Jessica Pele had three assists, and goalie Brooke Susac made 24 saves on 25 shots for her 10thwin this season.
The second game against Becker was on Saturday at 2 PM and ended in a 3-3 tie. Both teams scored once in the first period (ours by Ashley Gillies), but Becker took the lead in the second period, scoring twice. SUNY Canton countered in the third period, with Noelle Niemiec scoring at 5:12. With less than two minutes to go, a Becker player drew a penalty for slashing, giving Canton a power-play opportunity. The Roos pulled Brooke Susac from the goal for an extra attacker, and Noelle Niemiec got her second goal with only 27 seconds to play. The overtime period was scoreless, so the score ended in a tie. This finished the regular season for the Roos, who qualified for the Colonial Hockey Conference playoffs, playing home against the University of New England on Saturday, February 23 at 1 PM.
On Friday at 7 PM, our men’s hockeyteam defeated Buffalo State 4-3. Buffalo State started the scoring with a goal in the first period and added one more 21 seconds into the second period, but Canton responded at 7:46 with a goal by Kyler Matthews. Four minutes later, the score was tied when Kyler passed to Joe Deveny, who picked up his 34thcareer goal. Canto took the lead at 13:14 with a second Joe Deveny goal. Buffalo State tied it up again in the third period, but Canton’s Sean David scored the winning goal soon after. Michael Cerasuolo was the winning goalie.
The second game, Saturday at 5:30 did not start well for the Roos, with Buffalo State scoring in the first period and adding two more for a 3-0 lead at 14:05 in the second. The Roos responded with a goal at 14:37 by Anthony Filoso, and another three minutes later by Kyler Routledge on a power play. Halfway through the third period, the Roos tied it up on a second Routledge goal, and Filoso scored the game winner at 12:45. Austin Washkurak was the winning goalie. The Roos finished their season at 14-9-2, their best ever since joining the NCAA Division III.
On Saturday at 1:00, our men’s basketballteam defeated University of Maine—Presque Isle in the NAC quarterfinals. Canton took an early lead but UMPI caught up and took the lead 36-34 at the half. The game was tied at 57-57 in the second half with eight minutes to play, but the Roos exploded for 28 more points, running away with an 85-63 win. Scoring leaders included Robert Holliday Jr. with 24, Brandon Adkisson with 17, and Jordan Stewart with 15. Andrew Fitch got his 6thdouble-double, with 10 points and 11 rebounds. The Roos advance to the NAC semifinals against Husson on Friday, February 22 at 7:30 PM away at Maine-Farmington.
On Saturday at 3:00, our women’s basketballteam defeated Thomas College (Maine) 78-47. The Roos took an early lead, finishing the first quarter 20-7, and had a 21-9 lead in the second period, for a 41-16 lead at the half. Thomas played even in the third period at 15-15, but the Roos dominated 22-16 in the fourth for the solid win. Top scorers included Breanna Cullers with 20 points, Antanasia Chambers with 15, Tyberia Wallace with 11, and Autumn Watkins with 9. The Roos advance to the NAC semifinals against Maine Maritime Academy on Friday, February 22 at 7:30 PM away at Husson College.
The Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) announced its 2018 Esports All-Academic Honorson February 4th, and SUNY Canton had 12 student-athletes on the all-academic team. These included Yvan Vladimir Tchounga and Elisah Byrd on FIFA; Maelea Mercado, Zachary Lawrence, Tyler Henderickson, and Frederick Given on Hearthstone; Alec Knowles, Tyler Johnson, and Logan Coggins on League of Legends; Kal-El Key and My Dang on Overwatch; and Dylan Santiago on Fortnite.
Congratulations to all our outstanding athletes and their coaches!
Last Time’s Trivia Contest
Last time’s challenge had to do with holiday songs, and our fastest winners being Terri Clemmo, Kevin Elliott, Robin Gittings, and Sara Hartman. Just come up to the President’s Office on the 6thfloor of MacArthur Hall to pick up your prize. Here are the correct answers:
- Anti-school song by Pink Floyd, whose lyrics start with “We don’t need no education”. Another Brick in the Wall.
- Sam Cooke song also done by Art Garfunkel, James Taylor, and Paul SImon, that includes the line “Now, I don’t claim to be an “A” student/ but I’m trying to be. For maybe by being an “A” student, baby/I can win your love for me.” What a Wonderful World.
- School song by Timbuk3, where you have to put sunglasses on at the end. The lyrics start: “I study nuclear science, I love my classes/I got a crazy teacher, he wears dark glasses.” The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades.
- Taylor Swift song that starts “You take a deep breath/and you walk through the doors/ It’s the morning of your very first day.” Fifteen.
- Beach Boys classic song that begins “When some loud braggart tries to put me down/and says his school is great/I tell him right away/Now what’s the matter buddy/Ain’t you heard of my school/It’s number one in the state.” Be True to Your School.
This Time’s Trivia Challenge
To celebrate our great weekend athletically, this issue’s challenge has to do with sports. The first five entries with the most correct answers win a duplicate CD from the vast Szafran repository, as well as the admiration of their peers. No looking up the answers now! SEND ALL ENTRIES BY EMAIL TO firstname.lastname@example.org if you put them as a response on the BLOG, everyone will be able to see them.
- Winner of this year’s Super Bowl.
- Which of the Williams sisters has won the most tennis grand slam titles, Venus or Serena?
- How many NBA championships did Michael Jordan win with the Chicago Bulls?
- Romanian Olympic gymnast who was the first to score a perfect 10.
- In 1964, Cassius Clay (Mohammad Ali) gained his first heavyweight boxing title by defeating who?