THE WEEKLY BLAB
Volume 10, Issue 09–October 14, 2015
Some Unfortunate Events
Everyone who knows anything knows that we have a great bunch of students at SUNY Canton. Within any large group, of course, there will always be a few who get into trouble by doing improper things. We’ve had a small number of incidents occur recently, carried out by a small number of students. The students responsible have been students of color from New York City, which has prompted a number of nasty anonymous comments to the newspaper articles that have appeared, attacking all our New York City students and students of color. I felt I needed to respond, so I wrote an editorial letter, which has appeared in North Country Now, the Watertown Daily Times, and the Daily Courier-Observer. Here’s the letter in its entirety:
To The Editor:
As has been reported, there have been a small number of unfortunate incidents that have taken place involving students from SUNY Canton. Two bicycles were stolen. A pizza delivery man was robbed and assaulted. A taxi driver had the fare taken from him. These actions are repugnant, and the College is pursuing judicial sanctions on campus while fully cooperating with Village Police investigations.
In these three cases, the students who were arrested were from the New York City area, and were persons of color. This has led to a number of anonymous comments that can only be described as appalling. I am a bit shaken to see what some of our neighbors apparently believe. Let me set the record straight.
SUNY Canton is home to 3,200 students who engage in some of the most challenging academic fields, study and work hard, graduate, and get great jobs. They win national competitions, earn scholarships, excel at athletics, and spend thousands of hours volunteering in our community.
We are a diverse community. About 35 percent of SUNY Canton students come from metropolitan New York City. Some 30 percent are African-American, and about 7 percent are Latino. Our theme this year is “Everyone Is Welcome Here.” Wouldn’t it be a wonderful world if that were everybody’s theme?
The vast majority of our students are doing amazing things every day. In any community, there are a few who do not reflect the good of the whole. That should not obscure the intelligence, compassion, and ambition that more than 99 percent of our students exemplify.
The next time you see a SUNY Canton student, go up to them, ask what they are doing at college, and prepare to be amazed. I know I am, every single day.
Dr. Zvi Szafran, President
Lots of us in the administration have been busy writing the full version of our grants to SUNY. You may recall that the process this year took part in two steps: first, a two-page “white paper” was submitted. SUNY Canton submitted eight. These were reviewed by various folks in and out of Albany, and the top “white papers” were invited to submit a full proposal to SUNY. Well, all eight of ours were invited to submit, so we’ve all been busy racing to write them all by the October 7 deadline. Joanne Fassinger said “I’ve never submitted so many on the same day before!”, because we go all eight in on time, even with an hour or so to spare. Decisions will be made in early December, with the money to be disbursed soon after that. Of course, we have no idea how we’ll do at this point, but SUNY says that the proposals amount to about three times the amount of money available, so that means all things being equal, we’ll get about 1/3 of them. We’ll keep you informed. A huge thank you to everyone who was involved in writing these grants, including (hope I haven’t left anyone out!) Molly Mott, Doug Scheidt, J.D. DeLong, Lenore VanderZee, Joanne Fassinger, Mike Newtown, Kathleen Mahoney, Kamal Turner, and David Zhang, Michaela Young, and Renee Campbell.
Meetings, Meetings, Meetings…
There have been lots of meetings lately. I’ll give a brief recap on some that are of general interest.
On Monday, September 28, Doug, the deans, Molly, Melissa Evans, Patrick Massaro, and I met with President Carole McCoy and Terrence Harris (Dean of Continuing Education) from Jefferson Community College. We discussed several ways JCC and SUNY Canton might work together in the future, including some programs that we might offer at the Jefferson Higher Education Center. The conversation went very well, and I’m looking forward to several things that may happen as a result.
Later that same day, Doug, the VP’s, Michaela, me, and our union counterparts had a Labor Management Meeting. The meeting was candid and informative. Some issues that will come out of it include some legislation better defining the rank of Lecturer (and perhaps the introduction of a new rank of Senior Lecturer). Any such legislation will be shared with the faculty assembly in the usual way for their input. Some discussion also took place about the discretionary raises that are awarded by SUNY from time to time, and whether they might be used to address salary inequities. The answer was “yes”, but that the most likely path to being able to address salary matters was by getting more campus resources through enrollment growth.
There will be a ½ percent discretionary award (not added to the base salary) being given in the near future. Given the small size of the award, the Executive Cabinet has decided to award it “across the board”, meaning that no one needs to apply or be nominated for it. Supervisors do retain the right to not give the award if the person’s work has been judged to be below satisfactory levels.
On Wednesday September 30, several folks from the New York Power Authority came down to talk to Shawn Miller, Mike McCormick, and me about their plans with regard to the power lines that run through campus. The great news is that new plan, which will upgrade and replace the power lines, also includes moving them to the woods on the left side of campus (relative to Cornell Drive), away from the CARC. Construction should take place around 2017-18.
Also on September 30, Molly, Chris Sweeney and I had lunch with Caroline McCaw, a Fulbright Scholar from New Zealand who was visiting our campus. We have submitted a proposal to Fulbright for Caroline to come to SUNY Canton as a visiting scholar for next year. If it is successful, she will be working with the faculty and students in GMMD.
l-r: Molly Mott, Chris Sweeney, Caroline McCoy, and me
The first Campus Leadership meeting of the fall was on Monday, October 5. The format used to be that everyone would sit around a big rectangular table and give updates about their respective areas. While some say you can’t communicate too much, for many, this was the fifth time they were hearing the reports. We switched the format so that now, people are sitting at staggered 8 person tables and there is a theme for each meeting. The theme for this one was “admission”, and Melissa and Mollie went over how things had gone last year and their plans for the coming year. The presentation was well received, and after some discussion, we then turned to discussion things that had gone well since the start of the term (and hence, that we want to do more of). It was quite a list, involving staff and faculty from all over the campus’ accomplishments, and especially our students’ achievements.
We had a meeting of the SUNY Excels Group on Tuesday, October 6. Doug, Liz Erickson, Sarah Todd, and I incorporated suggestions from our Enrollment Management Task Force and finalized the draft we’d send to the faculty for review. You should have all received the draft by now, and need to respond by Wednesday if you have any input.
Wednesday, October 7 was officially Crazy Day, as we were all running around trying to get last minute issues fixed in the eight grant proposals, and get the grants in on time. By the end of the day, everyone was—well, you know.
Thursday, October 8 began with a St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce CEO Breakfast. This particular one was held at SUNY Potsdam, in their new Performing Arts Center. If you haven’t seen it, it’s quite a wonderful facility with several dance studios and three theatres. President Kristin Esterberg gave an update on what Potsdam is working on, which included a number of items we’re doing with them.
Later on Thursday, I had lunch with our Union Representatives. We discussed a number of issues, including things like equality of police retirement issues that we’d like to see happen down in Albany.
On Friday, I met with Veigh Mehan Lee, Patricia Endres, and Heather Lauzon, our colleagues in the Accommodative Disability Services Office. In many ways, they’re the unsung heroes of the campus, working with students with a wide variety of disabilities to help them successfully complete their educations. They provide a wide variety of services with a very small staff, and do wonderful work.
Lots of Other Events, Too!
Saturday, September 26 was Homecoming and Family Weekend, and it was a lot of fun. I couldn’t attend the Friday events since I was at the SUNY President’s Meeting in Saratoga, but I’m sure they were great. On Saturday, I attended several women’s volleyball games—against RIT and Rochester. The ‘Roos did very well, losing a close one to St. Lawrence (who we had beaten earlier in the term) and beating everyone else. There were also lots of other events—a classic car exhibit, a sundae bar, being able to get your picture taken with lots of weird props, being able to design your own sign, and much more.
Me and Jill about to sing a German Opera
There were lots of folks there, and our Student Life staff and volunteers did a great job managing everything. That evening, the big event was “Canton’s Got Talent”, a night of excellent singing, dancing, crowning the homecoming court, and other fun stuff. The sound system was a bit wonky at times, but it didn’t stop the enthusiasm and excellence of our student talent. If you’ve never seen one of these, you’ve missed a lot! Congratulations to all who participated!
The Homecoming Court and me: Kevin Legare (King), Noelle Murray (Queen), Malaysia Talley (Princess), Gloria Kodua Junior (Princess), Jeremy Baez (Prince)
On Tuesday September 29, Jill, Mark, and I attended the College Council Fall Barbeque at the alumni house. It was a very nice event, with wonderful food as always, but the weather was terrible—it rained nearly the whole time, making us eat and stay indoors. Still, it was a lot of fun, and always nice to get together with our College Council colleagues.
Friday, October 2 was Fire Safety Day. A very informative (and scary!) exhibit of a typical student dorm room was set on fire, to show how quickly the normal material in it burns. The room was entirely engulfed in flames in about 1:30 minutes, making it clear: be extremely careful with open flames or anything that can cause a fire, and when you hear the fire alarm, get out FAST!
On Sunday, October 4, the brothers of Alpha Theta Gamma held their annual barbeque, and Jill, Mark, and I were happy to attend. It was an absolutely perfect day weather-wise, so we all enjoyed sitting outside, eating the food, and watching the brothers play Can-Jam. They’re a great bunch of guys, representing the College well in the community.
On Thursday evening, October 8, SUNY Canton hosted the honorable Yunju Ko, Consul from the Korean Consulate General in New York City. Consul Ko discussed the Korea-U.S. military partnership, Korea’s miraculous economic recovery after the Korean War, as well as trade issues affecting the U.S., Korea, and China. His visit is part of an ongoing Leadership lecture series held on our campus, bringing in industry, government, and international leaders to speak to our students and faculty. Turnout was excellent with about 75 students, 10 faculty, and several business leaders there, and many insightful questions were answered. We hope to explore some potential relationships with Korean universities, and Consul Ko promised to help us make connections with them.
Korean Consul Yunju Ko’s Presentation
Saturday, October 10 was the first big Open House of the season. The weather was quite nice and the turnout was excellent—we had a packed house. The house band, “The Roo Crew” (or “President’s People”, take your choice—we haven’t decided yet), consisting of Dan Gagliardi, Lenore VanderZee and I played for about 40 minutes as visitors checked out our major programs and student organizations, and then it was time to start the official program. Our Admissions Office does a wonderful job with these open houses, aided by a huge number of volunteers from the deans and faculty, students, and staff.
Right after the Open House, I hopped into the car and drove down to Lake Placid for the Flaming Leaves Festival, where our Advancement Office was holding an alumni gathering.
Both pictures are of Colton, NY
The weather couldn’t have been better and the leaves were at their peak, so both the village and the Festival were CROWDED. It was a lot of fun meeting alumni, checking out the booths, and watching ski jumpers tackle the big hill. At the end of the day, we had an Alumni Board meeting, and then a quick trip back to Canton, getting home about 8:30.
SUNY Canton Booth at Flaming Leaves Festival
Last Week’s Trivia Contest
Last week’s challenge dealt with popular kids’ toys of the past. The fastest winner was Dianne-Marie Collins. Other winners include Janel Smith, Amanda Rowley, Alan Gabrielli (from SPSU), and Terri Clemmo. All win prizes that can be picked up from my office.
Here are the correct answers:
- Most popular of dolls, the clothes and accessories cost more than the doll did. Barbie.
- You spin around your hips while doing a “hula-like” dance. Of course, more talented people can spin it around other parts of their body too. Hula hoop.
- Made of a spiral of wire, you can make it “walk” down the stairs.
- Each reel has seven 3-D pictures you could see. View-master.
- Usually red and square, you can draw any picture and then erase it by shaking it. Etch-a-Sketch.
This Week’s Trivia Challenge
This week’s challenge will be about College team nicknames—name the given team’s nickname. The first five winners win a CD, DVD, or whatever else I come up with from the vast Szafran repository of duplicates or good stuff I want to get rid of. As usual, the first with the most takes the prize. No looking up the answers now! SEND ALL ENTRIES BY EMAIL TO firstname.lastname@example.org since if you put them as a response on the BLOG, everyone will be able to see them.
- SUNY Canton
- Syracuse University
- University of Alabama
- Duke University
- Yale University