September 4, 2015

CUNY Reconstructs Gender Titles: Say Goodbye to Mr. and Ms.

By Valfrie Claisse

Contributing Writer

 

A John Jay student wearing a nametag demonstrating the lack of gender titles.

Photo Courtesy of Angelo Picca A John Jay student wearing a nametag demonstrating the lack of gender titles.

When attempts to uproot deeply seated traditions are in place, controversy arises.

In the United States, addressing people in formal settings—“Ms.” or “Mrs.” for women and “Mr.” for men—after a “Hello!” is a practice that is as traditional as using ketchup and mustard on American hotdogs. But a policy is in place to do away with the titles we use to fully construct someone’s formal identity for our everyday social interactions.

On Jan. 26, the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate Center issued a new policy advising the faculty and other staff members to avoid using the titles “Ms.,” “Mrs.,” and “Mr.” when addressing students, effective during the spring semester.

“Effective Spring 2015, the [graduate center’s] policy is to eliminate the use of gendered salutations and references in correspondence to students, prospective students, and third parties,” reads the memo sent through email to all faculty and other staff members, on Jan. 16.

The policy was announced in an internal memorandum signed by the Graduate Center’s Interim Provost Louise Lennihan. In the memo, Lennihan encouraged professors to stick with the official names of students, or use the preferred names without the gendered salutations, particularly in official correspondence, as The Wall Street Journal first reported. This would include “all parts of any letter including address and salutation, mailing labels, bills or invoices, and any other forms or reports,” the memo states.

The policy is part of CUNY’s latest effort to create a safer and non-discriminatory learning space for students. Addressing the issue of gender discrimination in college campuses, the policy is aimed to achieve a gender-inclusive environment. The current use of the heteronormative titles, CUNY argues, excludes recognition of transgender students and those who identify outside the gender binary.

The CUNY Graduate Center is the first learning institution in the country to mandate such a directive aimed at gender neutrality.

It is also the grounds where new policies are occasionally tested before a potential, full-fledged implementation to the undergraduate branches within its system. This means that even though the policy has only been issued to the Graduate Center for now, many John Jay undergraduates are already affected, especially those who consider going to the university for their graduate studies after atending John Jay College.

The policy and its implications are all the more meaningful for students who already do not conform to the gender norms.

Upon learning about CUNY’s new policy, Kadeem Robinson, 18, a John Jay sophomore, was more than passionate and thrilled at the prospects: “It’s very exciting because they are finally taking into consideration gender nonconforming people. It’s good that they are finally accepting the fact that there’s not just male or female, that there’s more to it.”

Matthew Matos, a sophomore at John Jay, maintains a neutral stance on the necessity of the ban of the gendered titles.

“I understand how people could get offended by using these titles, but then again, it’s also been used for long as a form of formality,” said Matos.

While Matos thinks the traditional courtesy titles are harmless, some students believe that “Ms.,” “Mrs.,” or “Mr.,” along with any other titles, are just as important to people’s identities.

“For me I see the titles as equal. I see race the same as gender, because this is something that means a lot to somebody,” Robinson said.

“The effects [will] create a more comforting base for students to express their identities that they haven’t ever had before,” said Devyn Serrano, vice president of the LGBTQ and Allies club. “The policy will publicize the school as a safety zone that will not butcher their preferred names and pronouns the way some of their lives already consist of.”

Despite the good intentions of the university, the response to CUNY’s newest policy ranges from skepticism to strict disagreement, with the policy itself and with the way CUNY has handled its endeavors of moving past being a gender-exclusive institution.

Some members of the faculty at the Graduate Center expressed varying concerns about the policy.

From a semantic standpoint, linguistics professor at the Graduate Center Juliette Blevins told the Wall Street Journal that she “would like to do everything possible to foster a gender-inclusive learning environment on campus.”

“However, I do not believe that prescriptive language policies should be a part of that effort.” she said.

Olivera Jokic, an English and Gender Studies professor at John Jay College, weighed in on Professor Blevins’ statement, saying that “to prescribe what language change people will adopt usually doesn’t work like that.”

While she agrees that the policy is progressive, she insists on the line between the heteronormative man-woman gender binary and the role of language itself in society.

“You don’t pretend that it is the language. It’s not the category itself. Removing the language will not necessarily mean that gender has been removed.”

Kathlyn Salazar, a junior at John Jay, doubts the need of a language policy. “There’s no necessity for such a policy,” Salazar said. “One can just advise another to say ‘don’t call me ‘Ms.,’ and I think that’s efficient.”

The policy instated by CUNY has both supporters and detractors, but the ban of the heteronormative titles becomes all the more important, especially as the country undergoes steps towards gender equality. The most recent is the issue of same-sex marriage, which the Supreme Court will decide in late April this year whether marriage equality is a constitutional right.

Political correctness is another concern among those who disagree with the policy.

Scott Tankersley, a John Jay senior who volunteers as a peer ambassador at the Women’s Center, responded to the typical claims against policies directed toward gender equality. “If believing that treating non-binary people as human beings that they are is political correctness, then call me politically correct,” Tankersley said.

As the nation continues to work against gender-based inequality in many aspects of people’s lives, college campuses are taking initiatives in addressing these issues. In John Jay, the opening of the three gender-neutral bathrooms earlier in the semester is part of this campaign.

Gender, as it shows, remains to be a critical category that we as a society use to assign identity and expectations on people.

Considering the initial failure of the policy to gain support and successful implementation, Jokic offered a consolation in favor of the new policy in place.

“We’ll just figure out other ways. What the interest is to have a comprehensive way of dealing with gender and figuring out a way to make it not matter anywhere,” said Jokic. “But we don’t have that yet.”

No Means No: CUNY Blows The Whistle On Sexual Misconduct

By Fathema Ahmed

Editor

On Jan. 20, Title Nine Coordinator and Director of Compliance & Diversity, Silvia Montalban, sent out an email informing the John Jay community on the City University of New York’s (CUNY) new policy on sexual misconduct. The new policy, also known as Title Nine, states that sexual harassment, gender-based harassment and sexual violence is prohibited against any CUNY student, employee or visitor.

Students who experience any act of sexual harassment are advised to go to either the Title Nine coordinator, Office of Public Safety, Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs and/or Dean of Students or Resident Life staff. An investigation will follow after the victim files an incident report. The investigation should be completed within 60 days of the complaint being filed; necessary measures will be taken after the investigation is complete.

Title Nine refers to a civil rights law that is a portion of the United States Education Amendments of 1972 that was effective on June 23, 1972. It states that no person in the United States can be discriminated based on gender. CUNY’s version of Title Nine that was effective Jan. 1 expands on this law.

Each CUNY College has an employee who has been appointed Title Nine coordinator. The Title Nine coordinator for John Jay, Montalban, works with the Director of Public Safety and Risk Management, Kevin Cassidy, and Women’s Center Counselor/Gender-Based Violence Prevention and Response Advocate, Jessica Greenfield who works under the Office of the Vice President of Student Affairs.

“The thing is to get people to understand that anything that they find is uncomfortable for them, any kind of events or situation that they come across, that they can come and ask questions, it doesn’t have to be a full-blown complaint, but they at least can go find out that something can be done if they feel something inappropriate happened to them,” said Montalban, regarding her coordination with Public Safety and the Counseling Department. “Public safety refers them to me, or because they decide to come directly to me or because the counseling office becomes aware of somebody who’s concerned about something.”

After the incident is brought to Montalban, it is then investigated. The Title Nine Coordinator’s findings are taken to the President of the college who then decides whether or not the allegations are accountable. If the allegations are found to be true the matter is then taken up with the Dean of Student Affairs who then decides what disciplinary actions should be taken.

“I listen to see what the nature of it is, then I ask them to give me more information as to anybody who may have witnessed it or anybody that knows more about it,” said Montalban on the investigation process. “I’ll review all kinds of evidence, access credibility, because sometimes people think that a he said, she said, or she said, she said, doesn’t matter which gender, but people think that there’s just two people and no witnesses, so it cancels each other out and we can’t do anything and that’s wrong. I want people to have faith in the process.”

In order for an investigation to take place, the victim has to be affiliated with CUNY.

“We would take seriously even a complaint that occurred off campus when it involved two John Jay students or a John Jay student and another CUNY student. We’re here to offer help and resources to our students,” said Montalban.

Students are advised to report sexual misconduct to public safety or to the local precinct. There are eight buildings at John Jay. These buildings are the New Building, North Hall, Haaren Hall, Westport, Macaulay Honors College, the 54th street Annex, the BMW building and the New Yorker Hotel. Although the eight buildings are all covered by the new CUNY policy, they are covered by three different precincts. North Hall and Macaulay Honors College are covered by the NYPD 20th precinct. The Midtown North precinct covers the other buildings with the exception of the New Yorker hotel, which is covered by the Midtown South precinct.

Public Safety gets involved when there is a threat to safety. “We just investigate the facts, we’re the investigative arm of the Title Nine policy,” said Cassidy. “If something is reported to us we investigate it, pass it along to legal, legal then in turn passes it along to various governing bodies within John Jay, we’re not the judge or the judge’s advocate in this case.”

Greenfield would get involved when a person is in need of counseling, “I’m the person who’s more the victim’s advocate, I explain to people what their options are, who helps them connect them with resources, whether they’re internal like supportive services on campus or somebody wants to go get counseling at an outside organization, I help people with that and then I talk to them about their options in terms of reporting if they want to make a report with the Title Nine coordinator or they want to talk to the NYPD.”

Students also feel that the new policy is effective, “I am satisfied with the current policy because on top of the fact that they’re following protocols to aid victims in seeking justice, they are also taking in to account the mental and physical health of victims,” said John Jay sophomore, Kadeem Robinson. “I appreciate that CUNY understands that sexual misconduct is in no way tolerable or accepted.”

Another student feels similarly about the policy “I think it’s for the better because there needs to be a line drawn between what is appropriate and inappropriate. The policy elaborates on each definition,” said John Jay senior Nicole Brandao.

“I think it’s good that it’s being reinforced, I think it’s excellent that it’s being bought back to life and that everyone is becoming a lot more educated and more aware of Title Nine and how the reporting structure works and what should be done because a lot of times people are misinformed or individuals are misinformed of who to report these sexual incidents to or where they should go, “ said Cassidy.

Does Catcalling Cross the Line or Is It a Compliment?

By Valentina Henriquez

Staff Writer

By: Ryan Abdelhafez

By: Ryan Abdelhafez

“Hey yo ma, you lookin’ real sexy right now, let me holla at cha fo’ a sec’”, a guy, about 20 years of age, yells to a female who walks by showing cleavage.

‘Catcalling’ : it happens all over the world, from New York to Paris … to the campus of John Jay. But what causes guys to catcall, even though it can legally be considered sexual harassment?

“Society seems to think that me wearing less clothing seems to be an invitation,” says Ieasha Galloway, a student of John Jay, who has been catcalled multiple times both in the streets and on John Jay’s Campus.

“There are times when I wore sweatpants and guys thought I was approachable,” says Crystal Rodriquez, who has experienced catcalling both in the streets and on John Jay campus. Crystal believes it has little to do with what a woman wears.

Sexual harassment, according to the New York State office of the attorney general is, “a form of gender-based discrimination, [involving] unwanted sexual context [one of them being] sexually offensive remarks or jokes…comments (either complimentary or derogatory) about a person’s gender or sexual preferences”. Catcalling falls under this category, yet it is not seen as a crime until it becomes more frequent by the same person, or involves physical contact.

John Jay’s Department of Public Safety defines behaviors similar to catcalling under the heading of “Hostile Environment.” Offensive comments that form an uncomfortable setting for students, commenting on physical attributes, using crude or offensive language and demeaning or inappropriate terms like “babe” are all considered a form of sexual harassment under the CUNY Policy Against Sexual Harassment.

Being a Criminal Justice school, John Jay College gives off the impression that most of its students are aware of many of the NYS and NYC laws. “In this country we are given the freedom to express ourselves however we wish, so it is not right to take advantage of someone who is exercising their right to free expression,” says student Anthony Auson.

Auson was caught off guard, however when asked if girls who wear more revealing clothing are more subject to sexual harassment. Auson said “The way society is today, yes, although I don’t think it’s right.”

Aldin Radoncic, wearing a Captain America shirt, agreed. “Girls who wear more revealing clothing are more prone to sexual harassment. There are guys who think they’re that kind of person.” He was asked to further elaborate, “Let’s say a girl is wearing short skirts, revealing tops. It is more likely that guys assume she is a slut, or skank and she wants to be catcalled.”

According to Buzzfeed media, several countries around the world have banned women from wearing clothing that makes them more susceptible to sexual harassment.

In Uganda women have been banned from wearing miniskirts. Closer to home, a school in Michigan banned its female students from wearing leggings because they were deemed too “distracting” for male students.

It seems fortunate that there are no restrictions on women’s clothing at John Jay but it does promote a policy against sexual harassment.

In fact, not all women find catcalling a form of harassment. In her story, “Hey, ladies—catcalls are flattering! Deal with it,” Doree Lewak gave the message that it’s ok to catcall. For Lewak, catcalling gives her confidence. “When a total stranger notices you, it’s validating,” she wrote. “Before I know it, winter will be upon us again and it’s not easy turning heads when you’re up to your neck in Gore-Tex.” But Lewak’s take is not the norm.

Off campus, protests against catcalling are happening, giving the message that what women wear shouldn’t suggest consent. Blogs and non-profit organizations such as Price of Silence and Hollaback! Price of Silence states, “We call street harassment the gateway drug to further forms of violence against women…This perception dehumanizes women to a perceived ideal of subservience. We need to create a standard of human rights which protects equality to public space.”

Nation Scarred By Civil Unrest: Grand Jury Decision Sparks Protests In NYC

By Nicole Scaffidi

Contributing Writer

By: Keyunna Singleton Protestors head to Times Square on November 24th to express their concern for the recent decision.

By: Keyunna Singleton Protesters head to Times Square on November 24th to express their concern for the recent decision.

On Nov. 24, a grand jury failed to indict white police officer, Darren Wilson, in the shooting of Michael Brown, 18, an unarmed African American teenager in Ferguson, Missouri. On Aug. 9, Wilson fatally shot Brown. There are questionable circumstances in which the shooting occurred that has received nation wide attention.

Weeks after the decision on the Ferguson case, John Jay students’ opinions are multilayered. As students remain deeply saddened by events unfolding across the nation—including a similar decision just a week and a half later of a grand jury not to indict the police officer who caused the death of the Staten Island man, Eric Garner this summer—many who are dissatisfied with the reoccurrence of extrajudicial killings have come together to collaborate their thoughts and strong opinions, discussing what the next steps are.

For now, the one-thing students are able to agree on is protesting which, at least, is showing the authorities that people want change.

“Think of the purpose of the protests and community action… Could you imagine if all of the CUNY schools came together? Could you imagine what that would look like in New York?” says Jovanny Suriel, John Jay faculty member. In fact, CUNY has been majorly involved in the protest scene in New York City.

CUNY students joined by other protesters were able to stop the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade as participants marched down Sixth Avenue. Tobi Adeleka, President of the African Student Association explains, “We got pushed by cops. People got arrested. It was serious.” CUNY students also joined protesters across the country the night the grand jury announced their decision and were able to shut down traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge and throughout all of Manhattan.

Both the Ferguson and Eric Garner cases have stirred up civil unrest and caused a racial divide. With the hope of making a fundamental change, chants like “Hands up… Don’t shoot”, “What do we want? … Justice!”, “How do you spell racist? … NYPD”, and “NYPD, KKK, how many kids have you killed today?” have broken out into a unified cry.

Handmade signs flood the streets reading, “Let em’ hear it on the moon”, “Black lives matter”, and “The Hunger Games, now playing in a town near you!” People were outraged.

Since the Trayvon Martin case in 2012, in which George Zimmerman was found not guilty of murder for fatally shooting African American, unarmed Martin, public protest had surged. Many protesters feel as though there is a national injustice occurring. “Police officers across the US are hiding behind their badges and fatally shooting black men and boys with no consequence,” said Amber Ball, John Jay Senior. Much like the Civil Rights protests of the 1960-70’s, this movement has been hyper-concentrated on college campuses.

Since November 24, there has been a lot of activity around the John Jay Campus. From discussions to protests, students and faculty have come together to express their feelings and emotions.

On December 1, 2014, another protest took place inside John Jay as students focused on all aspects of injustice worldwide. “It’s essential that we as John Jay students make a difference because we are advocates for justice,” says Adeleke, “But it’s going to take baby steps.”

These cases have broken many hearts and are now merging with other existing issues of ongoing injustice. Even though there are conflicted opinions among the student population, the majority of John Jay students feel that peaceful protests are the most influential way to have their voices heard.

“We need to challenge the way that people think, their bias and their prejudice have to be challenged through peaceful means,” says Kadian Townsend. The hope is that publicizing their emotions will initiate change.

 

By: Keyunna Singleton

By: Keyunna Singleton

“There needs to be a larger discussion on what are you going to do,” says Hadassah Yisrael, “What happens when you leave these doors? What are you doing everyday when you wake up and your feet touch the ground? What do you do when you go outside?” Efforts need to be spent beyond peaceful protesting and outside the doors of John Jay.

Though there were protests after the Trayvon Martin case, there seems to be more momentum now towards systemic change.

“There needs to be legislative changes. There needs to be a change in police protocols and things of that nature,” says Quanisha Simmons. Media suggests that higher authorities will now start focusing their efforts on training police to use their equipment properly. According to Fox News, the White House is pushing for a multi-million dollar program, which will encourage local police departments to provide body cameras for their officers.

Legislation changes are only one of many ways that will help this movement succeed. Suriel believes that education without a doubt bring change.

“The textbook doesn’t reflect us except for ‘these Black people came over in chains.’ We need to educate our youth and ourselves as we transition. Look at this room, we are in this room at a college for social justice. Education is really key.”

Ebola Prompts CUNY Protocol

By Fathema Ahmed

Staff Writer

Ebola

By: Fathema Ahmed The largest isolation center within Haaren Hall, in room C22. This room was previously a dressing room but has been converted in case of an outbreak.

The City University of New York (CUNY) is working with the city to be prepared in case of an Ebola outbreak in CUNY schools, even following the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s guidelines.

On Thursday, Oct. 6, CUNY Chancellor James Milliken sent out a memorandum to Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Finance and Administration Robert Pignatello about Ebola preparedness.

“Although the Ebola threat to the CUNY community is small, the University has taken a number of measures to minimize risk. We have been communicating with public health agencies; our Infectious Diseases Committee meets regularly to ensure that our campuses are prepared for contingencies; and campus representatives are briefed at various forums, such as the University’s Risk Management and Business Continuity Council,” stated Milliken in his memorandum. “We have also been working with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, which has prepared a guidance document for colleges and universities and an Ebola evaluation algorithm.”

According to the CUNY website, each CUNY campus has a liaison who is in charge of dispersing information and abiding by CUNY guidelines on screening for and responding to any potential issues. The office of the Chancellor asked each college to appoint a liaison, and President Jeremy Travis appointed Pignatello to be the campus liaison for John Jay.

“We’ve been coordinating on a local effort to be prepared in case we have a case of Ebola. We’ve had three meetings, sometimes with phone calls where the campus representatives all gather together, talking about what’s going on and what’s happening in different campuses,” said Pignatello in regards to how he is coordinating with other campus liaisons.

“The risk for members of the CUNY community to be exposed is viewed as low but the consequences if someone were to get ill are very high, so it was taken very seriously, ” continued Pignatello.

New York has been forced to handle a case of Ebola itself. On Wednesday, Oct. 23, the New York City Department of Health and Hygiene reported a case of Ebola in a medical aid worker. The next day, New York City doctor Craig Spencer, 33, was confirmed to be the first and only person in New York State of having the Ebola virus after returning from Guinea; one of the countries in West Africa that has been affected by the virus.

He worked there for five weeks with the humanitarian-aid organization “Doctors Without Borders,” treating victims of the deadly virus. Spencer spent 19 days in isolation at Bellevue Hospital where he was treated. It is not known whether the experimental drug and blood plasma from recovered Ebola patient Nancy Writebol, 59, made a difference or whether his body killed the virus on it’s own. Spencer was released on Tuesday, Nov. 11.

Shortly after Spencer was confirmed of having the Ebola virus, Andrew Cuomo, the governor of New York, announced that anyone that had direct contact with Ebola patients in Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone had to go through a mandatory quarantine for 21 days. On Wednesday, Oct. 26, Cuomo announced that people coming from West Africa that did not show symptoms would be allowed to stay home for the allotted time, and that health care workers would be checking in on the patients twice a day to monitor their symptoms.

CUNY also has created isolation centers in the event of someone having the Ebola virus at CUNY. If a patient shows symptoms of Ebola and has traveled to an affected area, or had contact with someone with a confirmed case of Ebola in the 21 days before the illness, the patient will be placed in an isolated room, ideally with a private bathroom. The New York City Health Department will be contacted to guide the college through the process and to tell them what to do next.

Ebola 2

By: Fathema Ahmed The private bathroom for the isolation center located in C2201 of Haaren Hall.

John Jay College has identified an area in each of the college buildings and public safety officers, and health office employees have been trained in how to respond in the event that a member of the John Jay community were to show symptoms of the virus. The main isolation center is in the health office, which will be used during business hours. Unlike New York State regulation, the quarantine is not forced.

“The use of the isolation area is voluntary, you can’t make someone go into an isolation center, but if they present themselves with one of the risk factors, we would invite them to go into the isolation center to evaluate the situation and they would be willing to come in and then basically take over,” said Pignatello regarding forced quarantine. “We can’t force someone from John Jay to stay against their will, so that’s why we would contact the department of health and they would evaluate and follow all appropriate rules and regulations. They’re the ones whose guidance we would follow.”

Pignatello advises that students get a flu shot in order to avoid the confusion of whether someone is infected with Ebola or the flu, as flu symptoms are similar to that of Ebola.

According to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, some symptoms of Ebola include, but are not limited to, fever, headaches, joint and muscle aches, nausea, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain and lack of appetite. Flu symptoms that are common with Ebola are fevers, headaches, aches, diarrhea and vomiting.

“Symptoms usually appear eight to 10 days after exposure but may appear anywhere from two to 21 days after exposure. People only become contagious after they begin to have symptoms. If a person does not develop symptoms within 21 days after exposure, he or she is not at risk of Ebola,” stated the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene on their website.

According to the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, you are not at risk unless you traveled to Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone and had direct contact through broken skin or your mouth, eyes or nose with bodily fluids such as blood, vomit, urine, feces and sweat of a person infected with the virus or a person who died of the disease.

“This is not a disease that is well known to people and not a lot of people know about how it spreads, how to contract it, how to tell if someone might be affected. We had the federal government through the CDC (United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), the state department of health and the city department of health all put out information. A lot of it is identical, but a lot of it is similar,” said Pignatello on how John Jay is making students aware of the disease.

“There is a lot of information that is on the college’s website and the college has put up posters and flyers and so forth, about what we know about Ebola, about what we know about getting infected,” continued Pignatello.

While there are protocols at CUNY, there are students who are not aware of them. “I didn’t know about the protocols. If I knew about it I would feel that CUNY realizes that it’s a big issue and they’re doing something about it,” said Crystal Santos, a freshman at John Jay.

“You should be reminded that there’s this disease like Ebola out there. You should always be sanitary. In classrooms they should educate a little more about it. We use it as a joke because we’re not as educated about it,” continued Santos.

The CUNY homepage has an Ebola information link that it will continue to update. The link connects to different Ebola resources.

“We don’t want to overreact. We want to take reasonable precautions. That’s part of the challenge, the challenge here is to protect the safety of the people in our community and at the same time preserve and protect the privacy rights of everyone who might be suspected of being unhealthy. It’s not our job to diagnose people, we’re not doctors,” said Pignatello.

 

Challenging Petraeus: Students Protest His New Role at CUNY

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By Qendresa Efendija

Staff Writer

Students protested in front of Macaulay Honors College to prevent military control of the City University of New York this past Monday, Sept. 16

The protesters were barricaded by fences and monitored by policemen as they waited for David Petraeus’s arrival, the four star general and former director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Among those protesters were members from the CUNY internationalists club, students without borders from Queens College and anti-war activists, along 35W 67 St., with signs that read “David Death Squad Petraeus.”

The police took extra security and safety precautions by not allowing anyone near the entrance due to last Monday’s occurrence when students harassed Petraeous walking down the street. Petraeus, scheduled to teach his class at 3 p.m., arrived 40 minutes earlier in a black car that dropped him off exactly at the entrance.

Petraeus teaches his seminar style class entitled, “Are We on the Threshold of the North American Decade?” every Monday. His online course description reads “students will examine in depth and then synthesize the history and trends in diverse public policy,” but the protesters outside the walls of Macaulay Honors College read Petraeus as a war criminal inside CUNY to increase military influence.

A request to attend one of the seminars to gain a better understanding on Petraeus’s teaching and influence as an educator was denied by Grace Rapkin, Director of Marketing and Communications at Macaulay college, who marked down which media stations were covering the protest.

Students and professors expressed their first amendment rights chanting, “1,2,3,4, Defeat U.S. imperialist War, 5,6,7,8, Patraeus out we can’t wait!” The hate streaming from the demonstrators was targeted toward the military and its interference with the city schools’ education system.

Sandor John, professor and activist, from Hunter College said, “CUNY is not a hunting ground for military officers. It is a place to learn and express students’ ideas.”

John, with a family history in the military, opposes all military programs such as the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) that was also ousted in 1971 through protest. The military however still targets CUNY schools as recruit centers. John believes that appointing Petraeus to teach was a political decision and not an academic one.

In the midst of the protest was CUNY student, Farhaan Fhoss, chair of the Revolutionary Student Coordinating Committee at Queens College (RCC). He missed class that day to be a part of the protest. Fhoss’s job as the chair member is too build ties with other CUNY committees. While Fhoss explained how similar the committee gathers students together to protest against Petraeus, the crowd broke out into a chant of “What is revolution for? Class, struggle, people’s war.”

Different speakers such as William Crain from City College of New York, with a peace sign button attached to his blazer,  and John Arena from College of Staten Island took turns saluting everyone that came out to support the students and faculty of CUNY. They then continued reciting with the crowd, “General Petraeus you can’t hide, we charge you with genocide!”

This lighter campaign accompanied by a mixture of students and professors encouraged everyone to spread the word for Tues. Sept. 17th’s fundraiser called for by the Ad Hoc committee against the institutionalization of CUNY. The protesters handed out flyers for this event to by-standers, who would stop and stare at the commotion. The flyer read and called out to, “CUNY students, faculty and staff; city workers, teachers and other unionists; immigrant rights activists and opponents of racist repression and imperialist war should all come out together to protest the billionaire/war criminal gala.”

These students felt that this demonstration was necessary in order to protect freethinking in CUNY schools without the government’s involvement, learning in a city school where there is already heavy government involvement.

 

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Students Increase Activity Fee for First Time in 25 Years

By Navita Nauth

Left to right: Dev Sharma, Gabriella Mungalsingh, Faika Kabir, Clinton Dyer, Nadia Taskeen, Nancy Jeeuth, and Shereef Hassan, members of Student Council stand for a celebratory photo, after raising the activity fee at John Jay is for the first time in 25 years.

 

You didn’t have to be in the Lynn and Jules Kroll Atrium to hear the cheering and applause at 5:30 on March 14. The cacophony came from members of the John Jay community celebrating that John Jay had voted to raise the activity fee for the first time in 25 years.

The increase passed with a 995 to 617 vote.

“They put together a strong marketing plan to get this fee passed,” said Kenneth Holmes, the Dean of Students for the Division of Student Affairs. “It is really a testament to their hard work and dedication to the John Jay student body and how our culture has changed. As their dean, I’m very proud of them,” Holmes said.

The activity fee will increase the funds that extra-curricular clubs receive and offer students more things to do during community hour. The fee will rise from $49.60 to $99.60 for full-time undergraduate students, from $39.85 to $79.85 for part-time undergraduate students, and from $29.50 to $59.50 for part-time and full-time graduate students.

Out of all of CUNY’s school’s, John Jay is now has the third highest activity fee.

Holmes continued, “This year the student government executive board under the leadership of Mehak Kapoor was outstanding. This is evidence of their hard work, starting even in the summer, to put together a plan for the referendum for the student activity fee.”

From the breakdown, it is clear that many things will have better budgets to work with. Earmarkings like the Student Government Association, Freshmen orientation, the Veteran’s Center, Quality of Life, and Child Care will all receive more money from the activity fee.

Newly elected treasurer of student council Shereef Hassan said, “I was uncontested but the fact the student activity fee passed it means to me that I would have more responsibility and all the work I put in, my VP, my secretary, and my president and all my student council members means a whole lot.”

“This is the dawn of a new era for John Jay and everybody likes being part of history. This is exactly history,” Hassan said.

(Updated: 03/18/13)

 

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NewsFeed: Tuition Hikes Approved

English: City University of New York system logo.

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The CUNY Board of Trustees approved tuition increase by a vote of 15 to 1. The vote will increase CUNY four-year colleges to $6,330 in the year 2015-16. This means that the tuition will increase annually by $300 until 2015. The student protests which erupted earlier this month was organized to prevent such a thing from happening. Protesters argued that a majority of CUNY students were low-income minorities that would be devastated by the tuition hikes. University Official countered that argument by saying, that because of state and federal aid 44 percent of CUNY undergraduates pay no tuition. The Board also approved $5 million in aid for low-income students.

 

 

Source: NY Times

 

NewsFeed: What It Takes To Get Tuition-Free Year.

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David Smith was awarded the John Jay College Academic and Athletic Citizenship Award for his achievements in athletics, volunteer work, and academics. Achievements in athletics include winning gold in John Jay’s triathlons in years 2010 and 2011. Another feat of his was winning the 2011 CUNY summer Marathon with a time of 2:21:58. For his volunteer endeavors he raised money for American Cancer Society and volunteered at St. Luke’s hospital. As for academics he was able to maintain an overall GPA of 3.8 entering his senior year. John Jay was so impressed with Smith that they granted him tuition free for the 2011-12 year.

Sources: boltoncsd.org

CUNY’s Success In Graduation Rates

2007 graduating class of Erskine College

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Graduation rates around the nation are lacking; with many people enrolling in colleges but few graduating on time or not at all, according to a report by Complete College America. Complete College America is a non-profit organization that strives to improve college graduation rates. This report also shows that fewer than 20% of students that receive the Pell grants, older students, blacks, and Latinos attending college part time will earn their degree in six years. The report blames the fact that many students that enroll are required to take non-credit remedial courses that act as a barrier for them earning credits and ultimately blocking them from graduating. The report suggests that states should create incentives to encourage colleges to focus on graduation rates. The report shows that City University of New York’s (CUNY)  Accelerated Study in Associate Programs is a good practice employed by the university. With the graduation rates of students under this program much greater than students that are not enrolled in the program.

NYTIMES