December 22, 2014

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

Patreaus1-Nessa

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.

Image via Wikipedia

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.

City University of New York system logo.

Image via Wikipedia

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