Interim Special Counsel to the President and General Counsel Announcement

I am pleased to advise you that, over the summer, Meryl R. Kaynard joined our campus community to serve as the College’s Interim Special Counsel to the President and General Counsel.

Ms. Kaynard brings a wealth of expertise to this position, including experience in higher education, and the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors. She served in this same capacity at Queens College for more than five years, and in the Office of the General Counsel of CUNY Central for the past year. Prior to her roles at CUNY, Ms. Kaynard served in various legal service leadership positions including Senior Vice President/Head of the Employment and Benefit Law Group for a Fortune 100 company, Director of Diversity and Special Counsel for an AmLaw 100 firm, Assistant Corporation Counsel for the New York City Law Department, and law clerk to a Federal Court judge. Throughout her career, in addition to providing full legal services and counsel, Ms. Kaynard has dedicated herself to the advancement of diversity. She was, for instance, the founder of the women’s network advancing women in financial services, and served as counsel to supplier diversity initiatives and as the Director of Diversity at a large law firm. Ms. Kaynard holds a BS in Biology/Genetics from Cornell University and a Juris Doctor (JD) from Wayne State University in Michigan.

Ms. Kaynard’s proactive, practical, solution-based approach has served her and her clients well, and we look forward to working with her in her new capacity at CSI.

This appointment follows the retirement of the College’s prior counsel, and the reorganization of some of the many functions performed by the Legal Department. In addition to providing the full range of legal services, counsel, and advice concerning faculty, staff and students, the Legal Department under Ms. Kaynard’s direction will perform a multitude of other related functions.  These include conflict resolution, litigation management, and support of various College initiatives, engagements and affiliations requiring agreements, contracts, letters of intent, and memoranda of understanding, compliance/investigations, and immigration/visa services. Ms. Kaynard will also serve as the College’s Ethics Officer and Records Access Officer (for FOIL requests and subpoenas). Hope Berte, who was recently appointed Executive Director of Human Resources and Labor Designee, is responsible for those functions that fall within the role of Labor Designee, and Ms. Kaynard and Ms. Berte will work seamlessly on matters that require both their expertise, as well as those that fall within both the Legal Counsel and Labor Designee roles.

Please join me in welcoming Meryl Kaynard to the College of Staten Island family.