President’s Report to the College Council

Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016


Last week, the Division of Finance and Administration sent an email to the College community advising of two major infrastructure repairs that are currently underway on the campus.

First, for those of you who are unaware, the water needed for heating and cooling our buildings emanates from our central plant, which then travels through miles of piping in the tunnels underneath our campus. On October 1, our engineers discovered a collapse in a section of pipe, which impacts the delivery of heat to buildings 4N, 5N, 1R, and 1C. We expect these repairs to be completed within the next two weeks.

A second malfunction occurred in our substation, which resulted in the disabling of one of our two electric feeders to the campus. Without the redundancy of a second feeder, we are now at risk of losing power on campus should the remaining feeder fail. While we are completing repairs, if you feel that any of your respective areas are particularly vulnerable should we experience an extended power outage, please contact the Office of the Vice President of Finance and Administration, Ira Persky, to develop contingency plans.

To reiterate a point set forth in my recent budget email to the College campus, additional revenues from the State are necessary to address these and other critical infrastructure needs at CSI and across other CUNY campuses.

Last month, I advised the College Council of the reasons for why we were not able to schedule classes at the St. George facility this fall, including unanticipated delays in the lease, design, and bidding processes. In assessing the current and anticipated pace of the construction and renovations at 120 Stuyvesant, we have made the decision not to schedule classes until fall of 2017. This will provide a more definitive timeframe for academic departments and faculty members to assist in planning and preparing the academic program. Fortunately, due to the manner in which we structured the lease agreement, we have not yet expended funds for the space, nor will we be obligated to pay any such monies until such time as the facility is completed and ready for occupancy.

The revised timeframe for the St. George opening will coincide with the completion of Phase 1 of our 2M Building in fall of 2017, which will feature ten new classrooms and two office suites. We have other major capital projects in the queue, but again, we will need a restoration of capital funding from the State to proceed with certain projects including a new electric substation which, as we have seen most recently, is critical to the power infrastructure of our campus.

In times of fiscal exigencies, the limited funds that are available to invest generally support areas that we see as critical needs. Indeed, while other campuses have severely limited or ceased investing their resources in new faculty the past few years, we did not. And this year, as I previously indicated, I will be informed by recommendations of the College Council Budget Committee to determine our strategic priorities for allocations and expenditures.

Along these lines, based upon the recommendation of a faculty subcommittee of the College-wide Diversity Council two years ago, we decided to conduct our Campus Climate Survey as a priority for the College to help nurture a safe and inclusive campus environment where all CSI community members can thrive and reach their potential.

In this current divisive national climate, heightened by a Presidential election process marked by incivility, as well as issues that continually need to be addressed on our campus, our Climate Survey is both timely and of critical need. I commend our faculty, staff, students, and the Office of Diversity and Compliance who had the foresight to advance this initiative as a proactive rather than reactive measure.

In November, there will be two Town Hall Meetings where the findings of the Survey will be presented, and in December, a series of Feedback Forums will be held to provide all members of the College community with the opportunity to propose solutions to address challenges identified in the survey results. Details of these meetings will be disseminated to all faculty and staff shortly.

Thank you.