The Core 100 program invites students and faculty from the College to join us for our weekly lecture series. Each week, all of the first-year students participate in lecture-discussions with about 400 of their classmates. We have space in the Center for the Arts (Building 1P) Williamson Theatre to accommodate individual guests and can have as many as two additional classes at each of the lectures. No permission is needed for classes to attend, but please notify Donna Scimeca (718.982.3405) if you plan to bring a class.

The lectures are 50 minutes and are all in the Williamson Theatre. They meet on the following days/times: Wednesdays at 11:15am and 1:25pm; on Thursdays at 8:00am, 10:10am, 4:40pm, and 6:30pm; and on Saturdays at 10:10am. The focus of the Core Lecture Series this semester will be to directly link the program’s curriculum to current events.

The Lecture Series Schedule for the

Week of Sept. 24, 2018

Wednesday, Sept. 26:

-11:15am: “Immigrants Not Welcome Here,” presented by Debbie Almontaser

The President of the United States possesses extraordinary powers to speak to his fellow citizens and on their behalf, through executive orders, he deems fit to create and sign into law. President Trump, upon taking office, started with two executive orders that are at odds with U.S. values. The Travel Ban and Build the Wall orders target religious and ethnic groups who seek to come to the United States like the very people writing these executive orders came before them by way of their ancestors. Do their orders really make us safe or in the long run hurt us as a nation?

Debbie Almontaser was the founding and former principal of the Khalil Gibran International Academy in Brooklyn, NY. A 25-year veteran of the NYC Public School system, she taught and served as a director in special education and inclusion, trained teachers in literacy, and served as a multicultural specialist and diversity advisor. Currently, she is the Founder and CEO of Bridging Cultures Group Inc. and a Professor at the College of Staten Island’s School of Education in the Post-Master-s Advanced Certificate Program for Leadership in Education.

-1:25pm: “Election Preview: Part 2,” presented by Steven Kaufman

This lecture will explore and prepare students for the upcoming November general elections and will discuss the impact of the Midterm Elections.

Steven Kaufman graduated magna cum laude with both a BA and MA in History from CSI. Since Fall 2015, Professor Kaufman has been a tutor for the SEEK Program, specializing in Core, as well as leading weekly study groups for all SEEK students enrolled in Core 100, and has been teaching Core since Spring 2016.

Thursday, Sept. 27:

-8:00am: “United States Supreme Court Appointment Process,” presented by Rosemary McCall

This lecture will discuss the current makeup of the Supreme Court, and the political agendas employed by the other branches of government in filling the open Court seat. In late summer, President Trump nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the SCOTUS; and two weeks ago, the Senate Judiciary Committee completed hearings on the nominee. In the 11th– or 13th?–hour, Democratic members of the committee broadcast a sexual allegation against the nominee. Has Brett Kavanaugh been “Borked?”

Rosemary McCall is a graduate of Brooklyn College, CUNY.  She holds advanced degrees from the University of South Carolina and GWU National Law Center.

-10:10am: “How to Count When You Don’t,” presented by Adam Knight

At various times, Americans of all political backgrounds have felt like political parties don’t represent them. Voters find themselves dismayed at the positions the Democrats and Republicans take. Worse, most voters have found themselves concerned that issues that are important to them aren’t even discussed. Drawing from Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith’s book The Dictator’s Handbook, this lecture will help explain why even in democracies, certain groups tend to have their needs met by policymakers more than others and why those groups tend to be courted more aggressively for their votes. The logic of Bueno de Mesquita’s theory does offer some hope to disaffected would-be voters, though, as the U.S. political system offers some opportunities for enterprising citizens to amplify their influence over who runs their town, state, and country. Finally, drawing on advice from congressional staffers, this lecture will conclude with tips on how citizens can most effectively communicate their interests to candidates and elected officials.

Adam Knight has a BA in Political Science and International Relations from William Jewell College, an MA in Diplomacy and International Relations from Seton Hall University, and a PhD in Political Science from Rutgers University. He teaches for the Core 100 program and the Political Science Department at CSI and teaches for Seton Hall’s School of Diplomacy and International Relations.

-4:40pm and 6:30pm: “The United States Supreme Court,” presented by Anthony Casella

This lecture will provide an in-depth look at the Supreme Court of the United States (sometimes colloquially known as “SCOTUS”) the highest federal court of the United States. Established pursuant to Article III of the United States Constitution in 1789, it has ultimate (and largely discretionary) appellate jurisdiction over all federal courts and over state court cases involving issues of federal law, plus original jurisdiction over a small range of cases. In the legal system of the United States, the Supreme Court is the final interpreter of federal constitutional law, although it may only act within the context of a case in which it has jurisdiction. Yet, to become a Supreme Court justice, one needs to be confirmed by the Senate of the United States, a process that went from the Senate’s “advise and consent” to becoming a political battle. The Trump presidency could potentially have the opportunity to appoint up to three new Justices to the Supreme Court, thereby changing the dynamics of the Court for generations. Within this lecture, students will be challenged to answer:  Should a candidate for the Supreme Court be judged on his/her qualifications alone?

Anthony Casella has been a member of the Core faculty since 2009. He received both a BA in History and an MS in Science in Education from St. John’s University. Professor Casella also received an MA in Administration and Supervision from CSI/CUNY.  He is currently an Assistant Principal at PS 25R South Richmond HS on Staten Island.

Saturday, Sept. 29:

-10:10am: “Tax Reform 2018,” presented by Peter Ronalds

This lecture will examine the latest tax reform in the 115th United States Congress, and its economic impact and how it may influence the outcome of the 2018 Congressional midterm elections. This lecture will then compare and contrast current tax reform with the taxes passed by the London Parliament on its North American colonies in its attempts at imperial reorganization after the French and Indian War 1763-1775.

Peter Ronalds earned his Doctor of Arts in Modern World History from St. John’s University in 1998. He has been teaching Core 100 and history classes since 1998.