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 Oct. 8, 2018

Wednesday, Oct. 10:

-11:15am: “The Politicization of America: Where Will It Take Us as a Nation?” presented by William Fallon

This young century has already seen its fair share of contentious issues and movements: Black Lives Matter, Occupy Wall Street, #MeToo, as well as the National Anthem protests in the NFL. This lecture will examine politicization–its importance and its dangers. It will commence with James Madison’s Federalist #10 to explain his reasoning and cautions regarding factions. The U.S. Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement will also serve as examples of crucial political turmoil in the U.S., and finally movements like #MeToo and the National Anthem protest/Black Lives Matter serve as current examples of how issues/topics have not only been politicized, but how they have divided and polarized the American people. The larger questions of “Where do we go from here as a nation?” and “How can we solve this problem?” will be posed to students.

William Fallon has been an Adjunct Lecturer in CSI’s Core Program since 2015. He was awarded his MA in History from CSI in 2013. Additionally, in January 2018, Professor Fallon became the first student ever at CSI to be awarded a Certificate in Public History.

-1:25pm: “Abolitionists, The Underground Railroad, and Sanctuary Cities,” presented by John Comfort

This lecture will discuss major Abolitionists groups, the Underground Railroad, and the issues that slaves faced when considering escape–where would they go? What will become of their families? The lecture will also examine the impact of the Fugitive Slave Act on the Underground Railroad. To address the current-events focus of this semester’s lecture series, the lecture will also ask students to compare the risks associated with being an undocumented immigrant.


John Comfort earned his MA in History from the College of Staten Island in 2003 and has taught classes at CSI in the Core Program and also the American Studies Program since 2006.

Thursday, Oct. 11:

-8:00am: “The First Amendment vs. Big Brother,” presented by Victor Miller

We all have Financial Credit scores that determine if we can get loans, rent an apartment, or purchase a house or car. What if we had a Social Credit Score in the United States? Many say we are already headed down this road with recent assaults on First Amendment rights in social media and in the press. This lecture will look at how China is instituting a social point system program in 2020 and what would it look like if the U.S. had one. It would affect your credit, job applications, where you can travel, and even if you can run for elected office. Is this system already being implemented in the U.S. via social media, cameras, the press, and even our elections?

Victor Miller earned a BA in History at the College of Staten Island in 2005 and an MS in Adolescent Education in 2008. He has been an Adjunct of Core 100 since February 2012 and currently also works in the Center for Advising and Academic Success. Victor is the of author of the “Summer of ’87” Reacting to the Past classroom simulation and also recently served on the Core 100 textbook editing committee.

-10:10am: “Why State and Local Elections Matter,” presented by Michael Batson

State and local elections often take place in the shadow of high-profile and high-stakes national elections even though the outcomes of those state and local elections will have a major impact on the day-to-day lives of citizens. State and local laws and polices can foster or hinder quality of life, facilitate or thwart economic opportunity, increase or decrease equity, help or harm communities, and protect or threaten individual rights. Additionally, states can reinforce or resist national policies and trends. Finally, states have often been the incubator for programs that would eventually become federal policy. On Nov. 6, more than 6,000 state legislative seats are up for grabs (including all 213 legislative seats in New York), and 36 Gubernatorial races will take place (including in New York).

Michael Batson has been a teaching at the College of Staten Island since fall 2000. He teaches CORE 100, history, and occasionally in the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program. He earned his Master’s degree in Liberal Studies. Professor Batson specializes in labor and social history (the history of ordinary people and historically marginalized groups).

-4:40pm and 6:30pm: “Voter Enthusiasm and Swing States,” presented by Michael Matthews

This lecture will look at the Kavanaugh confirmation battle and its impact on voter enthusiasm in the Democratic and Republican parties. It will then turn to a discussion of swing states in the upcoming midterm election.

Michael Matthews earned both his Bachelor of Arts and Master’s of Arts degrees at Brooklyn College/CUNY. He also has a Master’s of Business Administration (Finance) from Fordham University.

Saturday, Oct. 13:

-10:10am: “Abolitionists, The Underground Railroad, and Sanctuary Cities,” presented by John Comfort

See Wednesday, 1:25pm.