As February marks Black History Month, I am reminded of our institutional commitment to racial justice and equity, while being mindful of the ongoing challenges that we face as a nation. Over the years CSI’s student population has become increasingly reflective of the rich heterogenic diversity of our borough and our city, and that representation can be seen, increasingly, in our faculty, staff, and administrative numbers. I am proud of the work we are doing around issues of Diversity, Equity, Inclusivity, and Belonging, and of our support for restorative (or opposed to retributive and punitive) justice. As we work to decolonize and modernize our curriculum, I am sure that our students will be able to see themselves and their lived experiences more fully and accurately depicted throughout our campus, and I thank you for your support on this front. Please keep your eyes peeled for forthcoming announcements regarding Black History Month events as sponsored by the Office of Pluralism and Diversity and the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
This week saw a (relatively) minor fire in our Dolphin Cove residence hall. A cooking mishap led to significant smoke and some structural damage: thankfully, the quick response of residents, staff, and our public safety officials resulted in no injuries and the fire was contained in just a few minutes. All residents were cleared for return to their units, with the exception of the affected apartment, whose occupants have been relocated. The incident, while jarring, serves as a reminder to familiarize yourself with action plans in case of a campus emergency: it is always a good idea to know what is expected/required of you should the situation demand action or evacuation. (And we should always seek to assist those who may need assistance owing to limited mobility). These concepts were also made clear during last week’s “active shooter training” in which many participated. I encourage you all to review your emergency action plans, and to become (re)acquainted with the policies, procedures, and protocols should such an incident occur. Public Safety Director Michael Lederhandler and his staff can provide refresher trainings for your offices if desired, and I urge you all to review this video and become comfortable with the “Run—Hide—Fight” concept.
Today saw our annual “Legislative Forum” where I and other members of our administration (and governance leaders) met—virtually—with local and state elected officials to share highlights from the last year and to solicit their ongoing support for campus and system initiatives. In the coming weeks I will be meeting individually—here and in Albany—with our friends for follow-on conversations, and I am looking forward to continuing the dialog about how we can become more than “the best value in higher education.” I am proud of what we have accomplished together over the past several months, although fully aware of the challenges and budgetary limitations facing us in the near future. I am confident that working together with campus and community partners we will be able to overcome these challenges and leverage our position for the betterment of all our stakeholders.
Until next time,
Timothy G. Lynch, Ph.D. (he/him/his)
Interim President, College of Staten Island
The City University of New York
2800 Victory Blvd, SI, NY 10314