Dear Members of the City College Community,
It is my great pleasure to welcome all of you back to the college. I hope you've taken the time, in these last several months, to recharge somehow—to travel, to conduct research, to sleep, to spend time with your families, or—maybe you found that the summer quiet of the campus was just what you needed to accomplish some cherished project here. However you spent these past few months, I'm excited about the new school year and I hope you are, too.
To start things up, and before you shake off the vestiges of summer, I'd like to invite you all to stop by the final concert of the Harlem Jazz and Music Festival, which will be staged on our south campus lawn (the graduation staging area) on August 31st from 3 to 6 PM. It's the first large scale outdoor concert we've held in years, and I'm excited to see how it works.
If you're a student, new to the campus, I urge you to explore all that CCNY has to offer: student clubs, study abroad opportunities, leadership, research and service programs, and our vast array of exciting majors. If you're a returning student, know that as a campus community, we're deeply invested in your success and committed to helping you complete your journey to graduation and career success.
To my good colleagues on faculty and staff, I'd like to extend my warm personal thanks. Together, we accomplished a great deal last year, in the face of some very trying circumstances. We have a new strategic plan, and with it, news in July that Middle States granted us fully accredited status. We're in the final stages of putting a staff council together, something that I think will go a long way to insuring a more democratic campus climate for everyone who works here. There is a new urban garden on the northern face of the Spitzer School building—if you have a moment, take a walk down and see how the crops are doing--and we're developing an expanded food pantry on the ground floor of NAC. The Chronicle of Higher Education just listed us as the public college with the 4th highest campus administration diversity score nationally, and, of course, we continue to be the single most successful campus in the country in producing overall social mobility for our graduates.
All of these developments, and so much more, are a testimony to your dedication. I know that you come to work every day focused on making our institution better, on building a stronger and safer community for us all, and insuring that our remarkable CCNY students leave this institution better prepared. A college moves forward on the commitment and imagination of its community members, and I feel lucky to be facing this year alongside all of you.
I'd also like to start the new year by reaffirming some of the basic principles that are central to our mission, and form the strongest and most fundamental connections in our community. We are deeply committed to the security of each member of our community. At a time when gun violence and acts of domestic terrorism have become all too commonplace, we stand against violence and hate of all kinds, and have actively developed relationships with community groups, such as Harlem Mothers S.A.V.E. dedicated to protecting our communities and healing wounds opened by gun violence. Our public safety office routinely provides training to members of the campus community on how to react to an active shooter situation, and I urge you to watch for and take advantage of those announcements, as well as notices for first aid and CPR training. Mainly, I ask that we all find ways to take care of one another, because the stress of violence, the toll that the awareness of hatred takes on us all, is not limited to the immediate victim of a terror incident.
We are, further, a college built on a pledge that in this immigrant nation, residing in our immigrant city, we will be a place that educates the whole people, regardless of where they came from, or how they got here. As we prepare for a new academic year, let's remind ourselves of our responsibility to safeguard everyone among us. Specifically, we will not share any information about our students or employees, except as may be required by law. All offices and employees of the College are hereby reminded that if you receive any request for documentation or information from any governmental agency concerning the immigration status of our current or former students or employees, you shall please NOT respond to such inquiry, but rather you shall promptly forward the inquiry to Paul Occhiogrosso, Executive Counsel to the President (email@example.com).
We are, finally, a campus that embraces an anti-discrimination, anti-harassment policy in relation to interactions across gender, race, religion or other lines. Last year, I convened a working group on diversity and respect, under the leadership of Professor Jorge Gonzales and Johanna Urena. That effort produced a campus statement on discrimination and respect and a series of recommendations. While the working group continues to meet, I have begun to review their preliminary recommendations, and to implement some of them directly. I will also soon circulate the annual campus anti-discrimination policy. Please read and familiarize yourself with this document; the development of a safe and respectful campus climate depends on the vigilance of an informed and engaged community.
I think that CCNY is one of the most remarkable places in the world, a front line democratic institution doing unparalleled work in the construction of a more fair, just and equitable future for our students and our society. You are, each and every one of you, a vital component of our community, and an integral player in the struggle to enact our mission. I've brimmed with pride at my association, for 28 years now, with CCNY. But nothing makes me more proud than the chance to work with all of you, and to work for our student community.
Welcome, everyone, to the new academic year.