Archive for October 2009

Selden Defeats Rockland, 1-0

October 19, 2009

By Thomas Houghton

(Photo, compliments of the NJCAA)

(Photo, compliments of the NJCAA)

On a cool brisk Saturday afternoon, the Suffolk Men’s soccer team took the field against the Community College of Rockland. These two teams would battle to decide who would come out victorious in a close match.
In the first half each team both saw their fair share of opportunities to go ahead. In the 28th minute Rockland County’s center midfielder played a ball that go past the Suffolk defense, Joe Posillico fouled the man to prevent a break away. Rockland had a free kick 25 yards out; their forward hit a beautiful shot, but was denied by a tremendous save from Suffolk’s goalkeeper, Marvin Sorto. When asked about the save, Marvin said, “It was a big save, I knew I had to keep us in the game, and keep our shutout streak going.”
The Suffolk Men’s soccer team has an astonishing 54 goals scored, and they have only let up a measly 4 goals. With these numbers it has helped the soccer team reach a number two national ranking, and they were ranked number 1 all of last season. Coach Frank Vertullo said on his team’s success, “We have a great group of guys, they love being around each other and always work hard. We have the chemistry and team make-up to win a national championship this year.”
In the first half with the half winding down, the Suffolk Men’s soccer team had a throw in deep in Rockland’s half, Tom Houghton threw it into the box and Matt Starin took a shot that gave the team a 1-0 lead, and there was no looking back from there.
The teams came out and battled for another forty-five minutes. Each team had their opportunities to score, but the game ended in a 1-0 win for Suffolk, to improve their record to 12-0-2. When asked about the game center-midfielder Lervis Reyes said, “Sometimes we don’t win pretty, but the sign of a good team is the way they battle when they’re not playing well, and still survive to get the win.”
The Suffolk Men’s soccer team still has two regular season games left against Westchester Community College on Thursday Oct. 15, and their season finale against their rival Ulster Community College on Sunday Oct. 18, at 2:00 at the Ammerman campus. They are playing for the number one seed in there conference and looking to get home field advantage throughout the playoffs.

Dying To Be Heard

October 16, 2009

>By Lisa Behnke

In a recent conversation on campus, some students began to discuss what worries them. One of the most common fears was, Necrophobia, the fear of death. This disturbing phobia affects more people than you might think.

Jillian Bankoff, a student on the Ammerman campus, discussed having a large family and how she dreads having to attend funerals. “It’s scary to know that it can end at any time,” Bankoff, said.

If being afraid of anything associated with death, such as funerals, entering hospitals or the less obvious scary movies, then you might suffer from Necrophobia. People with extreme cases, generally experience a paralyzing level of fear. A fear that becomes so strong that it interferes with everything in their lives.

The fear of dying dates back to the time of Greek Philosopher Epicurus who lived from 341 B.C. to 270 B.C. He believed that the goal of Philosophy was to alleviate one’s omnipresent fear of death. Developing the tools to alleviate this fear by using powerful thought experiments is what modern day Psychotherapists are doing. Such is the case for Irvin D. Yalom, M.D., who has dedicated much of his life to the practice of Psychotherapy and written the book, ‘Staring at the Sun: Overcoming the Terror of Death.’ As the books title suggests, it is a copulation of his years of helping patients overcome the terror of death. “Its not easy to live every moment wholly aware of death,” said Yalom.

The fear of death itself can lead to strong feelings of dread, paranoia, and anxiety. Phobia sufferers feel terrified when they are not in complete control. This becomes so powerful an experience for the sufferer that ultimately it develops into an irrational fear of dying or anything associated with death.

On the other hand, John Lewis, a Physics major and the Editor-and-Chief of Evolution, witnessed first hand the effects of just the opposite. A 17-year-old friend, who had no fear of death, subsequently died of an overdose of heroin. “She had it coming because she wouldn’t listen to the people who cared about her,” Lewis, said. She knew the consequences could lead to death, “Heroin is cool, all of my friend are doing it,” Lewis recalls her saying.

Having a handle on what worries you and finding what steps to take to conquer it could mean the difference between life and death.

Therapy, including hypnosis and NLP therapy can help those who suffer from Necrophobia, as well as other phobias. Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as “a model of interpersonal communication chiefly concerned with the relationship between successful patterns of behavior and the subjective experiences (esp. patterns of thought) underlying them. A system of alternative therapy based on this which seeks to educate people in self-awareness and effective communication, and to change their patterns of mental and emotional behavior.”

Phobia treatment through Ericksonian hypnotherapy, named after Milton Erickson, MD, its creator, has helped patients re-shape the unconscious thought processes responsible for phobias. Some of the fears associated with dying according to http://www.phobia-fear-release.com are as follows:

• You cannot breath
• You feel as if you are soon to faint
• You tend to sweat
• You suffer from queasiness and you feel like vomiting
• Your mouth becomes dry and your limbs start shaking
• Your heart starts palpitating faster and you can’t think or speak clearly
• You feel as if you are going mad and you are unable to control your nerves
• You experience constant panic attacks
• You are afraid of everything unknown and unfamiliar
• You suffer from a continuous sickly feeling resulting in a fear of dying

Some reasons associated with a fear of dying are:

• Now you are rich, but when you die, you have to leave your wealth behind
• You don’t want to die because you are afraid of going to hell
• For Buddhists and Hindus who believe in rebirth death is fearful because they don’t know what they would be in the life thereafter
• You may be afraid of death because you believe that you will become a ghost after you are dead and you hate to be a spirit floating around aimlessly

Jan Heering, a Phobia Treatment Expert and founder of the Morpheus Institute in Amsterdam is one of several proclaimed phobia experts who claim to be able to cure people with many types of phobia’s. Whether or not you believe in the Necrophobia, the people who suffer from it have real anxiety. If you or anyone you know suffers from it, the best advice would be to seek the help of a medical doctor trained in Psychotherapy and NLP.

Local veterinarian addresses psychology club

October 15, 2009

Patchogue Veterinarian Dr. Dave Hensen talked about animal assisted therapy in the Southampton building last week. (Photo, compliments of Dr. Hensen)

Patchogue Veterinarian Dr. Dave Hensen talked about animal assisted therapy in the Southampton building last week. (Photo, compliments of Dr. Hensen)


By Siobhan Cassidy
Approximately 74.8 million individually owned dogs live in America as household pets. Your dog is probably one of these four-legged friends. But did you ever think your dog could have a job assisting people?

“The bond between human and dog is natural,” explains Dr. David Roy Hensen who is the founder of Patchogue Rotary Animal Assisted Therapy (PRAAT), along with wife Dr. Deirdre M. Hensen.

Dr. Hensen visited the Ammerman campus Psychology Club Sept. 30 in the Southampton building to discuss PRATT and animal assisted therapy. PRAAT was created when the Hensens wanted to get involved with their community. Enhancing this natural relationship came as an obvious idea to him and his wife. PRATT assigns dogs to visit various hospitals, mental facilities, libraries and schools to spread this natural connection through love and compassion.

Dr. Dave Hensen discussed the difference between animal-assisted therapy and animal-assisted activity with about 25 students who attended the lecture.

An activity dog does not have a job but is allowed to visit various facilities. During their meet-and-greet visit the dogs help give and hopefully receive love and compassion. Therapy dogs have specific jobs to do with stated goals. They are individually placed with patients for a one on one connection. Some goals therapy dogs will have to achieve are: picking up dropped items, bringing items from room to room for the individual, protecting the individual and playing. Ultimately, the therapy dogs at PRATT have a lot on their paws in comparison to activity dogs.

“Therapy dogs are incredibly successful,” Dr. Dave Hensen said. In fact, recently a story aired on The Early Show about dogs teaching children to read.

“Reading out loud helps reading comprehension. And reading to a dog is apparently less scary than reading to a person,” The Early Show’s resident veterinarian, Dr. Debbye Turner explains. Recent studies indicate 40 percent of children in the United States are reading below a fourth-grade level. Principal Kathy Brake at Washington Grove School, where therapy dogs are used to improve children’s reading level, mentions that reading needs to be fun to keep children interested. When the children are interested they will read more, improving their reading comprehension. She admits, ” ‘If we don’t have children reading on grade-level by the end of the second grade, we begin to lose them.” Therapy dogs seem to be successful in this area, especially since they are free of charge.

Animal-assisted therapy offers numerous benefits, many that resemble a pet owner’s benefits. Dr. Hensen lists them as unconscious but effective benefits. People tend to live longer with the compassion of a pet, possibly because it gives the person a job to do and a purpose in life. These dogs leave a permanent memory imprint. Dogs can enhance self-esteem and responsibility of any person, at any age.

“Dogs are totally unjudgemental,” Dr. Hensen explains. People may feel more comfortable around a dog rather than another person.

Although animal-assisted therapy has been around for the past 10-15 years, it is becoming more popular with local veterinarians today. In this harsh economic time, this type of therapy is effective and not highly priced. These dogs are leaving a hefty paw print in many people’s memories, and will continue to do so for several years.

School to Enforce Stricter Penalties for Smoking

October 13, 2009

By Nicole DeCoursey

Image by Gerry Scappaticci via Flickr.

Image by Gerry Scappaticci via Flickr.

After a college based e-mail brief arrived in students’ inboxes, many have not stopped talking about the smoke free environment policy. The Associate Deans of Student Services from all three campuses sent the email on Sept. 1 informing students of the changes to the the policy, which was stated to take effect immediately.

The college e-mail stated smoking will be prohibited in college buildings and vehicles, along with extending the no-smoking area to within 50 ft. of any building. Smoking is only permitted in designated areas outside the buildings and the board of trustees has approved a $15 fine for violators of this policy. The College is in compliance with New York State Health Law Article 13E and Suffolk County Local Law 12, which regulate smoking in public places, including work sites. These fines are to be enforced strictly by Public Safety and violators may be subjected to judicial proceedings.

Some students have negative feelings toward the new smoking policy. Keri Bernstein, a psychology major, said she thought the policy “is ridiculous and they have no right to tell me if I can smoke here or for that matter anywhere on campus.” When asked if she would pay the fine and she giggled and stated, “Suffolk is just making more work for themselves.” A large percentage of students on the Ammerman campus smoke, and it will likely be difficult to discipline the large amount of students who are likely to break the rules.

As an educational institution, the college is in an excellent position to be a leader in promoting public health. A former SCCC student, Ashley Kammerer, feels that a stronger anti-smoking policy is good, “this is a great way to prevent second hand smoke to all those people protecting their health.” Kammerer was a pack-a-day smoker when she was a student at the College and now has been smoke-free for the past six months. According to her, “there is nothing worse than walking through a cloud of smoke before entering the building, especially if you recently quit.”

Students Working While They Learn

October 10, 2009

By Krystal Diaz

The tuition hike for the fall semester has taken a toll on new and continuing students. With the frustration of acquiring grants and loans to pay off school bills, students can rest assured that when applying for Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) they can also make a little extra pocket money.

FAFSA offers the option of a little extra money through the Federal Work Study Program (FWSP). FAFSA is available online where new and continuing students can request for the work study program. According to the Federal Work Study Program Handbook for Students, FWSP is a “federally funded financial aid program that provides assistance by offering students an opportunity to earn at least a portion of their college costs through working.” That doesn’t mean that the money a student makes goes towards tuition unless a student requests it. In particular jobs, college credit can be obtained.

In order to be eligible for the FWSP, the student must fulfill the necessary requirements. “The decision on whether or not a student is accepted into the program is based on the financial need of said student,” said Career Advisor, Theresa Spillet-Mckay. The student must be matriculated, enrolled in a program of study, and maintain good academic standing.

Once a student is accepted into the program they get an award in the mail and must confirm the award online. Afterwards, the student must return their Federal Work Study Acceptance form to the campus Financial Aid Office and schedule an appointment at the Career Services Center for placement. Each step is just like applying for a job in the outside world. Once the interview is completed one of the career advisors will provide the student with a list of available openings either on- or off- campus.

There are numerous job openings both on- and off- campus. Each new student to the program is placed in a job on campus based on the need of the offices of the campus. Majority of the work is clerical. Departments on campus that request work study students, are the Career Services Center, Campus Activities office, the theatre/music/media departments, Compass News, on-campus labs (writing, math and reading), etc. Each office places students, and gives them their assignments, based on skills and interests, as well working around their class schedule.

Applications are accepted on a first come, first serve basis. “The government gives [the Financial Aid office] a certain amount of money that we’re allowed to dole out to work study students,” Spillet-McKay, said. All students working on campus earn $8.5o per hour. For students who have already gone through the program, there are also off-campus jobs. The student must have at least one semester as a work study student on campus, a 2.0 average, and be in good standing in order to qualify for an off-campus job.
The college offers several different types of off-campus jobs including, Community Service, America Reads Program, and America Counts Program. Community Service jobs deal with non-profit organizations such as, the Stony Brook Hospital and the Gay & Lesbian Switchboard of Long Island. Community Service work-study students receive $9.50/hr. The America Reads and the America Counts Programs have students working in an elementary school, assisting teachers with either reading or math. Each student can request a specific school to work in and receive $10.50/ hr. “It’s a job and you have to treat it as such,” Spillet-McKay, said. The off-campus jobs are open to any work-study student that meets the criteria; it does not have to follow a student’s particular major.

James Garay, 21, has been at Suffolk for about one academic year, and this is his first semester in the FWSP. Garay, an Engineering and Science major, works in the theatre department, underneath the stage, in the workshop area. When asked why he chose to work in this area he simply responded, “It’s not in the office.” His tasks are easy, clean up the workshop area, sort out the hardware for the next production, and build racks for store supplies. “It’s not that hard. Anyone who can read can still do it,” Garay said.
Since the average number of students placed in on- and off-campus jobs are 90 students a semester, job placement fills up fast, with long waiting lists. The deadline to apply for FAFSA and the FWSP is April 15, right around tax season.

Professors Are Taking Classes to Keep Up with Technology

October 10, 2009

Sanjay Ramgolam

Professors at the Ammerman Campus voluntarily take computer classes to understand and learn about today’s most popular software and websites.

The TLC program, The Learning Center, on the Ammerman Campus has taken the responsibility to encourage Professors to keep up with the technological advances of today’s computers. Professors voluntarily go to the workshops located on the ground floor of the Huntington Library. Organized by the TLC coordinator Donna DellaRocca, Christina Johnston is the presenter teaching Professors software and websites that are growing in popularity and usage. The software and websites include Nicenet, WordPress, webpage building for beginners, Microsoft Office, Twitter, Google, Wikis and Facebook. The workshops are being held from Sept. 21st through December 10th.

“I feel as though it’s a necessity with the way technology seems to continue to change literally almost every week,” said Professor Norman of the Physical Education Department. Professors are willing to use these programs without any intimidation, due to them being in a classroom with other Professors who have the same lack in technological information. In these workshops, which have more than one class per topic, usually run in three classes, there is ample opportunity and every Professor is given personal attention to guarantee them leaving the classroom with a new understanding for the workshop they have attended.

Johnston provides the information to the Professors in attendance and then proceeds to work with them individually to assure their progress and answers the questions they may have in a very personal and interactive manner. The learning experience is operated through thorough explanations and every Professor being able to work on their own individual computer so that they get a real experience with the websites and software. “So far it’s been very successful through the methods we’ve been using, and the Professors that we get in the workshop are very willing to learn,” said Johnston. “As teachers themselves, they’re very receptive to the information.”

Many students were uninformed about the workshop which shows a dedicating approach to teaching by the Professors of the Ammerman Campus. Students that were informed show an appreciation for the Professor’s attempts to understand the way the computer world functions. When told about the TLC workshop, student John Wallace said, “I’m a little surprised, but I’m glad ‘cause that can make it easier to communicate with the Professors here.”

For more information on the workshops, or if you’re a Professor on the Ammerman Campus looking to further your knowledge in computers, you can contact Christina Johnston at johnstc@sunysuffolk.edu. There are also many other workshops being held in the same location by other Presenters pertaining to campus issues that Professors should be aware of such as teaching with visuals with Linda Prentiss and school shootings on campus with James Maher.

New Executive Dean Takes Reigns of Ammerman Campus

October 8, 2009

by Michael R. Jordan

The new executive dean for the Ammerman campus, Dr. James E. Sherwood. Image via SCCC College Relations.

The new executive dean for the Ammerman campus, Dr. James E. Sherwood. Image via SCCC College Relations.

There’s a new boss in town. Since Sept. 9, the Ammerman campus has been overseen by a new Executive Dean, Dr. James E. Sherwood.

Sherwood replaced William F. Connors, Jr., who has become the Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs and College Dean of Faculty. As Connors now assumes responsibility for the academic initiatives of the whole college, Sherwood takes over as head of the Ammerman Campus.

Sherwood brings decades of administrative experience from universities all over the country. When questioned as to the reason he sought a position here, he explained that separate from the opportunity that presented itself, he has a strong belief in the right for every American to have access to higher education. Having worked at public land-grant universities in the past, Sherwood has become disillusioned with them. He said he feels that the concerns of these institutions have deviated from their original purpose of making higher education more accessible.

The first administrative position held by Sherwood was at the University of Nebraska in the 1980s. Originally a history professor, economic difficulties in Nebraska led to a surge in student population, not unlike what is being experienced at Suffolk in the present. As class size ballooned, Sherwood became uncomfortable with the lack of personal contact with students. “I had students that were earning A’s and B’s, but I couldn’t put a face with a name and that really bothered me,” he recalled.

Encouraged to take an administrative position by his colleagues, Sherwood was surprised that he enjoyed administrative work. He also said he felt that he could wield more influence to bring about positive change as an administrator than he ever could as a faculty member.

Sherwood takes over as the chief administrator of the Ammerman campus in a semester where the College is struggling to deal with a greatly inflated student population. He stresses that patience is in order, and points out that overcrowding is “not a unique Suffolk experience; it’s happening in community colleges across the country.”

As far as problems go, Sherwood sees overcrowding as a “good one to have,” as it means the College is fulfilling its mission. Sherwood points out that there are efforts underway to deal with the overcrowding: the College is working on a traffic study and parking analysis, as well as asking academic departments to review class schedules to spread classes out to less busy times and ensure that the classes being offered are what the students need and want. He stresses that there aren’t any short-term solutions: time and money are factors in addressing these problems.

Sherwood is no stranger to Long Island; one of his first teaching positions was at Nassau Community College in the 1970s. He enjoys being near the city and the water, and is glad to be living closer to his parents, located near Albany, than he has in 30 years. In addition to his administrative activities, Sherwood has penned three textbooks, a number of articles and chapters in other books, as well as a “best-selling” history of Nebraska football.

Clippers Bite Back Against the Caimans

October 8, 2009

by Isacc Feldman

The Suffolk Clippers take on the Hostos Caimans at the Ammerman campus on Sept. 24. Image by Alexandros Vogiatzis of the Compass.

The Suffolk Clippers take on the Hostos Caimans at the Ammerman campus on Sept. 24. Image by Alexandros Vogiatzis of the Compass.

The weather was perfect for a Sunday soccer game, accompanied by a strong fan turnout.

The Clippers stared the season strong, with a 7-0-1 record. Their regular season record last year was spectacular, as they went undefeated. Suffolk looked to continue their great team play against a much improved Hostos Community College team.

The game kicked off with high intensity; no team had possession for more than a few seconds. It was hard to tell who had the momentum: any thoughts of sneaking a goal in was stuffed by some great defensive play.

The Clippers were looking for the advantage and finally found it with 26:48 left in the first half. Team Captain Lervis Reyes, a freshman out of Brentwood High School, scored and put the first tally on the board. He was assisted by Irving Posada, a sophomore originally from Islip High School. Once Suffolk took the lead, they put the pressure on the Caimans. The Clippers’ defensemen barely saw any action for the remainder of the half.

At the end of the first half, the Clipper were still up by one. This, however, did not satisfy the goal-thirsty team.

As soon as the second half started, the team was in attack mode. Dimas Escobar, a freshman out of Bay Shore High School, kicked four corner kicks in just five minutes. The Clippers continued the same tactic they used at the end of the first half: applying pressure to a Hostos defense that was starting to wear down. Suffolk wasn’t going to let their landslide time of possession slip away. They dominated in the second half, scoring three more goals.

Clippers Coach Frank Vertullo noticed an improved Hostos team, which Suffolk beat last year 14-0. He felt that this Hostos team was “more organized and worked hard.” When asked how his team played he said “we did ok, moved the ball well, and, well, a win is a win.” Captain Lervis Reyes noticed the Clippers slow start, and said of the first half “we didn’t play good, we weren’t composed.” He also commented about his team first goal, “it was an ice breaker for us.” It absolutely was, as it opened the door for more scoring opportunities.

On a day when the clouds were few and far between, the Clippers shined through with a 4-0 win. Not giving up a goal to a much improved Hostos team shows just how focused Suffolk really is. Returning players could have come into the game thinking this is an easy win or a push over team. But they showed just how hungry for victory they really are.

If you can’t get enough Clippers soccer, come down and see just how great they really are, as they take on TCI on Thursday Oct. 1, at 4 p.m. See ya there!

Facebook Interfering with Academic Success

October 8, 2009

by Ayse Dincsalman

An overdose of Facebook could lead to academic death. Image via Photobucket.

An overdose of Facebook could lead to academic death. Image via Photobucket.

Since the application has been available to her on the Iphone, Nicole Benecasa, a physical education major on campus, checks her Facebook 10 times a day. She does not stand alone.

Facebook, the social networking system has impacted student’s lives and is even causing a lack of concentration with academics. Some students are admitting that they have become habitual Facebook users.

Some students are greatly impacted by Facebook that it gets in the way of their everyday lives. It allows for instant communication to everyone around the world. This sounds like a pretty sweet deal right?

The idea of social networking is a rather new invention, however, the new and improved universal invention of Facebook has taken over. Cell phones are already a must with this generation, and now the social networking system is just a phone click away.

The Facebook frenzy is popular amongst people of all ages, and the system allows students to connect on a college to college based network. For instance, when students give or receive a friend request they can instantly see what college the other belongs to. Students that have never seen each other in person can become quite friendly on the site. This was meant to be a way for college kids to connect and share thoughts, now it seems the whole world has been taken by storm.

So what exactly is it that is so enjoyable about this site?

“It just gives you so much access to people’s lives. You can get in touch with someone you have not seen in years and see their pictures, it’s just fun,” said Shannon Barkey, a pre-med student and Facebook user.

“I really don’t know why I like it so much, but I am definitely addicted. Most of the time I forget to do homework because I’m so wrapped up on Facebook playing Mafia Wars,” said Erik Thomas.

Since the launch of Facebook in February 2004, they’ve been able to obtain over 8 million users in the U.S. alone and expand worldwide to 7 other English-speaking countries. It is a growing phenomenon that has spread wide and fast, like an epidemic that won’t die down.

Brian McFadden, A human communications professor at Ammerman applies Facebook in his lessons. McFadden claims that although Facebook is a communication network, the gestures on the site contradict classic ways of socializing. For example, writing on someone’s wall is ok on Facebook but you would not actually do that in real life. Essential communication factors such as facial expression, vocal tone, and body language are all lacking on this popular site. People do not grasp the full idea of communicating, once they become a member of the site.

Can this site get in the way of human communication?

“I really have a hard time believing that Facebook can get in the way of our communication skills. We already learned how to communicate, that’s not something you forget,” said Lisa Alteri, a physical fitness student here on campus.

Will this ever slow down amongst students? Can Facebook addicts make it without rehabilitation? The way things are looking, it seems this one is here to stay.

College Contemplating Ban on Texting in Class

October 8, 2009

By Lisa Behnke

Image via Wikimedia Commons.

Image via Wikimedia Commons.

Policies regarding the use of cell phones in class are not yet in place at the college, but soon may be. Texting during class has become a real problem and more professors are becoming aware that a college wide policy may be necessary.

In today’s high tech environment, it is possible to instantaneously transmit words and pictures. For some it is an obsession, not unlike an addiction, one that is hard to break. “It ‘s become an issue,” said William F. Connor Jr., associate vice president for academic affairs and college dean of faculty. “A policy is currently being drafted to ban cell phone use in the classroom,” said Connor.

The policy is in the development stage, and once approved will allow professors to enforce it within the guidelines of the College wide policy much in the same way they do with absences. Cell phone use in the classroom has increased in recent years and forced some professors to take matters into their own hands. For Professor William Burns of the English Department, it is extremely distracting during lessons, not only for students but also for him. “By including it in my syllabus, it acts as my contract with the student,” said Burns. Professor Burns wrote about the topic last semester as a guest writer on the Campus Reporter, the campus’ news blog. “Cell phones and all who genuflect before their sacredness are the cause of the Kafkaesque nightmare of the 21st century,” Burns eloquently asserted in his article.

This type of behavior has become so intense that texting while driving is about to be banned state-wide. Already banned in Nassau and Suffolk counties, the New York State ban on text messaging by motorists is expected to take effect on Nov. 1, pending the approval of Gov. David Paterson. According to the Government Highway Safety Association, 18 states and the District of Columbia now ban text messaging for all drivers. It would seem that common sense would dictate such behavior as being unsafe.

The problems professors face in the classroom are those of distraction, not only for students and those around them, but for professors whose lessons are disrupted. Don’t put your cell phones away just yet, however. The school doesn’t wish to completely exorcise cell phones. The college web page encourages students to sign up for the NY-Alert program, which utilizes text messages as one method of contacting students about important announcements, such as the cancellation of classes due to inclement weather or incidents that pose a concern to campus safety. A service of the New York State Emergency Management Office, the alert system does not soley rely on text messaging; alerts can also be recieved via e-mail or fax. When questioned about this contradiction in school policy, Connors replied, “I really don’t have an answer for that.” He did however express the importance of both issues.

The reason the college decided to participate with the NY-Alert program was in direct result of the events of 9/11, as well as increased violence on campuses throughout the nation. “There is no real sense of direct communication within the classrooms,” said Connors. The example that came to mind was that of the Secure-in-Place drill, where personnel alerted students of potential threats on campus by bullhorn. Having an alert system students could access by cell phone was a means of getting to the majority of students. “We are currently working on intercom systems for the classroom to combat these communications problems,” said Connors.

As for the issue of texting, professors are at a point where they can dictate their own policy as they see fit. Good advice to students, excuse yourself from class if you have an emergency, otherwise keep your phone tucked away until class is over.


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