Monthly Archives: September, 2009

College warns students, ‘You’ve Got Mail’

by Ayse Dincsalman

New policy states communication with students primarily e-mail

We are going green. Effective Aug. 31 the college’s primary communication with students will be email.

The transformation from nature to cyberspace will assist in saving money, saving paper and saving time. The efforts in moving to the future faster are helping to conserve the environment as well.

“I think that the new system will intimidate people at first but will make our lives easier,” said Marienicole Gerbino, a first year student at Suffolk .

In a generation full of high tech devices and instant information, students should adapt well. Some staff however, might struggle with the computer-related tasks that come so easily to the younger generation.

Dr. Barbara Ripel, Ammerman campus history professor shared her concerns with a Major World Cultures class about the process of obtaining overload classes. The procedure is done through the internet, and Ripel admits she sometimes needs assistance.

Assistance is needed in aiding some faculty to complete faculty-required online duties such as time sheets, overload requests and submission of enrollment rosters. The newly mandated changes may cost some professors money if they fail to successfully request overloads online.

The college is not alone in the new movement to go green. Washington University announced their institution was going cold turkey on paper, Feb. 10. The internal communications committee at the university confirmed that everything on their campus that required paper will simply be done through cyberspace. All memos, fliers, posters and weekly papers will be internet accessible. The university anticipated to cut $10-million from their budget by June 2009, and even more the year after. The paper shortage was undertaken to encourage web 2.0 technologies such as blogging and social networking.

As the change to a greener institution is implemented here the students don’t seem to be affected much by the switch.

“I don’t mind the change because I do everything online already,” said Jackie McKenna, a second year student at Suffolk .

The real question is what is next? Should we expect classes from home seen through a webcam?
“I could certainly see that happening in the near future,” said Malik Karasekreter. The interest in the internet is everywhere, and the instant access to everything internet is at an all time high.

Social networking systems such as Myspace and Facebook allow for easy communication to anyone who has access to a computer. Students in classrooms can’t go 75 min without texting on their cellular devices. So why should the new system cause an inconvenience?

As the world moves toward more technological advancement, the College is taking the steps to join in the movement.

College To Be In Debt For 20 Years

By Thomas Lucas

The College is currently undergoing a renovation. An energy plan with New York Power Authority (NYPA) is underway and is will leave the school in debt for the next 20 years.

According to the summary of minutes of the Dec. 11, 2003 board of trustees meeting, the NYPA discovered that helping the college conserve energy would significantly increase savings and offer more comfortable indoor environments on campus.

“This is the third project that we have done with NYPA funds. Work will be done on all three campuses,” said Paul Cooper, Executive Director of Facilities.

According to Cooper, the NYPA agreed to fund a number of energy saving measures. The college agreed to repay the NYPA with the savings produced from purchasing less energy over the next 20 years. These energy saving measures include boiler and chiller replacements, lighting retrofits, outdoor lighting controls, and installation of heat recovery units; premium efficiency motor upgrade’s, conversion of 100% outside air handler to a re-circulating air handler, installation of variable speed fans on cooling towers and much more.

The cost of construction is estimated at $5,405,013 with an annual savings estimated at $311,227. This savings is what the College would be paying back to the Power Authority. Therefore, the college would be saving money, but would also be signed into a contract.

“An added benefit of the project is that numerous pieces of equipment (chillers, boilers, cooling towers etc.) that are old, failing and in desperate need of replacement, will be replaced by the project, and will not require the use of the college operating budget funds for these replacement costs,” said Cooper.

Many students feel that the College should be focusing on more pressing students needs, such as textbooks, parking, and overpopulation.

Nicole Benincasa, a fitness specialist major, says “Sure, it would be great to save energy and have better temperature levels for classrooms and the gyms. However, this semester is way too crowded and the college should have been accepting grants to build bigger parking lots. Maybe they could have paid them back with some of the overcharged money they get for textbooks.”

Grievance Policy allows Students to Fight for Grade

By Nicole DeCoursey

The college offers students a way to voice their opinion on the grade they receive, according to the academic regulations in the course outline and stated in the college catalog.

Megan Kilroy, a former student of the College had a problem with a grade. Kilroy attended classes last year and didn’t receive the grade she had expected. Like many students, she thought objecting to her grade wouldn’t lead anywhere. What most students don’t realize is that they have the option to appeal the grades that will forever reflect their performance.

The grade grievance procedure allows a student the ability to appeal an unfair grade. This procedure allows students one year from the semester they took the course address any issues with a grade.

Students are advised to first discuss the problem directly with their professor. If there is still a grievance, the student should then meet with the department cahir. If a resolution is not reached, the grievance then goes to the associate deans of academic affairs, Dee Laffin and Sandra Susman-Palmer.

Within ten days a meeting will be scheduled with the academic chair and the faculty member. After the meeting the student will receive a recommendation from the associate dean, which will give the student access to one final step if they decide to further pursue the grievance.

After receiving the recommendation, the student can bring the problem to the executive dean. A written request must be submitted within ten days of receiving the recommendation from the associate dean. If the executive dean does not receive this request, the grievance will be dropped. Following these steps is essential. Keri Bermstein, a student currently enrolled at the College, failed to respond within the ten-day limit and lost the chance to appeal her grade.

The request should clearly outline the nature of the grievance. The dates of the meetings with the faculty member, the academic chair and associate dean should be included. The request should also include the recommendation provided by the academic chair and associate dean and should clearly state the reason why the student is still dissatisfied.

When the written request is received, the executive dean will convene a committee of three faculty members. Once the committee nominates a chair, the chair will notify the student and the faculty member of any additional documents required. If any paper work is due the faculty member and student will then wait on a hearing date.

The documents are then left in a sealed file in the executive dean’s office located in the Ammerman building for a period of three years.

Students Put Texting Before Assignments

by Lisa Bosco

The familiar classroom sounds of hurried, whispered conversation and shushes from the teacher are becoming a thing of the past as the click-click-tap-tap-tapping of a miniature keyboard is making its way quickly to the top of classroom distractions. I am talking about, of course, text messaging. It started off innocently enough as a way to quickly get in contact with someone when calling them was inconvenient, but recently texting has become a serious addiction in the classroom, as well as within the home itself.

The amount of tolerance given to texting in class has perplexed me over the last few years. It’s an obvious distraction from the lesson when half a dozen students’ phones are vibrating madly on their desks like a legion of rogue jackhammers. And as much as they claim that their phone being on the vibrate setting isn’t distracting, it is obvious to myself as well as teachers that any sort of alert that could measure on the Richter Scale should be counted as a distraction. Not only does the constant buzzing make teachers lose their train of thought during a lecture, but it also distracts the delicate minds of the students sitting around the device. As the text receiver (or textee as I’ve begun to call them) picks up his phone, the first distraction is immediately followed by a lightening fast series of taps and clicks as they answer the texter (or the person who sent them the message in the first place.) He then replaces the phone on his desk and a couple minutes later, the cycle continues. The distraction factor not only takes away from the education of the textee but also from everyone else in the classroom. Is that really fair to all the other students who really just want to learn or at the very least retain enough knowledge to pass the class and move on with life?

The vast majority of teachers, though wise as they are, have yet to seriously reprimand students for texting. There were several occasions as I recall when students were texting each other during tests in order to cheat. This new “passing notes” method of getting ideas across the classroom is proving more difficult to spot with the foolproof “phone in my purse/pocket” techniques of camouflage. Cheating has become almost too simple with the advent of texting and is taking away from the value of getting higher education in the first place. Students are more concerned with simply passing the class rather than learning anything about their intended field of employment. It’s almost too easy to imagine the rude awakening that will befall those students when they graduate in a degree in a subject that they know almost nothing about because texting made it pointless to study and so much easier to just cheat. This will leave us as a community at a loss for those with passion and talent in their work fields and in all will do more damage to society than any good brought about by this technological advancement.

While talking to a couple professors on campus, I’ve discovered that just as I suspected, as the amount of texting on campus increases the general quality of English papers decreases. Students are lost without spell-check and the vivid vocabulary that years of SAT prep has earned them is soon discarded for shorter, simpler words for the sake of, dare I say, ‘convenience.’ The primary concern in the life of college students has taken a turn from academics to socialization and while having friends is certainly a good thing, there is no longer a healthy balance. Hours that used to be spent studying are now devoted to spreading the latest rumor or simply finding out “wutz up?” The degradation of the English language has a lot to owe to the age of texting where short, concise words and abbreviations are taking their place in the forefront of students’ minds and the old methods of sounding it out and memorization are quickly becoming a thing of the past.

School isn’t the only place where texting is beginning to become a problem. In fact, in homes all across America, parents are becoming fed up with talking to the top of their children’s heads as their eyes are always poised down at the screens of their cell phones. Family meals have been reduced to silence as teenagers would much rather say “lol” to their texting comrades than ask how their mother’s day at work was. Not to say that texting is the cause of family turmoil, but it is certainly driving a spike between the two generations. Parents are finding it difficult to communicate with their overly tech-savvy children and those children want nothing to do with their old-fashioned parents. Communication has always been an important part of the family unit and the abuse of text-messaging has caused strain on those lines of contact.

I’m not here to preach about what is right or what is wrong in terms of texting. It is all a personal decision that must be made by the individual. In my opinion, the occasions that require texting are far fewer than what is currently being used. Texting in school causes distractions from the lectures and can bring down everyone’s marks and texting at home can cause a distraction from what is most important in life; the family. Too much of anything isn’t good for you and text-messaging is no exception. Only by opening up true lines of communication between one-another can we combat this epidemic and say “bbn!*” to the distraction that is text-messaging.

*For those less chat-speak savvy: Bye Bye Now!

College Looses Longtime Student, Friend

by Jaclyn Maczkiewicz

An accident on Nichols Road just outside of the campus lead to one of the theatre and art departments’ greatest upsets. On Aug 21st, John Francis Shivers, an aid here on campus suffered from a massive stroke while driving his car and hit into a fence knocking it completely down. John was a part-time student as well as an aid but also a full-time student at Dowling College. He was on campus helping out for the new student orientation, left to get a haircut, made a short trip to Dowling and was on his way back to Ammerman when he suffered from a stroke causing the accident. He was rushed to the hospital and stayed there for the next five days. He never regained consciousness and passed away on August 26th at the age of 72.

John was in his last semester to earn his bachelors degree. He had already achieved two degrees prior in visual arts and theatre. John had an association with the campus for over 20 years and was a huge part of both the theatre and art departments as they find this event to be both heartbreaking and unexpected.

Charles Wittreich, Director of Theatres here on campus was a good friend of John. Charles described John as “the old guy with the young soul.” He went on to say that no one ever really knew John’s real age and one time when he was asked, John responded with “That’s the end of that conversation.” Charles seemed very upset while speaking about John as the impact that John had on people he was around took affect. Charles also added, “It is stressful seeing the fence broken down everyday. I’m waiting for him to walk through the door or down the hall. I’m stressed for the new students because they won’t get a chance to know him. John was good at finding people on the margin and bringing people into the community. He was a beautiful person.”

John helped with many projects for the theatre department and his artwork can be seen throughout the campus as well. John gave all his work pizzazz and never wanted to take credit for anything he did as he always gave it away to others for their recognition. He always knew how to make people smile and was known to be a bit of a “class clown.” To those he knew, he touched their hearts greatly.

Both Dowling and the Ammerman campus as well are looking to acknowledge John and his work to remember a person who was very much loved and respected. On October 28th, Dowling College will hold a gathering in the art gallery at 2:30 PM showing all of John’s work. There will be a similar event happening here on campus on November 24th. There are also hopes of creating a scholarship in memory of John as it is in the works already. Rest in Peace John, you are truly missed.

The Epic Beauty of Tragic Bands

By Willaim Burns

Photo by Jason Rogers via Flickr

Photo by Jason Rogers via Flickr

What is it about tragic figures in rock-n-roll?  Those bands that snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, those overlooked, damaged individuals who can barely walk a straight line but when given a guitar could make the gods weep with envy.  There are plenty of musicians who have fallen by the wayside, thousands of bodies in repose on the altar of three chords and yet they don’t have that special aura of tragedy that elevates the obscure, the forgotten, the outsider, the loser.  We all know the famous deaths, the OD’s, the dueling egos, the hubris, the excesses that doom most bands and musicians but does suffering from any or all of these states of being and unbeing create that eternally cool agonizing existential hero?  Perhaps the more famous, popular, and celebrated the artist, the less tragic their ends become.  Yes, it is a shame that Elvis, Buddy, Jim, Jimi, Janis, Marc, John, Sid, Joey, Johnny, and Dee-Dee, are gone and that the Beatles, Beach Boys, and Zeppelin ended in lawsuits, acrimony, and vomit, but is it tragic?  Is a mental breakdown an automatic Pass Go card to tragic stardom?  Maybe.  Yet why are the holy fool-geniuses Syd, Roky, Brian, Daniel, and Skip so much more terribly fascinating than those supposedly “crazy”  train wrecks like the Lady Macbeth of rock, Courtney Love?  To be truly tragic, the seeds of greatness need to sprout but never take root, dying on the vine, plucked before ripening, malnourished by neglect, misunderstanding, and catastrophe.  These beautiful failures, canonized by misfortune, are predestined for disaster by the very urge to create and share with the herd, an inevitable self-destruction caused by the deafening collective silence of a cold indifferent universe.  Trampled under by consumerism, ignored by those they despise yet crave attention from, passed over for much lesser talent, treated as freaks, weirdos, psychotics, or as nothing at all, this disregard engenders a purity and authenticity lacking in the famous, well-known, and illustrious. The tragic band/musician engages in a Sisyphian struggle to push the boulder of significance to the huddled masses living in quiet desperation but collapses under the wrath of the those conjoined gods of  ignorance and bad taste.

Some tragic bands destroyed themselves and other are destroyed by fate, but they all deserve our sympathy.  Sure, the Stooges, the New York Dolls, the Heartbreakers, Love, the MC5, Nico, the Germs, and the 13th Floor Elevators didn’t have to become drug addicts and junkies, but they did, and their track marks, arrests, and casualties are forever reminders of the price of being trailblazers, pioneers, transgressors, iconoclasts that venture into unknown territory that we are afraid to trespass in.  Their destructive behaviors were both a balm and a death wish, cursed to be before their time, crucified by those who knew not what they did yet would celebrate these scapegoats years after in the safety of hindsight. Could the Velvets, Husker Du, Joy Division, or Nick Drake have escaped their destinies to be physically, psychologically, and/or spiritually destroyed?  Sure, some are now immortalized but at what price?  Do they take on our collective psychic and social travails, transforming them into art that is then left unnoticed, criticized, spat upon, and rejected?  Or in the case of Saint Kurdt, consumed and regurgitated by the drunken frat boy hoi polloi? 

My personal tragic band is Big Star.  Four boys living and creating in that fascinating time, the ennui and uncertainty of the early 70’s.  Down in Memphis, in the heart of the blues, soul, and r +b, Chris Bell, Alex Chilton, Jody Stephens, and Andy Hummell were reinventing pop music.  Now, when I say “pop music” I don’t mean the current form of contrived, cookie cutter, flavor of the minute, I-Tunes downloadable abortions whose perpetuators demand that other phony artists get self-fawning video awards.  When I say “pop music,” I mean the type of music founded on the harmonies and melodies of John, Paul, George, Roger, Gene, Ray, Pete, and Graham.  By the early 70’s, this type of wide eyed pure pop gold was seen as anachronistic in the face of a changing social, political, and musical landscape.   Big Star, named after a local grocery store chain (how coolly uncool), were fighting against the cultural tide and in staring into the musical abyss created a work of stupendous splendor that would get beaten down by the then current bullies of thuggish, shirtless hard rockers, buck skin jacketed singer songwriters, and mind numbing prog musos.  Big Star even kicked fate in the crotch by calling the album #1 Record.  But, in retrospect, no other work of art created by human beings was more aptly named.  Alas, it was not to be, as not only the capricious music scene worked against them but the lack of distribution of the album prevented the gospel to even be heard.  Big Star didn’t even have the opportunity to cast their pearls before swine and the crushing disappointment of having a masterpiece fall upon non-existing ears completely undermined the confidence of the album’s architect, Chris Bell.  Depressed, feeling rejected and hopeless, Bell quit the band he started, descended into a drug induced oblivion, and had a series of mental and physical breakdowns.  Big Star soldiered on as a three piece with Chilton coming to the fore and, in a million to one shot actually produced a work that met, and some say exceeded, the magnificence of their first album.  Radio City was a stunning work of genius different than but similar to #1 Record.  So in an unbelievable coincidence, another masterwork was produced that could have been placed in the pantheon of rock music but would the fate of their second record be different than first?  That fickle mistress decided to royally screw our boys a second time with Radio City getting even less distribution than #1 Record had, which would be less than squat.  Twice burned by the music industry and forces beyond their control, Big Star called it quits in 1974.

After three years of magic, Big Star was less than a footnote in the story of rock, more like that little yellow monster in those nail fungus commercials on the footnote of the story of rock.  Chilton, like Bell before him, would spiral into drug binges and psychotic episodes that would produce one of the most unhinged yet poignant albums in rock history called Sister Lovers (often erroneously titled Big Star’s Third) but would never recapture the quirky wonder of Big Star’s two albums.  Chilton would recover from his demons and still records and tours today, even with a reconstituted Big Star featuring pop disciples The Posies.  Not a bad ending for a tragic band, huh?  Well, let’s return to our wayward artiste Chris Bell.  Bell seemed to never quite get over the rejection of his magnum opus but slowly returned to playing music during the later years of the seventies.  He would record in fits and starts, collecting enough material for an album but received rejections from all of the labels he submitted his work to.  Bell’s post-Big Star work would finally reach the slowly growing cult of believers in the form of a single containing two heartrendingly sublime compositions that proved that rather than dissipating Bell’s talents, the inner and outer turmoil and angst suffered by our young Werther intensified his already considerable abilities.  Positive responses from the single raised Bell’s spirits and even led him to start to make overtures to Chilton and Stephens to reconvene Big Star but the furies seemed to have had it in for poor Chris as he would die in a car accident in 1978, just as he was making his comeback.  Oedipus wishes he could have suffered a fate that tragic.  Bell and the rest of Big Star have become an inspirational touchstone for many successful (and unsuccessful) bands and musicians and have even spread to the mainstream through the use of their track “In the Street” as the title song for an inane sitcom called That 70’s Show.  Chilton seems nonplused by the posthumous fame and accolades but one wonders what Bell would have felt about seeing his dream finally come to fruition.
 
So, what is it about tragic bands and musicians?  Is it their underdog status?  Their down and out chic?  Their chutzpah in the face of apathy?  Their lobster-like tenacity?  Our feeling of musical superiority in championing artists nobody has ever heard of nor listened to?   All of these questions might never be answered, but whenever I hear “Love Will Tear Us Apart” or “I Am the Cosmos,” I can’t help but feel the ghosts of Ian and Chris hovering close by as reminders of those who did it not for the fame, but because they had to and nobody else would.  Rest in peace. 

SCCC Staff Dominates the Ball Field, Become 2009 Softball Champs

By Isacc Feldman

If you bet your philosophy teacher could beat your local civil servants at any sport, you’d be in some serious money right about now.

Last week some of Suffolk County Community
College’s finest staff hit the diamond in an attempt to nab the top spot from other school faculties and county/town workers across the island. The SCCC staff started off the season with a tremendous win over Child Protective Services or CPS. They were quickly humbled, however, when they lost to the County Probation Department. After that loss, Suffolk softball won 6 straight games. That early season loss to the probation officers was one of only two losses on a championship run. They finished with a 9-2 record which was atop the standings.

Making the World Series for SCCC staff wasn’t a big problem as they mowed down the Suffolk County Medical Examiner’s staff 16-5 in the first round of the playoffs. The next game gave Suffolk a little more trouble, facing a relentless District Attorney team that was looking to upset the number-one-seeded Suffolk. Slipping past the District Attorney team 5-3, Suffolk set their sites on winning the big one.

The best of three series kicked off September 3, with SCCC putting their best pitcher on the mound, Sal Arnold. Arnold had a very strong year, and hoped to translate his great regular season into the playoffs. Right of the bat, Suffolk was put into a hole when the Suffolk County Executive’s office staff scored seven runs. This was all before the SCCC team had a chance to bat.

Suffolk’s morale was low; they were in an unfamiliar position, trailing by so much in such a small space of time. But, never doubt the heart of a champion, as SCCC scraped together an early run to preserve their championship hopes, even as they soaked up the scoring deficit.

If there was a single play that clearly stood out in SCCC’s comeback, it was a three-run homerun off the bat of the College’s Plant Operation Chief John Salerno. Even though the homerun didn’t take the lead, it let the players know that they still had some life left.

Another situation that challenged Suffolk’s heart was when Kristi Dinoia became injured sliding into second base. Dinoia braved the pain, especially after watching SCCC’s 5th inning rally to tie and eventually take the lead. Despite her injury, she insisted on playing the second game.

Once the SCCC staff took the lead in the late
innings, there was no looking back. The final score for the first game was 14-11. When asking SCCC’s starting pitcher Sal Arnold how he felt about that shaky first inning, he admitted feeling “discouraged, but more determined than ever to get the championship for these guys.” Sal’s leadership was accompanied by co-captains Nick Pulumbo and Nef Collazo. Sal felt two plays played a big role in Suffolk’s amazing comeback. “John’s (Salerno) home run was the turning point for us, and the late RBI which gave us the lead completely deflated the County Execs.”

As for game two, it was a game in which Suffolk held the lead for the entire game. There was one scare for Suffolk, however, when the tying run was brought to the plate in the bottom of the 7th. It was the County Execs slugger who earlier in the game hit a ball off the centerfield wall. Sal quickly dispatched him with a sharp ground ball to SCCC’s leading hitter and shortstop Joe D’Agostino.

A comeback from a seven run deficit, preserving a lead, and showing a lot of heart was the key to Suffolk’s softball team bringing the championship home.

College Reinvents Agenda Book, Expects You to Pay

By Krystal Diaz

For the 50 year anniversary of the college, the student handbook has a new look. Like everything else modern, it’s sleek, it’s small, and it comes with a three-year plan!

Overlypub.com, a leading producer of custom handbooks and academic planners, and the college have come together to reinvent the school planner: standardized in monthly/weekly format, it also combines a new look with an old idea. With the recent “Going Green” trend dominating the U.S., it comes to no surprise that one of the reasons why the school may have chosen not to give out free planners this semester could be because it would add to the conglomerate waste. The very first page promotes greener aspects on life and gives tips on how to “stay green” at home and at school.

The planner has fewer pages then it did in past years, but makes up for it with stickers! It is organized in such categories as: Assignments Due, Projects Due and Final Exams. These colored stickers help visually organize important projects and dates. While sifting through the planner there seems to be something amiss… Where is all the jargon-filled Student Code of Conduct? The college has removed the policies and codes from the planner and conveniently added them to the college website. “Know the Codes” is the new motto which encourages students to log on and learn the policies and procedures of the college, which are accessible 24/7 without any paper waste.

The planners that were given out for free were intended for new student. This semester’s planner has new suggestions for promoting student success. Many of these tips rehash what is taught in freshman seminar: Tips for Success, Note Taking, Dealing with College Stress… One tip usually goes unheeded: Making the Grade by Eating Smart. Pizza isn’t the breakfast of champions. A feature that may take you back to your high school days is the ever-popular “class schedule” page, the “personal contacts” page, and the “email addresses/websites” page. Now all it needs is a solar-powered calculator, a periodic table, commonly used phrases in Spanish, and a map of the United States.

College Enrollment Up, Transfers Too

By Michael R. Jordan

Enrollment is up this semester. This should be no surprise to any student who has had to navigate the crammed hallways, the full classrooms, and the overflowing parking lots. Nevermind the inordinate amount of time spent waiting on the bookstore line. It leaves one to wonder: where did they all come from?

At the board of trustees meeting held on the Ammerman campus on August 20, interim college president George Gatta made note of the fact that the college is up 2200 students from the last academic year. Among this surge in enrollment are approximately 1000 students who have transferred from other institutions of higher learning. This figure is also up from last year, when the college had about 230 transfer students enrolling in classes. While only accounting for 35 percent of the reported increase, it does reflect a larger trend—students are finding the idea of a local and inexpensive community college to be a very attractive way to obtain an education in these tough economic times.

“An economic wave like this is a huge force,” reflects Dr. Kate Rowe, College Dean of Enrollment. Rowe feels that students are looking more closely at where students spend their money, especially in contrast to the more expensive four year schools. Rowe quickly pointed out that college enrollment has steadily increased every year since 1998, with the sole exception of the year 2000. The current surge in enrollment, while significant, is only an acceleration of the growth the college has experienced over the last decade.

According to Rowe, a strong outreach through advertising and programs combined with a high quality of education has lead to increased enrollment. “It’s not an inferior education,” she says, confident that the college is succeeding in its attempts to rework its reputation.

With a surge in the ever-increasing college enrollment, some wonder how this will effect a mainstay of the community college—open enrollment. Rowe insists that even if a similar large surge occurs next year, open enrollment will not be endangered. “It’s part of our mission to remain open to any student who can benefit.” She admits that certain policies would have to be reworked, but giving up open enrollment is not a path the college plans to take.

Paper Ration: Please Sir, May I Have a Loose Leaf?

by Lisa Bosco

This year, Suffolk County Community College has instated a 1500-sheet paper ration for each professor. This is causing quite a stir, especially with the older members of the staff who are used to teaching their courses a certain way. A way, that is, that uses a ton of handouts and written tests. It’s a drastic move on the college’s part to jump on the go-green bandwagon and though they may be claiming to save the rainforest, they are in fact just putting a strain on professors and students alike.

Just as students are used to learning a certain way, every teacher has his or her own style and method of teaching. The college is basically forcing teachers to give up their old style of getting ideas across to students in exchange for a new and—for many of the older faculty members—intimidating way of teaching. Every professor on campus was given bandwidth on the internet to set up a website but to me, that feels like giving an accountant a canvas and oils and telling him to paint a beautiful picture. It’s a daunting task for many of the faculty members simply because after teaching with handouts and in-class assignments sometimes for as long as 30 years has evolved to be the best method for allowing students the best opportunity to learn the material in order to pass the class.

What the school seems to disregard is the most important part of the school and that is the students. If the professors aren’t able to provide the best access to the necessary information, then students will not be able to pass their courses and the grades on campus will suffer the consequences.

Professor John Stratton in the History department noted how in order to give his 70 students the mandatory three exams in class; he will have used 1200 pages of his allotted paper amount. He is a teacher who is used to handing out documents in class and just over the summer had to change his notes and handouts to documents that could be downloaded online and must then be printed out by the students and brought into class. It puts a lot more pressure on students to get on the website and download the documents rather than just have them readily available in class.

This also poses a problem for the students at home who may not have a computer or working printer readily available to them. I know from my own experience that this could be a nightmare that could be readily avoided if a teacher would simply hand out the assignment in person.

Websites are difficult to host and design, and a lot of times there are bugs in the system that cause the site to crash. What then are students supposed to do? The obvious solution is to continue to allow the teachers to teach in anyway that suits them best. The tech-savvy faculty members can have their websites up and running while the more old-school teachers can hand out their papers and in the end, it will be both the teachers and the students who win.