Monthly Archives: May, 2015

Pell Freeze Puts Students in a Slippery Situation:

By Jenni Culkin

Courtesy of Google Images

Courtesy of Google Images

The federal government is threatening to put a cap on Pell Grants over the next 10 years. A news brief released from the American Council on Education on April 22 stated that “this year’s budget proposal would freeze the Pell Grant maximum.”

63 million dollars of Pell Grants are awarded per year. More than 3,700 students on the Ammerman Campus receive Pell Grants. The freeze will affect about to 8,700 students across all campuses of the College.

“This semester, after I bought textbooks with my Pell [Grant], I received $100 back,” said Taylor Zierau, a current full time student at the College who receives financial aid. “And that’s fair enough but my financial situation would change significantly for anything more.”

One of the consequences that some financial aid specialists fear is student loans. Zierau described the accumulation of further loans in her financial situation as “terrifying.”

“If they freeze the Pell Grant, economically disadvantaged students will have no choice but to borrow,” said Rose Bancroft, the College Director of Financial Aid. “If they [students] borrow, they’re more in debt.”

The proposed freeze would cap the amount of aid that a student can received per semester at $2,888. Bancroft is concerned that keeping education from remaining affordable to the economically disadvantaged population could prevent students from going to or finishing school.

“You’re actually cutting off their dream,” Bancroft said about making school unattainable for students and potential students at certain income levels.

“Everything comes down to money,” Nancy Brewer, the Director of Financial Aid for the Ammerman Campus, said. “In some ways it’s a rationing system.”

Since financial aid from the government is limited, the government must distribute resources in a way that benefits the most amount of students in the best way possible. This is why Brewer stated with urgency that students should “take a careful look at their own expenses” and “meet with financial aid staff to determine eligibility.”

“I benefitted from [Pell Grants] way back when,” Brewer said about her time as a student of higher education in the 1970s. “I want current students to benefit the same way that I did.”

“The Federal Student Aid bureau determines the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) based on the answers entered on the FAFSA,” said Veronica Miller, a financial aid specialist from the Ammerman Campus. “The EFC code is what determines if a student is eligible to receive a federal grant called Pell.”

A hearing to prevent the proposed freeze from being implemented was held on April 29 at the Grant Campus of the College, according to financial aid specialists and directors at the College. It is unclear at this time whether or not the hearing was successful at persuading legislators to abandon the proposed freeze.

According to the American Council on Education, the U.S. House of Representatives proposed the budget freeze. After reaching out to the communications director at the office of the U.S. Congressman that represents our district in the House of Representatives, a quote from the Congressman was sent back in response.

“The budget I voted for will ensure Pell Grants will continue to serve our neediest students, providing them with access to a quality education.” U.S. Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-NY), who represents NY District 1, said.

Some financial aid specialists from the College, including Miller, don’t believe that the proposal will go into effect. The American Council on Education said in a separate news brief that “it has virtually no chance of clearing the Democratic-controlled Senate.”

Suffolk’s Women’s LAX suffers defeat to Nassau Once Again

By Jeffry Hernandez

On Saturday April 25th at 4pm, the women’s lacrosse team of SCCC lost to rival Nassau Community College in the Region XV Championship Game.

This was third and most important meeting between both teams, which ended in the Nassau Lions being victorious two out of the three times.

Nassau came out the gate swinging – literally, scoring eight unanswered goals in the first half.

The Sharks defense seemed unmatched at the start of the game, having no response to the on slot of goals coming their way courtesy of Kathrayn Rahill and Kerri Baum.

Within a matter of moments the Sharks gained back composure and went on a nine-straight goal terror to regain the lead before the second half.

The Sharks entered the second half with momentum on their side, for a while both teams were locked in, then number 9 of Nassau, Carly Ortman drew the score even and tied it at 9-9 a piece.

Fitting that number 9, Carly would draw the tying ninth goal of the game. But Carly’s goal would begin another on slot of goals in favor of Nassau

The Lions went on to score an additional five unanswered goals, finishing the game on a six- goal run and capturing the Region XV Championship winning the game 14-9.

Barbara Johnson, Attack for the SCCC Women’s Lacrosse team said “We started slow but came back strong, calls just weren’t in our favor today but I’m proud of team for working so hard all season”

To add on, her sister and fellow Attack of the SCCC’S Women’s Lacrosse team Mia Johnson said “I’m really proud of how far my team has come along this year; this program is only going to improve in the next couple of years”

Although the SCCC Women’s Lacrosse season ended in defeat, the future is definitely bright for the program.

In only its second year of competition the Women’s Lacrosse team is heading in the right direction, doubling their win totals from last year and an overall record of 4-5.

FullSizeRender

(Courtesy of SUNY Suffolk Athletics)

Tuition Increases due to administrative bloat

Courtesy of Google Images

Courtesy of Google Images

A Rise in Tuition Due to Raise in Hiring

By Kevin Rate and Rene Canales

Tuition increases are nothing new here at Suffolk, but why is that? Many students believe it’s due to increasing facilities, departments, or making the campus better overall. Upon close research of the departmental shifts at the campus, it is clear to see that more faculty are being hired to do the same jobs as before. Gaining more full time instructors or better equipment would be justified, but seeing the increase in positions in the president’s inner circle is alarming.

Looking at the administrative positions in the area formerly named ‘Central Administration’, the numbers already pile up. Since the 2008 academic year, the department has quadrupled in size. Positions such as College Communications Director, Assistant to the President, Executive Vice President and Affirmative Action Officer are all new jobs that were created. While four positions may not seem like much, it all adds up when we pay our bill. Prior to 2008 this institution was operating without these positions. Are all of them necessary?

“Assistant to the President sounds a bit redundant,” said student Tom Mcguire, “there’s already an Executive Assistant to the President? What does the Assistant to the Assistant do?”

This is just one account of students who are unaware of what the actual makeup of the central administration is. “Seeing it all mapped out like this is really upsetting,” said Colin Atkinson, a former student. “It’s disappointing that all these spots are made for no real reason, and if there is a good reason, why don’t they tell the students?”

The new positions don’t stop there. The hierarchy of Academic Affairs since 2008 has increased by nine positions. Interim College Assoc. Dean/ Title III project Director, College Assoc. Deans of the school of Nursing, Inst. Technology, Faculty and Professional Advancement, Continuing Education and Special Programs have all been added, also the College Director for ESL Programs, College Director of EOP and its assistant have been added. Having a Dean for almost every program could help the school, but it comes with a cost. Are these nine new positions completing more work than the previous three? Student Affairs has also seen a tremendous increase in positions. Added positions include College Assistant Director of Master Scheduling and Registrar, College and Assistant Director of Special Events and Programs, Director and Assistant Director of Fire and Public Safety, College Assistant Director of Disability Services, College Director of Career Services, College Coordinator of Multicultural affairs, Directors of the Children’s Learning Center and the Theatre and the Counselor for the ‘Get There From Here Scholarship’ making 12 new positions since 2010. This amount of administrative bloat is amazing.  The College Organizational chart does nothing to make this information easy to obtain, and renaming positions  and job titles makes it even more confusing.

The bloat does not stop there, the Institutional Advancement, Eastern and Grant Campus Executive Dean Hierarchy, have all doubled in size, and the Planning and Institutional Effectiveness has tripled in size. All of these new jobs have to find paychecks somewhere, and it might as well come from the students.

The 2008-2010 Course catalog states that the school employs “479 full time faculty, and 1,368 adjunct faculty.” compare that to the current catalog that states that the school employs “481 full time faculty, and 1619 adjunct faculty”. There has been an increase in the number of teachers at the campus, but why have there only been two new full time positions added when there have been 251 adjunct additions? Administration is increasing employees where students don’t see it, and it isn’t in the classroom.

Newsday ran a story in April that documented the tuition increases, and it states that the “SCCC trustees adopted a $215.3 million budget, a 3.2 increase, that will raise tuition for full-time local students by $180 annually”. $180 may not seem like much when talking about thousands of dollars per semester, but where is this money going? Through this research, it seems inevitable that the money would be going to pay for salaries of administrators hired and all the new administrative positions created. Increasing tuition to create more teaching positions, new technology, better public safety, or create a better environment for students would be justified; creating new jobs with new titles, shifting positions around and creating a web to navigate what job goes where is not.

This research regarding administrative bloat is not known by most students. The few mentioned were unaware of the number of new administrative positions and it shocked them. They thought they knew where their money was going. Seeing the actual numbers of how many positions were created in approximately five years is astonishing, and the tuition needs to go somewhere the students can see it.

Feral Cats Spread Throughout Long Island

By Jeffrey Lerman

Cat Houses

Photo Courtesy of Jeffrey Lerman

Feral cats have been an issue on Long Island for several years now that organizations have formed in an attempt to solve it. Various not-for-profits collect abandoned cats and often neuter them to prevent them from reproducing rapidly. It’s a step in the right direction to prevent feral cats from spreading further.

The major issue people have is distinguishing the difference between a feral cat and a stray cat. The Lost Hope Animal Rescue aims to clear up that difference to inform people. This makes it easier for people to understand the danger of wild cats they encounter as opposed to scared cats nearby. The arising problem of feral cats alongside abandoned cats combines leading people to believe they’re one and the same.

The difference between feral cats and stray cats outright is that a feral cat has adapted to its wild life. It was either raised in the wilderness or has adapted to it through being abandoned for a long period of time. This is a cat that you have to worry about as they become fearful of humans after not having had any interaction for a while. They can react aggressively and potentially give you rabies if they attack.

The Lost Hope Animal Rescue is a not-for-profit shelter for rescuing and rehabilitating stray animals. Their mission is: “Through its many programs, Last Hope is attempting to reduce the tremendous cat and dog overpopulation problem on Long Island, encourage responsible and affordable pet ownership, and transform the public image of the typical pound animal.”

A stray cat however is a cat that is abandoned but is still reliant on humans for survival. They’re often found hiding near civilization and not hunting for food in the woods. Whether it’s a garage, under a car by someone’s house, in a backyard, etc. Anywhere that’s near people so they can possibly get food from them. The life of captivity is still important to them and therefore they’re not as aggressive as feral cats. They’re more likely to cozy up to someone since they don’t know how to survive on their own and still depend on people for food. This is in part why

Since 2010, feral cats have been frantically roaming Coram, NY. Brookhaven’s former Supervisor, Mark Lesko has addressed the issue stating to ABC7 Eyewitness News, “That’s what really drove this, is this feral cat population is hunting, and they’re hunting, among other things, birds. If there’s an endangered species by all means we should all protect.”

The Riverhead Building on campus has several cat houses behind it on the way to the Brookhaven Gymnasium. These cat houses are hidden underneath a clutter of bushes along a pathway the runs along the Riverhead Building. The bushes run far back down the hill they’re on, allowing for a shelter for the cats making this an ideal spot. An issue with this is that there’s consistently litter underneath the bushes that could potentially be brought here by the cats.

It’s questionable whether these cat houses should be here or not as they lure cats to the area. This can be a way to lure cats and then trap them to neuter them, but it’s unknown if this is the purpose. The positive to this is that there may have been cats roaming the campus to begin with and this prevents them from becoming feral. By keeping some form of human interaction with students wandering by and giving them shelter, it keeps them close to civilization.

If the houses weren’t there, they may still lurk on campus but turn aggressive due to that lifestyle. Having the cat houses on campus is a double-edged sword with both positives and negatives to them. Aside from the litter that they have gathered, people have been feeding them kibble. This shows that they’re still reliant on civilization, emphasizing that they’re stray cats rather than feral ones. With how they’re taken care of, it wouldn’t be far off to say they’re pets of whoever takes care of them. It’s possible a student is taking care of them or someone from the Riverhead Building, but this is unknown.

The Lost Hope Animal Rescue has their “Fix-a-Feral” program which mainly focuses on allowing the public to spay and neuter feral cats. People can borrow traps for catching cats in their area. While the program has workshops for educating people about the ongoing issue, it encourages others to focus on cats that are more toward strays than feral. Cats that are fed by house owners are borderline pets and are less likely to react unexpectedly to movement.

Suffolk has strong season with Coach

By Ryan Wooley

Suffolk’s Baseball team has posted an 18-8 record and currently has only 5 more games left in their regular season. This past weekend at Suffolk, they defeated Kingsborough Community College in a double header taking the first one 10-0 and the second game 6-2. The Sharks now have a 9-1 record at home and have taken 4 straight wins in a row. I had a chance to talk to the head coach of the baseball team Eric Brown, who said,
“My time and experience here at Suffolk CC has been great as a coach as well as a player and our team this year hopes to win the Region XV Championship”

brown

Photo courtesy of Suffolkathlethics.com

He also said, “Our players are also working hard to get all their classroom work done.” This was a very enlightening and positive thing to say and shows that Coach Brown does not only care about his players on the field but also is concerned about them and how they are doing off the field.

Coach Brown has been the Suffolk Community College Men’s Baseball coach for 25 seasons. His teams have won 4 four Regional Championships as well as going to the NJCAA Division III World Series four times. Coach Brown has also received District F Coach of the year four times. Coach Brown is a member of the Suffolk County Sports Hall of Fame and the Longwood High school sports of fame. Wherever Coach Brown has been, success has followed. He has proven that he is a great teacher of the game as well as a fine example for what it is to be a coach and a leader of a team. In 2010, under the guidance of Coach Brown, the team was ranked second in the Northeast Region and 16th nationally – posting a 31-11 record that season.

I was able to talk to one of Coach Brown’s former players, Dan Shouler, who told me that “Coach Brown is very humble and is a good teacher of the game of baseball. He looks to bring out the best in all of his players and build a team as the year goes on. All of the players and people I have talked to have held Coach in high regard.”

It is fortunate that there are teachers who are role models not only in academics but in athletics as well. Coach Brown has demonstrated that his selflessness and his willingness to always acknowledge others make him an incredible person as well as an incredible coach. He is the longest tenured coach currently at Suffolk. Even Suffolk County Community President Dr. Shaun L Mckay has acknowledged Coach Brown and has praised his achievements and leadership. “Coach Brown has once again demonstrated that he is an exceptional leader. He is a credit to our institution, and I am proud to congratulate him personally and on behalf of the entire College community.” This quote came after Coach Brown won coach of the year last year.
What makes the story of Coach Brown so special is that he attended Suffolk where he played baseball. His life has come full circle, with Suffolk Baseball being a constant and significant part of his life. Time and time again when he could have taken credit for the success he has achieved, he always has taken time to mention those around him and how fortunate he has been to coach so many good players and be associated with other excellent coaches throughout his career.
Coach Brown does not have to speak for himself, his accomplishments and achievements throughout his career do the talking for him. This school is considered one of the best community colleges in the country and it’s people like Coach Brown and the example that he sets that make that a fact. Suffolk has many teams, both Men’s and Women’s, that represent this school awfully well. Eric Brown is one coach who represents the highest of standards that exist at Suffolk Community College. Coach Brown was very generous and it was a good experience being able to talk to him.