SJP and Hillel Look to Increase Awareness in Fight for Independence

Temperaments are beginning to rise in recent weeks between Students for Justice in Palestine and the Hillel multi-faith center because of what Amy Posner, Director of Hillel, and other members call “antizionistic/semitic” behavior. Antizionism is in opposition to the idea of a Jewish nation state in the country defined as Israel.

“They paint this picture where they demonize Israel and I feel that is being transferred to Hillel. They have an agenda to promote Palestinian autonomy in the region of Israel [and] they don’t recognize Israel as a valid country,” said Posner.

This semester SJP became officially recognized as a chartered club by the Office of Student Life and, in the span of few months, have made their presence felt. When they had became chartered, President of Hillel Mitchell Harris had looked to open dialogue with counterpart Nerdeen Mohsen regarding the possibility of collaborating. Mohsen had felt the attempt by Hillel was “disingenuous”.

“She referred to me as ‘culturally incompetent’,” alleged Harris.

Amanda Rae Davis, President of Hillel at the time, and Harris approached members of SJP during a recent club fair to open dialogue before the conversation took on a new identity.

“They were constantly pushing the conversation towards politics, which I didn’t want to talk about,” said Harris. “They want people to think that they’re open for dialogue but they’re not.”

When he offered his contact information and a simple hand shake, Harris alleged “he just looked at me with his hands crossed and folded.” Then Harris claims the unidentified man said, “we will never collaborate with Hillel.” This incident marked the start of what has become a tumultuous relationship.

Posner and Harris have expressed displeasure towards tactics employed by members of the SJP. Posner and Harris both claim they themselves and others have been the target of fake Facebook accounts and internet memes. The pair also claim that their Facebook page has solicited responses from SJP.

Posner, Harris and members of Hillel at a campus event. (Jaeyung Lee)

Posner, Harris and members of Hillel at a campus event. (Jaeyung Lee)

Mohsen claims to have no knowledge of any attacks on the Hillel Facebook page and said she had met with administration to discuss the issue surrounding memes.

“Before and after discussing this with administration I have repeatedly questioned every member and they were all just as taken aback as I was,” said Mohsen. “I condemned it nonetheless as we want to maintain a civil and respectful environment at CSI.”

Ashley Dawson, Chairman and Professor of the English Dept., submitted materials from the American Association of University Professors to administration informing them that they have no right to interfere with students’ use of social media, according to distinguished English Professor Sarah Schulman.

“It’s not harassment or an attack because people disagree. It’s normal discourse,” said Schulman who is also a Faculty Adviser to SJP.

But it’s not only Hillel that is doing the accusing. SJP claims that they’ve noticed fliers disappearing and have seen opposing fliers mocking the club distributed before an event.

A demonstration on March 4 resulted in, what Harris claims, a meme and Facebook page that shamed a Hillel member days after he had engaged in heated dialogue with SJP members outside of the performing arts building. The exchange was captured on video and uploaded to the SJP Facebook page labeling him as a former Israel Defense Force soldier. Mohsen claims the young man said, “unlike you I’m not going to blow myself up on a bus.”

“It was direct, confrontational, and triggering for many students, and frankly it even caused some of our members to feel unsafe. Especially those who have been to Palestine and were humiliated, harassed, intimidated, and even had family members injured or even killed by IDF soldiers,” said Mohsen. “Had this situation occurred in Palestine with the huge power imbalance present, we would have been rendered powerless as Palestinians. However, this grievance continues to be overlooked while the issue of the meme is amplified which is very bizarre to us.”

Posner and members of Hillel such as Justin Ortiz and Aderet Averick have attended a couple of events by SJP but they claim their presence was not well-received. During a discussion in which Ali Abunimah, of the Arab Action Network, spoke; Provost Fred Naider was shouted down after requesting more time to speak.

“He brought up suicide bombers,” said Schulman. “Very few people of his stature [Abunimah] come to CSI. I don’t agree with everything he said either.”
Provost Naider declined to comment on the event.

From left to right: Sarah Schulman, Islam Allan, Nerdeen Mohsen and Ali Abunimah.

From left to right: Sarah Schulman, Islam Allan, Nerdeen Mohsen and Ali Abunimah. (Facebook)

There is a double standard applied to clubs like SJP on college campuses says Schulman. According to Hillel and SJP, security has been sent to their meetings and high-level administrators have visited, one of them being Vice President of Student Affairs Ramona Brown.

A teacher forum attended by Harris and other Hillel members included Faculty Adviser to SJP and speaker at the forum Schulman, whom Harris claims “made it her mission to point us out.” During the forum, Schulman spoke about her Jewish heritage, stance on Boycott Divestment and Sanctions as well as her desire to meet with members of Hillel.

“My grandparents were refugees from antisemitism. I have studied Jewish history and the holocaust all of my life. My personal lesson that I take from experience with my family is that, any kind of system of racial supremacy leads to social injustice,” exclaimed Schulman. “There can be no justification, under any circumstance, for any system of racial or religious supremacy.”

“I’m very proud to be the faculty adviser of Students for Justice in Palestine,” Schulman continued. “I think what they’re doing for our campus is tremendous because they’re bringing a rigorous and important conversation to the school.”

Hillel has an open door policy. Students from all faiths and belief systems are welcome to become a part of the office and attend events. This semester, Posner introduced the Hillel Initiative for Purpose and Peace which is a bi-weekly discussion of faith and community. In the past, they’ve held a multi-faith Thanksgiving dinner. Community service is another facet of Hillel. They’ve taken to trips to New Orleans and California and volunteered in impoverished neighborhoods.

Schulman and Posner met in the fall of last year to discuss the possibility of holding an event together.

“If Hillel was an organization for Jews, there would be no problem. It’s for people who support the Israeli government and their policies,” said Schulman. “I was told that Hillel could not include me in an event, even though I am Jewish, because of my position on Israel.”

Posner spoke on the likelihood of a collaboration between SJP and Hillel in the coming year saying that, “just because we don’t collaborate doesn’t mean we can’t listen” adding “We’re open to collaborating with any club on campus.”

Posner is employed by the Hillel Foundation for Jewish Campus Life. What’s important here, Schulman believes, is the work done by Hillel on campus; not social-media antics and handshakes.

“[They’re] a propagandist organization. Her job [Amy] is to be an advocate on our public campus for a very specific political agenda in favor of the policies of the Israeli government,” claimed Schulman. “All these complaints are strategy, that’s what she is there to do, [to] undermine a critique of the Israeli government.”

The complaints by Hillel are a smokescreen, alleges Schulman, which undermine issues of security, free travel and human rights. Hillel was founded in 1923 and adopted by B’nai B’rith in 1924; it has grown into the world’s largest Jewish campus organization. There are offices on 550 campuses world-wide.

Schulman stated that several other professors were contacted regarding the faculty adviser position with SJP but were reluctant to accept the offer because of the fear of administrative backlash. Members of administration have urged Schulman to cooperate with Hillel, which she believes is inappropriate. She also emphasizes that “Hillel is the only outside political entity to be given power at CSI.”

Posner maintains that it’s not an outside political entity and that Hillel “only makes campus life richer.” She also points to other clubs, such as NYPIRG, that are also given space on campus but aren’t hired by CSI.

Open-Hillel is new campaign towards creating an open discourse on campuses across America and Canada. It’s a student-run campaign that encourages inclusivity and seeks to reverse Hillel International’s guidelines which prohibit the inclusion and collaboration of groups who delegitimize Israel.

“She [Schulman] spoke out against Hillel saying that [we] don’t have a right on this campus,” says Harris. “So here’s a group questioning Israel as a Jewish state and Hillel’s right [to be] on campus. They’re claiming antizionism and antisemitism are two different things but if you [consider] the things they’ve done; it’s not as unconnected as they’re making it seem.”
Arrangements are coordinated between the Office of Student Life and Academic Affairs to station a multi-faith center on campus.

“There should not be a Hillel person on campus unless [they’re] vetted by CSI, and that can’t happen because they uphold policies that are racially discriminatory,” said Schulman.


Go Forth Bearded Brethren

Before the days of sharp-dressed men like Joseph-Gordon Levitt, men with facial hair were revered.

Before the days of sharp-dressed men like Joseph-Gordon Levitt, men with facial hair were revered.

Before the days of well-groomed Hollywood studs like Leonardo DiCaprio and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, men grew facial hair. Men have flaunted god’s gift and curse, because we don’t like shaving either ladies, for hundreds of years. Those monstrosities covering up parts of, if not your whole face, have been looked down upon by mothers and girlfriends world wide but fear no more; you can sport any style and wear it proudly.

Let’s start off with the basics; a full beard. The full beard is not for the faint of heart. If you don’t have a kick-ass personality then it quite possibly could end all chances of a woman remotely showing affection towards you. Before you start your journey towards grizzly greatness, be honest with yourself. If you’re a guy who grows his facial hair in patches then it won’t work. Also, if you’re someone whose skin is easily irritated, I would advise against this idea.

A full beard goes well with someone who has a darker complexion; this is not to say Irish and Polish-folk can’t take their own stab at it but tis my own personal belief. Lastly, you might want to go with the full beard when you have enough hair on your head to match your face. The beard is good for the rugged, messy kind of guy who doesn’t care about his appearance.
The five-o-clock shadow is the most versatile look; a definite panty-dropper on the right guy. Women love a little scruff every now and then. A five-o-clock shadow is that simple yet elegant style of facial hair and it works on any type of skin tone. It’s a great choice because, if worn by the right guy, will grow back in a few days when shaven. Like I said, both a blessing and a curse.

Try the chin-strap if you have yet to make it through puberty. Ladies might like a well kept chin-strap but I don’t. A chin-strap is an overrated look because it’s not very manly; boys wear it. However, it’s simple and requires minimal upkeep, allowing you to save money on blades. A chin-strap is a good choice for men who aren’t capable of growing much facial hair.

The goatee is a good change-up on any guy; it’s bold and shows that you’re tired of the same old. They are even more effective on physically imposing men, or bad boys, and those with darker complexions. If you are in the gym a lot or plan on heading to the beach, this is the right style for you.

If you’re a sensitive man who likes to write poetry and take pottery classes, then the soul-patch is your best option. Like the chin-strap, the soul-patch is good for men who don’t grow a lot of facial hair. It’s not a good fit on an older gentleman and should be worn by a young male. The soul-patch is the one style most heavily associated with its bearer’s fashion sense so dress accordingly.

Investing in a good razor and buzzer is the next step. Gillette is a good brand of razors that range from disposable to high-end. Their fleet of razors also includes the 3-in-1 ProGlide Styler which includes a razor, trimmer and edging blade for those finishing touches and defined lines.

There are a few other ways to jazz up your facial hair. Play with your side burn length or go with the incomplete goatee; a stache and a little chin hair. The style you choose should complement your face and make you feel confident. See what style suits your bone structure and choose a style that matches your personality. Go forth bearded brethren.

Doing It the Right Way


Tony Petosa has been at the helm for men's basketball at the College of Staten Island for 24 years and has built a highly-successful program.

Tony Petosa has been at the helm for men’s basketball at the College of Staten Island for 24 years and has built a highly-successful program. (CSI Athletics)

In the award-laden office of CSI men’s basketball coach, Tony Petosa stares at his computer screen concentrating on apparel he plans on purchasing for his team’s upcoming season. For Petosa, there is no off-season. The day following their loss against York College in the 2014 CUNYAC Championship game, he had wanted to scout but fortunately was able to have an assistant make the trip.

“My season began the day after we won [the ECAC Championship],” said Petosa. “It absolutely kills my personal life. I’m easily here from September through the end of March.”

Behind the storied coach sits a Staten Island Advance clipping of one of his former coaches, the late Thomas Keenan. Keenan coached Petosa during his Junior and Senior campaigns at CSI.

“He was so far away,” said Petosa. “Every six months or so I’d give him a call. He was a good person.”

Petosa is fresh off of a record setting 28-3 season that concluded with an ECAC Championship victory over Kean University and will be inducted into the Staten Island Hall of Fame in May. Before his head coaching career at CSI, where he has racked up five CUNYAC Championships and 400 wins, Petosa forged an award-winning basketball career at the school that began in his teenage years.

The future CSI great began playing basketball at the age of eleven where began his basketball career playing at Our Lady Queen of Peace.

“Things were different, they had intramural leagues at my grammar school,” said Petosa. “They had CYO and stuff like that.”

Petosa, a self called late bloomer, entered Monsignor Farrell High School where began to take the sport seriously. Petosa honed his skills under Tony Rafaniello who is the winningest coach in Staten Island high school basketball history with 511 games.

“I was very well coached as a high school player,” said Petosa. “He has a great knowledge of the game and brings a lot of intensity.”

Before there was a Tom Keenan, Petosa played his first two years of college basketball under head coach Evan Pickman. Pickman, a former scout for the LA Clippers, coached the Dolphins for six years compiling a 127-42 record. Petosa was a starter for all four years at the school.

“Pick made me hungry to become a better player,” said Petosa. “By the time I had left, I felt I was as good as anyone in this area. Whatever improvements I made over the course of my four years here were because of Pick.”

The 6’6 Center, although Petosa took on other positions, says he didn’t become gifted overnight.

“I had almost no athletic ability,” said Petosa. “I played multiple positions, I wasn’t really a Center. I was probably a better perimeter shooter than a post-player and by the time I was done [at CSI] I was a better post-player.”

A young Tony Petosa accepts an award during his playing days of the 80s.

A young Tony Petosa accepts an award during his playing days of the 80s. (CSI Athletics)

Petosa played and started in 28 games as a Freshman averaging 8 points and 6 rebounds. The team won the conference but lost in the ECAC tournament. As a Sophomore, the team received a birth in the NCAA Division III tournament.

“My Sophomore year we didn’t win the tournament [CUNYAC],” said Petosa. “We went to the nationals because we had such a good year. Being able to compete against the best teams in the country, we were very fortunate.”

Petosa’s run at CSI included winning the CUNYAC championship three times and started all four seasons. In his senior year, Petosa won the ECAC tournament and a CUNY Tournament MVP Award. Today, he is still the career leader in rebounds with 982.

“As a Senior you want to be recognized by what you do,” said Petosa. “You take a little bit more responsibility for the wins and losses.”

Both coaches were instrumental in Petosa’s success as a coach. His ability to mold kids on the court and motivate academically deserves a lot of thanks to Pickman and Keenan.

“Keenan was really laid back and Pick was very fiery,” said Petosa. “I’m kind of in the middle between the two of them.”

Pickman, whom Petosa calls Pick, is now head coach of the varsity program at the Abraham Joshua Heschel School in Manhattan, and had nothing but praise when recalling times when he coached the big man.

“I recruited him out of Farrell High School where he was a good player. [In] my last two years at CSI he started every game and was sort of a role player. He rebounded, he fit in. After I left, he became a great player,” said Pickman. “He wanted to be a shooter [laughs]. When he left, he was outstanding. He learned to incorporate a presence inside. He became a complete power forward.”

“I still talk to Pick on a fairly consistent basis,” said Petosa. “I’ll reach out to him once a month and see how he’s doing and just talk to him. Sometimes it’s about basketball, sometimes it’s to see how he’s doing.”

The pair continued their relationship even after Pick left the bench. Pickman became the General Manager of the Staten Island Stallions, a team formerly a part of the United States Basketball League from 86-87. Petosa played with the Stallions both years.

“We added Tony to the team as a local guy because you need 10-12 guys for practice,” said Pickman. “He handled himself against very, very good players. He turned himself into an above average Division-III player. He could play for a lot of Division-I teams and proved it playing against division one players in the summer league.”

Petosa would later give up his playing career for one as a teacher and coach. The future hall of famer spent 18 years teaching at Lafayette High School, Brooklyn before coming to Tottenville in 2007. He returned to CSI to become a part of previous coach Howie Ruppert’s staff for a couple of seasons.

Petosa initially declined the offer to become head coach of the Dolphins but due to the persistence of Ruppert, the coach who happened to be leaving at the time, was convinced to step in. Coaching alongside Petosa would be close friend and mentor Matthew White, whom the CSI alum credits with much of his success coaching.

“Matty spent 17 years as my assistant coach,” said Petosa. “[He] got the job at the age of 50 and worked until 67 and was an amazing person.”

White died nearly four years ago after succumbing to a battle with kidney cancer.

“Everything that I am as a basketball coach is because of him,” said Petosa.

Petosa’s first four seasons got off to a rough start where he amassed a 48-58 record.

“My first six years I didn’t think I knew anything I was talking about because unless you win it’s hard to validate what you’re trying to do,” said Petosa.

In his fifth campaign, things took off. In 1995, the team boasted a 20-7 record but didn’t win the CUNYAC until the following year. Petosa took home CUNYAC Championship honors following the 1996 season. John Cali, a CSI hall of famer, was an integral part of the team that season and over the next three seasons.

“That was a great season,we weren’t expected to do much. We lost 3 or 4 starters that year,” said Cali. “We came together as a team and coach gave us a shot to become a good team.”

The team followed that season up with a loss to Baruch in the CUNYAC Tournament and in 97-98; Cali went down with a hairline fracture in his back.

“I went to road games and most of the home games,” said Cali. “I felt like I left him alone [Brian Gasper]. He was a junkyard dog and heart and soul of the team.”

In what would have been devastating way to end a basketball career, Cali was able to medical redshirt and play in 98-99. The team finished 17-11 and beat York to win their second championship under Petosa. However, the wins don’t seem to matter to him.

“I just don’t enjoy winning. I’m always looking to move onto the next game. ” said Petosa. “That’s really my personality and if anything it’s a flaw. My philosophy is when it’s all over and I decide not to coach anymore, that’s when I think I’ll look back at all I’ve done and probably still be a little bit critical.”

Those who know him best, like former players, think they have him figured out.

“It’s not about winning with him,” said Matt Franzreb, forward (97-01). “It’s about doing the right thing on and off the court and the wins will just come.”

On the eve of the new millennium, the Dolphins suffered back to back losses in the CUNY Championship. They also endured a tragic loss off of the court. In the September 11 terrorist attacks, former players Tom Hannafin, Scott Davidson and Terrance Aiken passed away. Next year, Petosa created the Tournament of Heroes which is held at the end of every year.

“These guys meant a lot to him. I played in other leagues with some of them, like Terrence Aiken, outside of CSI” said Franzreb. “I come by and support every year as much as I can.”

The Petosa-led Dolphins circa 2002.

The Petosa-led Dolphins circa 2002. (CSI Athletics)

The team would plateau for the majority of the start to the 21st century. Petosa’s teams would go 92-70 between 2003-2008; then hitting rock bottom with a 6-20 performance in 2009. The Dolphins lost three times to York in the CUNYAC postseason during that span. Sean Weismuller a key component of the team had transferred to rival Brooklyn in the early months of the 07-08 season.

“A lot of people think it was problem between me and coach,” said Weismuller. “[We] butted heads because both of us were intense. I get really excited on the court. He was tough to get a laugh out of.”

Weismuller transferred to be closer to his father whose health began to fail. He remains in touch with several players from the team.

“We lost a couple of other kids because of injury and personality but what ended up happening was Jordan, who was a Freshman that year, really became our leader for four years,” said Petosa.

Jordan Young, a 6’5 center from Wall Township high school in New Jersey, became the centerpiece of the team’s resurgence.

“[He had an] unbelievable feel for the game, just reacted really well; played with a lot of confidence and tenacity, great footwork; a very high-character person” said Petosa. “I honestly think he would’ve chosen three other schools but we just got fortunate and he had a great career here.”

Young remembers the recruiting process and speaks highly of his past coach and current bench mate. He’s been an assistant coach alongside Petosa for the past two seasons.

“He actually told me during my senior year [of high school] that I would have a starting spot,” said Young. “[He’s] a good coach, friend and mentor. He wants to be your friend first and then your coach.”

Petosa’s squad improved each of the next two seasons but lost to Baruch and John Jay in postseason play. Meanwhile, the team received strong play from Dale Taranto and added standouts, T.J. Tibbs and Bloochy Magloire over the course of those two years. Tibbs, a graduate of St. Peters high school, was an impact player under Petosa averaging 16 points, 6 assists and 4 rebounds over two seasons. He formerly played basketball for Monmouth College before settling in at CSI.

“[After St.Peters] I was looking for somewhere to go and he tried to recruit me out of Monmouth and then again in Wagner College,” said Tibbs. “In 2010, I reached out to him. I always wanted to play for coach [Petosa] but didn’t want to go to CSI. He’s a mentor; I look up to him as far as how he carries himself as a person. I was actually at school a week and a half ago to talk about things as far as my career; I’m on a path to become a college basketball coach.”

History was made in 2012. The team strung together a 19-game win streak, capturing a CUNYAC Championship win over Medgar Evers, en route to a berth in the NCAA tournament. The highly touted Dolphins that year were filled with talented names. The team also received help from the mid-season acquisition of Lameik Black. Black averaged 8 points and 5 rebounds over 17 games.

“2012 was a phenomenal group, a tight knit group of kids,” said Assistant Coach Chris Peterson. “They worked their asses off in practice. Some practices were even more competitive than games.”

The following season history repeated itself. After a 19-5 regular season record, Petosa’s team defeated John Jay to win the championship and would continue their run of dominance in the CUNYAC in 2014, despite missing Seniors guards Jonathan Chadwick-Myers and Magloire for the first 8 games.

“It was entirely my fault. I slipped up in the classroom and had to deal with the consequences,” said Magloire. “He was 100% honest with me. [He’s the] best coach I’ve had [and] developed my game into what it is now.”

After starting 1-2, the team won 24 consecutive games including lopsided victories over Baruch and Medgar Evers. The team would falter in the CUNYAC Champion versus York losing 87-84. To the dismay of Petosa and many supporters, the team was not given a bid to the NCAA Tournament.

“I just think it was a bad decision by the NCAA, the selection committee was very unfair to our program based upon our conference,” said Petosa. “Our season shouldn’t have hinged on us winning that tournament. Once we got to 23-2 or 24-2 we should’ve been an automatic [bid].

Despite the disappoint, Petosa and his club moved onto the ECAC tournament where they conquered NJCU, Stevens IT and Kean to win the championship.

“We didn’t play great throughout the ECAC’s,” said Petosa. “We played good enough to win.”

As the team moves on and players graduate and new roles open up, Petosa is tasked with meddling with a roster where Javon Cox, Will Fonseca and Frankie Schettino return and have added experience under their belt.

“This year [2014] we really pushed the ball because we had a point guard who could push the ball and we had guys he throw it to on his wings,” said Petosa. “If we don’t have that next year, we have to walk it up and try to keep games close.”

With Seniors like Chadwick Myers, Dylan Bulger and Magloire graduating; there are voids that need to be filled. One spot Petosa is comfortable with is Point Guard. The Freshman sensation Schettino snagged D-III All-Freshman Team honors and helped lead the Dolphins to a 23-2 regular season record with 9 points, 7 assists, 4 rebounds and 2 steals per game.

“We’re not going to be deep next year. We’re not going to bring in six kids with the ability of the ones we’re losing,” said Petosa. “I’m going to do the best I can to bring in good kids, high-quality kids. I need to bring in a number of them; one or two possibly, three and four is not easy.”

Petosa added, “It’s hard to recruit public school kids because they don’t have the academic grades to get into the school. Our standards for the baccalaureate program are very high.”

Petosa will be entering his 25th season as head coach of the men’s basketball program at the college this November. The full-time teacher has a 10 month old daughter Alexa and wife Dalia at home.

“I call this a labor of love, I love doing it but at the same time it impacts my personal life immensely,” said Petosa. “I don’t have holidays off, I don’t have Christmas off. I get to go to my sisters house for Christmas and while I’m there I’m watching videos of games that we have in two days or making phone calls to recruits on Christmas Eve.”

According to a 2011 CUNYAC benchmarking study, the average yearly salary for head coaches of men’s teams at CSI is $8,267.

“This was as a difficult year as I’ve ever had coaching wise,” said Petosa. “I feel that if I wanted to I could coach another 15 years easily. There’s no question I still have the desire.”

Costly Controversy and Communication Issues

HED: The Legacy Left by former Chancellor Goldstein
DEK: Costly Controversy and Communication Issues
By: Brad Popkin

Former Chancellor Goldstein, 1999-2013, led CUNY to new heights.

Former Chancellor Goldstein, 1999-2013, led CUNY to new heights.

On January 15, CUNY selected University of Nebraska President James Milliken as their next Chancellor. Milliken will not take his new position until June 1. Former Chancellor Matthew Goldstein, 1999-2013, helped improve the college, bringing respectability back to a once criticized institution.

When Goldstein stepped down in summer 2013, he left behind a much improved university. Goldstein held the position for fourteen years and set out to make the University a more prosperous learning environment for both students and professors by adding over 2,000 full-time faculty positions.

The landscape of CUNY has expanded to 24 colleges and professional schools including the Graduate School of Journalism, School of Professional Studies and the William E. Macauly Honors College. Following a successful but controversial career, Goldstein decided to call it quits.

“I had an agenda that was in my mind when I first accepted the invitation to do the job, and we have succeeded beyond that agenda, things I never envisaged we would be able to do,” Goldstein said.

Back in 1999, a Mayoral Task Force labeled CUNY “an institution adrift”. At the time, CUNY was a bundle of universities with no direction and few standards. Students who were underachieving previously continued that pattern in college. An underwhelming public school system and the state’s system of financial aid were factors that resulted in many students choosing CUNY.

”The word chaotic doesn’t even begin to describe it; it’s moribund,” said Benno C. Schmidt Jr., the task force chairman and current Chairman of the Board of CUNY. ”That suggests a huge opportunity, but first CUNY needs to invent itself.”

Later into his tenure, Goldstein would see considerable pressure with students and faculty calling for his resignation. With sharply lowered support from the state in recent years, Governor Cuomo and legislature approved a “rational tuition plan” on August 9, 2011.

“The new law enacts a rational tuition plan that allows each SUNY and CUNY campus to raise tuition by $300 per year for five years, replacing an era of sudden tuition increases with a system that is predictable and empowers students and parents to plan for college expenses,” said Cuomo.

On November 21, 2011, students staged their own movement. They attempted to stage a peaceful protest at Baruch College where CUNY trustees were holding their monthly meeting where tuition hikes were addressed. Met with resistance from police, fifteen arrests were made after students on higher floors dropped books on police and lined up peacefully in the lobby. Exactly a week later, much to the chagrin of students and faculty, Chancellor Goldstein and CUNY trustees approved a series of $300 tuition increases that will run through 2015.

Protesters and critics of Goldstein denounced his decision to not take more action against the State and accused the University of having sufficient money in their budget. Opponents also cited the Chancellor was out of touch with the student body. A petition by angered students, which called for Goldstein to resign, was also started on the internet.

A leader for CUNY as well as a Professor of English at Queens College, Barbara Bowen had been vocal towards the Chancellor’s handling of not only the tuition hikes but also his Pathways initiative.

“A failed business strategy,” Bowen called it. “A long-term plan for state and city investment would make much more sense.”

Contrary to what faculty and students believe, there are ways for a student to attend school tuition free in CUNY. Director of Communications at CSI, Ken Bach estimates that “eighty percent of all students could attend CUNY schools tuition free if they have applied to all modes of financial aid.”

Much credit should be given to the former Chancellor and his fundraising efforts. Goldstein more than quadrupled annual fund-raising from about $50 million to $250 million, during his tenure.

“Before he came I’m not sure that there was a strong focus on fundraising,” VP of Student Affairs at CSI Ramona Brown said. “The amount of money raised under Chancellor Goldstein’s leadership has been pretty phenomenal.”

Brown also applauds Goldstein’s effort in creating more scholarship opportunities. She was unable to comment on the issue of Pathways and the implementation but stated that “faculty were on the committee.”

The Pathways initiative, instituted in fall 2013, helps students easily transfer general education credits from one CUNY college to another; reducing the amount of gen-ed courses required across all schools. The implementation of the initiative has been met with significant resistance from faculty.

Members of the CSI faculty were particularly vocal in their criticism of Goldstein’s initiative.

“The College of Staten Island Faculty Senate cannot in good conscience endorse the development of a general education curriculum within the Pathways framework as it currently stands,” read a statement from the Faculty Senate of CSI. “We will not implement a Pathways curriculum under the current guidelines.”

The Professional Staff Congress is the union that represents more than 25,000 faculty and staff in CUNY. Bowen, the President, and the PSC have been adamant in their response creating a petition and voting no confidence towards the plan.

“Pathways general education curriculum dramatically decreases the amount of science taught to [non-science] majors in the senior colleges, and diminishes the quality of education and value of a CUNY degree,” said CUNY’s discipline council for natural sciences in a statement.

The PSC filed a suit two years ago against CUNY. The suit charges that Pathways violates a settlement agreement reached in 1997 between CUNY, on one hand, and the PSC and University Faculty Senate leaders on the other. That agreement reaffirms that the CUNY faculty, through the UFS and the college faculty senates and councils, are responsible for the formulation of policy relating to curriculum.

Measures to repeal and find resolutions to Pathways by groups at colleges such as Brooklyn and Baruch accomplished nothing. The Pathways fiasco is a blemish on the otherwise long and prosperous tenure of Goldstein. Lack of communication with staff is one contributor.

“By failing to respond to the faculty’s broad denunciation of Pathways the CUNY Board of Trustees has put the quality of a CUNY education at risk,” said Bowen. “We call on the new chancellor to listen to the faculty and respect our knowledge and our experience in the classroom.”

One of the hallmarks of Goldstein’s tenure was the centralization and stratification of the college. Goldstein sought to concentrate information and decision-making in CUNY’s Central Administration. In his exit interview on WNYC, he conceded that “pathways has had a fair amount of faculty pushback.”

“My position as a faculty member is that I own the curriculum,” VP of Academic Affairs at CSI Fred Naider said. “What goes on in my classroom nobody can tell me what to do. Nobody in forty years has told me what to teach.”

Goldstein’s exit would leave much to be desired from students and faculty. In April 2013, it was reported by the New York Post that, per the Board of Trustees’ 2011 addition of the title chancellor emeritus to CUNY’s Executive Compensation Plan, Goldstein would be leaving with an extra bonus.

“We’ll craft a special package for Matt,” Board Chair Benno Schmidt told the Post. “I think he’s been underpaid as chancellor.”

Goldstein’s salary was $490,000 a year, with an additional $90,000 housing allowance. He has other income as well: as a member of the Board of Trustees of the J.P. Morgan Funds, he was paid $325,000 in 2011.

Schmidt acknowledged that students and faculty might be unhappy with the bonus but noted that private funds may subsidize the salary.

Basketball Bloodlines

HED: Basketball Bloodlines
DEK: The Remarkable Career of Katelyn Hepworth
By: Brad Popkin

Hepworth is all smiles after crossing the 1000 point threshold in her career. (Jim Waggoner/Staten Island Advance)

HED: Basketball Bloodlines

DEK: The Remarkable Career of Katelyn Hepworth

By: Brad Popkin

Katelyn Hepworth, a standout player poised to deliver a CUNYAC Championship season, recently scored her 1,000 career point for CSI’s womens basketball team.

Her journey to become one of CSI’s most prominent basketball players is one of many humbling experiences.

“From her first year on the team she had a pretty remarkable role,” said Assistant Athletic Director at CSI Dave Pizzutto. “A former CUNY Rookie of the Year, she’s always accepted it with humility, has always been a hard worker and matured with the program.”

The 5’10 Forward grew up surrounded by a family of basketball players and started playing at an early age. Hepworth is a graduate of Notre Dame Academy and recently graduated from CSI. Hepworth, a Science, Letters and Society major who minored in Elementary Education, is a captain and key component of a dominant Dolphin’s team (the lady Dolphins have posted an 18-5 record so far).

Starting at Blessed Sacrament in the second grade, Hepworth began forging her acclaimed basketball career. She inherited abundance of basketball knowledge early in childhood from her parents. Hepworth’s parents Kathleen and Timothy played basketball at Notre Dame and St. Peters respectively. The duo were also coaches at Notre Dame before Hepworth was born. Hepworth also has a pair of brothers, Timmy and Dennis, who started playing the sport at Blessed Sacrament before moving on to Xaverian High School and Baruch College.

For grades 7-8, Hepworth would play basketball for the Renegades, a local AAU team of which her parents coached.

In 2005, as a Freshman, Hepworth would suit up for the Gators of the Notre Dame Academy. During her time on Junior Varsity, the young stalwart garnered much praise from her coach Tony Curatolo and quickly became a starter followed by a captain nod during her Sophomore campaign. After two highly-successful seasons, Hepworth made the jump to Varsity to play for uncle and Head Coach, John Hannafin.

“I adore my uncle but I hardly played. I just totally lost sight of the game,” said Hepworth. “I wasn’t the captain. When I was on the court I was told I was invisible.”

Though it didn’t sit well with her at the time, Hepworth insists that she has grown to understand why Hannafin made his decision. Hepworth, by her own admission, feels that fitness could have been a factor. To make matters worse, Hannafin, who coached at Notre Dame for 18 years, was fired after refusing to resign following that season.

“I get it now, it’s tough to coach your family,” said Hepworth. “There was other talent on the team.”

Hepworth’s new coach her Senior year was Tom Cavanagh, a co-founder of the Rebels, a local travel girls’ basketball team.

“He kind of brought life back into the game for me,” said Hepworth.

Cavanagh had nothing but the best to say about the future Dolphin.

“Hepworth plays with a lot of heart,” Cavanagh told the Staten Island Advance. “She is someone who will go through a wall for you. She gives every ounce of everything she has on the floor. She’s a good rebounder and has a good all-around game.”

If it weren’t for Cavanagh, Hepworth feels she wouldn’t have continued playing basketball. Along with recruiting efforts by former coach Marguerite Moran and Tim Shanahan, she credits her high school coach for her eventual arrival at CSI.

“He told me ‘you’re too good of a player not to go’,” said Hepworth.

Hepworth, as a Freshman, was poised to start on a Dolphin’s team that ultimately went 13-12 and finished with a loss against Baruch in the CUNYAC Semifinals. Her efforts led to a CUNYAC Co-Rookie of the Year award after averaging 9.8 points and 9 rebounds a game. She also led the team in shooting and blocks.

“I didn’t expect to play as much as I did my Freshman year,” said Hepworth. “Megan Sullivan had just graduated and that was their post-player.”

As a Sophomore and Junior, wins were hard to come by. The Dolphins finished with a 17-30 record over that span. Despite the shortcomings, Hepworth continued to improve and averaged just over 12 points per game and 9 rebounds. Moran, then her head coach, was let go.

Hepworth called her Junior year a ‘rebuilding’ one and that ‘girls who were supposed to play backed out’ leaving the departed coach in a difficult situation. Moran had to recruit women from the volleyball and soccer teams to play.

“Marguerite had a lot of quick-hitter plays; back screens and pick and rolls,” said Hepworth. “The way Timmy coaches is very fast-paced, spread offense and everything is simple. He lets us create as much as we can off of it.”

She was looking forward to a breakthrough season under new head coach Tim Shanahan but that would not be the case. Before she ever took the court for a regular season game, Hepworth tore her ACL and Meniscus in a practice right before the first game.

“I actually missed class to go to practice,” said Hepworth. “We were scrimmaging and I went up for a layup on the left side, came down and it [her left leg] totally hyper extended.”

“As a Forward, we know that we get bumped all the time. I heard a pop and knew that it was something. It was devastating; I’ve never been hurt. To see it and go through it is a totally different thing.”

Surgery was not something Hepworth was looking forward to as well as the rehab process. Her teammates Jennifer Coughlan and Olivia Tierno were extremely supportive.

“They kind of warned me about what the surgery is going to be like and how to go through the rehab process,” said Hepworth. “I couldn’t walk for three weeks. I had my mom helping me. You can’t take care of yourself and it was really frustrating.”

Hepworth spent the next several months rehabbing with staff at Peak Performance in Bulls Head. She spent the next summer trying to strengthen the leg by running and playing basketball with her brothers in Clove Lakes Park.

“They had a whole plan for me, mostly lifting and leg presses,” said Hepworth. “Before my injury I used to run 3-6 miles. I used to be able to run three miles in twenty minutes. I wouldn’t let myself touch a basketball until I cut down to twenty.”

“As frustrating as it was not being on the court, I was really able to focus on school and I did really well,” said Hepworth.

The time off due to injury allowed Hepworth to dedicate more time to her studies while she finished up the remainder of classes for her degree. Two elementary education courses and chemistry are what separates her and a degree. Upon graduating, Hepworth became a student teacher at P.S. 65 in the Fall of 2013. Working with children has always been one of her passions, but as most college students do; Hepworth changed her mind.

“I know I want to work with children but not necessarily as a classroom teacher,” said Hepworth. “I’m going to get my sign language interpreter license because I took sign language at the college and fell in love with it.”

Hepworth also plans to pursue a Master’s Degree in Speech Pathology at either Brooklyn or Touro College.

Now healthy and heading into her final year of eligibility, Hepworth would only be able to play through the month of January. The Dolphins got off to an incredible start going 6-1 in their first seven games. Then a 3-2 record in December was followed by a 9-game winning streaking. One of her favorite moments of the season thus far was when the team took a trip down to the nation’s capital to play deaf university Gallaudet.

“It was one of the coolest experiences of my life,” said Hepworth. “I was talking to one of the girls’ moms in the stands. They were really good. It was a quiet game [laughs].”

On January 15, versus John Jay, Hepworth was poised to cross the 1,000-point threshold in her career at CSI. After missing multiple lay-ups, foul shots and jump shots, Hepworth finally eclipsed the mark.

“Right before the foul shot Timmy grabbed my head and said ‘just do this please,'” recalled Hepworth.

Her entire family was in attendance: mom’s parents; aunts and uncles; brothers and sister; cousins; dad’s mom. As the calendar inched closer to the end of January, Hepworth’s time as a Dolphin was almost over.

However, based on an NCAA rule stating that an athlete can play 60 days following graduation as long as they’re in season, Hepworth can keep contributing. Hepworth is thrilled to be able to finish the season with fellow Seniors Melanie Johnson and Jaclyn Tocco.

“I’m gonna miss her in a lot of ways,” said Head Coach, Tim Shanahan. “Not only on the court but off the court. Great kid, great family.”

With a trio of Seniors moving on, the team will be forced to find contributions from other areas. Hepworth’s work ethic has been on display for Freshman like Brianna Salomon waiting in the wings.

“She made me realize that there’s no time during a game to stop and think about the last play,” said the young Forward. “She’s a vocal captain, who never gives up, and plays with a lot of heart.”

As the rest of the season unfolds, Hepworth and the Dolphins only have one thing on their mind and that’s to bring home a CUNY title.

If breaking down the 1,000-point barrier wasn’t enough, she also insists on finishing her career with 1,000 rebounds. With a Bachelor’s Degree in tow and potential career in speech pathology, the part-time waitress at Chili’s doesn’t plan on closing the book on her basketball career yet.

“I’d love to coach at Notre Dame someday,” said Hepworth.

In Too Deep, Men’s Swim Team May Face Harsh Penalties

The men’s swimming program will pay a price based on an NCAA Division III Committee on Infractions report released in late November. The report covers a period of allegedly unethical conduct by former coach, Oleg Soloviev, that included providing cost-free housing to one student, from 2006-2012.
“In July 2011, the College became aware of improprieties in its men’s swimming program and self-reported the violations to the NCAA,” said President Fritz. “A joint investigation by the NCAA Enforcement Division ensued, and on March 14, 2013 the NCAA issued a formal Notice of Allegations (NOA).”
Fritz participated in a hearing held by the infractions committee in August. The college submitted a formal response to the NOA in June 2013. 
Penalties may include a four-year probationary period and a two-year ban on postseason competiton; putting a halt on potential NCAA title aspirations of the talented Dolphins. 
Additionally, all individual records of six student-athletes from the time they became ineligible for competition through the time their eligibility was reinstated will be vacated. 
Athletic Director Charles Gomes would not provide any names for the other affected athletes and declined to comment on the infractions and subsequent punishment. However, Gomes was able to offer insight on one portion of the investigaton.
“Nothing related to the NCAA investigation had anything to do with the budget,” said Gomes. 
The student activity fee provides funding to athletics. Supplemental funding can be provided to teams by the recreational center through membership fees and rentals. CSI Association Executive Director, Marianne McLaughlin, handles the development and review of activity fee budgets. 
“To my knowledge, none of the money came from college related funds or budgets,” said McLaughlin.
According to the NCAA report, ‘the administration never required [SOLOVIEV] to give an accounting of his recruitment activities.” 
According to the report, Soloviev was recruiting international athletes electronically and at times when he was vacationing overseas. 
The committee found that Soloviev facilitated the visa process for five international prospects; arranged for reduced-cost lifeguard certification classes for three-student athletes and signed leases for four student-athletes. 
“The college lacked control of its athletic department when it failed to provide adequate NCAA rules education, failed to monitor the recruitment activities of the former coach and failed to monitor student-athlete housing arrangements,” an NCAA official said at a press conference on November 21st. 
The official also acknowledged that the college ‘indirectly provided financial assistance to prospects’ by lowering swim lane rates for the private swim club and ‘permitted certain student-athletes to compete without executing student-statements’. 
Suspicion of any wrongdoing stemmed from a posting Soloviev made in July of 2011 on the website of a private swim club; an enterprise that he formed in 2003 and continued to run. An employee of CSI spotted the message which requested that members of the swim club donate household items for two international prospects who were scheduled to arrive in the U.S. later that year. The message alerted the college to review files it maintained on international students.
“The institution discovered documentation in which the former coach, his wife or the private swim club had agreed to sponsor and/or provide room and board to four incoming international student-athletes,” noted the NCAA report. 
According to a statement by President Fritz, ‘The NCAA imposed upon the former coach a show-cause order, the most severe penalty the NCAA can levy against a coach. This affects future employment for the next four years at an NCAA member institution’.
“I believe that due to our proactive measures, including self-imposed remedial measures, the College was able to preserve the continuation of our swimming program and the integrity of our athletics program,” said Fritz. 
According to Fritz, ‘there was no allegation that the academic integrity of the College’s students or faculty was ever compromised’.
Soloviev, who had been the school’s director of aquatics since late 1995, led the Dolphins to seven CUNY Conference titles and produced the school’s first NCAA champion in any sport, Pavel Buyanov of Russia. 
Major changes were made to the athletics program upon the appointment of Fritz as President and before the formal NOA by the NCAA was issued. Athletics was placed under direct supervision of the President’s Office in April 2013 and Charles Gomes was named Interim Athletic Director; an emphasis was placed on professional development and rules education concerning NCAA compliance for administration, coaches and staff; and lastly an internal review of facility usage and rentals and disassociation from the privately owned swim club referenced in the report. 
The President also created a Compliance Team consisting of various members of his administration, faculty members, a student representative and the Athletic Director.  
Additionally, CSI cannot recruit international prospective men’s swimming student-athletes for the remainder of this academic year. A new faculty athletics representative will be appointed for fall 2013. 
Currently, the team is 4-2. 
As the details of the NCAA investigation come to light, CSI prepares to monitor athletics operations more closely. It’s believed that the investigation could be on-going.