By Amaani Bhamla.
Last month students met with Dr. Lisa Staiano-Coico and her cabinet members in the Great Hall and got the opportunity to address their concerns. Here’s what’s on the minds of City College students, and how President Lisa and other officials responded to the issues:
Identification. Specifically, students wondered why they are required to show ID in the student lounge and library when they already have to present it at the entrance of each building. “That’s a good question,” President Lisa said, while the crowd applauded. “The lounge is only for college students.” But, she explained, since Sophie Davis and high school students also have access to CCNY buildings, ID checks help make sure the lounge remains strictly limited to CCNY students. As far as the library is concerned, she added, “we have to identify people coming in. In case of an emergency we need to maintain a cooperative existence in order to respond effectively.”
Club space. The limited amount of space for club meetings and events bothered some students. Robert Santos, vice president of facilities and management, noted that, “we are trying to work on it.” He hoped to resolve the problem down the road: Forty new club offices may become available this summer. He added that a student lounge should be opening soon in Shepard Hall.
Recommendation letters for scholarships. They are required with scholarship applications, but transfer students complain that getting one is like pulling a piano out of a pond. Students aren’t allowed to get recommendations from their community college instructors, but CCNY professors aren’t familiar with them yet. “We are in the middle of organizing all of our scholarships, and this is why what you are saying does make no sense,” remarked President Lisa. “I will look into this,” she promised and urged students to let her know if they had any other issues with scholarships so she could “fix everything at once.” Dr. Daniel Lemons, senior vice president of academic affairs and acting provost, agreed. “You should be able to get recommendations from those who know you from your community college; this makes no sense.”
Wellness Center. Health providers are only available Mondays and Thursdays, and these days are not convenient for all students. Full-time nurse practitioners would help, suggested one student, but Dr. Lemons squashed that idea because of budget concerns. “Wellness Center funding comes from students fees,” he said, “which are $45 compared to other colleges which are over $100.” Enough said. He suggested that improvements to the Wellness Center might happen in the future.
The Budget. At the Q&A, Davey Czyzyk, a junior, who is often vocal in raising issues, asked: “How is the money being spent?” and requested a line-item breakdown. This was the only question that Dr. Lisa skirted. Her explanation was less than straightforward. “Funds are used for events,” she said, and also mentioned that CCNY had given out five community-based, full-tuition scholarships to local high school students—a number she hopes to increase. She declined, however, to offer a detailed CCNY budget. “Having an itemized budget is too much detail for anybody to know,” she said. “We are looking at the whole picture.”