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President’s Weekly Messages to Students


Skunks in the Bronx

Monday, October 3, 2022

Dear Kingsborough Students,

Where I live in the Bronx, I have seen my share of skunks this past year, and I have smelled the remnants of their presence even more than I have seen them.  On the off chance that I see a skunk and I can avoid getting close, I do.  In fact, that has happened to me on two occasions.  Both times I was out for a morning walk. The first time, I saw the skunk from a distance, and I crossed to the other side of the street.  Then I made it my business to warn everyone I saw walking that there was a skunk up head.  The second time I saw a skunk, he was at least 20 feet away from me and a fence separated us. He looked at me, I looked at him and then I turned around and went back home (ain’t nobody got time for this).   I have seen more skunks while driving at night or early in the morning, but I mostly smelled them while I was driving past areas with lots of trees.  The scent they emit is soooo strong.  I could smell it with my windows rolled up and it  to make it worse, it would linger in my car for a couple of minutes. 

To ward of strangers and threats, skunks will hiss, stamp their feed and raise their tails high and if those things don’t work, they spray.  The spray is an offensive odor and they use it as a defensive weapon. 

 I get it.  I can imagine how skunks feel.  When I feel that someone is approaching me the wrong way, telling me something that I don’t want to hear (often about myself), it is easy to go on the defensive by getting an attitude or giving them a piece of my mind.  But I have learned to take time to reflect before reacting.  Sometimes in the time it takes me to do this, my perspective changes and therefore my reaction is completely different.

KCC students, there will be times when a professor or staff member will say something to you that you may not agree with. They may point out something about your behavior, performance on a test, participation in class, or maybe you didn’t follow up on some guidance that they gave you.  In response, because you feel offended, you might go on the defensive.  You might get upset, shut down, stop participating in class, or you might do something drastic like dropping out.  Keep in mind that just like the scent from skunk can linger on, so does the effects of decisions you make. 

I  know that sometimes  feedback or constructive criticism is hard to hear, but know that it comes from a place of wanting the best for you.  If this ever happens, I want you to take a moment to reflect and think about the situation before acting.  In this moment and always, I want you to remember that everyone at KCC believes in you.  We will push, challenge, and expect you to do your best; and on commencement day we will be there to celebrate you!

 However, if you have an issue you can try talking it out; or if the issue is more serious, you can refer to our protocol for handling student complaints.

Whatever you do, remember that ‘Respect” is a key part of the College’s values.

 I hope your semester is going well.  I am staying away from skunks and I hope that you are pursuing the success you are destined for every day.

 President Schrader

 P.S. Let me know how you are doing and how things are going so far this semester.