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President's Monthly Report

President’s Monthly Report October/ November 2023 Update

October/ November 2023 Update

Dear Campus Community,

I never thought that we would re-enter days as dark as when the pandemic casted a shadow over our lives, but we did on October 7. And like the pandemic, the clouds continue to hang over us, and many members of our college community with loved ones in Israel and Gaza, and loved ones here in the US who have been impacted by the terror of Hamas and the loss of innocent lives.  The clouds not only hang over us, but inside of us. 

Imaginable horror and loss of innocent lives evokes many emotions and responses: anger, grief, disbelief, fear, distress and despair. All are unquestionably understandable.  In times like these, what we must do is stand up to the hate that has become far too commonplace in our world as it looks for new places to plant seeds of disrespect, intimidation and intolerance. 

We see what hate does and how it can manifest itself in sometimes subtle, many times overt, but always in unimaginable ways. Know that the College will not tolerate acts of hate  on our campus.  As an academic institution that serves students from all over the world and with a faculty and staff body as diverse as our students, we must remain committed to ensuring an inclusive community where students, faculty and staff feel safe and welcome. 

Colleagues, this is higher ed, and we may sometimes find ourselves on opposite sides of an issue, but we must stand on one side when it comes to our purpose at Kingsborough: helping students achieve their academic and personal goals.  I ask that we continue to remain steadfast toward our values, mission and goals.

Last month, we gathered for a much-needed community vigil for peace and solidarity in the face of conflict and violence, and to remember those lost, but there is more to be done.  This year, we will continue investing in and implementing antisemitism, anti-AAPI hate and other anti-hate initiatives that will educate and equip our community with important information, knowledge, tools and resources.  

In October, we also welcomed our new Chief Diversity Officer Lisa Khandhar.  She is making her rounds to meet with various faculty, staff and student constituencies.  She will be leading the development and implementation of DEI, antisemitism, and anti-AAPI hate trainings. Ms. Khandhar is also working in concert with Helen Nasser and Nadine Browne on developing additional workshops and forums as part of  Campus Climate initiative.   

Please be reminded we have several avenues to report bias/ discrimination incidents:

As I shared a few weeks ago, the safety and security of students, faculty and staff are of primary importance.  Thank you, Public Safety, Buildings & Grounds and IT, for enhancing campus security measures through the installation of security arms, and tap and go ID stations.  We developed a Guest/Visitor Access protocol and are currently in the process of modifying it based on input we received.  More information will be forthcoming. 

Speaking of safety, please be vigilant with regards to emails and text messages.  There has been an increase in phishing emails and text messages attempt to gain access to personal and systems information, As you may know there was a recent cybersecurity attack at Baruch College.  Please do not click on links or respond to suspicious/unknown emails, and report all suspicious emails and messages to IT.

As you know, the KBCC Employee Listserv has been discontinued. The listserv was meant to be a space for the dissemination of information and ideas relevant to our college mission.  But unfortunately, even after previous guidance and caution, the focus has changed.   I believe in free speech; however, we must do so with mutual respect and civility. The full policy on the use of CUNY computer resources is provided here.  In the absence of the listserv, that many of our colleagues choose to opt out of, we are committed to ensuring that information regarding college events and other information critical to our mission are disseminated widely.  A KCC Broadcast protocol has been created.  Thank you for your feedback. We will ensure that the protocol considers adjustments for cancelled events.

We spent almost two years in a virtual world, wishing we could get back to campus, and now, we have the opportunity to connect with each other in person.  You asked for more community-building opportunities, and now, there are a multitude of these kind of events and activities on campus. They include the recent annual Play 4 Pink & Blue softball game where over 50 participants and spectators honored the bravery of breast and prostate cancer survivors, like our very own breast cancer survivor, Hilary Stackpole, who shared powerful and inspiring words; the Years of Service Recognition Ceremony celebrating our colleagues; the upcoming Diversity/EARS Art Festival: Honoring Social Justice though the 50th Anniversary of Hip Hop: A Diverse World of Voices an Expression on November 16 at the Hall of Flags from 1:30-4:30 pm; our upcoming KCC Spirit Day/Giving Tuesday; and other many anticipated holiday parties around campus. There are many ways to connect and build camaraderie. The Faculty Lounge (across from the cafeteria) is also a prime space to gather and talk with colleagues. 

Last year, I launched Sense of Belonging Grants for faculty and staff and have reissued the Call for Proposals once again. The grant provides an ideal opportunity to develop programing as an individual or in concert with a colleague to enhance student engagement.  The submission deadline has been extended November 13, 2023. Contact Nadine Browne for more information.   

Even as we celebrate another well-deserve recognition as one of the top 150 community colleges in the nation eligible to apply for the 2025 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, we are saddened by the untimely passing of KCC student-athlete Tabidi Abdelmaged. His teammates and professors describe him as a wonderful student and avid basketball player. Tabidi was pursuing an associate degree in Physical Education, Recreation and Recreation Therapy.  VP Sharon Cooke and I had the opportunity to visit his mom and sisters, and they spoke about the love he had for basketball and Kingsborough.  He told them that he never wanted to leave KCC.  What I know is that his memory will live on at KCC  for his friends, professors, teammates, his coaches and the Athletics staff.  I want to take this opportunity to thank Director Bobby Allison for his leadership during a time that is difficult for him as well.  We will continue to provide support and in-person and online resources for our community as we process this lost, and will honor Tabidi’s memory in the coming days. 

Finally, we are a few months away from Commencement, but our planning season starts now.  A BIG thank you to the chair, co-chairs and members of the 2024 Commencement Committee.  We look forward to an incredible celebration of our graduates.

2024 Commencement Committee

Kristin Polizzotto – Chair –Faculty (Biological Sciences)
Linda McKernan – Co-Chair - Operations and Logistics
Melissa Merced – Co-Chair —Student Life
Keisha Thompson –Faculty (Behavioral Sciences)
Michael Sokolow – Faculty (History)
John Macagba- Faculty (Art)
Jay Michaels – Faculty (Communication & Performing Arts)
Careen Purcell – Faculty (Nursing)
Michelle Goldstein – Faculty (Mathematics)
Kymel Yard – Fatherhood Academy
Javere Johnson- Student (Caribbean Student Association President)
Ezra Masri Student (Hillel Club President)
Nadine Browne – President’s Office
Mariana Sang – President’s Office
Cheryl Todmann – Communications & Marketing
Sharon Warren Cook – Student Affairs
Cindy Lui – Student Affairs
Damani Thomas – Student Affairs
Avery Mullen – Registrar
Ed Rios – Admin & Finance
Kenneth Greene – Public Safety
Chris Calafiore - Events
Peter Santiago- Accessibility
Maria Patestas – Advancement
Tonya Collins – Advancement
Helen-Margaret Nasser – Student Union and Intercultural Center
Brandy Barber – CUNY Edge


Claudia V. Schrader, Ed.D.