York College restarts after Sandy relief efforts
Special to AmNews | , Khorri Atkinson | 11/28/2012, 11:21 a.m.
Over 800 displaced Queens residents who have occupied York College in South Jamaica following the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy were forced to leave the campus on Wednesday, November 7th, after classes were reinstated at the Guy R. Brewer Blvd campus.
Kenya Bryan, a Rosedale, Queens resident who volunteered at York as one of the supervisors said the Sandy survivors where corporative despite their difficult situation.
"We have a really amazing crowd [of] evacuees. They're very respectful with each other. Everything went smoothly," said Bryan.
Classes had been canceled for 10 days in that part of York's Campus in order for the college to house the evacuees and York, one of the 10 CUNY colleges that served as a disaster relief shelter, was the last school to be reopened. Disaster relief representatives and volunteers transported the hurricane survivors to other shelters in the Bronx and Manhattan.
Due to the cancelation of classes, York's Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs Ivelaw Lloyd Griffith said in a memo sent to York faculty that the fall semester will be extended to end December 27th, just six days after the official end date.
"In order to meet the required semester instructional time, the college will implement an emergency plan to make up for the lost time, " said Griffth in the memo. "We also incorporated many ides and best practices suggested by faculty or that have been used in other institutions in similar circumstances."
Griffith said that special emphasis has also been taken to ensure that students who depend on state and federal financial aid are not be harmed in the spring semester due to the missed hours.
But while many students resume their old school routines, York's Athletes continue to be effected by the storm. Despite the relocation of most evacuees which held up classes, the college's Heath and Physical Education complex which house classrooms, offices and numerous athletic facilities for student, is will continue to be used by another set of elderly and mentally disabled evacuees from Queens. As a result, classrooms and offices at the sports complex were temporality relocated to another section of the college.
John Scarinci, Sports Information Director for York College Athletics, said the limited space that the student athletes are now been using is affecting them.
"Our volleyball and basketball teams that are competing this season are affected the most because they haven't done any formal practice on court. We should have host playoffs but we had to cancel them because we're unable to use the facility," Scarinci explained.
But despite the challenges that student athletes, coaches and other students face for weeks ahead, Scarinci expressed his sympathy for New Yorkers who have lost their homes.
"We know that the complex is often used as an evacuation center and understand that this is a tough situation for them [the evacuees]. But given the circumstances given the storm we happy that were not in that position," said Scarinci.
Student athlete Paulana Lamonier, captain of the York College Swim Team said her team is the only team that is able to practice at the colleges Heath and Physical Education Complex on Liberty Ave. since they were only using the athletic pool.