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Disagreement at Medgar Evers College continues

CYRIL JOSH BARKER Amsterdam News Staff | 4/16/2013, 4:34 p.m.
Great progress at Medgar Evers College

"Any change in curriculum is something that works its way up," Newsome said. "We are always going to make sure that the college stays true to its mission. We have implemented a customer service initiative on campus for faculty and staff regarding how they convey their services to the individuals. We are also making sure the college is a part of the community."

In reference to MEC being identified as a Black college, Kennedy said that the college has several efforts to stay connected to Black culture. She cited MEC's recent extensive Black History Month programs, which hosted an event almost every day in February.

"Dr. Pollard has made several remarks focused on the legacy of Medgar Evers College," she said. "We have made education possible to Black students who have been overlooked by this city--students who are being empowered."

Speaking in favor of what is going on at MEC, several students, faculty members and community leaders countered what some professors are saying about the school. Likewise, at the annual borough hearing of the CUNY Board of Trustees, which was held at Brooklyn Borough Hall in February, several people praised the functioning of the school, including several students, faculty members and some professors.

"We are very fortunate to have funding from the NIH, NSF, New York State agencies and other agencies to help us in our endeavors to promote science among the students," said biology professor Edward Catapane. "The mission of these programs is basically to increase the number of historically unrepresented minority and economically disadvantaged undergraduate students, who complete educational programs leading to careers in biology and medicine and allied health areas."

Jonathan Missel, director of adult continuing education, said the MEC's Workforce Initiative and Community Justice Program are also thriving. "Since its inception, the program has served over 100 aspiring and existing entrepreneurs through customized training modules and support services, often in partnership with the Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Sovereign Bank," he said. "The long-term goal of the initiative is to secure funding to support an entrepreneurship center from Nordi & Liminal Business Development."

MEC alumnus and professor Earlene Smiley said she has served under every president of the college and praised the college's efforts in her recent testimony. "Medgar Evers is committed to what the original purpose was: to serve those low-income, underrepresented students, and our challenge is, how do we get those students to stay and to get through?" she said. "Understanding about the underprepared students, but the faculty and the administration at Medgar Evers College is committed to saying that we will be that minority-serving institution in CUNY that services anybody who wants an education."