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York Hosts Special Legislative Briefing

York’s president, Dr. Berenecea Johnson Eanes recently hosted a cadre of Queens elected officials for an early morning briefing on York College.

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The breakfast hour briefing included celebrating completed capital projects, and sharing her vision for the campus of tomorrow.  Along with President Eanes, the September 8 event featured senior members of her cabinet, some of whom updated the gathering on their areas of responsibility. The presenters included Interim Provost Derrick Brazill, Interim Vice President and COO Charles Bozian, Dr. Karen Williams, Interim Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs, and Dr. Earl Simons, Executive Director for Government Relations and Strategic Initiatives.  Other cabinet members present who participated included Kathryn Cousins, Vice President for Institutional Advancement; Dana Trimboli, Chief of Staff, Dr. Lori Hoeffner, Assistant VP, Office of Institutional Effectiveness; Vivian Febus, Executive Director Business Operations & Compliance; and Russell Platzek, Executive Director, Office of Legal Affairs & Labor Relations.    

In attendance as well, were Dean Maureen Becker, who leads the college’s School Health Sciences and Professional Programs; and Dr. George White, interim Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences; and Onyekachi Akoma, Executive Director of Facilities.  York Student Government (YSG) President Nish-hoa Williams brought greetings and was there along with other YSG members and student journalists from the college's newspaper, "Pandora's Box."   

The legislative members covered the spectrum from Congress (Rep. Gregory Meeks) to state government: Senator Leroy Comrie, Assembly Members Alicia Hyndman Clyde Vanel, and Khaleel Anderson; and City Council: Councilmembers Nantasha Williams and Selvena Brooks-Powers. There were also representatives for New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams and Assemblyman David Weprin, neither of whom could attend.  

President Eanes discussed the college’s Strategic Plan as well as community engagement, reminding the officials of York’s essential role as “steward of place” providing space for important community and government needs such as serving as a mega vaccination site in the height of the COVID pandemic, an ongoing testing site for the disease; early voting site and much more.   

The group was presented with key data points on enrollment as well as graduation and retention. The update also covered the college’s important capital projects recently completed and those in progress or awaiting initiation due to other reasons of delay, such as the Academic Core Building’s groundwater infiltration project and the new Academic Village and Conference Center, which is awaiting funding.  

The gathering also got an update on the track and field project, an $11 million project funded and awaiting bids, due in October. The Bassin Performing Arts Center interior and elevator upgrade project is also awaiting bids due in September 2022. The Archer Avenue Archway at 159th Street underpass leading to York’s campus, has been designed and awaiting final approval.  Upon completion it will be a striking improvement for the college's curb appeal.

The team of officials asked pointed questions, made suggestions and also took questions from students. They left with a fuller understanding of what is going on at York and how they can be helpful in providing ongoing support to help fulfill some of these latest needs.  

President Eanes thanked the group for their support and advocacy for our Students, faculty and staff and their commitment to helping York College remain a vibrant beacon in southeast Queens, and along with Dr. Simons, promised to keep them updated on an ongoing basis.