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May 2002
Future CUNY Facility on Governors Island Announced by Governor and Mayor.
Student Media Conference Addresses "Attack Mentality" after 9/11
Baruch Orients City Council Freshmen
Turning "D"s into Degrees: A CUNY Student Tells How
Life Resumes 500 Feet from Ground Zero
A Diaspora of CUNY Students into Halls of Power
A View to a Krill: Antarctic Expedition by College of Staten Island Scientists
The City University Attracts Talent from Near and Far
CUNY, PSC Announce Agreement on a New Contract
Chancellor Goldstein Initiates New Efficiencies, Greater Student Access to Learning Technology
Pulitzer Prize to Louis Menand
Executive Leadership Program Inaugurated
First Betty Shabazz Chair Appointed at Medgar Evers College
City University Retains New Fundraising Consultant
Former Congressman Dellums to Speak on AIDS at CCNY
City Tech Scholarship For All Four Seasons
Major CCNY Grant for Remote Sensing

Student Development, Enrollment Conference by Mayor

ReBuilding New York

New City College Biomedical Engineering Department

"Trailer Heroes" of BMCC Build at CCNY

A Life of Laura Bridgman—Disabled Pioneer in Education

Exotic Bird Alights at The Graduate Center

 
 

Future CUNY Facility on Governors Island
Jointly Announced by Governor and Mayor

Chancellor Matthew Goldstein, left, with Mayor Bloomberg, Governor Pataki and several CUNY students at the Governors Island news conference on April 2.

The local Canarsee Indians called it Pagganck. In 1637, when the Dutch governor general Wouter van Twiller bought it for two axe heads, a string of beads, and some iron nails, the name was changed to Nooten Eylandt. The British later called it Nutten Island, eventually reserving it for the "benefit and accommodation of His Majesty's governors."

Consistent with an announcement on April 1 by Governor George E. Pataki and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, historic Governors Island may also become known as CUNY Island. The Governor and the Mayor informed happy New Yorkers—and even more enthusiastic New York City students and educators—that President George W. Bush had embraced their proposal to turn the 172-acre former military base into a major campus within the City University consortium.

"This is a very big idea," Chancellor Matthew Goldstein said later at a Governors Island press conference with the Governor and the Mayor on April 2. "We will need a thoughtful, comprehensive academic plan to help realize its potential."

According to the State and City executives, the Island—which is a half-mile from Lower Manhattan and a mere three-minute ferry ride from Brooklyn across Buttermilk Channel—will be turned over to the City and State for a nominal sum.

New York City Board of Education and CUNY leaders expressed their delight at the opportunities afforded by the vast array of capital facilities on Governors Island. Many of these officials, several CUNY college presidents, and a contingent of CUNY students were present at the press conference, at which the Governor and Mayor offered a glimpse of a fantasy island for teachers, and especially the teachers of future teachers.

Calling it "a great day for college kids, high school kids, the future of our city," Pataki told his audience that Governors Island has "the potential to be one of the great campuses anywhere in America. It is an absolutely magnificent facility that has classroom buildings already intact." The former military buildings, he added, œhave the potential to house thousands of students and hundreds of teachers. Mayor Bloomberg and I are committed to making this one of the flagship entities of the City University."

Setting forth for a new academic world: a contingent of Queens College students on the ferry across Buttermilk Channel to Governors Island.

Agreeing with that optimism, Bloomberg ventured, "I don't know of any Ivy League school that has a nicer campus"—a boast underscored by the Island's rich history as a Revolution-ary War battlefield, its storied Fort Jay and Castle Williams, and its service during the Civil War as a recruiting depot and prison for Confederate captives.

Looking to the future, Bloomberg emphasized how the new campus will "give us the ability to move programs here, to free up space on City University campuses in all five boroughs."

Noting that CUNY already has 12 campuses with public high schools on them, the Mayor also expressed his hope that a CUNY-Governors Island would nurture even more extensive CUNY-Board of Education collaboration. "This is do-able, this is something affordable, this is something that absolutely needs to be done. It addresses the number one problem we have in this city, which is that not all of our kids are getting the good education everybody wants."

Pataki agreed: "By moving some CUNY operations here, we will be able to free up space on CUNY campuses across the city, so that we can have those new high schools, new middle schools, new elementary schools." He indicated that "all education benefits" from the transfer of Governors Island.

Chancellor Goldstein made clear at the conference that planning was already under way. "We have already started the process of thinking of appropriate educators and staff to work with the Governor and the Mayor to develop an academic plan...This is on a very fast track for us, because I want our students and our faculty to get here as quickly as possible." Calling the Island a "bucolic place to study," Goldstein observed, "We don't have anything like this in the CUNY system now."

The Chancellor expressed hope that Governors Island might see students as early as this summer. "We have a big summer school, and if we can get some of these facilities ready, I would much rather our students come to an idyllic setting like this."

Pataki also expressed his pleasure that "the buildings have been so well maintained, and they are already facilities totally appropriate for a campus." These include a mess hall that could become, Pataki said, "a spectacular dining hall," a "œmagnificent gymnasium," and military quarters that can be converted to dorm space "at minimal cost." The Governor said he also expected the State's $1 billion budget for upgrading CUNY capital facilities would figure in the transformation.

Appreciation was enthusiastically expressed. Thanking President Bush, the Governor promised, "we're going to make sure we take this opportunity and do it right." Applauding "the vision of the education president and the education governor," Bloomberg also singled out former New York Senator Patrick Moynihan for his early efforts to transfer the Island to public use.

At the press conference, Pataki told of being shown around the island by the Mayor on a stealth visit the week before: "Mike asked me, 'When you see this, what do you think of?' We couldn't help but agree that this was going to be one of the great college campuses in the country."

Governors Island could become that rarity, a campus of the "Subway University" without a local stop. Still, there is a major subway connection with the island: beginning in 1901, it was enlarged with earth excavated during construction of the 4th Avenue (now Lexington Avenue) subway line; half the island's acres are subway and Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel landfill. For more information on Governors Island and plans for its future, log on to the CUNY web site: www.cuny.edu.