Cory Provost, a Brooklyn College graduate student active in student and community affairs, has been elected the 25th chairperson of CUNY’s University Student Senate for 2009-2010, giving him a seat and a vote on the Board of Trustees as the University’s student representative.
Trustee Provost, who earned his B.A. at Brooklyn College, is pursuing a master’s degree in Urban Policy and Administration, plans to seek a doctorate in political science with an eye towards teaching.
He was elected to the Student Senate leadership post on Nov. 22, 2009, culminating several years of student advocacy. His leadership positions have included the presidencies of Brooklyn College’s NAACP and of the college’s Mentoring Alliance, and he served as a Student Government Assembly representative. Currently, he is president of the Graduate Student Organization at Brooklyn College.
In his new posts leading the University Student Senate and as an ex officio, voting member of the Board of Trustees, Provost said he is most concerned with “making sure CUNY remains as affordable as possible for students,” and with “the financial stability of the University as we go through the next couple of years of economic downturn.”
He added, “I truly believe CUNY has set an example that should be replicated. CUNY offers students in difficult positions many, many opportunities to progress.”
Provost said he would like to revisit the idea of creating a CUNY endowment to give the University “some kind of nest egg” as a defense against financial uncertainty. He added that he plans to improve University Student Senate communications with the help of a new website and a “marketing strategy” in order to make it easier to “develop conversations” about issues of concern to CUNY students.
A Flatbush resident, Trustee Provost was born in Brooklyn and grew up mainly in Georgia and Florida before moving back to New York in 2001. His activism began early. As a student at Thomas Jefferson High School in Brooklyn, from which he graduated, he had a math teacher who encouraged and inspired him to get involved with student government and community issues, and to consider CUNY for college.
“Even in high school, I was involved in NYPIRG, Albany rallies,” Trustee Provost said. “Representing students is vital. Who’s going to be at the table to give the best perspective on what students want and how they feel about the issues?”
As an undergraduate, Provost helped to organize Brooklyn College’s “Thanksgiving Feed the Homeless,” and spent time in New Orleans with the People’s Organizing Committee assisting in rebuilding efforts following Hurricane Katrina. He has also been active in several communities through his work with New York State legislators.
In 2007, he worked with State Sen. Kevin Parker, D-Brooklyn, as a community events coordinator and in January 2009, he began working with Assemblyman William Scarborough, D-Queens, to help develop the Million Fathers Club.
The organization, he said, has provided workshops and seminars with experts “to help fathers and family structures, to give young fathers a forum to exchange ideas, to learn about their rights and responsibilities in being a father.
He added that it is important to educate young fathers on their importance to families and to the future success of their children.
In addition to Trustee Provost, nine other students were elected to the Board of the University Student Senate last month. They are: Vice Chair for Legislative Affairs Irene Castro, City College of New York; Vice Chair for Graduate College Affairs, Clement James, John Jay College of Criminal Justice; Vice Chair for Senior College Affairs Tatiana Benjamin, Brooklyn College; Vice Chair for Community College Affairs Christopher Boyo-Fashola, Borough of Manhattan Community College; Vice Chair for Evening and Part-time Students Lillian Campbell, Kingsborough Community College; Vice Chair for Fiscal Affairs Oscar Perez, Baruch College; Vice Chair for Disability Affairs Maria Delgado, Hostos Community College; Vice Chair for International Student Affairs, Kieshorne Dennie, Kingsborough Community College; Vice Chair for Technology Keston Boyce, Medgar Evers College;.
The University Student Senate (USS), founded in 1972, is the official governance organization representing the interests of the students of the City University of New York Through USS; the students have representation at all standing committees of the CUNY Board of Trustees, the university’s policy-making body. These committees deal with all major university policy making decisions, including the university’s budget.
USS also advocates on behalf of students before elected officials.
In addition to his/her commitment and responsibilities to USS, the Chairperson serves as a voting member of the CUNY board of Trustees and the Higher education Services Corporation.
USS representatives are elected directly by the student population at their respective campuses or from among the elected members of their respective student governments.
The City University of New York is the nation’s leading urban public university. Founded in New York City in 1847 as The Free Academy, the University’s 23 institutions include 11 senior colleges, six community colleges, the William E. Macaulay Honors College at CUNY, the Graduate School and University Center, the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, the CUNY School of Law, the CUNY School of Professional Studies and the CUNY School of Public Health. The University serves 260,000 credit students and 269,808 adult, continuing and professional education students. College Now, the University’s academic enrichment program for 32,500 high school students, is offered at CUNY campuses and more than 300 high schools throughout the five boroughs of New York City. The University offers online baccalaureate degrees through the School of Professional Studies and an individualized baccalaureate through the CUNY Baccalaureate Degree. More than 1 million visitors and 2 million page views are served each month by www.cuny.edu, the University’s website.