In his new book, The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap, bestselling author Matt Taibbi explores how the income gap between the wealthy and the poor is also reflected in who is targeted for prosecution and incarceration. “I’m trying to show the two different ways that the criminal justice system works for these two different types of offenders,” said Taibbi at an event at Hunter’s Roosevelt House. Taibbi, who won a National Magazine Award for his columns in Rolling Stone in 2008, was interviewed by ProPublica president and founding general manager, Richard Tofel, to discuss the inequity of American crime and punishment.
In her new documentary film, “Underwater Dreams,” writer and director Mary Mazzio enters the highly charged atmosphere of immigration reform by telling the inspirational story of four sons of undocumented Mexican immigrants who won an underwater robotic competition, defeating an engineering powerhouse team from MIT in the process. “Those kids are now being perceived as role models, and I think they understand the legacy they left in their own community,” said Mazzio, who appeared at a screening of the film at Hunter College’s Roosevelt House and discussed the film’s significance with Nancy Foner, Distinguished Professor of Sociology at Hunter and the Graduate Center.
In his first report to the University community for the new academic year, Chancellor James B. Milliken reflected on his visits to all college campuses. “It was impossible to miss the obvious commitment of our faculty to CUNY’s mission. I was moved by both the enthusiasm of the faculty and the drive and ambition of their students.” He added, “Despite many significant challenges, CUNY is very well positioned today and has tremendous potential for the future to even better serve our students and the people of New York.”
The key to containing the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa is prevention, according to an expert who has worked extensively in the area. “There needs to be a lot more emphasis on behavioral responses” to limit exposure to the virus, said Stephane Helleringer, assistant professor of public health at Columbia University. Helleringer participated in a panel on the health crisis, discussing disease mortality, sociopolitical implications and the Western response at the Graduate Center, moderated by Leith Mullings, CUNY Distinguished Professor of Anthropology.
Author Salman Rushdie recalled the city of his childhood in The Moor’s Last Sigh, his novel published nearly 20 years ago. “The Bombay that I grew up in, in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s, was famous as a city in which the communal tensions of the rest of India didn’t happen — it was one of the reasons why my parents chose to move there,” said Rushdie, who appeared at the Distinguished Writers Lecture Series at Hunter College. The author of 11 novels, including the Booker prize-winning, Midnight’s Child, Rushdie, discussed the complexities of modern day India and Bombay’s transformation into Mumbai as a theme he mined for his earlier work. “The Moor’s Last Sigh,” he said, “is a novel about that moment of transition — the moment where it stopped being Bombay and became Mumbai.”
Public meeting of the Board of Trustees, September 29, 2014.
In Urban Appetites: Food and Culture in Nineteenth-Century New York, Cindy Lobel, an assistant history professor at Lehman College, serves up a richly detailed account of the origins of the food industry in a century that brought enormous changes to the city’s cultural, social and political life. Deftly written, with fine illustrations, Lobel’s cultural history takes us on a fascinating tour of the foodways, describing the farms and markets that supplied the kitchens of the burgeoning city. Lobel also explains how the explosion of restaurants — from posh dining rooms to sixpenny eating houses — helped establish New York’s roots as the world’s greatest culinary center.
Executive Committee Meeting of the Board of Trustees, September 23, 2014.
The crushing indebtedness of college students and their parents — fueled by the virtually unrestricted federal PLUS program that ties borrowing to an escalating “cost of attendance” set by the colleges —is yet another burden to the ailing middle class, says U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). Public or private, few colleges offer a nationally recognized option for academic value and affordability such as the package offered at CUNY, where 6 of 10 undergraduates attend tuition free, and 80 percent graduate debt free. At an event moderated by Janet Gornick, professor of political science and director of the Luxembourg Income Study Center at the Graduate Center, Warren was joined by Nobel prize-winning economist Paul Krugman to discuss public policy issues affecting those earning lower incomes, including student-loan refinancing, bankruptcy protection and minimum wage reform.
Standing committee meeting of the Board of Trustees, Committee on Student Affairs and Special Programs, September 8, 2014.