Saturday, January 16, 2016


By Robert Press


    The headline refers to New Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark who had her Inauguration this afternoon at the Lehman College Lovinger Theatre. The moderate size Lovinger Theatre holds close to 600 people, and there was not an empty seat in the house. In fact there had to be an overflow room set up in one of the Faculty Dining Room to accommodate the almost 400 extra people who came to see new Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark sworn in.   
  There is more on the Inauguration in the previous posting, complete with many photos of the city and state elected officials, as well as a photo of His Eminence Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan who gave the Invocation. Those who spoke included all three citywide elected officials, Mayor Bill de Blasio, City Comptroller Scott Stringer, and Public Advocate Letitia James. Also on had to congratulate new Bronx DA Clark were U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer, New York State Comptroller Tom Dinapoli, New York Assembly Speaker Bronx Assemblyman carl Heastie, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., Bronx Democratic County Leader Assemblyman Marcos Crespo, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and Justice Darcel Clark's former boss now retired Presiding Justice of the Appellate Division First Department Hon. Luis Gonzalez. Bronx DA Clark was sworn in by Associate Judge of the NYS Court of Appeals Hon. Shelia Abdus-Salaam. 
   In other political news the 17th City Council Special Election there seems to be definition as to just how many candidates that may submit petitions as Tuesday January 19th is the deadline to file petitions. As of now there are nine candidates that have filed petitions, and I expect to see two or three more candidates file petitions before the deadline. Then the Board of Election and court challenges start, or should I say have started already. Let's see if we get to see King Stanley, that is Stanley K. Schlein Esq. who rewrote the book on Election Law. 
   It looks like the Bronx Democratic County organization has invested heavily in the candidacy of their candidate Rafael Salamanca the current District Manager of Community Board #2 who may have some road blocks in his attempt to replace former 17th Council District Councilwoman Maria Del Carmen Arroyo. More on candidate Salamanca in upcoming columns, however there are some areas where Community Board District Managers have conflict of interests in, and we may just have to see how many Community Board #2 District Manager Rafael Salamanca may have. As I said more in upcoming columns, and if you may know some that I don't send me an e-mail at the address at the end of this column. 
    If you have any political information (especially about the 17th City Council special election) that you want to share or have checked out, any comments about this column or would like to have an event listed or covered in this column or on this blog, you can e-mail us at or call 718-644-4199 Mr. Robert Press.  

With Swearing-In of Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark, A New Era Officially Begins in the Bronx

   Among dignitaries, community leaders, family and neighbors from across the Bronx, Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark was officially sworn into office today.
Bronx DA Darcel Clark was joined by a number of prominent elected officials, including Senator Charles Schumer, Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, Public Advocate Letitia James, City Comptroller Scott Stringer, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., New York Speaker Carl Heastie, City Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito, Bronx Democratic Committee Chairman Marcos Crespo, Alphonso David Counsel to Governor Andrew Cuomo, and the Hon. Luis Gonzalez, Presiding Justice of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court, First Judicial Department, Retired. Also in attendance was Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, who gave the Invocation. 
Taking the oath of office from the Honorable Sheila Abdus-Salaam, who serves on the New York Court of Appeals, District Attorney Clark is the first woman to serve as Bronx District Attorney and the first woman of color to serve as a District Attorney in New York State history.
In her inaugural speech, District Attorney Clark spoke of how she hopes her story can serve as an example of how along with perseverance, hard work and the grace of God, having an appreciation for your community can lead any ordinary person to extraordinary opportunities.
“Growing up and seeing the violence and crime in the Bronx of the seventies and eighties fueled a fire in me to do something with my life that could allow me to be bigger than myself, and that’s why I decided to further my education, become a lawyer, and eventually return to this community to start giving back,” she said.  
She also highlighted some of the challenges she hopes to address while in office, including improving the office’s responsiveness and transparency, weeding out public corruption, eliminating gun and gang violence in the borough, collaborating to fix the problems plaguing Rikers Island and working with the NYPD to continue to improve police and community relations. For each, she emphasized the need for collaboration.
“These should be our priorities and they are attainable, but only if we work together beyond race, beyond precincts and beyond politics to get things done for each other,” she said.   
In the end, she issued a challenge to those listening.
“I would like to challenge you each today - to not only understand The Bronx and the issues we face, but to appreciate this borough for all that makes it beautiful and to serve as the catalyst to make it better,” she stated.  
“Once again, while many of us may come from ordinary means - we are all capable of extraordinary things.” 

Above - His Eminence Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan gives the Invocation.
Below - Mayor Bill de Blasio had only words of praise for the Bronx, and for new Bronx DA Darcel Clark. Bronx DA Darcel Clark's husband NYPD Detective Eaton "Ray" Davis is now seated next to her. 

Above - U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer spoke for over five minutes.
Below - City Comptroller Scott Stringer (a 'Bronx Boy' once) speaks.

Above - Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. tells how proud he is of the new Bronx DA Darcel Clark, and the expected fine job that she will do as Bronx District Attorney.
Below - After the ceremony everyone wanted to have their picture taken with new Bronx DA Darcel Clark.

New Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark must have taken a photo with almost everyone of the near 1,000 attendees. 

Substance Abuse Forum Held By City Councilman Andrew Cohen and CB 8

   It was billed as a 'Forum on Drug Use and Dependence to Inform the Community on how to Reduce the Risks Associated With Drug Use and How to Best Treat Drug Dependency'. 

  The Forum was being jointly sponsored by Councilman Andrew Cohen, and Community Board 8 through its Health, Hospitals, and Social Services Committee. The forum was held on Thursday January 14th, and seemed to be a hit in the community, as the room where the forum was held in the Riverdale Neighborhood House was packed. There were several speakers who took questions,and the forum included a power point presentation on drug use and dependence. 

   Below - Captain O'Toole commanding officer of the 50th Precinct was the first speaker who went over statistics that seemed to startle many in the audience.


Friday, January 15, 2016

A Deal Is A Deal -- What You Should Know

By Senator Rev Rubén Díaz 
32nd Senatorial District 

You should know that in this, my first What You Should Know column of 2016, I would like to talk to you about a donation and a deal made by Donald Trump with the State of New York.

It is important for you to know that back in 2006, Mr. Donald Trump donated a 435-acre park that is located in Westchester County, to the State of New York. This donation was made with the knowledge and agreement that the park would bear Donald Trump's name. It was a free gift from Donald Trump to the State of New York, which the State of New York accepted with the conditions already stated.

You should also know that there is a group of elected officials here in New York State who now are calling for Donald Trump’s name to be removed from the State Park that he donated, simply because they don’t like Donald Trump.

One of those elected officials is my colleague, Senator Daniel Squadron, who says that he will submit legislation to remove Donald Trump’s name from that State Park.  Senator Squadron decreed: “Mr. Trump has shown that he is unworthy of having a New York State Park named in his honor.”
Ha ha ha!! Another elected official asking for Donald Trump's name to be removed is Canadian-born Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, who lost his bid in 2006 for New York Attorney General.  He has started an online petition in favor of renaming the park.

It is important for you to also know that when Donald Trump gave the parkland to the State of New York, the terms and conditions of his donation was that the park would always carry Donald Trump’s name, and the State accepted these terms. All politics aside, to me it seems highly immoral to take a gift of 435 acres of land - that costs a fortune - and then want to keep it without abiding by what was agreed originally upon by both the person who gave it and the recipient.

Even though I never attended law school, I believe that the terms of the contract between Donald Trump and the State of New York cannot be overlooked by any of New York’s elected officials.
My dear reader, I would like to suggest that if my colleagues Senator Daniel Squadron, Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney and all those who don't want to see Donald Trump's name on that park, they should start an effort to give back the parkland, and just return those 435 acres to Donald Trump.
I don't think it is moral to accept land from Donald Trump - or from anyone - with an agreed upon deal for the donor's name to remain on the 435 acres of parkland that he gave, and then to reject and erase the name of the person who gave it.  

Ladies and gentlemen: A deal is a deal, and deals should be read carefully, knowing the consequences - good or bad - because once you sign onto one, it's a deal.

I am Senator Reverend Rubén Díaz, and this is what you should know.


  I wonder what Senator Diaz's protege 17th City Council District candidate Rafael Salamanca thinks about this? Then again it sure looks like Senator Diaz will be trying to get some of those Donald Trump dollars in return for supporting Republican candidate Donald Trump. Will Senator Diaz's protege candidate Salamanca also be supporting Donald Trump then? After all Senator Diaz was one of the 'Four Amigos' with former State Senators Pedro Espada, Carl Kruger, and Hiram Monserrate. Espada and Kruger wound up in jail, and Monserratee was expelled from the State Senate after being convicted of a misdemeanor assault.  Kind of makes you wonder about Senator Diaz and Rafael Salamanca - 'Two Peas in a Pod', or is it 'Two Amigos This Time'? 


  Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. has issued a letter expressing his strong concerns about Intro 0209-2014, more commonly known as the “bag fee” legislation. While the legislation seeks to protect the environment, Borough President Diaz is concerned that it places that burden on low-income New Yorkers and seniors that are struggling to pay bills, and represents a regressive tax.

“The bill operates like a regressive tax, and will not yield the environmental goals the legislation hopes to achieve,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “Higher-income New Yorkers will not be motivated to change their behaviors through this proposed fee, and lower income New Yorkers will bear the brunt of this proposal. While the environmental goals of this legislation are laudable, the methods are flawed.”

The complete letter can be read here:

Borough President Diaz noted that there are multiple alternatives to achieving environmentally-friendly ends without negatively impacting low-income individuals and families. He added that the City should explore public education campaigns, a free bag distribution program for low-income New Yorkers, better bag recycling programs and bans on some types of bags, among other proposals.

More creative and less punitive options should be explored that would actually achieve the intended purpose as opposed to encumbering low-income people whose demanding lives make it challenging to bring cloth bags to run every errand, exposing them to this regressive, backdoor tax,” wrote Borough President Diaz in his letter to Council Member Brad Lander, the chief sponsor of the legislation.

NPRDP Extends 2016 Scholarship Application Deadline

National Puerto Rican Day Parade, Inc.

Applications now accepted through Monday, February 15th 
January 14th, 2016, New York City - The National Puerto Rican Day Parade (NPRDP) has extended the deadline to apply for its 2016 Scholarship Awards Program, toMonday, February 15th.  

The extension is meant to allow qualified candidates extra time to gather documents for the application package, while ensuring that the largest possible amount of students, will get to apply for the program that in 2016 is tripling the dollar figure and number of scholarships to be awarded, since 2014.
The organization will grant 60 scholarship awards, up from 15 awarded in 2014 and 30 in 2015.  In total, NPRDP will provide $120,000 for scholarships in 2016, up from $30,000 in 2014 and $60,000 this year. 
NPRDP established the Scholarship Awards Program to help promote the pursuit of higher education within the community.  
To be eligible to participate in the 2016 Scholarship Awards Program, applicants must:
*  Be of Puerto Rican descent;
*  Have a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or better
*  Participate in an interview with a member(s) of the Selection Committee;
*  Be between the ages of 17 and 25 and enrolled in a 4-year institution, for applicants already in college;
*  Be in their senior year, for high school applicants. 
Application packages must include: a completed application form; an essay; a written biography; a volunteer community service statement; two letters of recommendation, of which one letter of recommendation must be from the site where the student performs his/her volunteer work; official academic transcripts and head shot photo.  Letters of recommendation should be requested from teachers, professors, counselors, mentors, clergy, community leaders, etc.  The letters should highlight the applicant's volunteer community service, length of the relationship with the candidate, and the specific contributions the applicant has made to the community.

To download the application package, the public can  Packages must be submitted electronically to by Monday, February 15, 2016.  Letters of recommendation and sealed transcripts should be mailed together to National Puerto Rican Day Parade, P.O Box 975, New York, NY 10272 by Monday, February 15, 2016.  Materials received after this date will result in the applicant's disqualification.  Applicants selected for an interview will be notified by email, and interviews will take place the week of February 29, 2016.  The original application deadline was Friday, January 15th, 2016

Council Member Andy King Hosts “Open House” for the Community

  City Council Member Andy King was pleased with the turnout at his district offices’ “Open House” this afternoon with a steady stream of people walking through the doors within three hours.

The Open House was a chance to not only invite members of the community to the district offices at 940 East Gun Hill Rd., and 135 Einstein Loop in Co-Op City, but observe the birthday of the slain civil rights leader Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“It’s only fitting that on the day of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s actual birthday that we open up our house as Dr. King had opened up his heart and gave his life to improve the lives of others. That true commitment to service is what we strive for in the 12th District,” said Council Member King, of his third annual Open House.

In addition to meeting Council Member King, his staff and representatives from various government agencies and service organizations, constituents and a student government group from PS 103 raised questions on issues regarding community safety, quality of life, health care and housing. A prayer of blessings over Council Member King’s offices was given by the Rev. Stephen Amponsah, pastor of the Church of Pentecost in the Wakefield section of the Bronx.

NYC Council Member Andy King, 12th Council District, Bronx, is joined by community residents, students from PS 103 and representatives from government and community agencies.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

The Bronx Chamber of Commerce Upcoming Events

Dear Members and Friends:
We are busy planning the Bronx Chamber of Commerce's major business networking events. 2016 will be a Great Year!
Please mark your calendar and plan on attending some of the following events:
February 11, 2016   Annual Valentine's Business Networking
                                Marriott Resident Inn 4:00 pm - 8:00 pm
February 24, 2016   African American Heritage Awards Dinner
                                Tosca Marquee 5:30 pm - 9:30 pm
March 9, 2016         Irish Heritage Luncheon
                                Rambling House 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
March 18, 2016       Women of Distinction Luncheon
                                Villa Barone Manor 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
April 13, 2016          Annual Gala
                                Marina del Rey Caterers 5:30 pm - 10:30 pm
May 3, 2016            Annual Golf Outing
                                Trump Links 11:30 am - 8:00 pm
June 16, 2016          Annual Business Expo
                                The Mall at Bay Plaza 11:00 am - 5:00 pm
Additional events dates will be added as they are confirmed.
In 2016, the Bronx Chamber of Commerce will be expanding its programs and services including publishing a printed Annual Membership & Business Referral Directory to enhance benefits for current members and attract new members.

I need your support and cooperation to request companies that you do business with to join the Bronx Chamber of Commerce. If you make it a requirement, they will join. We are witnessing a renaissance in our great borough that is unprecedented.
Together, we will grow the Chamber, enhance its influence and further improve the image of "The Bronx"!
The Bronx Chamber of Commerce sponsors a wide range of programs and services to businesses ranging from large corporations, Cultural Institutions, Universities and Colleges, Hospitals and Medical Centers, and mid-sized to small companies. Patronize local Bronx businesses and strengthen our community! Companies do not need an office in the Bronx to be active members of the association. To join or for more information, please contact Josann Ferguson (718) 828-3900 or
I look forward to your active membership and meeting you at some of our upcoming networking events.
Nunzio Del Greco
President and CEO
Bronx Chamber of Commerce
"The Network for Business Success"
1200 Waters Place, Suite 106
Bronx, NY 10461

Congressman Charles Rangel New Year Town hall Meeting Tuesday 1/19

TOWNHALL MEETINGTuesday, January 19, 2016
7:00pm - 8:30pm
Union Settlement
237 East 104th Street, New York, NY 10029
Congressman Rangel and staff, as well as representatives from government agencies, will be available to meet with you to address your questions and concerns about Washington and federal benefits.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services; New York Regional Office; Manhattan Taxpayer Advocate Service

Visit RANGEL.HOUSE.GOV or Call 212-663-3900 

E-Cigarette Rally Sunday

Kids and teens are smoking fewer cigarettes every year. 
This is a huge win for our public health. 

But that victory is being threatened by e-cigarettes
While e-cigarette companies will have you think their 
products are safe, no clinical studies have been 
submitted to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 
So we truly don't know what chemicals they contain, 
how much nicotine you inhale, and how dangerous they are. 
We do know that nicotine is highly addictive, and use of 
e-cigarettes can lead kids to try other tobacco products, 
such as conventional cigarettes, which are known to cause 
deadly diseases, such as lung cancer, heart disease, and 

And e-cigarette companies are advertising to our children. 

This Sunday at 11AM, Comptroller Scott Stringer and 
Public Advocate Letitia James are hosting an indoor 
rally at Goddard Riverside Community Center to 
call on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and FDA to 
study and regulate e-cigarettes. And we are calling on 
e-cigarette companies to STOP marketing to our kids. 

Council, City to Address Modernizing Our Parking Systems for the Future

Editors Note First: 

  While there have been a few good ideas that have come from the current City Council that was elected in 2013 the following has to be some of the lamest ways of trying to increase revenue for New York City. How about a Muni Meter system for bicycles that also use valuable city real estate. It is a good thing that we have term limits for the City Council,


Upgrades and Policy Changes Will be Discussed in Addition to Three Parking Related Bills

   On Friday, January 15th, 2016 at 10:00 AM in the City Council Chambers, The New York City Council Committee on Transportation will hold an oversight hearing titled: Upgrading New York City Parking Systems for Greater Efficiency, Safety and Reliability.

The committee will also hear three pieces of legislation: 
  • Intro 326 (Council Member Garodnick): requiring parking placards to have bar codes to ensure their validity.
  • Intro 996 (Council Member Rodriguez): allowing the purchase of street parking time to be made accessible by phone application or text message.
  • Intro 999 (Council Member Rodriguez): allowing the exchange of unused parking time between mobile users.
With testimony expected from the Department of Transportation and the NYPD as well as a number of advocates, the discussion will center around what DOT has done over the past few years to push our city's parking systems into the 21st century and what plans they have for the future. Discussion will also include ideas about how city parking systems can be made more efficient with increased reliability, as well as how the city is managing these systems. 

Each parking space in New York City is real estate granted by the City as a public good, sometimes for a small fee. This hearing will address the extent to which the city aims to continue its policy of granting such spaces and at what price, as well as the externalities of this policy and its impact on other street users such as pedestrians and cyclists.

What: City Council Transportation Committee Oversight Hearing: Upgrading New York City Parking Systems for Greater Efficiency, Safety and Reliability

Who: Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, Members of the City Council Transportation Committee, NYC DOT, NYPD, Transportation Alternatives, Advocacy Organizations

When: January 15th, 2016. 10:00 AM

Where: City Council Chambers, City Hall, Manhattan, NY 10007

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Doctor And Owner Of Bronx Clinics Involved In Illegal Distribution Of More Than Five Million Oxycodone Pills Is Sentenced To 12 Years In Prison

   Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced the conviction of KEVIN LOWE, the owner of “Astramed,” a purported medical clinic with multiple locations in the Bronx, New York, and from which more than five million tablets of the prescription painkiller oxycodone were unlawfully distributed over a three-year period.  On May 4, 2015, LOWE was convicted of a conspiracy to distribute narcotics following a two-week jury trial presided over by U.S. District Judge Lorna G. Schofield.  Today, Judge Schofield sentenced LOWE to a term of 144 months in prison.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “Kevin Lowe and his co-defendants used a network of bad doctors and street-level dealers to flood the streets of New York City with millions of highly addictive, potent opioids, all under the guise of a legitimate medical clinic.  Instead of medical care, Lowe and others illegally dispensed opioids, enabling a vicious cycle of addiction that affects too many in our communities.  Thanks to the Drug Enforcement Administration and the New York City Police Department, this so-called ‘clinic’ is out of business and those responsible are been held accountable.”
According to the allegations contained in the Indictment and the evidence presented by the government during LOWE’s trial:
From approximately January 2011 until February 2014, a drug distribution ring operated out of “Astramed,” a purported medical clinic with multiple locations in the Bronx that LOWE owned and operated.  At these clinics, doctors working under LOWE’s direction wrote tens of thousands of medically unnecessary prescriptions for oxycodone, a highly addictive, prescription opioid used to treat severe and chronic pain conditions.  Oxycodone prescriptions, once written, have enormous cash value to street-level drug dealers, who can fill prescriptions at most pharmacies and resell the resulting pills at vastly inflated rates.  Indeed, a single prescription for 180 30-milligram oxycodone pills has an average resale value in New York City of more than $6,000, and far more in nearby states.        
LOWE capitalized on the black market for oxycodone by employing board-certified, state-licensed doctors who were willing to write medically unnecessary prescriptions for large quantities of oxycodone in return for cash.  LOWE’s clinics, which accepted no insurance from patients seeking oxycodone prescriptions, typically charged $300 in cash for “doctor visits” that usually lasted just a minute or two, involved no actual physical examination, and consistently resulted in the issuance of a prescription for large doses of oxycodone, typically 180 30-milligram tablets, or a daily dosage of six 30-milligram tablets. 
LOWE’s clinics bore little resemblance to a standard medical office.  For example, on a daily basis, crowds of up to 100 people gathered outside the Astramed office on Southern Boulevard (the “Clinic”) clamoring to see one of the doctors at the clinic in order to obtain a prescription for oxycodone.  Virtually none of these individuals had any medical need for oxycodone, or any legitimate medical record documenting an ailment for which oxycodone would be prescribed.  Instead, most of these individuals were members of “crews” – that is, they were recruited and paid by high-level drug traffickers, oxycodone distributors (the “Crew Chiefs”), to pose as “patients” in order to receive medically unnecessary prescriptions from the doctors.  The Crew Chiefs then arranged for, and oversaw the filling of, the resulting prescription at various pharmacies and took possession of the oxycodone pills to be resold on the street.  Crew Chiefs also paid the Clinic’s employees hundreds of dollars in cash at a time to get their Crew Members into the Clinic to see one of the doctors. 
In total, between approximately January 2011 and February 2014, Astramed doctors issued 34,925 medically unnecessary prescriptions for oxycodone, comprising nearly 5.5 million oxycodone tablets with a street value of more than $165 million.  LOWE alone collected more than $7 million in cash for these sham “doctor visits” during this time period. 


   Assemblyman Marcos Crespo, Chair of the Assembly Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force, released the following statement on the State University of New York (SUNY) Board of Trustees’ decision to name Dr. Carlos Medina as Vice Chancellor of the Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer.

“Yesterday, the SUNY Board of Trustees announced that Dr. Carlos Medina, the current Senior Associate Vice Chancellor for the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ODEI) will be elevated to Vice Chancellor of the State University of New York.  He will be the first Latino to hold such a title in the nation’s largest public college system. Dr. Medina has a distinguished career of working on such issues and his work has been acknowledged nationally in the form of top honors awarded.

This is a historic achievement and decision by SUNY on several fronts.  The leadership of Board of Trustees Chairman Carl McCall and Chancellor Nancy Zimpher on making the State University of New York a national leader on improving access, affordability, and successful outcomes for minority students needs to be commended.

The elevation to a Vice Chancellorship of the office which works on issues of critical importance to underrepresented minority communities comes only a few months after SUNY announced major and lengthy new policies to improve diversity, inclusive excellence and student success on all of its campuses.

SUNY has 64 campuses, over 89,000 faculty and staff, and almost 500,000 students of which some 20% (100,000) are minorities.

With non-whites now making up the majority of high school graduates across the nation, colleges and universities have begun to prioritize more resources and focus new efforts devoted to issues of diversity and improving student access and successful completion of a college education.  SUNY has now well positioned itself to address these issues into the rest of this century.

The diversity programs headed by SUNY have been strengthened by this decision.  Last year and under the leadership of Assembly Speaker Carl E. Heastie, the Minority Graduate Fellowship administered by SUNY saw a $600,000 increase to approximately $7 million annually, the first increase in this successful program in over a decade.

The SUNY Office of Diversity, Equity and inclusion was created in 2007 under then Chancellor John Ryan and in collaboration with former Assembly Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force Chair Peter M. Rivera and Dr. Raul Huerta, United University Professions Executive Board Member and Vice President for Professionals. In 2006, they traveled to campuses in other states to examine best practices in achieving minority student success.  Afterwards, Chancellor Ryan and Assemblyman Rivera put together a team of staff from their respective offices and Dr. Huerta to work out the details needed to create the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

The Assembly Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force continues to work with SUNY on issues of college affordability, improving student success, increasing diversity of its faculty and professional staff, and supporting SUNY’s overall mission as a world-class institution of higher learning.

Today, the strengthening of ODEI is due to the tremendous work of Chairman Carl McCall and the visionary efforts of Chancellor Zimpher. In combination, they have well positioned SUNY to better serve the educational needs of all New Yorkers while working to build the diverse workforce our communities and state needs to compete in a global economy.

Minority student success in higher education, increasing their graduation rates in STEM fields, and postgraduate education are critically important to the economy of New York.  Under Chairman McCall and Chancellor Zimpher, the future looks brighter thanks to their years of work on these issues and the strong foundation for progress they have built.

I along with the members of the New York State Assembly Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force thank them for their leadership and commitment. We express our gratitude to the SUNY Board of Trustees for their notable work on all fronts dealing with minority student success, diversity of faculty and staff, and improving the world-class education available at our State University system.”