Concerns about racism at Brooklyn College
Provost Tramantano accused of discriminating against Orthodox Jewish women
Published: Thursday, April 26, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, April 25, 2012 18:04
Administration personnel at Brooklyn College are being investigated for allegedly discriminating against female and Orthodox Jewish professors. Accusations include withholding career promotions as well as disregarding eligible female professor applicants solely on the fact that they are of Jewish religion.
William A. Tramontano was named provost and vice president for academic affairs in 2008; he is chief academic officer and is responsible for establishing academic priorities and overseeing the academic units of the college. Many are now saying that Tramontane’s allegedly biased behavior has gone too far.
Deputy Chairman of the Brooklyn College’s Finance and Business Management Department, Hershey Freidman is the individual responsible for bringing these allegations to light. Hershey noticed the provost behavior and thought it to be a bit strange, but only after the numerous rejections of Jewish academics did it really seem to sink in.
New York State Assemblymen Dov Hikind has taken action to become the voice for the Jewish females that feel they have suffered from this discrimination.
In an April 17 posting on his personal blog, Hikind said, “Late last week I received a letter from Chancellor Matthew Goldstein explaining that The City University of New York was looking into the recent allegations that were made against Provost William A. Tramontano…Chancellor Goldstein’s letter noted that Frederick Schaffer, Senior Vice Chancellor for Legal Affairs and CUNY general counsel, had been asked to oversee the review of these allegations… and that Mr. Schaffer would be doing so together with Bettina Plevan, a partner of the law firm Proskauer Rose LLP’s labor and employment law department and co-head of both its international labor and employment group and class collective action groups.”
Along with Representative Hikind, “The Anti-Defamation League is also calling for an investigation after speaking with faculty members and staff in Friedman’s department,” said Ron Meier, the organization’s New York regional director.
Baruch’s email system has recently been updated, and the student population has mixed reviews about the changeover.
The old interface was based on the simplistic, bare bones Hotmail platform and the new format is based on the sleek frame format of Outlook, Microsoft’s host suite of email and collaboration tools, which is known best for its in-class modern features.
Despite this change, some students, such as Travis James, claim that the change was unsuccessful and unnoticeable.
“I don’t feel it’s upgraded, but serves its purpose for a college email,” said James, who was familiar with the email provider that Baruch is currently dealing with and talked about them briefly before changing the subject to Gmail.
This provider informed the college a few weeks ago that they were planning on upgrading our email system, and performing a few intended changes. As of Thursday, March 27, Microsoft informed Baruch College that the migration was complete and students now have access to the new Microsoft Outlook Life email system.
Out of the many students interviewed by The Ticker about the email changeover, all but two were unenthusiastic.
“Let’s just put it this way,” said John Donnelly. “I don’t like it! The functionally contacts don’t load, and I don’t understand why none of my contacts are saved like they used to be. Now when I try to send an email I have to retrieve those email addresses, which is such a pain!”Leah Sutherland thinks that the program, despite its intended image and utility, is still a bit too chunky.
“I don’t like how a new window opens in order to create a new message,” she said. “It’s too much to navigate especially when I’m at school and already have multiple windows open with other stuff. I found it to be really cluttered.”
One question that arose was: Are you a PC (aka Microsoft type) or are you a Mac? IPhone-toting students were bothered by the lack of clear notice that anything would be different when the new system came into effect.
A complaint from several students about trying to configure their account with an iPhone was that they didn’t realize they were supposed to delete their existing Baruch email from their iPhone and then re-enter the IMAP Account information and the Incoming Mail Server Host Name in order for it to normally function.
There was a general sentiment among the student population questioned in passing on the topic that this information should have been made more available to them, claiming the lack of communication to be a nuisance and in the end, very time consuming, something that students could ill afford as this migration took place in conjunction with mid-terms.
Sara Faber says, “They didn’t notify us that we weren’t going to be able to receive emails once this upgrade was complete. This really annoyed me because when I realized I wasn’t getting emails through my iPhone I decided to check my emails on my computer and noticed I had ten unopened messages!”
The two students interviewed by The Ticker who felt the new upgrade was helpful, Karen Baruch and Melissa Colas, both argued that the upgrade allowed them to arrange their emails in a more systematic fashion.