October 14, 2014


Volume 1, Issue 6 – October 14, 2014


Student Issue Resolutions

The only new student issue that came up this week was with regard to noise in Grasse River Suites. Students should make every effort to observe courtesy hours in the residence hall, as other students are trying to study. Students wanting quiet should also be tolerant of other residents wanting to listen to music or watch television, so long as it isn’t too loud. In any residence hall, reasonable compromise is the order of the day.


An Issue from the President

While no student has brought this issue up, a faculty member did and I thought it was worth talking about. It seems that in some locations on campus, people have written some graffiti that is very offensive—not just some curse words or that sort of thing, but some comments that are racist, sexist, or offensive to other groups.

Of course, I don’t know who wrote these things—it may not be a student and the person may not even be someone attending or working at SUNY Canton, since we have many other folks on campus at any given moment. On the off chance that it is someone from our community, I did want to say a few words on the subject.

First and most obviously, we’re a community here. For many students, it’s the first time living away from home for an extended period of time, and the feeling of freedom can be pretty heady. Some students use their enhanced freedom wisely—they explore new ideas, take part in lots of activities, make new friends, get deeply into their major, join clubs, get involved in a research project, and so on.

Others make poorer choices—they party too much, get intoxicated, get into fights, and harass their fellow students. Sometimes this even crosses the line into one of the worst possible choices: picking on other students because of something about their background, color, religion, sexual orientation, or some other such thing. Sadly, picking on someone because they are different in some way is all too common. Often, people do it because they’re scared—they’re afraid that they don’t measure up in some way, and they think that the best way to build themselves up is to tear someone else down. Someone who’s different, they think, will be an easy target. They can even delude themselves into thinking that the person who they’re attacking deserves it because of how they’re different.

The craziest thing of all is that people who attack others for being different often believe that everyone around them actually agrees with them. Where do they get this idea? From when they say the racist thing, or tell the sexist joke, or pick on someone who’s different, and nobody tells them to stop (or even worse, laughs or joins in). If someone does say something, they’ll defend themselves by saying “I didn’t mean anything by it” or “Can’t you take a joke?” No one should fall for that—we all know the difference between good-natured kidding between friends and someone who’s out to hurt someone.

In case you’re wondering why I’m making such a big deal about this, let me give you a couple of reasons. First, this kind of graffiti and these kinds of attacks have a corrosive effect on any community. Second, it hurts people in ways that you can’t directly see, so that you don’t even know that they’re hurting. Third, people who do this to get attention often escalate what they do to get even more attention. The more positive reinforcement they get (by people not saying “I don’t want to hear that” or “Don’t say these things around me” or by people laughing or even joining in), the worse they can become. Words can become deeds, and mild harassment can become serious violence. How do I know this can happen? Because dozens of members of my own family were murdered because of hate—I lost most of my family during the Holocaust. Millions of good people did nothing while their neighbors were being rounded up and murdered, and it all started with much smaller things to which they closed their eyes.

Don’t be an enabler. Whenever you see someone saying a hateful thing or writing some hateful graffiti, tell them to stop. Don’t laugh—tell them you can’t be their friend if they talk or act like that. If they don’t stop, walk away.

Bottom line: This is SUNY Canton. Everyone is welcome here. Period. No exceptions.



Career Fair

SUNY Canton held a Career Fair last Tuesday, and by all measures it was a great success. The number of participating companies was so large that we held it in two different locations—one group met in the Miller Center (CC 212-214), and the other in the Auto Lab in Neveldine. I gave a brief welcome at both locations and had the pleasure of meeting with several of the companies that were present. In our chats, they all had the same thing to say—they were very happy with the Canton graduates that they had previously hired, finding them to be well educated and able to add value to the company right from the beginning, and that they were looking forward to hiring more of our graduates in the future. In fact, several of the companies had brought SUNY Canton graduates to staff their tables.

I’m glad to note that the student turnout also was good. It’s important to attend these fairs, even if you’re not ready to graduate yet. You can learn about what companies are hiring and see what kind of skills they’re looking for. Don’t be afraid to talk to someone if you’re majoring in something other than what they’re looking for—often, companies are looking for a broad range of individuals, and if they take a liking to you, they may hire you for some other position. Also, you may get some good ideas for careers that you had never considered before. If nothing else, it can help you with your interviewing skills.

Congratulations to Julie Parkman (Asst. Director of Career Services), Terri Clemmo (Career Services Office), and work study student Mackeba Campbell for their fine work on this event.


Bringing on the Band at Open House

Last Friday, SUNY Canton held its first Open House of the season. Molly Mott heard that I had been part of a band called “Fridays at Five” that played at open houses and related events at my previous college, so she decided that we needed to have a band here. So, we quickly put together a trio consisting of Lenore VanderZee (Executive Director for University Relations, on vocals and guitar), Dan Gagliardi (Mathematics, on vocals and bass), and me (on my Stratocaster on rhythm guitar) to play. We had a single rehearsal on Thursday afternoon, since that was the only time we could all get together, and it was “on with the show” on Friday morning.


The Open House began at 8:30 with the band playing while students and their parents went through registration and looked at some of the display tables. The band finished at about 9:15 and at about 10:00, I gave a welcome speech to the 250 or so people who had come. We had all decided to wear T-shirts while we played, so I when it was time for me to talk, I walked over to the podium in my T-shirt, put on a tie, put on a suit coat, and said: “Now I’m ready”, and launched into the talk. I spoke about the top reasons people go to college, and how SUNY Canton fits all of the reasons very well. I asked: “Is it possible for one college to fill the academic needs of every single student in this room? — YES! SUNY Canton can.” I ended by telling a funny story about a SUNY Canton graduate who died and went to heaven, but got an unfortunate surprise there. Want to hear the story? Come to the next Open House!

My talk was followed by Melissa Evans (Director of Admissions) giving out some prizes for the family that had come the farthest (Long Island), and giving a Canton T-shirt to a woman who had come in a Syracuse University shirt. The students were then dismissed by major, to speak with the faculty. There were several events in the afternoon that families could participate in, including getting their pictures taken with Rudy by the covered bridges.

It was a great event, and I thoroughly enjoyed being part of it. Several people came up to me to tell me how much they enjoyed themselves (including the band!), and others heard similar comments. It’s probably a bit different than the open house you experienced when you came here, since we’re making some changes to make the event more fun. Congratulations to Molly, Melissa, and the entire group from Admissions for all their hard work.

In case you’re wondering what the band’s name is, we don’t have one yet. Molly was calling us Open House Jive, but I know we can do better than that, so it’s time for a contest. The best suggestion will win a cool prize, so let’s hear your best ideas.


Flaming Leaves

On Saturday morning, Dave Gerlach (VP for Development) and I drove down to Lake Placid for the Flaming Leaves Festival, where SUNY Canton was holding an alumni event. The weather was a bit cold and wet, but that didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the 200 or so alumni and their friends and family who came. SUNY Canton had a registration table at the Festival and we held drawings for some cool swag every hour, with the big prize being a pair of tickets to ride the bobsled.

During the Festival, I got to meet lots of alumni and hear what they and their families had been up to since graduating from Canton. During the Festival, there was a ski-jumping competition (no snow—they were doing their jumps onto a slippery artificial turf surface) which included several national champions.


There was lots of good food at the Festival, and one of the vendors was staffed by lots of SUNY Canton volunteers from our Veterinary Science student organization.  The bobsled tickets were won by alumnus Charles Goodrow, who donated them back to the College.  So, we decided to give them to the president and vice president of the Veterinary Science student organization volunteers, Jennifer Verville and Kathy Daley.

Dr. Szafran with VTA president and vp

l-r: Me, Kathy Daley, Jennifer Verville

This was another great alumni event, put on by Dave, Peggy Sue Lovato, Jamie Burgess, and Kelly Obermayer.   Excellent job!


Last Week’s Trivia Contest

Last week’s trivia contest had to do with the word “ghost”. The first person getting all four correct was Kacey Blair. Others getting all four right included Austin Rdzanek, Kristen Synakowski, Christine Matias, Denver Berry, Niclole Robertson, Amanda Woods, Michael Cyrus, Jonathan Butler, Gabriel Santana, Christina Lutchman, Cayleigh Murray, Adam Wickert, Francesco Palumbo, and Brittani Weaver.

Just come by my office (6th floor of FOB) to get your prize, a $10 gift card, usable anywhere on campus, Kacey. Here are the correct answers:

  1. Who’re you gonna call?  Ghostbusters.
  2. Casper.  The Friendly Ghost.
  3. Japanese manga and movie about a counter-cyberterrorist organization Public Security Section 9, let by Motoko Kusanagi. Ghost in the Shell.
  4. Song by My Chemical Romance, from their album Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge. Ghost of You.


This Week’s Trivia Challenge

With Halloween coming, the answers to today’s challenge all have to do with October.  The first reply with the most answers right takes the prize.  No looking up the answers now!  SEND ALL ENTRIES BY EMAIL TO answers@canton.edu since if you put them as a response on the BLOG, everyone will be able to see them!

  1. Holiday on which you dress up in costumes and trick-or-treat.
  2. German festival upon which much beer is consumed.
  3. In Peanuts, Linus always waited for this to show up, but it never did.
  4. 1990 movie with Sean Connery and Alec Baldwin about a Russian sub captain who violates orders and heads for the US, it’s based on a book by Tom Clancy.
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1 Response to October 14, 2014

  1. Austin says:

    One of the big draws to come to this school is the smoke-free campus. I live in the south side of heritage and throughout the day and while going to bed I smell cigarettes from the Rushton smoking gazebo. I understand they need their places to smoke I just wish it wasn’t located right outside of some many peoples rooms.


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