October 15, 2015


Volume 2, Issue 5 – October 15, 2015

Some Unfortunate Events

Everyone who knows anything knows that we have a great bunch of students at SUNY Canton.  Within any large group, of course, there will always be a few who get into trouble by doing improper things.  We’ve had a small number of incidents occur recently, carried out by a small number of students.  When this was reported in the newspapers, some of their readers replied with a number of nasty and racist anonymous comments.  I felt I needed to respond, so I wrote an editorial letter, which has now appeared in North Country Now, the Watertown Daily Times, and the Daily Courier-Observer.  Here’s the letter in its entirety:


To The Editor:

As has been reported, there have been a small number of unfortunate incidents that have taken place involving students from SUNY Canton. Two bicycles were stolen. A pizza delivery man was robbed and assaulted. A taxi driver had the fare taken from him. These actions are repugnant, and the College is pursuing judicial sanctions on campus while fully cooperating with Village Police investigations.

In these three cases, the students who were arrested were from the New York City area, and were persons of color. This has led to a number of anonymous comments that can only be described as appalling. I am a bit shaken to see what some of our neighbors apparently believe. Let me set the record straight.

SUNY Canton is home to 3,200 students who engage in some of the most challenging academic fields, study and work hard, graduate, and get great jobs.  They win national competitions, earn scholarships, excel at athletics, and spend thousands of hours volunteering in our community.  

We are a diverse community. About 35 percent of SUNY Canton students come from metropolitan New York City. Some 30 percent are African-American, and about 7 percent are Latino. Our theme this year is “Everyone Is Welcome Here.” Wouldn’t it be a wonderful world if that were everybody’s theme?

The vast majority of our students are doing amazing things every day. In any community, there are a few who do not reflect the good of the whole. That should not obscure the intelligence, compassion, and ambition that more than 99 percent of our students exemplify.

The next time you see a SUNY Canton student, go up to them, ask what they are doing at college, and prepare to be amazed. I know I am, every single day.

Dr. Zvi Szafran, President

SUNY Canton
Canton, NY


And On That Subject…

I want to add that it’s very important to let us know if you are aware of fellow students who have done (or are planning to do) something that could harm themselves or others.  This could include a prank that’s potentially harmful, a false alarm, someone threatening to harm someone, a theft, or worse.  It’s not just that these give everyone else on campus a bad name when the news gets out.  Whenever these kinds of incidents occur, there are innocent victims who are harmed.  If the perpetrators aren’t caught immediately, they often escalate their actions and do something worse, because they think they can get away with it.  When they are finally caught, there is no way back, their college careers are ruined, and they’re often facing lengthy jail sentences.

Yes, I know that many of you would find it hard to inform on a fellow student.  Yet, you should realize the people who commit these harmful acts don’t hesitate to put you or others in the community in danger.   You can help our community (and even save someone from ruining their life) by saying something, if you become aware of something.



Campus Shout-Out

And latest among our many students volunteering in the community, congratulations to our students from both the Physical Therapist Assistant and Early Childhood programs for participating in the Down Syndrome Association of St. Lawrence County 8th Annual Buddy Walk on October 3, and to our Athletics Office for providing use of their facilities.  You make us proud by helping with this extremely worthy cause!




Lots of Campus Events!

Saturday, September 26 was Homecoming and Family Weekend, and it was a lot of fun.  I couldn’t attend the Friday events since I was at the SUNY President’s Meeting in Saratoga, but I’m sure they were great.  On Saturday, I attended several women’s volleyball games—against RIT and Rochester.  The ‘Roos did very well, losing a close one to St. Lawrence (who we had beaten earlier in the term) and beating everyone else.  There were also lots of other events—a classic car exhibit, a sundae bar, being able to get your picture taken with lots of weird props, being able to design your own sign, and much more.


Me and Jill about to sing a German opera! 

There were lots of folks there, and our Student Life staff and volunteers did a great job managing everything.  That evening, the big event was “Canton’s Got Talent”, a night of excellent singing, dancing, crowning the homecoming court, and other fun stuff.  The sound system was a bit wonky at times, but it didn’t stop the enthusiasm and excellence of our student talent.  If you’ve never seen one of these, you’ve missed a lot!  Congratulations to all who participated!




Our Homecoming Royal Court

l-r:  Malaysia Talley, Princess; Kevin LeGare, King; me; Noelle Murray, Queen; Gloria Kodua Junior, Princess.  Missing: Jeremy Baez, Prince


Friday, October 2 was Fire Safety Day.  A very informative (and scary!) exhibit of a typical student dorm room was set on fire, to show how quickly the normal material in it burns.  The room was entirely engulfed in flames in about 1:30 minutes, making it clear: be extremely careful with open flames or anything that can cause a fire, and when you hear the fire alarm, get out FAST!


On Sunday, October 4, the brothers of Alpha Theta Gamma held their annual barbeque, and Jill, Mark, and I were happy to attend.  It was an absolutely perfect day weather-wise, so we all enjoyed sitting outside, eating the food, and watching the brothers play Can-Jam.  They’re a great bunch of guys, representing the College well in the community.


On Thursday evening, October 8, SUNY Canton hosted the honorable Yunju Ko, Consul from the Korean Consulate General in New York City.  Consul Ko discussed the Korea-U.S. military partnership, Korea’s miraculous economic recovery after the Korean War, as well as trade issues affecting the U.S., Korea, and China.  His visit is part of an ongoing Leadership lecture series held on our campus, bringing in industry, government, and international leaders to speak to our students and faculty.  Turnout was excellent with about 75 students, 10 faculty, and several business leaders there, and many insightful questions were answered.  We hope to explore some potential relationships with Korean universities, and Consul Ko promised to help us make connections with them.


Consul Yunju Ko Giving His Talk

Saturday, October 10 was the first big Open House of the season.  The weather was quite nice and the turnout was excellent—we had a packed house.  The house band, “The Roo Crew” (or “President’s People”, take your choice—we haven’t decided yet), consisting of Dan Gagliardi, Lenore VanderZee and I played for about 40 minutes as visitors checked out our major programs and student organizations, and then it was time to start the official program.  Our Admissions Office does a wonderful job with these open houses, aided by a huge number of volunteers from the deans and faculty, students, and staff.



Trivia Contest

Last week’s trivia contest was all about children’s toys.  Our winner, once again, was Concetta Smythe, who wins another $10 gift card that can be used anywhere on campus.  Prizes can be picked up from my office, on the 6th floor of MacArthur Hall (formerly, the FOB).  Come and get it anytime, Concetta.

Here are the correct answers:

  1. Most popular of dolls, the clothes and accessories cost more than the doll did.  Barbie
  2. You spin around your hips while doing a “hula-like” dance. Of course, more talented people can spin it around other parts of their body too. Hula Hoop.
  3. Made of a spiral of wire, you can make it “walk” down the stairs.
  4. A kind of modeling clay used by children, it comes in different colors and gets hard if you leave it outside its container. Play Doh.



This Week’s Trivia Challenge

This week’s challenge will be about College team nicknames—name the given team’s nickname. No looking up the answers now!  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. SUNY Canton
  2. Syracuse University
  3. University of Alabama
  4. Duke University



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