December 3, 2020 FALL 2020

President’s Letter

Growth Follows Adversity

“WE’RE LIVING THROUGH challenging times.” I’ve found myself writing, saying, and contemplating those five words countless times this year. But as challenging as the times may be, the struggle offers us an opportunity to fully see who we are, embrace our own strength, and unite together in ways we may have never known, because growth always follows adversity.

Being both a New York City-based College, and an institution that educates students committed to public service, put our community at the center of the crisis during the onset of the pandemic. While our City and the surrounding areas were some of the hardest hit locations in the country, our students, faculty, staff, and alumni were the very individuals specifically trained to keep our communities safe during an emergency. Despite the hardships and health risks, our essential workers and first responders fought—and continue to fight—this devastating disease. In “On the Front Line” (page 4) we salute our fellow Bloodhounds for their unfailing service.

In early March, as the world started to hear about a deadly disease moving across the globe, our community had to abruptly transition to a distance-learning model. Would the students and faculty have enough computers? Could faculty quickly adapt their lessons? How were we going to move thousands of students and faculty to a virtual platform in a matter of weeks? In “Educating Through the Crisis” (page 10) we depict the unity, the ingenuity, and the sheer will that it took to successfully shift our entire campus to a remote-learning model.

Before anyone knew about Covid-19, before anyone witnessed the senseless deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, or Ahmaud Arbery, our Honors Program students traveled down to Selma and Montgomery, Alabama, the birthplace of the Civil Rights Movement, to confront our country’s painful history of racial segregation. As we visited the Southern Poverty Law Center, The National Voting Rights Museum and Institute, and the Equal Justice Initiative, I was struck by the depth and quality of our students’ questions. It was an honor to rediscover these historical events through the eyes of our students. The feelings they express in “Understanding the Legacy” (page 16) are powerful, relevant, and encouraging. I hope they inspire you as much as they inspired me.

This August marked the one-year anniversary of the deadly mass shooting in El Paso. As a proud Hispanic-Serving Institution, this hateful act, which specifically targeted Latinx people, deeply impacted our community. “In Solidarity with El Paso” (page 24) details how our Latin American and Latinx Studies Department came together with the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), to create a yearlong series of events and activities called the El Paso Project. This collaboration demonstrated not only our solidarity with UTEP and the people of El Paso, but it also expressed our deep desire to make our country’s long, anti-Latinx history—which directly contributes to violence and discrimination—better known.

Adverse circumstances will never define us. Instead, how we face those struggles, how we come together to overcome those challenges, becomes the true testament of our character. The greatest privilege I have is being able to serve our talented students and work with our dedicated faculty and staff. Even during these “challenging times” it’s evident through the stories of our community, that in the face of adversity, true leadership, resilience, and optimism continues to propel us forward.

Thank you,

Karol Mason signature

Karol V. Mason
@JohnJayPres

Photography: Arpi Pap Studio

Contents

Campus News

CUSP Takes Center Stage at 2020 Davos World Economic Forum

In the Media

“YOU’RE SEEING MORE PEOPLE OF COLOR, more working class folks starting to find their voice a little bit more. That’s...

Breaking the Cycle of Intımate-Partner Violence

In Kingston, New York, NNSC’s new approach has significantly reduced the deadliest forms of intimate-partner violence. By Michael Friedrich

Measuring the Impact of Reform

The Data Collaborative for Justice evaluates the success of New York City’s Criminal Justice Reform Act.

On the Front Line

Despite the hardships and health risks, John Jay students, alumni, faculty, and staff continue to keep our communities safe throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. By Andrea Dawn Clark

Educating Through the Crisis

How John Jay students, faculty, and staff successfully transitioned to a distance-learning model. by Mary Anderson

Charting New Territory

Olivia Orta, Ph.D. ’07 blazed a path for John Jay alumni, being the first John Jay grad to earn her doctoral degree from Harvard. By Andrea Dawn Clark

Responding to the Call

Alumna Shawyn Patterson-Howard ’05 makes history as the first female Mayor of Mount Vernon, New York. By Andrea Dawn Clark

A Voice for Victims

Political Science Associate Professor Verónica Michel Explores Victims’ Rights in Latin America. By Shirley Del Valle

Donor Profile: Living with Integrity

Nasser J. Kazeminy, Chairman of the Ellis Island Honors Society, shares how he’s faced every challenge in his life with curiosity, compassion, and integrity. By Andrea Dawn Clark

Flashback -1984

Reverend Jesse Jackson, a potential democratic nominee for president of the United States spoke at John Jay one evening in...

Understanding the Legacy

John Jay students, faculty, and staff visit the birthplace of the Civil Rights Movement and contemplate the unsettling history of race in America. By Andrea Dawn Clark

LEAP Forward

The newest student-success initiative that supports second-semester freshmen, through their sophomore year, with intensive academic advisement, experiential learning, and career-focused internships. By Mary Anderson

In Solidarity with El Paso

Through its ties with the University of Texas at El Paso and the El Paso Project, John Jay’s Latin American and Latinx Studies Department seeks to educate, encourage, and empower our Latinx community. By Shirley Del Valle

Class of 2019 Then & Now

This past May, the class of 2019 graduated from John Jay College. We checked in with a few of them to find out how they’re launching their careers

President
Karol V. Mason

Vice President for Public Affairs
and Strategic Initiatives

Laura Ginns

Chief Communications Officer
Rama Sudhakar

Senior Editor/Writer
Editorial Director

Andrea Dawn Clark

Writer/Editor
Shirley Del Valle

Contributing Writers
Mary Anderson
Michael Friedrich

Senior Designer/Art Director
Laura DeVries

Designer
Stephanie Birdsong

Copy Editor
Carey Ostergard

Photography
Arpi Pap
Andrea Dawn Clark
Gabriel Hernández Solano

Illustration
Victoria Stewart-Meyers