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Representatives of Bard College have filed a complaint with the enforcement division of the New York State Board of Elections against the Dutchess County Board of Elections in order to protest “the repeated violations of the New York State and federal constitutions, and state and federal statutes and regulations related to equal protection, the right to vote, youth voting rights, disability accessibility, and election law, that have occurred and continue to take place in District 5 in the Town of Red Hook.”
The complaint outlines a pattern of discrimination and malfeasance by the Board of Elections that includes understaffing and underequipping the polling site at the Bertelsmann Campus Center at Bard College, and repeated actions that violate the rights of voters with disabilities. It notes that the polling site at Bard is the only one in the county to be understaffed, and one of only two in the county with just one voting machine. The complaint singles out Republican Election Commissioner Haight for his reported insistence on understaffing the poll site at Bard, ignoring decisions of the State Board of Elections, and making false representations to the New York State Supreme and Appellate Courts. It also highlights his insistence on using a false disability access survey and suppressing efforts for a new survey: a long overdue report released last week by the office oif the County Executive confirmed that the polling site at St. John’s Episcopal in District 5 in Red Hook is neither handicap accessible nor ADA compliant.
The complaint is part of Bard’s longstanding effort to protect the rights of youth voters under the 26th Amendment to the US Constitution and preserve the rights of voters with disabilities. Over the past decade, Bard College and its students have been party to four successful federal and state judgements against the County Board of Elections.
Bard President Leon Botstein, who votes in Red Hook District 5 says, "The continued discrimination against youth voters and the targeting of the polling place at the Bertelsmann Campus Center at Bard is shameful and unfortunately follows a pattern of discriminatory practices in the county. The Board of Elections should encourage young people to vote, not obstruct them."
According to Erin Cannan, Bard College’s Vice President for Civic Engagement, “As a poll worker in Red Hook for over a decade, I was shocked to find only three poll workers, two Democrats and one Republican, at the Bertelsmann Campus Center and object to the plan to have only three poll workers in the upcoming special election. It seems to directly contradict the Dutchess County training I have been required to attend annually, where the emphasis is on equal representation of political parties in all aspects of the voting process and voting accessibility. This understaffing makes for an unnecessarily long and stressful experience and does not reflect the values or the protocols provided by the Dutchess County Board of Elections to its poll workers.”
According to Bard Vice President for Academic Affairs and Professor of Political Studies Jonathan Becker, “Commissioner Haight’s actions represent everything that is wrong with how elections are carried out in many parts of the United States. He is a public official has ignored the law and the rights of voters and has made repeated false representations to the court. I believe he has chosen to discriminate against voters with disabilities and youth voters for partisan political advantage. His efforts, which have been halted by decisions in numerous federal and state lawsuits, have cost the county nearly $130,000 in legal fees in the past decade, including more than $70,000 in the last two election cycles. We call on the New York State Board of Elections to ensure that all voters in Red Hook District 5 are treated equally at the polling place.”
Find a link to the Full Complaint here.
For the first time in two years, Bard students were able to join in person for the Annual Get Engaged Student Action and Youth Leadership Conference. This year's conference took place June 23–30 in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan on the beautiful campus of the American University of Central Asia, bringing together undergraduate student leaders and mentors from 28 countries and 17 institutions in the Open Society University Network.
Students, faculty, and staff at the Get Engaged conference discussed the civic engagement projects students have been developing and implementing in their respective countries. Students learned new skills, honed leadership styles, and networked with like-minded innovators who are collaborating with community partners across the globe to develop solutions to pressing local and global challenges.
Last year, Yuleisy Aguirre De Jesus was lost and failing in school. Taking college classes has revealed a new path. Yuleisy, a rising senior at Bard High School Early College in Cleveland, writes, “I just finished 11th grade, and it has been one of the most successful years of my life. I have pushed myself to do my absolute best, gaining many opportunities and lots of confidence in the process. My writing, reading, and speaking skills have grown exponentially. I’ve left behind the crushing weight of feeling like a failure.” Yuleisy is now on track to earn an associate’s degree alongside a high school diploma in 2023, and plans to continue her college education after BHSEC.
On Monday, May 23, Hillary Rodham Clinton visited Bard to meet with 34 of the Afghan students currently enrolled at the College. The students gathered at Blithewood, where they shared their stories with Clinton, who has a longstanding interest in helping Afghan women and students.
Most of these students came to Bard after the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban last August as part of an effort by Bard, OSUN, and our other international partners to help Afghan students continue their education in safety. Bard has already accepted more than 100 Afghan students to its campuses. Bard expects the Annandale campus cohort to grow to at least 50 students by fall 2022.
In addition to meeting with the Afghan students, Clinton spent time with administrators and campus leaders of several Bard initiatives, including the Bard Prison Initiative, Bard Early Colleges, Bard College Clemente Course in the Humanities, as well as civic engagement programs such as [email protected], La Voz, [email protected], and Sister2Sister.
Bard Senior Vice President and CFO Taun Toay Discusses the College’s Sustainability Efforts in an Interview for DOE’s Better Climate Challenge “Decarbonization Download” Series
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recognized Bard College for committing to reduce portfolio-wide greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% within 10 years and to work with DOE to share successful solutions and decarbonization strategies. As a partner in DOE’s Better Climate Challenge, Bard College is one of only 50 organizations across the U.S. economy that are stepping up to the Challenge and driving real-world action toward a low-carbon future. As a place of higher education, Bard College’s campus and buildings are its biggest carbon footprint. Bard is the only small liberal arts college in the country that is converting its built environment to carbon neutral as a Better Climate Challenge partner.
Bard College has set ambitious pollution reduction goals including to cut energy use in campus buildings through efficient lighting and HVAC retrofits, to eliminate fossil fuels by converting to geothermal, to generate 10% of electricity with on-campus solar (and micro hydropower), and to purchase off-site renewable electricity for the remaining 90%. This will be supported by Net Zero design goals for all new construction. As Bard College undertakes this challenge, DOE will support its efforts with technical assistance, peer-to-peer learning opportunities, and a platform for the organization to demonstrate its commitment to being part of the solution to climate change.
“Better Climate Challenge partners like Bard College are committing to decarbonize across their portfolio of buildings, plants, and fleets and share effective strategies to transition our economy to clean energy,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “Their leadership and innovation are crucial in our collective fight against climate change while strengthening the U.S. economy.”
“Colleges and universities should take leadership roles on such pressing issues as global climate change,” said Bard College President Leon Botstein. “We’re gratified to be working with the Department of Energy as we move forward with our ambitious goals, and we encourage others in higher education to follow suit.”
“Bard is pleased to join a who’s who of 80 global companies committed to mitigating climate change. As an early adopter of geothermal and narrowing in on our carbon neutrality target, Bard is the only college to represent higher education along with four universities throughout the nation to be a first mover with the DOE,” said Taun Toay, senior vice president and chief financial officer of Bard College.
“Decarbonization Download: 5Qs with Bard College” is a video interview featuring Toay discussing Bard College’s sustainability goals, including the development of a Climate & Energy Master Plan that will provide a roadmap to transform campus infrastructure from being dependent on fossil fuels to being operated on 100% renewable energy. Watch the interview here.
In March, Bard College also launched the Worldwide Teach-In on Climate and Justice, a flagship event organized by the Graduate Programs in Sustainability (GPS) at Bard College, with support from the Open Society University Network. Bard’s Worldwide Teach-In on Climate and Justice brought together climate-concerned educators and students at universities and high schools from around the globe for bottom-up conversations about changing the future. Building on a foundation of more than 300 participating organizations this year from Liberia to Colombia, Taiwan to Vienna, and Florida to Alaska, the teach-in organizers hope to engage 1,000 colleges, universities, and other institutions next year, targeting at least 100,000 participants worldwide.
The DOE Better Climate Challenge is the government platform that provides transparency, accountability, technical assistance, and collaboration to identify decarbonization pathways and provide recognition for leadership across the US economy. The Better Climate Challenge builds on over a decade of DOE experience through the Better Buildings Initiative. Through Better Buildings, DOE partners with public and private sector organizations to make commercial, public, industrial, and residential buildings more efficient, thereby saving billions of dollars on energy bills, reducing emissions, and creating thousands of jobs. To date, more than 950 Better Buildings partners have shared their innovative approaches and strategies for adopting energy efficient technologies. Discover more than 3,000 of these solutions in the Better Buildings Solution Center.
The town of Red Hook has moved to stage two of the Audubon certification project, developing a vision plan with action items to support sustainability in areas including agriculture, economic development and tourism, public safety, and transportation. The sustainability designation project is being led by Chief Sustainability Officer at Bard and Chair of Red Hook’s Conservation Advisory Council Laurie Husted and Nick Ascienzo of the Ascienzo Family Foundation. “It’s such a difficult thing to define. We have a system to do it in higher education. It was exciting to think we could look at this as a municipality,” Husted said.
“What I think about as we celebrate our progress is that we inherited decisions that were made before we were born, and we are passing on a legacy to people who aren’t born yet,” said Erin Cannan, vice president for civic engagement at Bard. “What do we want this moment to mean for them?”
Bard College alumnus Gabriel Braunstein ’20 is among the first Peace Corps volunteers to return to overseas service since the agency’s unprecedented global evacuation in March 2020. The Peace Corps suspended global operations and evacuated nearly 7,000 volunteers from more than 60 countries at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I hope to serve a new community as best I can,” said Braunstein. “I am excited to work in a classroom and meet my new neighbors.”
Braunstein graduated from Bard in 2020 with a degree in literature. He will serve as an education volunteer in the Eastern Caribbean, working in cooperation with local community and partner organizations on sustainable development projects.
The volunteer cohorts are made up of both first-time volunteers and volunteers who were evacuated in early 2020. Upon finishing a three-month training, volunteers will collaborate with their host communities on locally prioritized projects in one of Peace Corps’ six sectors—agriculture, community economic development, education, environment, health or youth in development—and all will engage in COVID-19 response and recovery work.
Zarlasht Sarmast is a recent graduate of the American University of Central Asia, Department of International and Comparative Politics. She has previously served as the Spokesperson for the International Committee of the Red Cross in Kabul, Communications specialist for GIZ in Central Asia. Zarlasht is currently working for OSUN as a Program Coordinator for the Global Engagement Fellows program. She is the Director and CEO of the project “Afghanistan Politics on the Verge of Transformation.” Zarlasht recently finished her first MA in the department of International Relations and Security at the OSCE academy in Bishkek and is currently doing her second Masters Degree in applied psychology at AUCA.
Huy is the founder of YUU Organization, a youth-led non-profit organization working to empower ethnic minority children and youth in the Central Highlands of Vietnam through education, employment, and cultural conservation since 2017. Huy follows the servant leadership model, inspired by Mother Teresa, and focuses on work with the Indigenous community in his hometown. In his third year with the Global Fellows Program, Huy aims to amplify the voice of youth in civic engagement across the network.
Mikelison is the C.E.O. and founder of the Earth's Tomorrow Foundation and a Junior at Bard College Studying Environmental and Urban Studies. He is a Posse Scholar and Public Policy and International Affairs Fellow from Atlanta, Georgia who started The Earth's Tomorrow Foundation to assist K-12 students in becoming more environmentally conscious through hands-on sustainability projects. Mikelison's research has been displayed in the T.E.L.L.U.S Museum of Science and internationally recognized at the Genius Olympiad International Science Fair. He aims to make change by using collaborative education methods to encourage young minds to become innovative thinkers and the world's next generation of leaders. As a Global Fellow, he plans to encourage those who want to create positive, sustainable change to get engaged in their communities and guide them in developing projects that will ultimately help better the world.
Henry runs the Bard chapter of Our Revolution, a political organization dedicated to electing progressive politicians who work for the people. He also serves as a member of the Morris County Democratic Committee, and as Sergeant at Arms for the Pequannock Township Democratic Committee. Henry believes that being politically active is an essential part of democratic civic life, and as a Global Fellow, works to promote political civic activities.
During her gap year, Emi, a first-year intended Economics major at Bard College, initiated a community development project in a rural village on the Coast of Kenya. The project is centered around education and addresses issues of food insecurity. Emi built a library for a local primary school, delivered food and supplies to local community members, and created income generating programs to help the community sustain itself. The future of the project is focused around building sustainable infrastructure and educating local farmers to help them increase agricultural productivity. As a global fellow, Emi is committed to mobilizing Bard students to participate in civic engagement. Emi is hoping to bridge the connection between Bard students who feel passionate about social and environmental justice and opportunities to get involved with advocacy and mutual aid.
Aleksandar Vitanov is a sophomore international student from North Macedonia at Bard College studying Political Studies and Trumpet Performance at the Bard Conservatory of Music. He came to Bard after spending his junior and senior years of high school at the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan. He is on Bard’s Student Honor List, founded a Trustee Leader Scholar initiative called Musical Mentorship Initiative which provides free music education to families that cannot afford it, serves on Bard’s Student Government as the chair of the Pier Review Board, he is the Co-Chair of the Constitutional Court at Bard, and is the founder of the Alexander Hamilton Society Bard College Chapter. His goal as a Global Fellow is to increase awareness of the importance of civic engagement on campus, serve as a resource to fellow students, and connect with other Global Fellows around the world.
A liberal arts student double majoring in Ethics and Politics and Literature and Rhetorics, Lara's main goal is to encourage an approach to life that emphasizes the importance of students’ participation in civic life. As a Global Fellow, she wants to help provide students with the tools they need to take an active role in their community and work with others to help make the change they want to see happen.
Rokhila is the founder of social non-profit projects such as "No to bullying in Tajik schools," as well as co-founder of the Sociological Club AWAKE at AUCA. As a Global Engagement Fellow, I am committed to helping and guiding emerging and future leaders in building structures, organizing ideas, and developing their own projects. She wants to raise awareness and engage bright new minds in civic engagement both on campus and across the network.
As a Global Fellow, Aidin strives to build a strong and proactive community at AUCA that will be passionate about improving local societies. He has been working at the National Democratic Institute and American Councils for International Education as a community mobilizer and coordinated several volunteering clubs with 40 and 80 club members. Through his “Basketball for All” project, he seeks to create an inclusive space for children with autism and Down Syndrome and spread the spirit through AUCA students who volunteer and work one-on-one with children on campus.
Sayed Anwar Ibrahimi is a second year Software Engineering student at the American University of Central Asia. He built his first website when he was in 10th grade and then started to build websites and do back-end programming for different companies. As a Global Fellow he wants to be more active civically, create and implement projects that focus on issues that the community of Afghan students face and experience while integrating into new institutions and societies, in particular the evacuated students from American University of Afghanistan (AUAF) now at other OSUN institutions.
As a social activist in her community and beyond, Sitora joined the OSUN Global Fellowship Program to contribute to society's development by helping students at the AUCA campus and implementing her project in the near future. Having an enriched experience in community service and project implementation, she hopes to gain valuable experiences and contribute to the development of the OSUN Global Fellowship Program.
Patricia is the co-coordinator of CEU Debate Society and the President of the CEU Student Union in Vienna. Her aim as a Global Fellow is to motivate not only students, but every member of the community to make their voice heard. Patricia plans to take the position of a “bricoleur,
who aims to bring together the ideas and initiatives of every student both in CEU and across OSUN in order to build a sustainable channel of communication, debate and solutions.
Code4All is a foundation Chinenye co-founded with five Ashesi University seniors in 2020, and she currently serves as president. The project seeks to empower young students aged between 10-15 years from unreached communities in Ghana, with ICT and programming skills. She wants to see civic engagement on campus reach an optimum high, and also expand the reach for the Code4All project. As a fellow, she expects the qualities instilled from the fellowship will go a long way in assisting her in implementing current and future project ideas and sharpening the way she understands and cooperates with the communities she hopes to transform.
Samantha is the Founder of Aim To Shine, an initiative that seeks to empower primary students in Chitungwiza community in Zimbabwe through teaching and mentoring. The long-term objective is to reduce the number of school dropouts, early child marriages, and drug and substance abuse by helping students excel in their academic and social lives. As a Global Fellow, Samantha hopes to dedicate time to nurturing student-led projects within the OSUN network and helping them create the change the world needs.
Freda Agyeman is the founder of Project Photo4her, a project dedicated to educating adolescent mothers about photography, how to take photographs, and how to run a photography business. The project was recognized as a model for removing cultural stigmatization of teenage mothers, gender inequality, lowering poverty in most households, empowering girls, and boosting employment opportunities for these teenage mothers, all of which are SDG targets 1,5, and 8. As a Global Fellow, Freda aspires to devote her time to assisting other student-led projects like hers in obtaining funding and, more significantly, developing their projects to the point where their overarching goal is to solve problems in society.
Originally from Afghanistan, Yalda is a sophomore at American University of Beirut majoring in Political Studies with plans to minor in women's and gender studies. She is the prize winner of the AUB Founders Day essay contest. Prior to coming to AUB, she worked with several organizations dedicated to human rights, women's rights, and youth advocacy in Afghanistan. As a Global Fellow, she wants to promote and support civic engagement activities that not only empower and encourage young leaders but also allow her to learn from them. With launching her initiative "Equal World," she seeks to promote gender equality and build civic engagement opportunities for students, and support the discussion of such ideas. In brief, her goal is to work toward an equal and inclusive community.
Hala is a junior at Al-Quds Bard and a Program Exchange Graduate from Bard Berlin. She is also the founder of AQB Mental Health Club and Project, which seeks to raise awareness about mental health among AQB students and to introduce students to the process of psychotherapy and mental healing. The project specifically sheds light on female students, abuse survivors, and refugee students through conducting special sessions for and with them under the monitoring of mental health experts. As a Global Fellow, she aims to create a space at AQB where students interact with and connect with the OSUN community, helping them build their own change-leading initiatives and provide necessary support.
As a Global Fellow living in the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya, I want to support other students who are refugees as they pursue their civic engagement projects. I am currently enrolled in foundation credit courses and in the fall of 2021 I plan on enrolling in a degree program. In the future, my long-term goal is to design my own initiative, “Accelerated Learning Program,” which supports higher education for refugees, displaced individuals, and impoverished students.
As rising authoritarianism threatens democracies and liberal education worldwide, networks like the Open Society University Network (OSUN) become all the more necessary, writes Jonathan Becker, Bard’s vice president for academic affairs and vice chancellor of OSUN, for Liberal Education. A founding member of OSUN, Bard has brought 25 years of experience in global engagement with the liberal arts and sciences—experiences that Becker says “taught us lessons in resilience and lasting impact.” Building on Bard’s history of supporting refugees dating back to 1956, its participation in OSUN is another hallmark of its commitment to civically grounded education. Now, with Afghan and Ukrainian refugees, and especially students, in need of safety and support, Bard and OSUN are engaged in a “mosaic of efforts,” protecting democratic values, helping students to thrive, and sharing resources for the common good.
Read More in Liberal Education
I am a teacher in the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya and my goal is to serve as an advocate for refugee children who need access to schooling. I look forward to interacting with other Global Fellows this year so I can gain from their experience. This will help me in my project “Children Out of School,” which promotes civic engagement activities that support vulnerable children in refugee camps or elsewhere who need schooling.
As a Global Fellow, Robert's aim is to assist and support youth from his community in Kakuma Refugee Camp in an effort to prevent them from using harmful drugs, a problem that has affected many youths, causing them to drop out of school and engage in criminal activities. His long term goal is to enroll in a degree program in order to take youth empowerment at Kakuma Refugee Camp to a greater level.
Legislative Win Follows Years-Long Fight for Student Voting Rights
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, NY — As a part of the new budget, the New York State Legislature and Governor Kathy Hochul have passed legislation to mandate polling places on college campuses with 300 or more registered students or at a nearby site proposed by the college. The legislation will also prevent the division of college campuses into multiple voting districts.
“The legislation is critical, because it will stop practices designed to suppress student voting, including situating polling in locations that are difficult to access and dividing campuses into multiple districts,” said Jonathan Becker, Executive Vice President of Bard College and Director Bard’s Center for Civic Engagement. “It means that New York college students can now focus more on whom they should vote for rather than whether they can vote. We hope it will set a precedent for other states to follow.”
The legislation, based on New York Bill A454/S4658, was supported by the coalition Let New York Vote, uniting groups like GenVote, NYPIRG, Citizens Union, and Common Cause, as well as representatives from The Andrew Goodman Foundation and Bard College; the latter two have worked together on voting rights at Bard for a decade. Today’s statewide legislative victory is a direct result of 2020 and 2021 lawsuits filed by The Andrew Goodman Foundation and Bard College to bring a polling place to campus. The experience of generations of Bard students, many of whom have served as Andrew Goodman Ambassadors, in battling voter suppression efforts by the Dutchess County Board of Elections was central to the arguments for the need for a statewide legislative fix.
"This recent win in the New York State Legislature is not just a win for civic engagement but also a win for accessibility. With its passing, Bard students and students across most New York State college campuses will be afforded access to their ballot. Although this is a huge win, the fight is not over. As students, we must stay vigilant in the battle for voting rights and access, as well as all the issues in between. We must continue to urge our elected officials to work for us, not against us. This win is a product of this continued push," said Aleksandar Demetriades '25, [email protected] student leader and Andrew Goodman Ambassador.
"I'm so excited to see this victory, after years of student voter advocacy across the state. As a Bard alumna, I'm happy that I could continue the fight that my peers (and those who came before us) worked on. But again, there's more work to be done. We look forward to continuing the fight to make sure elections are as accessible as possible," said Sarah deVeer '17, Outreach Coordinator, Center for Civic Engagement and Andrew Goodman Campus Champion.
“As a named plaintiff in our previous lawsuit and as a poll worker, I'm grateful that the New York State legislature has passed this groundbreaking legislation. Youth voters want to vote. It is not true that they are apathetic. It is true that lack of access to the polls is a barrier. This legislation helps New York move the needle on realizing the potential of the 26th Amendment and hopefully acts as an example for other states to take the next step,” said Erin Cannan, Bard College Vice President of Civic Engagement and Andrew Goodman Campus Champion.
“After our successful litigation, twice, on behalf of Bard College, its students, and its University President, the State of New York now sends a call that should resonate across the nation: college campuses – central locations where a protected class of voters studies, works, eats, and lives – are uniquely situated to serve as polling locations,” said Yael Bromberg, Chief Counsel & Strategic Advisor for The Andrew Goodman Foundation. “The Andrew Goodman Foundation equips our student ambassadors and campuses with critical, deep resources to help them organize, advocate, learn, and only when necessary, litigate. Our research has found that the availability of on-campus polling locations is among the most impactful electoral mechanisms in boosting youth turnout. Fifty years ago, this nation came together across partisan lines to ratify the Twenty-Sixth Amendment and protect access to the ballot free of age discrimination. The Andrew Goodman Foundation has worked to secure polling locations on campuses across the nation, from Florida to Arizona, and many more, and we will continue to do so, now heartened by this new path-breaking statewide win.”
Counsel on the 2021 lawsuit were Michael Donofrio, Esq. of Stris & Maher LLP, Doug Mishkin, Esq., and Yael Bromberg, Esq. of Bromberg Law LLC.
The Center for Environmental Sciences and Humanities at Bard College is pleased to announce the findings of the Kingston Air Quality Initiative (KAQI) after its first two years of research and data collection, as well as the availability of a new dashboard so that people in Kingston can access real-time information about their air quality.
KAQI began in January 2020 as a partnership between Bard’s Community Science Lab and the City of Kingston Conservation Advisory Council’s Air Quality Subcommittee to conduct a first-ever Kingston-centered air quality study. Since then, Kingston residents and Bard College students, staff, and faculty have conducted air quality monitoring in both indoor and outdoor environments.
KAQI’s main monitoring efforts focus on a regional assessment of air pollution from fine particulate matter (PM2.5), as measured from the roof of the Andy Murphy Neighborhood Center on Broadway in Kingston. PM 2.5 is made up of microscopic particles that are the products of burning fuel, and is released into the air through exhausts from oil burners, gas burners, automobiles, cooking, grilling, and both indoor and outdoor wood burning. PM 2.5 particles are so tiny, they stay suspended in the air for long periods of time, allowing them to travel long distances before depositing. When these particles are inhaled, they can enter the bloodstream through the lungs, creating or exacerbating health issues. The World Health Organization (WHO) states that “Small particulate pollution has health impacts even at very low concentrations–indeed no threshold has been identified below which no damage to health is observed.”
After two full years of monitoring, KAQI found that while many signs point to Kingston’s overall air quality being decent, conditions do sometimes reach unhealthy levels for some individuals, and there is certainly room for improvement.
Two important measures of PM2.5 air quality are the annual mean standard and the 24-hour average standard. For the period of measurement, Kingston met both the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) and the WHO’s annual mean standard. While the city was well below the EPA’s standard, it was much closer to the WHO’s stricter standard. For the 24-hour standard, Kingston met the EPA’s criteria, but was over the WHO’s 24-hour standard. For context, as of 2019, 99% of the world’s population was living in locations that do not meet the WHO’s air quality standards.
Long term trends can only really be evaluated on a multi-year time scale. These first two years of monitoring will provide a baseline for KAQI’s monitoring efforts in the next few years, and allow them to assess how Kingston particulate matter pollution levels are changing over time.
You can see these findings and more detail at the Center for Environmental Sciences and Humanities website: https://cesh.bard.edu/kingston-air-quality-initiative-kaqi/.
The Center for Environmental Sciences and Humanities at Bard College, in collaboration with KAQI, has developed a dashboard that allows Kingston residents to access real-time information about their city’s air quality. The current PM2.5 and PM10 conditions are shown and interpreted, and one can see the air quality sensor’s reading from the past 12 hours. A separate page allows users to explore the hourly readings of particulate matter from the whole Andy Murphy Neighborhood Center dataset.
The dashboard can be found at: https://tributary.shinyapps.io/AMNC_live/
“KAQI is an important model for ways that academic institutions can contribute concretely to the communities who surround and support them,” said Eli Dueker, Director of Bard’s Center for Environmental Sciences and Humanities. “We are combining serious efforts to monitor long-term air quality in Kingston with tools that allow us to put the data in front of residents in real time and give them feedback about what is going on in their city today.”
“This Kingston Air Quality Initiative monitoring project is such an important step that Kingston is taking toward assuring that its residents will breathe clean air into the future. This project responds to the need for both regional and neighborhood monitoring so that all residents’ air quality is taken into account. That the initiative focuses on PM 2.5 is especially important,” said Judith Enck, former EPA Regional Administrator.
Emily Flynn, City of Kingston Director of Health and Wellness, added “As we know, air quality can have significant impacts for respiratory infections, heart disease, stroke and lung cancer, and more severely affects people who are already ill. We applaud the work of the Center for Environmental Science and Humanities at Bard and thank them for their work here in Kingston.”
“Through the Kingston Air Quality Initiative dashboard, the Bard Center for Environmental Sciences and Humanities has provided a valuable tool to the City of Kingston and its residents: the ability to assess the health hazards posed by air pollution in real time. The long-term trend data recorded will be a resource for decision makers to see the patterns of air quality within the city and to understand the impacts of local changes on air quality.” said Nick Hvozda, Interim Director of the Ulster County Department of the Environment.
These figures demonstrate daily pm2.5 averages for 2020 and 2021. Each point represents a single day, with vertical lines representing the range of variation in hourly readings that day (if no vertical line visible, the variation was smaller than the graphic point). The blue line provides a smoothing line to give a sense of seasonal trends.
For more information or ways to get involved, visit https://kingston-ny.gov/airquality or https://cesh.bard.edu/kingston-air-quality-initiative-kaqi/
Bard College at Simon’s Rock in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, has received a $150,000 state grant to partner with Southern Berkshire Regional School District on a three-year pilot early college program. The Early College Full School Impact Planning Grant from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will support a large-scale, or “full school,” immersive program at Mount Everett Regional High School in Sheffield, Massachusetts, drawing upon elements from Simon’s Rock and the Bard Early Colleges.
Last week, as Bard College students gathered with faculty and staff to talk about climate solutions, they joined tens of thousands of students worldwide doing the same. The Worldwide Teach-In on Climate and Justice brought together climate-concerned educators and students at universities and high schools from Liberia to Colombia, Taiwan to Vienna, and Florida to Alaska, for bottom-up conversations about changing the future.
Bard alum Karianne Canfield ’20 helped facilitate a teach-in session on “Dealing with Climate Depression.” Following the discussion, a student said that this was the first time they had felt empowered to address their deep anxiety about the planet heating up, and what it meant for their future.
Dr. Eban Goodstein at Bard, one of the directors of the global teach-in, said, “We are living at a moment of extraordinary agency, with the tools at hand to solve the energy half of climate change by 2030. The teach-in is moving young people from despair about climate change to engagement.” He added: “As voters, volunteers, interns and in their career choices as artists, activists, scientists, or business people, young people are working to stop climate change.”
The Bard College headline event began with a “low-carbon” dinner and a dance performance. Over the next three hours, 25 faculty from multiple disciplines joined students in discussions including “Climate and Justice,” “Climate Stories and Songs,” “Climate Science: What You Need to Know,” and “Food Systems and Climate Solutions.” Students also learned about New York State’s ambitious climate law, and were invited to provide public comment.
In the Philippines, there were teach-ins at eight different locations. Adrienne Hangad, who helped organize an event at the Open University in Manila, was most engaged with the discussion about women and climate solutions. Prompted by a pre-teach-in discussion noting the absence of a climate change “anthem,” a team of Filipino organizers composed a powerful song, “Change Climate Change,” that was played at the event.
In Kyrgyzstan, climate workshops were held at 15 sites across the capital city of Bishkek. And from April 20 to 21, there will be an Africa-wide teach-in based in dozens of cities and towns, organized by the African Network of Young Leaders for Peace and Sustainable Development.
Commenting on her teach-in experience, Sofía Gómez, a student from Bogotá, Colombia, said, “I'm a strong believer in a mandatory class on climate change in schools and universities. This information allows us to open our eyes to how close we are to the climate crisis.” Khadija Ghanizada, a Bard student, added, “The teach-in was a window of hope for students. Most students I interact with are scared of climate change but also skeptical of the authorities and the work they are doing to mitigate it. We talked about how to push those in power to do their job in combating climate change.”
Building on a foundation of more than 300 participating organizations this year, the teach-in organizers hope to engage 1,000 colleges, universities, and other institutions next year, targeting at least 100,000 participants. “There are tens of thousands of climate-concerned educators around the world,” said Project Director Goodstein. “The teach-in provides a global platform for us to work together, to equip the rising generation with the tools and mindset to solve the climate crisis.”
The Worldwide Teach-In on Climate and Justice, and Bard’s flagship event, is a project of the Graduate Programs in Sustainability (GPS) at Bard College, with support from the Open Society University Network. GPS degree programs include MS degrees in Environmental Policy and Climate Science and Policy; the MEd in Environmental Education, and the MBA in Sustainability, ranked the #1 Green MBA for 2021 and 2022, and among the top 10 MBAs nationwide for Nonprofit Management for both years by the Princeton Review.
Vice President for Civic Engagement Erin Cannan and Sadia Saba ’21, former Andrew Goodman Foundation ambassador at Bard College, discussed Bard’s polling location win on Live the Legacy. Offering lessons from decades of on-campus organizing, including efforts dating back to 1998, Cannan said that Bard’s involvement in securing voting rights for students stemmed out of a sense of pedagogical duty. “From an institutional perspective, Bard considers itself a private college in the public interest,” she said. “Institutions themselves have to play an active role in protecting rights as a form of education for students to understand what that takes.” In 2021, the New York Appellate Division unanimously affirmed the decision of Dutchess County Supreme Court Judge Maria Rosa to situate a polling place on the Bard College campus for District 5 voters, creating a more equitable and accessible voting site for Bard students and the Bard College community. Read more about that decision here.
Bard College student Elisabeth Sundberg ’22 has won a Davis Projects for Peace prize for her proposal, “Tracing The Turnrow Web: Appalachian Rising.” Human rights and studio arts major Sundberg will receive $10,000 to facilitate a series of collaborative art projects across the Turnrow network in West Virginia. Turnrow Appalachian Farm collective is a food hub connecting 100+ farms across West Virginia and providing fresh vegetables to their local communities. Working with farmers, artists, activists, and students, her work will “strengthen connections between the organizations within Turnrow and those between food producers and customers and celebrate the work that the different parts of the Turnrow food hub are doing, including education, food access, and strengthening local food landscapes.”
Sundberg’s project proposes to engage West Virginian residents with each other and their food systems through a series of community art events. Over the summer, she will facilitate a two week-long art project that includes the creation of a participatory mural painting, patchwork table cloth, and celebratory communal meal in each of four larger regions that Turnrow serves. This project is a continuation of a grant-funded community project Sundberg facilitated last summer. Like a traditional quilting bee, the community will gather to create these artworks together. The murals serve as a lasting visual representation of community work and the table cloths as an artifact which will be used by the network for potlucks, yearly business meetings, fundraising, and other events that Turnrow organizes. “Peace is not possible without food security and food justice. Many small towns in West Virginia don’t have a grocery store and rely on the Dollar General chain for their groceries. It is important to acknowledge that poor eating habits are not due to ignorance about healthy food choices, but due to lack of access. Peace is promoted when everyone has the right to local, sustainable, and nutritious produce, which is why organizations connecting farming and food access are so important,” says Sundberg.
Projects for Peace was created in 2007 through the generosity of Kathryn W. Davis, a lifelong internationalist and philanthropist who believed that today’s youth—tomorrow’s leaders—ought to be challenged to formulate and test their own ideas. To learn more, visit: middlebury.edu/office/projects-for-peace.
Sydney Oshuna-Williams ’24, who is majoring in film and electronic arts and philosophy, has been recognized for her commitment to solving public problems. Campus Compact, a national coalition of colleges and universities working to advance the public purposes of higher education, has named Oshuna-Williams one of 173 student civic leaders who will make up the organization’s 2022–2023 cohort of Newman Civic Fellows. The Newman Civic Fellowship recognizes students who stand out for their commitment to creating positive change in communities locally and around the world.
As the founder of the Me In Foundation, Oshuna-Williams seeks to increase artistic education opportunities for underrepresented youth through social and cultural awareness year-round programming. In her first semester at Bard College, Oshuna-Williams created the Me In Foundation as a Trustee Leader Scholar project. The Foundation allows youth scholars to share their stories through a variety of different art forms and currently works with over one-hundred and fifty K-12 students in Upstate New York and Atlanta. Oshuna-Williams is also a Mogul in Training at Usher Raymond’s non-profit organization, Usher’s New Look, where she facilitates conversations centered around college and career readiness as well as financial literacy. Oshuna-Williams continues to use her passion for storytelling to bring untold truths to the surface because, as she says, “Every story deserves to be heard by the characters who live it."
Through the fellowship, Campus Compact will provide these students with a year of learning and networking opportunities that emphasize personal, professional, and civic growth. Each year, fellows participate in numerous virtual training and networking opportunities to help provide them with the skills and connections they need to create large-scale positive change. The cornerstone of the fellowship is the Annual Convening of Fellows, which offers intensive skill-building and networking over the course of two days. The fellowship also provides fellows with pathways to apply for exclusive scholarship and post-graduate opportunities.
The fellowship is named for the late Frank Newman, one of Campus Compact’s founders, who was a tireless advocate for civic engagement in higher education. In the spirit of Dr. Newman’s leadership, fellows are nominated by Campus Compact member presidents and chancellors, who are invited to select one outstanding student from their campus each year.
“Sydney Oshuna-Williams, a second year Posse scholar at Bard College, is a very active student addressing mental health healing in our student body (as a peer health educator specializing in the healing of BIPOC students) and securing pathways to creative careers for kids in our neighboring communities. Sydney is currently serving as a peer counselor (Bard's version of residential advisor) to support students in their living environments and a Sister2Sister mentor (a student-led mentorship program providing guidance and opportunity to young women of color). Sydney also partners Bard's neighboring school districts with schools in her home state of Georgia to bridge opportunity across geographical limitations,” said Bard President Botstein.
By Jae Zimmerman
Earlier this week Bard Farm co-hosted a workshop on Organic Garden Planning with Four Corners Community Farm. On a Sunday afternoon, 13 people joined Samuel Rose from Four Corners and Jae M. Zimmermann, Bard graduate student and Bard Farm community education coordinator, as they led a session about organic gardening.
“Everyone engaged with the material and asked lots of questions. Some even started designing their own gardens and got feedback from their peers and the instructors," said Zimmerman. "The gathering began as a group of strangers but had a community feel by the end."
One popular part of the event was an outdoor stretching activity that helped participants visualize the path and angle of the sun at different times of the year.
This event was the first in a series of workshops spanning the entire gardening season. The next workshop will cover seeds and seeding techniques and include hands-on work in the greenhouse. It will take place at the Four Corners Community Farm in Red Hook on Sunday, March 13 from 2-4pm.
Register for "Seeding Techniques" by March 10th to secure transportation from the Bard campus, or to request childcare or Spanish interpretation.
[email protected] is a high school retention and college persistence organization cofounded by Dariel Vasquez ’17 and Harry Johnson ’17 when they were students at Bard College. The organization works to improve the academic and social-emotional outcomes for young men of color in both secondary and postsecondary education.
The organization mentors roughly 50 Kingston High School students each year, teaching them life skills, aiding in academics, and organizing trips to colleges and conferences. Student outcomes and success stories at Kingston High School have been impressive. Principal Vincent DeCicco says their graduation rate for black male students has increased every year since [email protected] began their mentorship program at Kingston High School, rising from about 47-48% when [email protected] first came in, to the most recently reported 80-81% graduation rate.
In a video produced as a case study for Open Society Network (OSUN), of which Bard is a founding partner, [email protected] Executive Director Vasquez asks: “What happens when you take those people who are closest to the problem and often furthest from the resources . . . and position that group to lead the work and not just be objects of it? They tend to have the most creative solutions. They tend to be those who can see the problem and understand it and break it down and address it better than anyone else.”
Partnering locally with Kingston High School and other organizations including Camp Ramapo in Dutchess County, [email protected] has pioneered a model for near-peer mentoring programs, which is becoming a national model. “What we realized was when you do same-generation mentorship it’s like a mirror that’s put up . . . It makes them feel like they can literally be that person tomorrow,” says Vasquez.
Kingston High School student Damien Figueroa, [email protected] mentee, says, “[email protected] is a brotherhood. It’s laughter, it’s love, it’s a safe space.”
About [email protected]
Since 2014, [email protected] has grown from a student-led pilot program ([email protected]) and institutional initiative, to a state-wide scalable model focused on expanding to college campuses and local communities across NY State and all 5-boroughs ofCa NYC. The organization serves as a platform for hope, self-empowerment, and engagement—pressing needs among low-income and underrepresented students in secondary and higher education.
Today, [email protected] works with nearly 200 young men of color annually—recruiting, training and hiring collegiate men of color to become mentors and positive male role-models to young men of color in high school through our weekly programming during the academic school year—ultimately providing access to meaningful opportunities, and creating pathways to full-time employment on college campuses, local communities, high schools, and youth-serving nonprofits and organizations.
Through cross-sector collaborations and partnerships with public and private institutions, corporations and nonprofits, [email protected] is a blueprint for addressing the ever-growing opportunity gaps YMOC face, and challenging historically exclusive and predominately white institutions to become inclusive spaces for young people.
To learn more, please visit brothersat.org or follow @Brothersat_ on Twitter and @Brothersat_ on Instagram.
In an opinion piece for Inside Higher Ed, Bard College President Leon Botstein and Arizona State University President Michael Crow assert the time is now for the Biden administration to act on establishing a new university sponsorship program for refugee students.
“A little more than a year ago, President Biden issued an executive order to revitalize the U.S. refugee program, and his administration subsequently articulated plans to launch a pilot program allowing private entities to identify refugees for sponsorship and support their resettlement. Higher education leaders mobilized in response, knowing this could create a college and university pathway for refugee students to resettle, study and stay in the U.S.,” write Botstein and Crow, whose institutions are leaders in the evacuation and resettlement process of Afghan students. “[ . . . ] As we continue to respond to urgent needs of Afghan evacuees, and as we watch the unfolding situation in Ukraine, we must recognize that the challenge is far greater than just one country’s displaced population.”
Calling on the administration and other higher education leaders to join in these efforts, they write: “As our two examples demonstrate, support for refugee students’ higher education does not have to be limited to only one type of institution: ASU is a state university with one of the largest enrollments in the nation, while Bard is a liberal arts college with an enrollment of about 2,000. Despite our differences, we share in the commitment to refugee students’ education and recognize that now is the time—and the new university pathway the vehicle—to meet this global challenge facing higher education.”
ASU’s Education for Humanity initiative and Bard are helping lead the Refugee Higher Education Access Program, a pillar of the Open Society University Network. This program serves learners who require additional university-level preparation in order to transition into certificate or degree programs.
This story was originally published by the Open Society University Network.
By Jonathan Becker, OSUN Vice Chancellor and Daniel Calingaert, OSUN Managing Director
As Hyazinth Baumann completed her senior year at Bard, a small liberal arts college known for its vibrant classrooms and intensive faculty engagement with students, she made a surprising observation: one of her favorite courses as an undergraduate was taught online. She appreciated the opportunity to learn together with students living all around the world. Even as institutions transition back to a full slate of in-person classes, many students like Baumann want to maintain the valuable international connections they made through online courses during the pandemic. The global classroom looks set to become an essential feature of higher education.
While a “global classroom” typically refers to a small set of courses cotaught with one other university overseas, Bard and other partners in the Open Society University Network (OSUN) have offered students a distinctly different international experience. OSUN online courses have brought together a highly diverse mix of students and faculty for the duration of a semester and given them ample opportunities to share knowledge and perspectives they previously might never have encountered.
The civic engagement courses taught by Bard’s Jonathan Becker, for example, included students from partner universities in Afghanistan, Austria, Bangladesh, Germany, Kyrgyzstan, Haiti, and Myanmar and from Tuskegee, a historically Black university in the United States. Other OSUN courses have incorporated displaced people from Somalia, Sudan, Congo, and Burundi in Kakuma and Dadaab refugee camps in Kenya.
This diverse mix exposes students to a far broader range of perspectives than they previously had. Bard student Maureen Blackmore, for example, was inspired by the determination of her fellow students in the face of upheavals within their countries, such as the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in Haiti, and the crackdowns on political dissent in Myanmar. She had previously approached civic engagement as participation in democratic processes. Through the OSUN course, Blackmore gained appreciation for the value of collective action regardless of circumstance to promote civic life, or at least to preserve it in the face of authoritarianism and civil strife.
Yaw Kwakyi, a student at Ashesi University in Ghana, says “An OSUN course is an opportunity to be part of a global experience.” Before taking the OSUN course on "Media, Communications, and Discrimination," Kwakyi had limited global or virtual experience, and his knowledge of current events was focused mainly on Ghana and the United States. The course exposed him to a wider range of perspectives, including from students in Belarus. “In that space I had now become an international or foreign exchange student,” says Kwakyi.
OSUN’s enhanced version of the global classroom challenges students’ assumptions and worldviews like no other does. Sabina Rashid, Dean of the School of Public Health at OSUN partner BRAC University in Bangladesh, calls it a “multidirectional sharing of knowledge.” Unlike many international programs that, in essence, export American academic programs, the enhanced global classroom actively invites knowledge from professors and students around the world.
A separate category of OSUN courses, called network collaborative courses, are codesigned across partner institutions and offered simultaneously at multiple campuses. Enrollment per course typically involves several campuses and can extend to a dozen institutions. The codesign of the global classroom thus has evolved from a set of bilateral collaborations to multilateral partnerships.
In 2020–21, OSUN offered more than 180 courses across 25 campuses worldwide to more than 3,000 students. They began as a reaction to the pandemic but quickly grew to scale. As courses moved online in the summer of 2020, OSUN institutions opened enrollment to students at other campuses, and students responded enthusiastically. In course evaluations, the vast majority of students said they planned to take another OSUN course. The number of OSUN courses has diminished this academic year, now that most OSUN students are back in person, but dozens of OSUN courses are still on offer.
OSUN courses have significantly expanded the course offerings for students across the network, and in some institutions, had a transformative effect. At Ashesi University, for example, the introduction of OSUN courses more than tripled the university’s course offerings in the liberal arts each semester, according to Provost Angela Owusu-Ansah.
The geographic diversity of OSUN among its 41 member institutions has allowed it to create a significantly enhanced—and multidirectional—global classroom and bring the global classroom to scale. The global classroom, in turn, invigorates the network by building common purpose across partner institutions and immersing students in widely diverse perspectives.
The possibilities for growth are promising. OSUN is developing certificate programs that will require one or more shared courses. The offerings of OSUN courses will be planned further in advance so that they can be better integrated into degree programs at partner institutions, including anticipated dual degree partnerships. And the enhanced global classroom can facilitate greater access to in-person student mobility. First-generation students at Bard, for example, might take the leap to study at the American University of Central Asia in Kyrgyzstan junior year because they already know students there from the OSUN courses they have taken.
The enhanced global classroom is expanding the horizons for students and faculty, whose enthusiasm is palpable. It may well set the trend for international collaboration in higher education over the years ahead.
Jonathan Becker, executive vice president and director of the Center for Civic Engagement, argued for the passage of New York Bill A454/S4658, which would provide on-campus polling sites at colleges with more than 300 locally registered voters and prevent the division of college campuses into multiple election districts. Connecting the issue to broader voting trends across the State, Becker says that students, who work and volunteer in their college communities for the public good, deserve accessible voting sites. “Isn’t it hypocritical to welcome college students into our core community institutions while excluding them from exercising their right to vote as citizens in those communities?” Becker asks.
Read and Listen on WAMC
To celebrate the College’s 12th Annual Martin Luther King Day of Engagement, more than 250 Bard students participated in volunteer opportunities, campus projects, workshops, and panels over the holiday weekend. Most students were on campus for the Citizen Science Program; they were joined by Upper College student leaders.
Students chose from a dozen engagement opportunities on campus on Saturday, January 15. They included creating compost stations for residence halls—a new project by the Bard Office of Sustainability and part of a comprehensive campus effort to reduce waste. Student volunteers also assembled PECS boards (Picture Exchange Communication System) for Ramapo for Children, a local community partner. PECS boards are an essential tool for nonverbal students and their instructors at Ramapo. Other efforts included planting microgreens, sorting donations at the campus FreeUse store, and deep cleaning the Sawkill Coffee House so that Red Hook Responds can use it to distribute meals to those in need this winter.
On Monday, the College hosted virtual conference panels and workshops responding to Martin Luther King’s legacy of activism and social justice. More than 220 students attended panels on social entrepreneurship with Bard alumni/ae and guests from Bard’s international partner campuses who have turned their activism into civically engaged careers. In the afternoon, students joined several workshops on a range of topics, including defending student voting rights, literacy and justice, advocating for farm workers rights, and disability justice in the health care system.
“I could hit a reset on everything that was painful and traumatic to me and really go out and get the life that I deserved but never had.” So says Kafi Dixon in A Reckoning in Boston, a new PBS documentary that will premiere on Martin Luther King Day, January 17. The film follows Dixon and Carl Chandler, a fellow student in Bard’s Clemente Course in the Humanities—a free, college-accredited program for low-income adults—as they are immersed in the study of Baldwin, Monet, Plato, and many others, all while working to combat racial inequality and gentrification in their city.
The Boston Globe called the film “an absolute must-see,” Arts Fuse named it among the 10 best documentaries of the year, and Cornel West observed that it “lays bare the transformative force of the humanities in our lives in these turbulent and troubling times.”
For 25 years in more than 30 programs across the country, the Clemente Course has helped lift people out of poverty and offered them the skills to advocate for themselves, build better futures, and contribute to the civic life of their communities. Dixon and Chandler are just two of the many remarkable students—many of whom have faced poverty, homelessness, and interrupted education—who have experienced Clemente as a site of personal growth.
Kafi Dixon is an urban and rural farmer and founder of the Common Good Co-op, Boston’s first cooperative for women and its first worker/owner urban farm co-op. Carl Chandler is a grandfather and a public speaker who continued his education at Harvard University after completing the Clemente Course.
Director James Rutenbeck worked with Dixon, Chandler, and the Clemente Course for more than five years. Dixon and Chandler’s roles evolved and they became collaborators and coproducers on the film, which has given them a voice in a national conversation about racism, social justice, and how to bring about lasting change.
In most markets, A Reckoning in Boston will air on January 17 at 10:00 pm ET on PBS stations, but local listings may vary.
Further Reading from the Clemente Course Blog
The World Premiere of a Very Clemente Story
A “Reckoning” in the Classroom
Starting college coursework early can give high school students a head start, particularly for low-income students, students of color, and for those who might be the first in their family to attend college. Last month, the Bard Early Colleges hosted “Rethinking College,” a virtual conference in which two early college students moderated a discussion with Roberto J. Rodriguez, assistant secretary of planning, evaluation, and policy development at the Department of Education, and Kevin Carey, vice president for education policy and knowledge management at the think tank New America. “What emerged was that fledgling adults are far more capable than the old paradigm gives them credit for,” writes Anne Pyburn Craig for Chronogram, “but that they are in dire need of opportunity girded with support.”
Bard Prison Initiative Senior Government Affairs Officer Dyjuan Tatro ’18 is calling for the New York State Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) to be restored for students in prison. “I have been able to achieve really life-changing things in terms of the types of opportunities that are usually afforded formerly incarcerated people and that's because I had access to a higher education while I was in prison,” Tatro says. Last week, Governor Kathy Hochul called to reinstate TAP eligibility for incarcerated students this year. The state legislature will still need to pass the bill before Hochul could sign it into law.
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