It’s been a turbulent time here in the Southern Tier since September, but finals week is finally upon us and the grades are in. Some of you will want to hang yours on the fridge, others might have to get home early and hide the mail from Mom and Pop. From digital hiccups to natural disasters, new athletic directors to new presidents, it’s a-time to get a-judging.
Flood relief efforts — A
September’s crippling flood drove tens of thousands of Broome County residents out of their homes and damaged or destroyed thousands of properties. Relief efforts brought the campus and community together in an unprecedented way, and everyone who played a vital role in helping work to repair our community and prop victims back up on their feet made the grade.
Binghamton University converted the Events Center and West Gym into temporary shelters. Students came out in droves to assist evacuees. Some worked 12-hour shifts in the Events Center, providing vital services, serving food, assisting the elderly, entertaining the children and keeping the place clean. Seniors, graduate students and faculty in the Decker School of Nursing helped care for the ill and infirm in the West Gym. Other students ventured into the community to help clean up flood debris, rebuild homes and assist families in whatever way they could. They, the Civic Center for Engagement, the Broome County Red Cross and all other participants deserve heavy pats on the back. FEMA’s response was tepid, but local efforts helped make up for a lack of federal initiative.
University athletics — C
When the University chose to hire Patrick Elliott as its next athletic director in October, we applauded the decision. Elliott will bring long-term stability to the department and will give athletics the opportunity to move forward and improve.
The department already took a step last month when Kyrie Sutton was dismissed from the men’s basketball team. Athletics handled the situation in an appropriate manner — Sutton’s slew of recent arrests didn’t exactly make him an “ideal” student-athlete. Both Macon and the athletic department refused to acknowledge the obvious link between the arrests and the dismissal, but regardless, cutting Sutton loose was the right move.
But despite this productive semester for the department, Binghamton’s marquee teams have been downright abysmal. There’s only so many ways to write about a blowout loss, but with the men’s basketball team still in the early part of its schedule, we should probably start brainstorming.
Presidential search process — D
Calling the presidential search a “process” at all is doing it much more justice than it deserves. Last year, transparency triumphed. Students and faculty got a chance to see each of the five finalists for the presidential position speak at open forums and ask the candidates specific questions about how they would run the school.
When SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher decided to call it a wash and virtually hand-pick our next president from behind the curtain, she did us all a terrible disservice. The future of our school should not have been in the hands of a few state leaders with political clout. As a public university, it belonged in the hands of the students, the faculty, and New York residents.
The only saving grace keeping us from giving the search process a failing grade is that come Jan. 1, 2012, when C. Peter Magrath has hung up his cleats, there will actually be someone taking snaps under center when the whistle blows on the spring semester.
Campus tech — C-
Let’s face it, our shiny computing toys have given us a lot of grief this semester. Between persistent Blackboard issues, the expected crashing of PODS printers and unwelcoming BU Brain interface changes, computers just haven’t been able to keep up. Good news for those of us trying to avert a robot takeover. Bad news for everyone else.
At least the people over at Information Technology Services appear to be doing the best they can with the resources that they have. If our University isn’t going to shell out for a newer version of Blackboard, higher bandwidth and more printers, there’s only so much ITS can do.
Student Association — B+
No scandals, two concerts and The New York Times is now available on campus.