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Rockland Community College Receives National Award for Excellence in Diversity

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SUFFERN, NY – Rockland Community College has been selected as a 2021 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award winner from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the nation’s oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education. This national honor recognizes US colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion. RCC will be featured, along with 100 other recipients, in the November 2021 issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. This is the first time RCC has been named as a HEED Award recipient.

“Diversity reflects an appreciation and respect for the unique gifts and talents in all of us,” said RCC President Dr. Michael A. Baston. “To close equity gaps, community colleges must first offer a safe and welcoming environment. Then we can create strategic partnerships between the college and the community and take advantage of our organizational resources and collaborative leadership to ensure equitable opportunities and outcomes for all our students.”

“Last year RCC started developing an actionable plan by establishing a working group to review the legacy of diversity efforts led by the College’s former Diversity Council and to build on their outcomes to reflect current realities. We are now developing a new college-wide plan that incorporates those recommendations with recommendations from all areas of the College. The new plan will include specific outcomes that are measurable using key performance indicators to be reported on an equity
scorecard,” stated Melissa L. Roy, Chief Diversity Officer for RCC.

“The HEED Award process consists of a comprehensive and rigorous application that includes questions relating to the recruitment and retention of students and employees — and best practices for both — continued leadership support for diversity, and other aspects of campus diversity and inclusion,” said Lenore Pearlstein, publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. “We take a detailed approach to reviewing each application in deciding who will be named a HEED Award recipient. Our standards are high, and we look for institutions where diversity and inclusion are woven into the work being done
every day across their campus.”

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Statement: Congressman Lawler – George Santos Should Resign

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PEARL RIVER, NY – Rockland’s Congressman Mike Lawler (NY-17) has released the following statement regarding controversial newly elected Congressman George Santos:

“It is clear that George Santos has lost the confidence and support of his party, his constituents, and his colleagues. With the extent and severity of the allegations against him, his inability to take full responsibility for his conduct, and the numerous investigations underway, I believe he is unable to fulfill his duties and should resign.”

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Statement from County Executive Ed Day

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Since Fall of 2021, I’ve adamantly spoken out against state legislation to create Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), as New York is a home rule state. Yesterday the Governor proposed expanding a property tax exemption that would allegedly reward homeowners who “build-out” ADUs, essentially incentivizing the development of these types of units. While there is no legislation currently in place requiring municipalities to allow ADUs, I fully believe that widespread construction of ADUs in suburban areas like Rockland County would be harmful to our community.

Last February, when Gov. Kathy Hochul pulled the bill from her 2023 executive budget, I was quoted saying:

“…the removal of this legislation from the Governor’s proposed State Budget seemingly is not the end but a re-start, one that I am convinced the Governor will throw her weight behind AFTER Election Day IF she is re-elected. Keep that in mind when you vote on November 8th.

The proposed ADU bills are still active and in committees in the Senate and Assembly. We will continue to oppose any attempt for this legislation to be revived.

While creating affordable housing is an admirable goal, our own Planning Department stated in their professional assessment the one-size-fits-all approach of the ADU legislation is extremely problematic and does not account for differences between rural, suburban, and urban communities and I’m concerned there is a strong likelihood that the character of our County could be changed forever.

I am concerned as well about some of the mandates included in the Governor’s new NY Housing Compact that will require municipalities to change zoning in specific areas of their communities and meet mandatory home growth targets. As your County Executive, and past president of a local civic association, I believe this concept to be contradicted by the Constitution of New York State and will continue to stand firmly in opposition to any politically based plan that undermines New York State Home Rule regulations and municipal zoning ordinances. My Administration will keep all our options open in order to stop this plan in its tracks.”

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