All posts by Michael Fuzie

Arts and Entertainment Editor of Compass News, freelance writer, and student at Suffolk County Community College, Michael has been a longtime fan of the arts. He believes that the arts show “one of the finest parts of society; the creative side”. He also holds politics in high esteem, believing it should be covered right down to the local level. Michael’s work has focused mainly on Arts and Entertainment, though that has not limited his range. He has covered political stories regarding his local community’s politics. His work has been published in Suffolk County Community College’s local campus paper The Compass News and the Suffolk Sentinel.

Springfest: A day of relaxation and enjoyment

Lexi Zarbo, Gianni, Dashay Robinson, and Aniecia Jones were on the line for spray tattoos. Each were having a great time and loved SCCC had Springfest. Photo by Michael Fuzie. (May 2, 2018)

Suffolk County Community College hosted its annual Springfest in Veterans Plaza on May 2.  The festival, which lasted from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., allowed students to enjoy themselves as the spring semester draws to a close.

Here’s a sample of what was offered.

Rochelle Tharpe, executive administrator coordinator for Campus Activities, said, “I hope everyone has fun as we get close to the end of the semester.”

Tattoo artist Dylan Davereaux readies for the crowds.

Davereaux at work.

The cotton candy line was long until Springfest came to a close.

Joseph Lalota III Student Senator at the SGA booth bad high hopes for Springfest. “People love warm weather and free stuff.”

Lexi Zarbo, Gianni, Dashay Robinson, and Aniecia Jones were on the line for spray tattoos. Each were having a great time and loved SCCC had Springfest.

Students playing Frisbee.

At midday, Springfest was in full swing as the crowd grew large.

Students playing football in the Veterans Plaza field.

Unlocking misconceptions about what public safety can do

Suffolk County Community College Public Safety Director Baycan Fideli. Photo by Mike Gaisser (April 23, 2018)

Public safety officers keep order on each campus of Suffolk County Community College. They provide medical, health, environmental and fire safety for students and staff.

However, speaking to a journalism class on April 23, Public Safety Director Baycan Fideli said that there are misconceptions about what public safety can and cannot do in certain circumstances.

“There are assumptions that we can do something in a critical situation or we are not gonna be able to do anything,” Fideli said.

Perhaps most surprising to many, public safety officers are not sworn police officers, they cannot physically intervene in a fight.  Instead, they call in the Suffolk County Sixth Precinct.

In these “critical situations,” they also try to ease things by talking to the people involved and getting everyone’s identification.  This tactic was used in finding a drug dealer in a “focus area.” The undisclosed dealer was found and reported to the police who “took care of it”.

Charles Bartolotta,  Suffolk’s dean of students, described public safety officers as “peace officers.”

Suffolk County Community College Public Safety Director Baycan Fideli.

Prior to Suffolk, Fideli worked at Stony Brook University, which has a sworn police force.

“I came from Stony Brook a university with 10,000 living on campus, to a commuter school, which was a whole new population.”

Fideli described Suffolk’s public safety officers as “jacks of all trades”  because many things they do, seen and unseen. They are trained to react to any situation using the information available to them.  He said officers use demographic data, grouped by the 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.  and the 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. crowds, to help with this.

He said they look for “where are they coming from, what’s their story, what’s going on,” with safety the highest priority in any situation.

Asked if he believes public safety officers should be sworn police officers, he said, “I leave that up to the people. Our instinct is to help and we go right into it.”

SGA president-elect Avagrace Alfieri plans ‘to hit the ground running’

The results are in and Avagrace Alfieri has been elected as the next Student Government Association president.

In this podcast, Alfieri, who previously served as SGA’s secretary, discusses her plans and hopes for the future.

“There’s always room for improvement, and Suffolk is a great school, and that’s why I’m doing it. Because I want to make sure all the problems that we do have there are problems. I’m not going to sugar-coat it … that they do get solved,” Alfieri said.

The Election Results

President: Avagrace Alfieri

Senator: Michael Carnival

Senator: Jordan Flumignan

Senator: Yifan Jia

Senator: Joseph LaLota III

Senator: Gabriella Mayers

Senator: Vincent Sparagna

Senator: Ozgur Yildirim


Middle States team visits Suffolk ahead of accreditation decision

A team from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education visited Suffolk County Community College March 19-20 to meet with faculty and students and review an SCCC self-study.

Middle States is an accreditation organization for colleges. The accreditation, which is done every eight years, is necessary for university students to receive federal tuition and aid.

At a March student open forum, which was attended by about 30 people, about 15 students from all campuses took the opportunity to voice their opinions about their experiences at Suffolk.

The meeting started off with students giving positive feedback to the questions of the feedback.

“I basically have nothing but good things to say. If this institution wasn’t here I don’t think I would’ve had the opportunity to actually come to college,” said a student from the Eastern campus.

Laura Garcia, president of Student Government Association on the Ammerman campus voiced her positive opinion on the campus, said she believes her voice was heard as a leader on campus.

“We’re able to implement some great changes that I didn’t think were possible as a student, like the doors of opportunity and being able to go up to Albany and fight for student tuition, and fight for the Dreamers and fight for things students care about,” she said.

Garcia advised anyone who is new to “get involved.”

Felicia Molzon,  president of the Eastern Campus Phi Theta Kappa honor society, called for “program equity,” noting that the Eastern campus, which is smaller, doesn’t have the same number of events and programs that the Ammerman and Grant campuses do. She also said the college needs to do a better job preparing students for transfer, pointing to the month-long lack of a transfer counselor at the Eastern campus, which she called “detrimental to students” because it was during winter break.

Both Garcia and Molzon believe Suffolk will get reaccreditation.  Molzon said she believes the issues brought up will be resolved. Other students at the meeting said the same.

Professor Dan Linker,  SCCC’s Middle States Steering Committee co-chair, said he believed “the meeting went really well.”

“I think the students wanted to say good things about Suffolk and they were hesitant to say anything bad. But we wanted to hear anything that we can work on.”

He said he was happy that the students “spoke very well and passionately about their real concerns.” He thinks the major problems brought up will be addressed.

The next steps involve the commission providing an exit report, which will state whether Suffolk meets the commission’s seven standards for accreditation.

Linker believes Suffolk will get accredited, as well as some recommendations on areas for which it needs improvement, which is common, he said.

The determination on Suffolk’s accreditation will be released in June, committee members said.

SCCC’s meal plan should be optional

Suffolk County Community College bills $100 to its full-time students (those who take 12 credits or more) for its meal plan. The money is placed on a student’s I.D. card for use at the cafeteria or any vending machine on campus.

For three semesters, I made full use of the school’s meal plan. But for the current semester, I was unable to use it because I started out taking fewer than nine credits on campus.

Many people like it, a cashier in the Ammerman cashier’s office told me. But others see it as an expense they shouldn’t have to pay.

I prefer to save money and avoid using up all my financial aid rather than taking out an extra loan just to pay for a meal plan I don’t want.

The meal plan policy should be changed to be optional.

Students already have the ability to avoid the meal plan bill and remain full time, but it’s tricky. It comes down to taking online classes over traditional on-campus classes.

To get the meal plan, you have to be a full-time student and also “take nine credits minimum on a campus,” said the Ammerman cashier’s office general manager.

Before the start of a semester, if a student doesn’t take nine credits on a campus, they won’t be billed for the meal plan. If the student favors traditional classes, they can later transfer out of the online classes, successfully avoiding paying the $100. The one problem I found with this method is getting a schedule in line with your personal life.

It is true that “many people like” the meal plan, but then why not give the option at the start of the semester? Then you can truly tell who likes it.

SCCC students weigh in on Suffolk bag law

A new Suffolk law enacted in January that charges 5 cents per plastic bag at stores has many supporters and detractors.

At Suffolk, students similarly have varying opinions.

Josh Urban 19, a liberal arts student at Suffolk, says he doesn’t like t like how it has “slowed down lines in stores.” Urban said he’s also encountered inconsistencies with certain stores not charging for bags, sparking a “disdain for the law.”

For Kate Roma, 20, a liberal arts major the new law doesn’t bother her. “It’s only 5 cents, and I drop that in purse every time I pay cash,” said said. And while  slower lines annoy her, “it hasn’t really been that big of a deal.”

The law also has its outright supporters among students.

“I like it because it reduces the amount of bags you see on the side of the road, or at least my road. Also, it finally forces people to buy the reusable bags,” Matthew Brown, 19, who works at Best Market. and he loves when people bring in the reusable bags. “They have tons more room in them and they can carry much more than your typical crappy bag.”

Brown says customer still complain about longer lines, and they constantly forget their reusable  bags.

“People unintentionally hide their reusable bags, say they want [a plastic bag], then remember they have a bag, or they slow my ringing down cause they can’t decide if they want a bag. Honestly, there are times where I miss the convenience, but it’s a double-edged sword.”