October 30, 2012
To the John Jay College community:
We are just now starting to understand the full extent of the impact of Sandy. When we see the images of devastation around our region, our hearts go out to those who have lost power, seen their homes flooded or burned, or watched as trees caused extensive damage to their houses and cars. Families have been dislocated and, in some cases, lives have been lost. We send our heartfelt sympathies to everyone who has suffered from Sandy’s destruction.
In the midst of these stories of heartbreak we can be very proud of the role John Jay College has played from the beginning of the disaster. As you know, our College has been designated an evacuation center by the Mayor’s Office of Emergency Management. As we did over a year ago with Hurricane Irene, John Jay opened its doors to our fellow New Yorkers who had no other place to sleep. The first night of Sandy, we welcomed 20 guests in our North Hall facilities; last night we housed 250 evacuees. Their stories are also poignant. Some are homeless people who would have spent the night on the streets. Others were evacuated from their homes in Zone A. Still others were stranded in New York City when buses could no longer leave from Port Authority. All of them were provided a roof over their heads, a meal, and medical attention if needed.
Transforming North Hall into an evacuation center is a herculean task. Ably led by Senior Vice President Rob Pignatello, our John Jay colleagues have performed another miracle. I would like to thank our public safety officers – students and peace officers alike – who have worked double shifts for the past two days. Our facilities staff, information technology staff, and other essential personnel have shown remarkable dedication and professionalism. They have been assisted by a cadre of city employees, volunteers organized by the Office of Emergency Management. Allan Dobrin, CUNY’s Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Operating Officer, toured our facility yesterday and asked me to share his gratitude for the outstanding service provided by the John Jay team.
As you know, classes have been cancelled at CUNY again tomorrow, October 31. It will clearly take a few days for the City to restore essential services, so we are taking things a day at a time. In due course we will send a message to the college community regarding rescheduling of missed classes. In the meantime, please continue to check the John Jay website, listen for CUNY alerts, and stay safe.