Year in Review: A look back at the most important events in the Canisius community  from the 2017-18 academic year, covered by The Griffin

By Adam Duke

Editor in Chief

Following a year in which students experienced problems with Canisius’ travel agent, Travel Team, the Griffs’ hockey team won the Atlantic Hockey Conference (AHC) for the first time in program history, and the administration struggled with Gov. Cuomo’s Excelsior Scholarship Program, Canisius faced new problems, but also experienced new triumphs in the 2017-18 school year.

The year started with 553 freshmen going through orientation. This was a drop from last year’s class of 600, which sparked an issue of rightsizing, with decreasing enrollment throughout the school. In September, Student Life developed “Today@Canisius,” which consolidates all of the club event announcements into one email to prevent the need for mass emails cluttering students’ inboxes. Sophomore senator Emily Augugliaro organized Reddy Bike bike rides through the city, as the bikes increased in popularity amongst students, with a new bike rack outside Old Main. To round out the month, The Griffin profiled Gabrielle Walter, current Miss New York and Canisius alumna, who graduated in 2015.

Come Oct. 2, Canisius had its “Great to be a Griff” day, where administration announced the Excellence Within Reach campaign, which reduced tuition from nearly $35,000 to $27,000 to provide more of an incentive for incoming students to enroll at Canisius. With this announcement, scholarships were also reduced, which created a commotion amongst students.

Later in the month, Canisius’ Afro-American Society began its celebration of its 50th anniversary. The club was formed to give African American students a voice on campus and to create a diverse atmosphere. This year, the club held events such as the poetry and fashion art exhibit, the soul food dinner, and the annual Afro-American Society Ball, which was held last week. In addition, the school saw activism on the Griffs’ volleyball team as three players took a knee for the national anthem for several games, inspired by the movement begun by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who was displeased with police brutality and oppression of people of color in the United States.

Following the impact of Hurricane Maria later in the month, the entire volleyball team rallied together to assist teammate Andrea Díaz López, her family, and the island of Puerto Rico.

November brought forth talks of divestment, as Augugliaro spoke with Canisius’ vice president of business and finance, Marco Benedetti at USA’s first meeting of the month, about letting go of unethical or morally ambiguous investments. November also sparked what would become the issue The Griffin covered most in-depth throughout the year, the authorization of a strike by facilities workers after the contract dispute between their union and Canisius administration. Talks of possible strike began when the union’s labor contract expired in May. Due to lower enrollment, resources including facilities’ benefits, particularly retirement benefits, had to be cut. Canisius president and former Griffin editor John J. Hurley said that returning retirement benefits was a “top priority.”

Facilities disputes continued through December, as students and faculty joined the unionized workers in a rally at 9 Hughes Ave. early in the month. The rally spurred a march to President Hurley’s office, where the workers delivered a letter that expressed their concerns.

Over winter break, a soft serve ice cream machine was implemented in the dining hall.

The new semester began with the extension of negotiations for facilities workers, which remained at a standstill until February, as both the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and Hurley released statements on the contract, showing opposing views on it. The semester also brought the enforcement of a 2017 travel policy, which requires clubs and teams traveling on school-funded trips to limit one student per bed in hotel rooms. This created frustration in club leaders, who had to have more student funds allocated to be spent on additional hotel rooms.

Following The Griffin’s “Pillars” February editorial about USA and student apathy, Maddie Reed ‘18, spoke to USA about this lack of student involvement in club events. This began talks in USA requiring senators to attend these events to support their school. From these discussions, the School Spirit Committee was established by USA president Amelia Greenan.

March began with the first ever Community Week, from March 11 to March 17, beginning with Mass on Sunday and concluding with the Day of Service. Each day featured a new event that allowed students to learn about opportunities to get involved in the community. That same week, Dylan McLaughlin of Canisius hockey was named a top 10 finalist for the Hobey Baker Award on March 14, the second Griff to do so in the past two years. He was also named the AHC Player of the Year the next day. Canisius also had a school walkout that week, in solidarity with those across the nation walking out in support of stricter gun laws, due to the school shooting in Parkland, Fla.

This month, the College’s director of public safety, H. Wil Johnson, announced his retirement April 10. After three years as head of the department, he will be stepping down as director on May 19. On April 11, sophomore Isaiah Reese of the Canisius basketball team entered his name into the 2018 NBA draft. The following day, freshman Takal Molson also made the announcement that he would be entering his name into the draft, after a season that Griffin sports editor Marshall Haim described as featuring “the best team in two decades.” On April 13, The Griffin reported on rodents found in the freshman dorms, specifically on the fourth floor of Bosch. Students were charged an additional fee to move from the dorm and expressed their frustrations. The month concluded with USA elections, in which Matthew Smardz won president and Olivia Owens won VP. Senate election results were released last night via USA’s twitter account.

 

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