the left, Anshu Prabha, head of Albany
State Indian Alliance; Rita Fernando,
president of Liga Filipina; Christine
Kim, president of the Korean Student
Association, and Catherine Tsai, president
of the Asian American Alliance, were
among the student leaders who met informally
with President Kermit L. Hall Feb. 4
in the Campus Center.
Approach: Hall Meets Student Leaders
By Greta Petry (February 8,
President Kermit L. Hall, who
took office Feb. 1, has wasted no time in
getting to know students. After meeting with
student leaders in the first-floor Campus
Center lounge Feb. 4, he noted, “The student leaders are a wonderfully
diverse group who are united in their affection for the University at Albany.
I was moved that so many of them were present to shake my hand, one of the
historic ways people express unity.”
The students were talking enthusiastically
about Hall even before he entered the room.
Waxman, Kira Brady, and Mahaliel “J.R.” Bethea.
“I’ve only met him once but I
was really impressed, especially with his skipping
the inauguration” to direct money to
student scholarships, said Nick Chiuchiolo,
chair of the Student Senate. A sophomore from
Kendall, N.Y., Chiuchiolo said he is optimistic
that Hall will “bring student spirit
Student Association Chief Justice Brian Fessler,
a junior from Blue Point, N.Y., had also heard
good things about Hall, including how he is “hitting
the ground, listening.” Chiuchiolo and
Fessler are political science and history majors,
and both said they hope to get into a class
they heard Hall will be teaching on the history
of the Supreme Court. The new president is
a constitutional law scholar and legal historian.
J.R. Bethea, president of the Student Association,
was impressed that Hall took the time to seek
him out and send him an e-mail. “He’s
a good guy,” said Bethea, a junior from
White Plains and political science major with
a public law focus. “I see him being
a great person for the students. He really
goes out of his way.”
When Hall arrived a few moments later, he
took up a spot next to Bethea on the elevated
stairway. “I wanted J.R. to stand up
here with me to underscore the hope I have
that we will have a very strong bond,” Hall
The president said it is particularly important,
in an era of rising educational costs, that
UAlbany students find more “engines of
opportunity.” Hall asked students to
raise their hands if they were, like him, the
first person in their family to go to college.
Many hands went up.
Chief Justice Brian Fessler and Senate
Chairman Nick Chiuchiolo want to take
a class with President Hall.
“Without a place like the University
at Albany, the opportunity to make steps toward
a richer, more rewarding life would not be
possible,” he added.
Hall told the students it is important to
move issues forward regarding how UAlbany is
perceived in the world. He said that even Logan,
Utah, heard about problems at last year’s
Fountain Day through the news. “I cannot
believe this is the way you want your University
to be,” said Hall. “This is not
the President’s deal alone – this
is our deal,” he said.
Hall promised to make himself as available
as possible to the students. Toward that end
he is moving his office from the University
Administration Building on Western Avenue to
the third floor of the Science Library in part
of the New York State Writers Institute quarters.
Vice President for Student Affairs James P.
Doellefeld is also moving there. Students at
Friday’s event said they are pleased
the new president is establishing a presence
Hall shook hands with Middle Earth volunteers,
talked about Greek life with one student representative,
discussed NYPIRG with another student leader,
and met students from African-American and Asian
student groups. Chris King, a sophomore from
Colonie who is in charge of political action
for NAACP on campus, said it was a pleasure to
meet the new president in person. Jerome Garrett,
regional director of the NAACP as well as a UAlbany
student, said he hopes the new president will
bring in more students of color and those from