This is the last issue that I will have the privilege of overseeing, and the moment is bittersweet. There are so many stories I wish The Pioneer had been able to cover.
The first was the administrative layoffs that occurred this semester. In response to inquiries about the layoffs, University President Kimberly Cline and Jackie Nealon, chief of staff and vice president of Enrollment, Campus Life and Communications, released the following statement:
Serving our students is LIU’s number one priority and one of the ways that we do that is to ensure that rising operational costs don’t find their way into increased tuition for students. LIU, with the support of the Board of Trustees, is working toward no more than a 2 percent annual increase until the year 2020.
In order to achieve that goal, the university must do several things over the next few months and years. Administrators and staff are being asked to look closely at their operations to ensure that they run at maximum efficiency… Students and faculty are LIU’s top priority and the budgetary measures that we have been putting into place are designed to improve and/or enhance academic areas, not hurt them.
Another story that I wish The Pioneer could have covered was about a Westbury taxi driver who filed a lawsuit this semester against several members of the LIU Post lacrosse team. The story, which was reported by Newsday in March, revealed that the cab driver claimed that the Post students used police connections to avoid being charged with skipping out on a $28 fare. The Newsday article also claimed that the cab driver was charged with nabbing the iPhone of one of the students and dragging a student alongside the cab, while in motion. Our writers use The Pioneer as a training ground, and they are often met with real-life scenarios, such as harsh criticism, limited information, no information and dead-ends, on and off campus.
Despite not being able to cover some stories that would have shaped important conversations on campus, I’m proud of many things. We were the first to report that MaryAnn Clark, the dean of the School of Health Professions and Nursing, resigned. We were also the first to break that two Norwegian students, Petter Holmsen and Maria Simone Emdal Otterlei, both from the School of Visual and Performing Arts, were chosen to be this year’s Valedictorian and Salutatorian.
We were also able to share some of Post students’ really memorable experiences with the entire community.
We reported on Marisa DeSilvestre, a third year student in the Radiological Technology, winning two Super Bowl XLVIII tickets—she took her dad to the game, by the way!
We were also able to follow Kirstin McDonough, a senior Health Science major and a four-year member of the LIU Post Dance Team, as she tried out for a second time, to be a member of the New York Jets’ Flight Crew. She was able to successfully complete the final round of the auditions, and will become a member of the Flight Crew, this season!
So, as the semester comes to an end, it’s important for us to look back at everything we have accomplished. The semester began on really icy terms — literally, as we battled endless snowstorms and multiple school closures. However, despite all of that, we are able to produce 12 issues, and seeing you all pick up the paper and read our stories online, made it all worth it.
As I get ready to hand the position over next year to Alyssa Seidman, a sophomore Print and Electronic Journalism major and Public Relations minor, and Maxime Devillaz, a sophomore Print and Electronic Journalism major and a member of the LIU Post soccer team, I realize that The Pioneer is invaluable to a community often plagued with secrecy. On a campus where approximately 80 percent of our students are commuters, the paper is essential in keeping us connected.
And we have been connected for so long — we have kept you updated and informed and you have validated our contributions by picking up the paper each week, speaking with our reporters and posing for photos!
In a matter of weeks, the Great Lawn will hold a couple thousand people, as we say goodbye to the students who have shaped the LIU community. With that being said, congratulations to all and best of luck out there in the real world—cliché, I know, but I don’t mean it any less!
As for The Pioneer, our first issue back will be on stands on September 10.