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10/20/2020   - 'A Robust Plan': New SUNY Chancellor Tours Campus

'A Robust Plan': New SUNY Chancellor Tours Campus


New SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras praised SUNY Plattsburgh leadership for the job they are doing with reopening during a pandemic.

During a campus tour Tuesday, Malatras congratulated President Alex Enyedi on a wonderful job his administration has accomplished in a very short time frame.

“I don't think he expected to walk into a presidency in a middle of a pandemic, but we all make strange choices in our lives,” Malatras said.

“But he has, though, really strongly, and I wanted to come here as chancellor to show colleges and universities all across the country how you can do this well.

“What President Enyedi is doing here is an example of how you can reopen safely, how you can protect your students, and how you can offer a robust educational opportunity to people who want to come back to campus.”

Tuesday's visit was the chancellor's second such tour of a SUNY campus since he was appointed to his post as the 14th chancellor of the State University of New York on Aug. 21.

On Sunday, he toured SUNY New Paltz.

Malatras has a long history with the SUNY system having served as both president of SUNY Empire and also working as a vice chancellor with Nancy Zimphir.

WALK THIS WAY

Enyedi, Malatras, and North Country Chamber of Commerce President Garry Douglas and an entourage started a campus tour at Hawkins Hall, where they observed face-to-face classes in session.

Then, they walked to Ausable Hall, where the college's School of Business & Economics is located.

After a walk along Hawkins Pond, the group made their way to the Angell College Center, where Malatras interacted with students.

They crossed the street to visit the Equal Opportunity Program located in Macomb Hall.

A stop at the Student Health & Counseling Center was followed by a pass through the Clinton Dining Hall and back to a news conference in Hawkins Hall.

“I had the opportunity to walk with Jim and with Garry to show them the campus, give them some examples of the incredible amount of work that's gone into our reopening and restart plan, show them some classrooms, show them how we're doing dining,” Enyedi said.

“And as you can see in this room as it looks, how we we're doing social distancing to ensure safe and healthy restart to the campus.”

POLICY EXPERTISE

Prior to joining SUNY Empire State College, where he served as the fifth president, Malatras served as president of the Rockefeller Institute of Government, where he led the Institute’s modernization effort to offer policymakers evidence-based policy analysis and recommendations on timely topics.

“I thank you President Enyedi for your leadership here at this great SUNY institution,” Malatras said.

“I want to thank Garry for joining us here as well. Garry is a pillar of the community and part of what we're doing with our reopening plans is trying to instill confidence in parents and students that we got this. We're handling this in a safe and secure way. Our students are protected, and our community is protected.”

NATIONAL TEMPLATE

Malatras said it was a testament to the president's leadership and his team's leadership and tireless work.

He observed students social distancing, wearing masks and washing their hands.

“They are doing all of those things as responsible parts of the community, as citizens of the community that they should be doing,” Malatras said.

“I think President Enyedi has been communicating to the public, something I'm going to go around also as the chancellor, and meet with folks all across the SUNY System to make sure that we are maintaining the ability to stay open.”

The chancellor remarked on how too many sister colleges and universities around the nation have reopened to only close quickly.

“Because they don't have strict, robust plans in place like here at SUNY Plattsburgh and that began just because of the hard work of what this team here has been doing,” he said.

Two students have tested positive for COVID-19 since students began to arrive last week. They are being quarantined.

“As many of you know, there are two cases of students who were positive at SUNY Plattsburgh," Malatras said.

"Those procedures of isolating the students, and monitoring the students and doing contact tracing are working extraordinarily well.”

CUOMO INSIDER

Malatras held several high-ranking positions in New York State government, according to SUNY's website.

He served as director of state operations to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, where he managed the day-to-day operation of state government and served as the administration’s point person on policy development and implementation.

He previously served as deputy secretary for policy management to Governor Cuomo and as deputy director of policy on his successful campaign for governor.

An education policy expert, Malatras served as the executive director of the governor’s New NY Education Reform Commission from 2012-2014.

He also previously served as executive directive of legislative affairs and state policy to Attorney General Cuomo and legislative director to former assemblyman and current Rockefeller Institute board member, Richard L. Brodsky.

SUNY FIRST

Malatras received his bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and doctorate in political science from the University at Albany.

“Being a new chancellor or relatively new, but a product of the SUNY system, which I love,” he said.

“I'm a three time graduate of SUNY. I still find it hard to believe that I'm the first SUNY graduate to become chancellor. I believe in public education. I also believe that our SUNY colleges and campuses are part of the communities that we're in. We are not separate from our communities. We are part of the community. And that is no different in Plattsburgh or anywhere else.”

A third of SUNY Plattsburgh students are from the region.

“And the final piece on this is this was a campus even before it was a SUNY in the 1800s,” Malatras said.

“We are an integral, important piece of this community. We want to show the community that we have a robust plan. President Enyedi has a plan, and he is implementing the plan flawlessly and that's because of his leadership.”

The chancellor looks forward to long-term partnerships with Plattsburgh State.

“This is a great institution,” he said.

“I went to SUNY Potsdam my first year. There's just a little rivalry there, but SUNY Plattsburgh is a great institution.”