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New SUNY President Craig

Supports ‘Control Room’

Interim SUNY Oneonta president Dennis Craig, center right, joined the Control Room this evening to introduce himself. He is joined by, from top left, SUNY chief of staff Colleen Brannan, Mayor Gary Herzig, city health director Diane Georgeson, Emma Sarnacki, Common Council member Dave Rissberger, Third Ward, Oneonta police chief Doug Brenner and Rachel Dobkin.

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

ONEONTA – Following his first full day on the job, SUNY Oneonta interim president Dennis Craig said the “Control Room,” a bi-weekly meeting of college and city personnel, is “very encouraging.”

“Having conversations like this is what makes it work,” he said. “We discussed a lot of issues today and the collegiality and calm in light of everything is very refreshing.”

Following the Town-Gown Committee’s successful downtown scarecrow event, which saw more than a dozen “branded” scarecrows installed by SUNY and Hartwick students, SUNY student Rachel Dobkin was excited to share more ideas the students were working on, including signage to encourage mask wearing in the business district.

“We want to tailor different signs for different businesses,” she said. “For instance, one for the Latte Lounge might say, ‘A mask warms your face like coffee warms your soul.'”

They are also putting together a poster contest for students to design signage for downtown, as well as social media campaigns.

“The more we can do, the more effective it will be,” said Mayor Gary Herzig.

Police Chief Doug Brenner noted that there was a “slight uptick” in noise complaints this weekend, likely bolstered by the nice weather. “We had nine noise and disturbance complaints,” he said. “On a normal weekend, that wouldn’t even be a blip, but we haven’t had anything lately, so it seemed like an anomaly.”

None of those resulted in tickets, he said.

On campus, Franklin Chambers, SUNY’s VP for student development, reported that a new COVID-specific incident report was being drafted for approval by the college cabinet. The report is similar to the incident reports that are already in place at the Office of Community Standards, but focuses on COVID-specific incidents, such as not wearing a mask or hosting large gatherings.

“It decreases the burdens of incidents going on the regular form,” said Emma Sarnacki, a SUNY student.

According to DR. Diane Georgeson, city health officer, there are currently six cases linked to SUNY Oneonta, with one of those reported today by the county department of health. “We need to continue to reinforce not hosting large gatherings and to keep wearing a mask,” she said. “But we’ve done a tremendous job going from 700 cases to six.”


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