News of Otsego County

Serving Otsego County, NY, through the combined reporting of Cooperstown's Freeman's Journal and the Hometown Oneonta newspapers.

SUNY Oneonta

At Oneonta’s 2 Colleges, Fewer Rapes Than Most


At Oneonta’s 2 Colleges,

Fewer Rapes Than Most

ONEONTA – A new U.S. Department of Education report on rapes and “fondling” cases among the 45 Upstate colleges puts both SUNY Oneonta and Hartwick College in the bottom third.

SUNY Oneonta tied for 30th, with four rapes reported in 2017 and two in 2016, and one fondling each year.

Hartwick College tied for 36th with three rapes reports each year, and two fondlings in 2017 and one in 2016.


Council Rock Benefit Race


RACE – 9 a.m. Run the 4.4 mile Council Rock to Council Rock Race sponsored by Clarks Sports Center. Proceeds going to the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team Kid’s Camp. Registration: $25/indiv, $55/family (5 ppl max). Race starts at 11 a.m, Council Rock Park, Lake & River Sts., Cooperstown Info,, 547-2800, ext 111.

Hovis Novel Updates Adam, Eve Story

Hovis’ Novel Updates

Adam, Eve Story


COOPERSTOWN – Ink, said George Hovis, has a way of getting under your skin.

In the ’90s, the SUNY Oneonta English professor worked as a process chemist in an ink factory in Charlotte, N.C. “Ink got into my subconscious,” he said. “And it came out as the ink on the skin of these characters.”

His debut novel, “The Skin Artist,” just released from SFK Press, follows Bill Becker as his upwardly mobile life begins to spiral out of control.

He is joined by a tattooed dancer, Lucy, as the two of them leave the city of Charlotte to confront the pasts that lie in wait in the Carolina countryside.

Graduates Galore At SUNY Graduation


Graduates Galore

At SUNY Graduation!

Some 1,500 graduates took their final walk across the stage at this morning and afternoon in three-session SUNY Oneonta’s 130th Commencement in the Dewar Arena. Above, graduate Michael Bagby, Oneonta, shakes hands with SUNY President Barbara Jean Morris, who gave her first commencement to the class of ’19. At right, Oneonta’s Sapphira Koerner beams as she and her fellow students march out during the recessional.   Two alumni delivered commencement addresses at separate ceremonies: James C. Zachos, ’81, a widely published paleoclimatologist, professor of geology,  and National Academy of Sciences member,, spoke at the first session; Crystal L. Williams, ’77, CEO and executive director of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, spoke at the two others.  Also, eight faculty members and four students received Chancellor Awards for Excellence (Ian Austin/

Strategic Planning Getting Underway At SUNY Oneonta


Strategic Planning

Getting Underway

At SUNY Oneonta

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

President Morris

ONEONTA – SUNY Oneonta’s new 13-word mission statement, released Tuesday, is almost immediately being followed by a process to create a new five-year strategic plan for the college by January, according to President Barbara Jean Morris’ spokesman, Hal Legg.

With this Saturday’s commencement behind her, the president will convene a meeting of her cabinet May 23 in the campus Welcome Center to talk through the planning process, which “should, in a broad sense, tie back to the mission,” said Legg, director of communications & marketing.  “We’re not wasting any time.”

While Legg arrived after former President Nancy Kleniewski’s first five-year plan was adopted in 2010, he was involved in its implementation, and in the three-year update initiated in 2015.

‘Grow Intellectually, ‘Thrive Socially and ‘Live Purposefully’

‘Grow Intellectually,

‘Thrive Socially and

‘Live Purposefully’

New SUNY Oneonta President

Reduces Mission To 13 Words

ONEONTA – In campus-wide video, SUNY Oneonta President Barbara Jean Morris today announced the campus’ new mission statement: “We nurture a community where students grow intellectually, thrive socially and live purposefully.”

In an email to the campus, Morris said the mission arose through a series of “hackathons” during the spring semester.  A hackthon is a term used to collaboratively develop software packages.


‘An American Miscellany’

Choral Society Spring Concert


CONCERT – 7:30 pm Catskill Choral Society’s Spring Concert, “An American Miscellany: 250 years of American Choral Music.” Reception w/light refreshments. Adv/At the door: Adults $19/$22 Seniors $15/$18 Students $5 Under 12 Free. First United Methodist Church, 66 Chestnut St., Oneonta. Info, 607-431-6060 or

2 SUNY Oneonta Alumni To Speak At Graduations

2 SUNY Oneonta Alumni

To Speak At Graduations

Experts In Climate Change, Refugees;
Also, 8 Professors, 4 Students Honored

ONEONTA – In a new approach this year, two alumni, one an advocate for refugees, the other, a climate-change researcher, will be SUNY Oneonta’s commencement speakers at three ceremonies Saturday, May 11, in the Dewar Arena.

• Crystal L. Williams, ’77, is a lawyer focused on helping refugees and asylum seekers, litigating employment-based immigration law cases, and helping to shape federal immigration policy. She is CEO and executive director of the
American Immigration Lawyers Association.  Her achievements include helping advance the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (or DACA) initiative, co-authoring a treatise on immigration law and starting a new pro bono program.

• James C. Zachos, ’81, is a paleoclimatologist and professor of geology, researching to reconstruct Earth’s climate history.  He has been widely published, and speaks at conferences around the world. In 2017, he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.

OH-OH FEST: Annual Concerts Struggling In Crises Past, Crisis Present


Annual Concerts Struggling

In Crises Past, Crisis Present

Rapper Sean Kingston performs at St. Joseph University outside Philadelphia earlier this month, but a threatened protest by Know Violence Here caused SUNY Oneonta to cancel his OH-Fest concert, scheduled for Saturday, April 20.

Editor’s Note: The cancellation of Sean Kingston’s concert at OH-Fest Saturday evening, April 20, in Neahwa Park, sparked a pungent debate on All’s Facebook pages. Here’s a sampling of the back and forth.

►Kevin Comstock – If students from both colleges are the ones that pick the performers, then the concert should be held on campus … Keep the carnival downtown for the kids and family’s to enjoy.
►James Flannery – Honestly I’ve loved OH-Fest my whole life, and now being a SUNY student it’s become a headache. I don’t think we need to get rid of it, but we need to evaluate a lot of things. Example, part of
my tuition is the Student Activities Fee, which is due to increase to over $800 next semester. It’s so high because of OH-Fest. I feel like my money has now been wasted. So adjustments have to be made across the board.
►Teresa – If I were anyone famous, after this, I’d say … no to coming here. I truly am ashamed of this town and the college for allowing it
►Tiffany Frazier – Ya, ’cause they wasted 60 grand….
►Rose Straney-Kjellquist – So instead of shrugging and sweeping it all under the rug, SUNY made a lesson out of it and is enacting changes. Awesome.
►Kimmehameha German – Maybe next time they should do some vigorous research. Quick Google search would’ve told them about Kingston’s almost decade-old rape allegation, which he was never officially charged for or found guilty of. Their attempt at social justice cost $60,000.
►Matt – Start by not getting rappers?
►Karen Hayes Knickerbocker – The only winner here is Sean Kingston. He got $60k and didn’t have to do a thing to get it. If I were him I would have walked down Main Street with his entourage. Just cause.
►Tyler Logan – I’ve never seen a city struggle so much with an annual concert. Every year there is some mishap or complaining. Just be done with the whole thing, because clearly nobody can handle a ONCE-a-year event. Small-town problems.
►Robert Makofske – The squeaky snowflake gets the grease.
►Nikke Allen Hunt – They didn’t protest when A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie performed, even though he has a rap sheet including sexual assault prior to his performance in Oneonta.
►Teresa Olmstead – Talk about condemnation of someone who has never been charged with a crime nor convicted. You are a disgrace to the Land of the Free and to the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights
►Irene Morrissey – He settled out of court, which means money cures everything in the USA!
►Gina Colone – But just because he settled out of court doesn’t necessarily mean he was guilty? Right? If someone is assaulted I’d think they’d want that person in jail, unless money is motivator for the allegations.
►Teresa Olmstead – I don’t care about the music … but cancelling it the way they did just because of 9-year-old allegations. And yes, you’re probably right about it being motivated by someone wanting money. They know famous people will settle regardless of their innocence because it’s bad for them
►Tom Whitney – Hey, c’mon … Only the Prezzz is allowed to $buy$ his way outta trouble!
►Crystal Couse – The man is accused of gang rape. I guess I don’t understand why people think a person like this is acceptable in our town??
►Astrid Tara – Not that I attend it in many years, but I think it’s ridiculous that this is happening. If you don’t agree with who’s playing don’t go. No one is holding you hostage to attend. Too many people easily offended by everything. Could’ve brought a lot of business to the area for the weekend. Don’t complain local businesses aren’t thriving when you drive business that could be made out of the area.

STRIP! Our Clothes Are Killing Us, Professor, Student Believe


Our Clothes Are Killing Us,

Professor, Student Believe

SUNY Junior Devin Maney adjusts toxic flowers in “The Ugly Truth About Garments” exhibit she and her professor have on display in the Hunt Union lobby. (Ian Austin/

By JENNIFER HILL • Hometown Oneonta & The Freeman’s Journal

ONEONTA – You might think the mannequin dressed in colorful plastic flowers on the main floor of SUNY Oneonta’s Hunt Student Union is there to advertise cute clothes.

Two posters flanking the mannequin indicate the opposite.  The one on the left says, “The Ugly Truths About 80 Billion Garments Produced Annually.”  On the right, “What Can We Do?”

SUNY Oneonta Human Ecology professor Bharath Ramkumar and junior Devin Meaney are exploring the environmental damage textiles can do. Meaney sees commercial possibilities in what they’ve found.

SUNY Oneonta Human Ecology professor Bharath Ramkumar and junior Devin Meaney created the exhibit to tell the bad news about the fashion industry – that it is one of the worst polluters of the environment; and the good news – if we change our habits of using and disposing of textiles, we can reduce its harsh impact.

A second exhibit, in SUNY’s Milne Library, is a  mannequin wearing a T-shirt that tells passersby how harmful producing one cotton T-shirt is.

“Cotton is highly water-intensive in making clothes,” Meaney said.  “It takes 713 gallons of fresh water, our drinking water, to produce one T-shirt.  And you can’t use altered or dyed water.”

“Only .4 percent of fresh water is available for drinking and bathing,” she added.  “It is a scarce resource.”

Ramkumar and Meaney created the exhibits because they believe once people know fashion industry’s harmful effects on the environment and people’s health, and what to do about it, they’ll change.

“It’s not that people don’t care, they just don’t know,” Ramkumar said, and Meaney concurred.

Ramkumar didn’t know the full extent of the harm production, consumption and disposal of textiles had on the earth and on people’s health until he began teaching a Quality Analysis of Apparel class at SUNY two years ago as a newly hired faculty member.

“In the class, we focus on the process of making a textile product,” he said.  “And that’s when I learned about the negative effects the process, from start to finish, has on the environment and humans.”

“I was just appalled,” he said.

In Rapper Sean’s Wake, SUNY Students Seeking More Vigorous Vetting


In Rapper Sean’s Wake,

SUNY Students Seeking

More Vigorous Vetting

Professor Achim Koeddermann, left,  and Anthony Gomez, center, listen to SUNY Oneonta junior Eric Battista, right, who drafted the resolution for a new selection process for OH-Fest talent.  “I wanted to learn from this,” he said. (Ian Austin/


Bill Harcleroad, director of Campus Activities & Leadership was optimistic difficult conversations will help avoid future awkward situations..

ONEONTA – While most SUNY Oneonta students were at OH-Fest festivities today, eight students, a faculty member and a staff member met gathered at 5 p.m. to discuss ways to avoid selecting musical performers that did not match “the values of SUNY Oneonta.”

SUNY junior Eric Battista scheduled the meeting after he emailed students early about a resolution he drafted, proposing to “change the way speakers/performers are chosen and handled in the future” by the college’s Student Association.  He said he received “hundreds of emails” back from students who said they supported his proposal but already had plans at the time of the meeting.

Battista decided to write the resolution and introduce it after SUNY Oneonta administrators Friday canceled tonight’s OH-Fest concert.  Their decision came after learning students intended to protest the concert’s top performer, Sean Kingston, after discovering 2010 gang-rape allegations made against the rapper.

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