Annual Report of the Committee on 2019-2020 Annual Report

To: Steering Committee, Academic Senate

From: Chair, Committee on Environment, Quality Of Life and Disability Issues

Date: August 2020


Prof. Sara Danzi Engoron, Biological Sciences and Geology (2020) Chair

Prof. Noelia Diaz, English (2021) Secretary

Prof. M. Chantale Damas, Physics (2022) Member

Prof. Naja Hougaard, Social Sciences (2022) Member

Prof. Patricia Kinneary, Nursing (2020) Member

Prof. Neeraj Mehta, Music (2022) Member

Prof. Anthony Monahan, Health, Physical Education and Dance (2020), Member

Prof. Christina Saindon, Speech Communication and Theatre Arts (2021) Member

Prof. Dugwon Seo, Engineering and Technology (2021) Member

Student Members:

Juan Vargas

Rashmika Patel


Prof. Punita Bhansali (Biology), Liaison, Steering Committee

Vice-President William Faulkner, President’s Designee

Mr. Benami Freier, Liaison, Services for Students with Disabilities

Ms. Isabel Hocevar, Liaison, Office of Health Services

Mr. Mel Rodriguez, Liaison, Environmental Health and Safety

Prof. Elizabeth Toohey (English), Liaison, Committee on Committees

Mr. John Triolo, Liaison, Office of Campus Safety

Prof. Clara Wajngurt (Mathematics), Chair, PSC Health and Safety

Membership Composition Changes

Prof. Eladia Raya resigned in November 2019 due to scheduling conflicts and she was replaced by Prof. Christina Saindon for the remainder of the term.

Committee Meeting Dates

The Committee on Environment, Quality of Life and Disability Issues met five times during the 2019-2020 academic year. The Committee meets on Wednesdays at 12:10 – 1:30, but not on a regular schedule. Meeting dates: Fall 2019: October 23, 2019, November 27, 2019 Spring 2020: March 4, 2020, April 15, 2020 (via video conference), May 13, 2020 (via video conference)

Narrative summary of committee work

Subcommittee on College Accessibility

In November of 2019, members of the Environment, Quality of Life and Disability Issues Committee voted to approve the creation of the subcommittee. The focus of the subcommittee is to raise awareness among faculty members about ADA course compliance. Many courses are not currently compliant with the regulations. Dr. Jannette Urciuoli was the Chair of the newly formed group and she was succeeded by Dr. Angela Ridinger-Dotterman. The report from the current Chair, Angela Ridinger-Dotterman follows.

The Subcommittee on College Accessibility met several times, beginning in December and continuing through the shutdown. From December through January, we prepared a PowerPoint slide to accompany our flash session. We delivered flash sessions to the English Department, the Social Sciences Department, and the Foreign Language Department before the campus closed. We also met with Meg Tarafdar to plan a workshop series on Universal Design for Learning, which was to have taken place in late April. We were also to have done a presentation at the FEC full faculty meeting.

After the campus closed, the Subcommittee on College Accessibility continued to meet virtually. We decided to defer the UDL workshop series to the 2020-2021 academic year, and focused our efforts on revising the content of the flash session to include information specific to accessibility in online courses. At David Moretti's suggestion, our presentation was converted to an accessible online presentation located on the QCC website.

We would like to continue our work this fall. Our goals are to determine the best format for offering the UDL workshop, given our new reality; to plan our presentation for the next FEC meeting (we're told we'll still be on the agenda), whenever that may happen; and to move forward with hosting an accessible pedagogy working group for faculty who want to explore ways to make their pedagogy more accessible within the disciplines (perhaps during the Spring 2021 semester).

Health and Safety Concerns and Reporting:

It has been noted that cleanliness on campus has been an issue, particularly in the bathrooms, since there are less custodians due to budget cuts. Anyone aware of a hazardous situation (water on the floor) can call Public Safety and for non-hazardous situations Building and Managements should be contacted.

At the March 4th meeting, there was discussion and review QCC conditions and risks associated with coronavirus or other infectious agents. The committee recommended replenishing and adding more hand sanitizers, raising the temperature of the water and reviewing that all bathrooms have at least one hands off faucet and paper dispenser. At that time, there was an Emergency Management team updating the pandemic protocol. Custodians were working overtime to routinely wipe doorknobs and surfaces. Students should be reminded to get flu shots as a precaution.

By March 16th, all classes at QCC were suspended, and shortly afterward, the campus closed to students and nonessential workers, including faculty. Essential employees required to be on campus have in order to ensure that all the schools have adequate resources. Since that time, campus remains closed and all classes, including summer, have been conducted remotely.

Repairs and updates on campus facilities were on hold during the Spring 2020 semester. Due to COVID 19 only essential personnel were allowed on campus. The Committee will inquire with William Faulkner about the status of repairs when meetings resume in Fall 2020.

Food Allergens

The Committee received a request from Phil Pecorino to review the status at QCC with regard to food allergies and the campus environment. Metropolitan food, the current QCC vendor, does not list any information on allergens online or on the cafeteria itself. Some schools have created one allergen –free dining hall with separate facilities. William Faulkner shared that Metropolitan's contract is expiring and he will inquire if allergen training is in the contract for the new vendor. The Health office has an EPIPEN available for emergency cases. Since the pandemic has forced all activities off campus, this will be delayed until a new vendor is hired and students are back on campus.

Public Safety:

The 2019 security report (the Clery Report) was provided to the QCC campus by John Triolo, Director, Department of Public Safety. The committee reviewed the report with Mr. Triolo. No recommendations were made at that time.

ADA Restrooms and Signage:

Currently signage in the Library is adequate to direct visitors to the one ADA/Unisex Restroom located in the Basement. Conversion of all restrooms to accessible is expected to be done in 2021. The Committee will follow up on progress to update other restrooms.

Fire Alarms and Hallway Doors:

Fire doors in the Science and Medical Arts Buildings will be upgraded but currently these project are on hold. The committee is working to identify doors in heavy traffic areas that should be more accessible with automatic opening.

Child-Care Center:

Previously, a Resolution drafted and proposed by the Committee on creating a child-care center at QCC for the children of students was approved by the Academic Senate in March 2019. It was resolved, that QCC shall pursue an on-site child-care center for use by student-parents, consistent with other CUNY units and with CUNY policy. Currently, QCC is working on Academic and Facilities Master Plans. One of the recommendations of Middle States was to develop working groups for both the Academic and Facilities Master Plans. The Facilities Master Plan will seek to find the space for the proposed new Child Care Center. The Committee will follow up on the progress to ensure that the plans include the establishment of a Child-Care Center on campus.

Updated Committee Guide: Committee members volunteered (Anthony Monahan, Dugwon Seo and M. Chantale Damas) to update the Guide for Committee Members. The completion of the Guide is pending.

Recommendations for Next Academic Year

  • Advocate for a campus environment that communicates openness and trust to the student body
  • Continue to monitor progress on ADA compliant restroom conversions, fire door upgrades in campus buildings including Science and Medical Arts
  • Pursue other options for recycling such as encouraging the use of reusable containers.
  • Continue to inform the QCC community of Committee activities with regular reports to the Academic Senate and the Steering Committee
  • Support, and communicate with, the newly formed subcommittee on College Accessibility issues. The subcommittee reports to EQLD. As classes have moved to online teaching in the fall the work of the subcommittee will increase and become essential.
  • Review and discuss the Annual Clery Report
  • Follow up on the renovation updates. Once the Academic Master Plan is completed, it will inform the Facilities Master Plan. Among the spaces the EQLD will follow up on is the Academic Senate approved Child Care Center for students.
  • Follow up on guidelines of allergens on campus, in particular on the Cafeteria. A new vendor will replace the current one, at which point the committee will seek clarification on the guidelines and procedures for the Cafeteria.
  • All capital projects are on hold while the campus remains closed. However, a conversion of the bathroom faucets to automatic ones should be completed by summer 2020.
  • Next year, if classes resume in person, among the tasks the EQLD will follow up on are the measures taken to ensure that all members of the community are safe while COVID-19 remains a concern. QCC will follow up the Governor’s guidelines and recommendations. The PSC will also participate on discussions to ensure the safety of employees and students.

New Committee Members – newly elected Chair and Secretary

Prof. M. Chantale Damas (Physics), Chair - 2022

Prof. Noelia Diaz (English), Secretary - 2021

Prof. Kelly Ford (Business) - 2023

Prof. Janet Franzese (Nursing) - 2023

Prof. Naja Hougaard (Social Sciences), Member - 2022

Prof. Mohammad Javdan (Biology), Member - 2023

Prof. Neeraj Mehta (Music), Member - 2022

Prof. Christina Saindon (Speech, Communication and Theatre Arts), Member - 2021

Prof. Dugwon Seo (Engineering Technology), Member - 2021


The Committee Chair would like to acknowledge the important contributions of several individuals.

Prof. Noelia Diaz, Secretary, for her commitment to every aspect of Committee function.

Bill Faulkner, President's Designee, for his support to the Committee, attending and providing important and relevant information at every meeting.

Profs. Steven Dahlke, Jannette Urciuoli, and Zivah Perel Katz, Steering Committee members, for guidance and support throughout the year.

Respectfully Submitted,
Sara Danzi Engoron, Chair

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