Sunday, February 26, 2006

Day of Frustration

Honestly, today was a pretty good, relaxing day. I actually accomplished a few things that needed to be taken care of, and though this week looks to be a busy week, it also looks like it may be productive. But sometimes, there are little aspects of the day that are quite annoying. Today, I was reminded of one of them.

I am, as it notes on the bottom of this page, a student at the Lander College for Men - in Queens. I live less than a block away - on purpose. I don't own a car, because I don't need one. As an accounting student, I am required to take certain courses in order to graduate. The last accounting course is a course called "Contemporary Accounting Problems", which essentially is a CPA Review type course. This course helps Touro, of which Lander is a branch, retain its extremely high national ranking when it comes to CPA passing rates: 1st in the country in business law, 2nd on the ARE, and 5th on the FARE - three of the four parts.

There's only one problem: This course is only given at Touro's Flatbush branch, in the heart of Brooklyn, for over 3 hours every Sunday night during each Spring semester. But I don't go to Brooklyn - I go to Lander, in Queens. Why should I, a Lander student, go to Brooklyn for a course? I didn't come to Lander so I can go to Brooklyn; if I had wanted to do so, I would have signed up as a Touro student. It would have cut out a nice chunk of courses: 2 Western Histories, 2 Jewish Histories, 2 English Literatures, a Biology course, and registering for Gemara for credit. So why am I forced to go to another branch to take a required course?

I don't own a car. There are no subways that go directly to Brooklyn: To travel by subway would require approximately 1-1/2 hours of travel time each way, including 10 minutes of walking just to get to the bus that would take me to the subway (and the reverse on the way back) as it is a Sunday. Thankfully, a couple of other Lander students are also taking the course, and one has a car - but he's not always in Lander on Sunday, especially when it is an off Shabbos. But does this mean the course is not given? Of course not - it's not a Lander course, so Lander having the weekend off doesn't preclude this Touro course from meeting. This means that I have no way of getting to class that is not horribly inconvenient.

Is this right? Why should I be forced to attend a class in Brooklyn? I mentioned this to a good friend of mine whom I learn with weekday mornings in the Lander Beis Medrash. He is basically finished with Yeshiva University, (finishing up one last course) and lives a couple of blocks away. He said very simply,
"I don't understand. Why don't they get you a shuttle? They should be obligated to supply you with a shuttle if they're forcing you to travel to another campus to take a required course."
I think he's absolutely correct. If they can't offer the course on our campus, that is not "okay", but it is something that must be dealt with. They do offer the course on another campus - therefore, they should supply us with the means of travelling to that other campus. Even if my friend were in Queens every Sunday, that should in no way require him to drive to Brooklyn for the course. Why must he spend extra money on gas and risk driving and parking his car in Brooklyn?

Lander should - nay, must - supply us with transportation to our class. Anything less is simply not right.


  1. that is a bit of a hassle! a shuttle would be the best solution. hope you figure out a solution.
    I stayed in KGH when in NY so any time i had to go to Brooklyn was such a shlep. good luck!

  2. Well, as the son of a founding Dean of Touro, a former student of the late lamented Manhatten men's program, and a former employee myself,I'm gonna sound off for a second:

    1) I agree 100% that having you go from Queens to Brooklyn is inexcusible. I've made that trip for work and it eats your day up. I suspect this is in part because of a professor who refuses to teach in Queens.

    2) Touro has multiple Manhatten campuses (campi?), not just the Women's Division. Touro could easily meet students halfway by hosting the class at one of their three buildings on 23rd Street.

    3) Rebecca: What graduate program are you in? My wife works for one and might be able to be of assistance.

  3. I have many, but frankly, I think Loshen Harah's a bad thing, m'self.

    Let's just say the college has moments and needs to take a long look at themselves.

  4. Xvi - Brooklyn is hell on earth. :)

    Sarah - Cool - can I ask where?

    Rebecca - That's what I'm basically doing, but my friend doesn't always go from Queens; he lives in Staten Island. I just don't think I should have to. Touro can be quite the headache... ask my wife. (Actually, don't. It gets her too riled up... right Mordechai?)

    McOrn - Heh. Of course, you may remember Serach's fun time...

    Mordechai - Amen. Great to see the Luchins "Hey, maybe we can help" attitude as always. I wonder if perhaps something can be done to force Touro to get its act together - without turning into a huge loshon hara session. There's an incredible amount there that has to be fixed, as we all well know. That we were somewhat close to suing a school where so much family is so heavily involved is simply pathetic... and that others were seriously interested in joining us (not just 'talking tough') is even more disconcerting.

  5. Good points Ez.

    Part of the problem, as I see it, is that Touro suffers from Sparta's Disease. This is my own term. Just as Sparta's fall was brought about by their constant expansion and ignoring the home plate, Touro has a tendancy to expand in all directions without fortifying the center.

    There are hundreds of good people at Touro who would go to the ends of the Earth for the students. But for each of them there's 5 people who just want to get a paycheck. And Touro can't afford to get rid of those people right now.

    A few years back, Touro had programs on both coasts of the US, probably about 15 of them... all using one Purchasing Department with was staffed by two whole people. Obviously, corners get cut. Another example would be the fact that there isn't even a FinAid office at the Woman's Division. The Financial Aid officer has to borrow an office. That just ain't right.

    The college needs someone with the braisn of Dr. Lander to handle what they have while he continues his expansions. It's that easy.

  6. Well put. This might take actually spending a bit of money up front, but in the long run it will save them a lot: Shell out money for truly excellent staffers who can turn Touro into an efficiently run organization. It's really that simple.

  7. HEY! What do you have against Brooklyn?!!!

    AHEM, I agree they should be forced to create a shuttle. The one time I traveled to Queens was absolute agony.

  8. Well at least there's a really good and cheap sub place down the block...

    I don't know if this is still the policy but when I went to Touro Flatbush, there was a polciy that you HAD to take 2 courses at the Manhattan location.

  9. S.i.l.

    If you're talking about the men's division, that's not the policy anymore because Manhattan men's was shut down to make way for Queens.

  10. Irina - EVERYTHING! :)

    SIL - Yep - just ate there last night. Ran into a good friend, too. btw, what's up with Purim?!

  11. I actually stayed just off Main St, near Jewel Ave (there's a pharmacy on a corner across the road) at a family friend, a few mins from your college.
    My friends and I sampled as many of the (kosher) restaurants as possible there because I think there are more on that one street than there are in the whole of Melbourne!
    But yeh, so much travel time to get to Brooklyn/Staten Island to visit friends.

  12. In my younger days, I had to commute from roughly the same area as Touro to Lefrak City- NOT fun. It was an hour and fifteen minutes on two trains. Funny, those were the days that I would finish several novels a week.

  13. Sarah - I haven't eaten at all of them in the 2.5 years I've been here. It's really nuts - but convenient.

    R2JB - Funny, I did several novels a week while in yeshiva...