Opening Day remarks by CCRI union leaders

Opening Day, Sept. 8, 2009

Remarks by Jeff Heiser, CCRIPSA President

Good morning CCRI community and honored guests.

Now that you know who I am, I thought we’d take a few minutes and go around the room and introduce ourselves.

Hi, folks.

My original plan was to show up wearing a bathrobe and bedroom slippers and say, “Please excuse my appearance, but I thought today was a furlough day.” But that might be a bit too theatrical. And maybe I’ll have to save that routine for later.

President Di Pasquale has told you a lot of things that happened over the summer, so I thought I’d tell you some things that did not happen.

For example, in spite of a highly successful pilot program, the college has no plans to turn HR into a maternity ward. So, Sheri, tell those girls to stop fooling around and get back to work.

Dennis Moore did not tell President Di Pasquale that it might be good publicity to hire Kate Gosselin as a biology instructor for a course entitled “Jon and Kate Procreate.”

I did not establish a Rhode Island chapter of the Irony Appreciation Society, invite a bunch of students and, at the first meeting, was voted out by them. I did, however, come up with the idea of creating a CCRI Procrastinators Club, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet.

And finally, I did not father octuplets with Lisa Baldelli-Hunt. I'd need performance-enhancing drugs for that, a good case of scotch and a Swiss bank account. But consider this. If it were true, 18 years from now, she'd appreciate being eligible for eight tuition waivers. OK, I promise to stop picking on her, but all bets are off if she submits that short-sighted, spiteful bill again next year.

It’s always nice to hear about what some people did over the summer. As for myself, it seems that every time I took a week off, the weather was awful, so I concentrated on some indoor projects. Being the good union president, I immersed myself in the works of Marx and Lennon; that would be Groucho Marx and John Lennon.

One of the cooler things I did this summer was being involved in the New Student Orientation, the principal objective of which is to familiarize students with the wide variety of support services available at the college. When we put out requests to various departments for their participation, we received a lot of positive responses from departments such as Advising and Counseling, the bookstore, athletics, career services, disability services, etc., who immediately grasped that this would provide an excellent forum to impress upon students that there are a lot of people available to help them if they should run into trouble. When some people who signed on to do presentations unexpectedly couldn’t make it, Dusty Haller and Anthony Carrion filled in as last minute replacements. I’m also grateful to the maintenance staff, who came to me to make sure things were set up the way we wanted them, and to the IT staff who made sure everything was working properly. The fact that many of the volunteer participants in the summer orientation were CCRIPSA members made this especially sweet.

In spite of what Groucho said about not wanting to belong to a club that would have me as a member, I am proud, and consider it an honor, to be president of an organization of hard-working, dedicated people. I am not the least bit embarrassed about being a state employee.

We sometimes forget just how many good people there are working here at CCRI who don’t think twice about going the extra mile for students. Every time I see Joe Marques sitting in the cafeteria in Newport, more often than not, he’s not eating his lunch; he’s working with a student. Perhaps he finds the smell of pizza to be intellectually stimulating. I’ve never heard anyone in Advising or EOC tell a student, “Take a hike. I’ve been here since 8 a.m., and if I have to hear one more scheduling problem, I’m gonna go home and blow my brains out tonight.” They simply step up to the counter, and say, “Next…”

A few months ago, anatomy professor Eylana Goffe said to me, “You know that skull you have for students to study…how would you like a couple more?” And of course I said yes, because as we all know, two heads are better than one. Being able to provide students with the support they need to be successful in their academic careers is a very cool thing.

That’s all I got for ya. Have a great semester!

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