In an effort to continue its global reach and expanding focus on graduate education, Northeastern announced its plans to open a new campus in Toronto this week.
Northeastern is the first comprehensive research university approved by the Ontario government to offer degree programs without a local educational partner.
“This is great news for the city of Toronto,” John Tory, mayor of Toronto, said in a statement on Nov. 2. “Toronto is already known for having a diverse, knowledgeable and innovative work-force, and by joining a network of cities like Boston, Charlotte, Seattle and Silicon Valley with our very own Northeastern University campus, we will enhance that reputation.”
The Canadian campus is the school’s first international campus and fourth graduate location, expected to open in the fall of 2016.
According to Sean Gallagher, the chief strategy officer for the Northeastern University Global Network, the location, potential market and economic focus of the city were the determining factors in picking Toronto.
“It’s a very large city,” Gallagher said. “It’s the economic capital of Canada and it’s very global. Over 50 percent of the population of the city was born outside the country, so it’s extremely diverse, very innovative [and has a] very large concentration of business and key industries. Most of the large companies in Canada are held there.”
Citizens of Toronto and the province of Ontario as a whole, Gallagher said, have the largest concentration of Bachelor degrees in the country, but lack a similarly high level of masters degrees.
“The focus is on local Canadian students,” Gallagher said, noting a lack of part-time and evening graduate programs at Toronto and Ontario’s existing universities.
Although still in the process of finding a physical campus in downtown Toronto, the program will first launch in 2016 with three online Master of Science programs: Project Management, Information Assurance and Regulatory Affairs for Drugs and Biologics and Medical Devices.
Gallagher notes the degree offerings are largely industry-aligned and focus on the business and technology sectors within the region.
“Organizations and people worldwide appreciate that Northeastern is attuned to the needs of outside businesses,” he said. “Another big theme, of course, is innovation and entrepreneurship, and that’s an area where Ontario is recognized as an innovation capital of Canada and, relative to the US, it’s recognized that there is a gap. A lot of organizations there are interested in promoting innovation. We hope our research and educational opportunities will help them to promote that.”
Canadian native and Northeastern sophomore Taytum Clairmont believes Northeastern’s global focus will allow it to blend seamlessly within the fabric of Toronto.
“I think it is a great opportunity for someone like myself to continue my education in a city close to where I live,” Clairmont, a communications major, said. Clairmont is originally from Waterloo, Ontario, roughly an hour and a half outside of Toronto. “I could do a masters in my home country, which would be quite fantastic.”
The next step in the process will be finding a regional dean and leader from the local community. Gallagher noted that an administrator with local knowledge will be better aware of the needs of the community and industry and better able to embed Northeastern into the city.
Ideally, according to Gallagher, enrollment, campus and a dean will all be in place by the fall of 2016.
“I think with this campus as the first international site, it’s building out our network and we’ll have our first global presence,” he said. “There’s a lot of similarities and points of intersection between [Toronto and Boston].”
This piece was originally published by the Huntington News.
Voting on the future Student Government Association (SGA) president and executive vice president as well as various referenda is set to open on myNEU on Thursday, March 26. The two platforms, IgniteNU and EngageNU, are driven by Eric Tyler with Morgan Helfman and John Finn with Neel Desai, respectively.
Tyler, a junior information science and business dual major, is currently the vice president for academic affairs within SGA and running for student body president. He initially got his start as a senator, representing computer science, which didn’t have any senators at the time, and, after diving into committees, he was hooked.
“I’ve really seen tremendous progress over the past two years,” Tyler said. “Both Nick [Naraghi] and Noah [Carville] have done a tremendous job in engaging students and the administration and creating a conversation and dialogue between both sides. I want to continue that.”
Running for the position of executive vice president (EVP) under Tyler, Helfman is currently the vice president of student affairs.
“When given the opportunity to run for [the] vice president position of student affairs, I jumped at the opportunity,” the sophomore political science and sociology major said. “I’ve gotten to meet so many amazing people through this position.”
Both Tyler and Helfman have noticed a breakdown of communication between students and SGA, highlighting the little-known textbook exchange SGA created last semester. One of their key goals is to increase communication between academic senators and their constituents.
Their platform, IgniteNU, is meant to spark communication, effectiveness and tangible change.
“There’s so much going on on campus and there’s so many things that SGA does; there’s kind of a disconnect between them,” Helfman said. “We know that we need to increase our communication because it’s our responsibility to let students know what we’re working on, especially for something on campus that is happening that’s related to what we’re doing [in SGA].”
Tyler and Helfman hope to improve accessibility to academic senators in order to increase communication and initiatives that have a direct impact on the student body, such as mandatory co-op evaluations and to set up a peer mentoring service. This service, according to Tyler, will pick up where orientation left off and allow students to access peers with diverse backgrounds. He hopes it can help foster student communication and engagement, and provide a support system to students.
“We want to be able to give our students something that they can say ‘SGA did this for me, I’m proud of my SGA, and I’m proud of Northeastern for providing this avenue for change,’” Helfman said.
Finn, the other presidential hopeful, was originally involved in Resident Student Association (RSA) as the liaison to SGA. He then returned to SGA as the vice president for student services last fall. Now on co-op, the third-year finance and accounting major notes that what he loves about student services is the reach and interaction with students, which he hopes to expand upon as president.
“I thought, ‘this model really lets SGA assimilate into the student body and can get a lot of feedback and talk to a lot of people,’” Finn said. “I thought that I really wanted to bring that to the whole organization and let people know that SGA is a tool they can use on campus and we are here to help. I’m really excited to meet a lot of students and to help them as much as I can.”
Desai, a sophomore economics major, is the current vice chairman of the finance committee. He notes that the position of EVP would allow him to work as the project manager on student initiatives and increase participation and diversity.
“It’s up to us to really put student issues in context, because students are the ones that face these issues for the administration,” Desai said. “We have the ability to have tangible change and improve things on campus if we go about it the right way.”
Finn and Desai’s platform, EngageNU, is a three-part plan focusing on engagement, building relationships and action.
“We want to be able to engage with the student body, enable discussion and have people feel comfortable seeking us out,” Finn said. “The second step is to build. We want to build relationships and have the infrastructure needed so students trust us when they come to us, that we can get things done for them. And finally, act. When students come to us, we want to be able to be receptive, hear what they’re saying, but most importantly be able to act on it and help them get their goals done.”
EngageNU’s main goal is to take what students are passionate about and expand on it quickly and efficiently.
“I think the core of our platform is really being an accelerator, not just an incubator for change,” Desai said. “Being able to connect with students on a year-round basis and reach out to them and see what kind of issues they face and what particularly SGA can help them out with.”
The announcement of future SGA president will be made on April 6.
“I’m a very outgoing person,” Finn said. “I really like to have conversations with people who I may have never met, and I really just like to talk to people on campus. I think that it’s a lot of fun to to talk to someone who is very interested in what’s going on on campus and really loves their school, and if anyone ever had anything they wanted to talk to me about – they could always reach out.“
Platform and candidate information is listed on the SGA website.
“I would be a great president because of my experience and my passion,” Tyler said. “Having sat on the executive board this past year, I know where SGA stands and what needs to change in order to move forward and better advocate on behalf of the student body. As much as I love Northeastern, I love seeing the university change for the better and doing whatever I can to make the student experience even better."
This piece was originally published by the Huntington News.
In light of recent criticism, Northeastern University made a payment to the City of Boston on March 2 through the Payments in Lieu of Tax (PILOT) program designed to help cover the costs of municipal services. The university originally paid nothing for the 2014 fiscal year.
Launched in 2011, PILOT calls upon nonprofits with tax-exempt property worth more than $15 million to make two annual payments to cover snow removal, police and fire and other services provided by the city. Each year, the fees are meant to be increased with the goal that by the 2016 fiscal year, each nonprofit will contribute 25 percent of the property tax bill they would pay if they were not exempt.
“Our hospitals, universities, museums and other large tax-exempt institutions play a pivotal role in making Boston a great city, but they also have a civic duty to pay their fair share,” Josh Zakim, the Boston City Councilor for District 8, which includes Northeastern’s Boston campus, said. “Boston is restricted to generating revenue almost exclusively from property taxes. The PILOT program gives tax-exempt institutions an opportunity to compensate the city, at a substantial discount, for the numerous city services they receive.”
In the 2014 fiscal year, Northeastern was asked to pay $2.5 million. The university only recently sent a check for $886,000, nine months after the close of the fiscal year. Northeastern paid the same amount in 2013 and 2012, and $30,000 in 2011.
“I am disappointed that Northeastern has not met the city’s requested PILOT number in any year of the program’s existence,” Zakim said.
As reported by the Boston Globe, 15 of the 19 colleges in Boston did not pay in full for the 2014 fiscal year. Only Massachusetts College of Pharmacy, New England College of Optometry, Showa Institute and Boston Architectural College paid the amounts requested.
In a letter sent with the check addressed to the city’s Assessing Department Commissioner Ronald Rakow, Northeastern’s Senior Vice President and General Counsel Ralph Martin, Jr. stated that the university wanted to support the city.
“We seek to support those efforts without compromising our very substantial financial and in-kind support of Boston academic and community-based programs,” Martin said in the letter.
The letter also stipulated that the university doesn’t necessarily agree with the payment program.
“We believe the calculation guide proposed by the PILOT Task Force does not account for the value of Northeastern’s continuing commitment to important and extraordinary programs and services for Bostonians,” Martin said. “Indeed, our payment should not be construed as support or commitment to the PILOT formula.”
Currently, the university provides nearly $12 million in scholarships that support native Boston students and has helped develop or supported Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s programs like Foundation Year, Step-Up, Healthy Kids/Healthy Futures and STEM programs in Boston public schools. NU is also the only university to host a Boston public charter school, the Edward M. Kennedy Academy for Health Careers. Additionally, Northeastern students contribute nearly $4 million in volunteer services to the city each year, according to the letter.
Together, these programs and others, in combination with a voluntary $2.1 million a year in property taxes, totals more than $27 million contributed to the city annually, according to Northeastern Associate Vice President of Communications Renata Nyul.
Martin also says that Northeastern does not draw upon Boston services.
“We collect and dispose of our own trash; we have a very able and academy-trained police force that annually writes nearly $20,000 worth of Boston tickets for parking and municipal violations on public ways within and around our campus, and routinely supports Boston police in searches, arrests and crime-scene management; and we plow snow in and around our campus and maintain public sidewalks and green spaces,” Martin said.
Zakim states that he appreciates the institutions that recognize the importance of the PILOT payments, noting that such actions exhibit positive neighborly behavior and are thoughtful in their commitment to the City of Boston and its inhabitants.
“The recent [fiscal year] 2014 contribution, however, is a step in the right direction,” Zakim said. “I hope to continue to work with Northeastern to develop a more positive relationship between the university and the City of Boston and its residents.”
Zakim also believes that the school should pay the full amount requested for the last fiscal year and that the city calculates the requests in a fair and thoughtful manner.
Both Martin and Zakim can agree that the conversation between the city and the university contributes to “mutually important collaborative work,” as stated by Martin.
Sophomore psychology major Alex Peterson says that it is a university’s role to promote its community.
“Private education institutions make a decent profit each year, and I would hope that the purpose of these institutions would be to better their students and their surrounding communities,” Peterson said. “Taxes are for the benefit of the community, so why are these institutions not paying their dues? They certainly have the money to do so.”
Peterson also notes that if money can’t be spent on bettering the communities surrounding campus, the university should ensure a financially stable environment and salary for professors.
Distinguished professor of political science and public policy and former Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis thinks nonprofits should contribute to the city financially, but the program may need to be more firmly nailed down.
“I think the nonprofit institutions in Boston should make some direct contribution to the city’s finances,” Dukakis said in an email to The News. “How much it ought to be is something that should be worked out, and the universities are also contributing a lot to the city beyond just PILOT contributions. In any event, I am glad to see that NU is making a contribution.”
This piece was originally published by the Huntington News.
In 2008, junior Northeastern student Rebecca Payne, who was pursuing a Bachelor of Science in athletic training, was murdered in her Mission Hill apartment. Seven years later, her killer has finally been sentenced after changing his plea from innocent to guilty.
“She was always involved,” Rebecca’s mother Virginia Payne said. “She had everything mapped out in front of her, and all this was taken away from her in 2008. She was full of life and she knew where she was going and she knew what she wanted.”
On May 20, 2008, Payne returned from work and fell asleep on her couch in her apartment on Parker Hill Avenue. Around 3:20 a.m., Cornell Smith, who was 30 years old at the time, entered her apartment and shot Payne five times – twice in the legs, once in the chin, and twice in the torso.
Residents of the building heard gunshots and screams but did not call police. Payne was 22 years old.
Smith believed he was avenging his arrest in February of that year for selling cocaine – he suspected two rival drug dealers, who were sisters and looked similar to Payne, were behind his arrest.
The sisters lived two floors down from Payne.
“Everyone heard the shots and screams, and no one did anything,” Nicholas Payne, Rebecca’s father, said. “The New England Baptist Hospital was up the street, almost within earshot of what happened.”
Smith fled the scene in a car driven by Michael Balba, and Payne’s body was not discovered until 6:30 a.m., when a tenant noticed the open apartment door.
Balba was charged with four counts of perjury after being accused of lying to a grand jury in regards to the Payne investigation, and Smith was charged with first degree murder and armed assault in a dwelling and unlawful possession of a firearm in 2012.
“She was, in every sense, an innocent victim,” district attorney Daniel Conley said in a press release in 2012 after the indictments of Balba and Smith.
The prosecution’s star witness, Anthony White, passed away in May 2014. White had direct evidence linking both Smith and Balba to the scene. Without White, the case against Balba is effectively over.
“How much pain [is caused by] these people when they do these things,” Virginia Payne said. “For family and friends, it’s unimaginable pain. It was so hard to handle it. And the hardest thing was when they said they were going to drop the case.”
Smith’s admission of guilt came while he was incarcerated in 2008 for an unrelated federal drug distribution arrest, which he was sentenced 12- 15 years.
Discovered in a review of files in October 2014, Smith wrote one letter previously in which he described the assault, stating,that the assault led to “to the unfortunate passing of Rebecca Payne at the hands of I, Cornell Alan Smith, Sr.” He now has pleaded to voluntary manslaughter and possession of a firearm.
Smith states that his change came in attempt to get his life back together.
“I’m a father, too,” Smith said in the sentencing hearing Friday, Feb. 13 2015 that was presided over by Judge Jeffrey Locke. “It’s not who I am, so it’s better for everybody.”
Smith was sentenced to 18-20 years, the maximum sentence for voluntary manslaughter, to be served concurrently with the federal sentence. He was also sentenced up to five years for unlawful possession of a firearm.
Locke turned to Smith and instructed him to look back at the faces in the courtroom, that they were the faces of Rebecca Payne and the pain he caused and that he hopes he remembers them for the next 18 to 20 years.
“[Smith] got a lucky break and he got a break he didn’t deserve,” Nicholas Payne said. “In a way,we were actually madder at Michael Balba than the guy who actually did it at times because it seemed like Michael has had years and years to think about what he was doing.”
Rebecca Payne grew up in New Milford, Conn. and graduated New Medford High School in 2004.
“And the first time she stepped on Northeastern, there was no turning back,” Virginia Payne said.
While at Northeastern, Payne became the president of the athletic training club and co-oped at the Dartmouth–Hitchcock Medical Center in New Hampshire and as a clinical student in the Sports Medicine Department at Northeastern.
As stated by her parents, Payne was a driven and compassionate young woman who was surrounded by her friends.
“She was always thinking about to others, always helping,” Virginia Payne said. “She gave out of her heart”
Lauren Ziaks and Jessica Meiley met Payne at NU in 2004 while they were all studying in the athletic training program. Both Ziaks and Meiley agreed that they became fast friends.
“Her laugh is what I remember the most as well as her ability to always make everyone feel special,” Ziaks said. “Although I do not feel that 20 years is enough time for Cornell Smith to serve in exchange for murdering Rebecca, I do feel closure. I feel that we can finally move past this experience and all the wondering and just remember the good times with her.”
Meiley feels similarly about the verdict, also noting that the three years since the arraignment have been extremely difficult.
“No amount of time could show [Smith] the type of person Becca was and how much me, her family and friends miss her,” Meiley said.
In Payne’s memory, her town’s local tennis courts have been named after her, as well as a garden and the National Athletic Trainers Association scholarship fund set up in her name.
“We don’t want her to be forgotten,” Nicholas Payne said.
This piece was originally published by the Huntington News.
With Monday after Monday canceled due to inclement weather – an unprecedented amount of snow – this semester and the city have taken a beating.
Northeastern’s Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Executive Director Madeleine Estabrook, announced on Feb. 14 that classes missed will be made up on Patriots Day, April 20, and Reading Day, April 23. While making up days at the end of the semester could solve some scheduling issues, students, faculty and staff have all had their schedules and syllabuses disrupted and have been inconvenienced.
Kimberly Jones is a professor of international affairs currently teaching international conflict as well the senior capstone class. Jones notes that the snow has made meeting challenging, especially considering that the capstone class meets on Monday only.
“For the capstone class, I’ve already organized a series of make-up sessions in small groups, and we have one more later this week,” Jones said. “I’ve also had the class provide written peer feedback over email as they progress with their papers. They’ve been terrific.”
Due to the structure of the international conflict class, Jones has decided to not cram information and instead engage with students outside of class time through additional coursework.
“I’ve been really impressed with the students’ positive attitudes and willingness to be flexible,” Jones said. “Many of them have made the most of the snow days, working on papers, researching and writing, and generally using it as a chance to catch up or even get ahead.”
Some students, however, share a different sentiment.The 95.7 inches of snow affecting has affected not only class but also co-op, internships and work as well.
For senior international affairs and anthropology major Rachel Lake, all of her classes this semester are scheduled before noon on Mondays, aside from one class that meets once a week on Tuesdays.
“My semester has been obliterated,” Lake said. “My syllabuses have been hacked and chopped like the Amazon rainforest.”
Lake notes that this is not solely a Northeastern situation, and that it is frustrating for the community of Boston as a whole, especially in regards to transportation.
Shea Pease, a sophomore business major, notes similar frustrations. Pease has been unable to make it to her Monday internship with Scooper Media. In fact, the business as a whole is unable to function because other business are closed as well.
In terms of class, Pease has had only three tests this semester, and every one has been pushed by at least a week.
“That’s not the worst thing in the world,” Pease said. “But I feel like I’m losing thousands of dollars by not having class.”
Renata Nyul, the director of the communications for Northeastern, notes that despite the snow, the school community has pulled together to get campus back to a functional state.
“It was really a team effort, and facilities, dining, student affairs, ResLife, public safety, payroll and others were all working around the clock to clear the campus of snow and support our students,” Nyul said in an email to The News. “A lot of people from Northeastern, including our facilities colleagues and many of our students, pitched in to help our neighbors beyond the campus. Everyone has shown so much enthusiasm, care and dedication during these past weeks.”
Lake, however, believes that the university will still lag despite efforts.
“While I respect the university’s attempt to create make up days on Reading Day and Patriots Day, I find it hard to believe professors will be able to manage this student schedule puzzle effectively,” Lake said.
This piece was originally published by the Huntington News.
Chronicling my journalistic endeavors.
All ocean conservation/biodiversity posts are my own original thoughts. All other posts are my work for other publications.