College President Addresses Task Force

Zoom meeting screen
SUNY Oneonta President Alberto Cardelle, top center, meets with members of the NY Assembly/Senate Puerto Rican & Hispanic Task Force

Discusses Higher Education Access and Equity for New York's Latinx Students

At the invitation of Assemblywoman Maritza Davila, SUNY Oneonta President Alberto Cardelle discussed issues of access and equity in higher education with the New York State Assembly/Senate Puerto Rican & Hispanic Task Force on Monday, March 7.

The NYS Assembly/Senate Puerto Rican & Hispanic Task Force, created in 1987, is a legislative body focusing on the needs and concerns of the state’s Latinx population. Assemblywoman Davila, herself a strong advocate for community access to quality public education, has chaired the New York State Assembly Puerto Rican/Hispanic Taskforce since 2019.

“Over the last decade, the number of Hispanic/Latinx students enrolled in SUNY schools has doubled,” Assemblywoman Davila said. “I’m excited to continue to increase this number and uplift our amazing community through the Puerto Rican & Hispanic Task Force alongside SUNY Oneonta President Alberto Cardelle. Additionally, we are looking forward to providing greater support to help make our Hispanic/Latinx students feel more welcomed and safe in their environments.”

As SUNY’s first Cuban American president, Dr. Cardelle is one of only three presidents who identify as Latinx among the 64 State University campuses.

“I believe that colleges and universities can be engines for equity. We need to give students of all backgrounds equal access to these opportunities, and we need to find meaningful ways to expand those opportunities for those seeking employment at institutions of higher education,” Dr. Cardelle said.  

He highlighted the important role that regional comprehensive colleges play in creating opportunities for Latinx students. “SUNY Oneonta gives opportunities to students of all backgrounds, especially those of the Latinx community,” said Dr. Cardelle. He noted that Latinx students are statistically the fastest-growing segment of college-bound students, which, he explained, is why colleges and universities should be prepared to address their needs.

“SUNY Oneonta is uniquely positioned to support Latinx students,” he said. SUNY Oneonta is the only college in New York to host the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP), a federally funded scholarship program designed to support students from migrant and seasonal farm working families in the pursuit of higher education. Dr. Cardelle also highlighted the successes of the college’s Access and Opportunity programs (AOP). Dr. Cardelle said that the programs have successfully helped Latinx students graduate at a much higher percentage than the general population.

The creation of a heritage language program supporting bilingual students is another avenue that he would like to explore. “We want Latinx students to feel at home at SUNY Oneonta,” Dr. Cardelle said. “We want them to know that growing up with their language and their heritage is not a hindrance, but should be considered an asset and an advantage.”

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