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"LoHud" featured Distinguished Criminal Justice Fellow at Pace Law School Mimi Rocah in "Mimi Rocah brings law-enforcement legal training to her political analysis"

10/24/2019

"LoHud" featured Distinguished Criminal Justice Fellow at Pace Law School Mimi Rocah in "Mimi Rocah brings law-enforcement legal training to her political analysis"

In her 16-year career as an assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Mimi Rocah prosecuted a veritable Who's Who of big name mobsters, from John Gotti Jr. to members of the Genovese and DeCavalcante crime families.

But the 49-year-old Scarsdale mother of two admits she feels more "vulnerable" as a legal analyst for MSNBC and NBC networks.

“When I was prosecuting mob cases, I didn't really feel scared for my personal safety," said Rocah, a Distinguished Criminal Justice Fellow at Pace Law School, sitting in the living room of her home on a recent weekday.

"The ethos of the mob is to go after cooperating witnesses, but not prosecutors because they know prosecutors are easily replaceable."

Being a visible presence on television opens her up to another kind of mob, she said: "I have, at times, felt more vulnerable and exposed because I do get angry tweets or emails from people who really disagree with my viewpoint and see me as part of some conspiracy against Trump.” 

On the flip side, she routinely receives letters from women who say she's inspired them to go to law school. Rocah, who was co-chief of the White Plains Division when she left the office, previously headed the Organized Crime and Racketeering Unit at SDNY.

Not one to mince words, she's been a vocal Donald Trump critic since her resignation as a federal prosecutor in October 2017.

Read the full Lohud article.

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"The Journal News | LoHud.com" featured the women's lacrosse and field hockey Pace Setters in "Ahead of the Pace: Setters relishing in the quick rise of women's lacrosse, field hockey"

10/16/2019

"The Journal News | LoHud.com" featured the women's lacrosse and field hockey Pace Setters in "Ahead of the Pace: Setters relishing in the quick rise of women's lacrosse, field hockey"

Given the recent ascension to national-level recognition, it's hard to imagine that, five years ago, Pace University didn't play a single field hockey or women's lacrosse game.

In the spring of 2015, Pace was planning on fielding its first-ever women's lacrosse team. The field hockey program would have its inaugural season the following fall.

Pace's energetic athletic director, Mark Brown, is a self-proclaimed eternal optimist. He had high hopes for both programs when he brought them to the university. However, there wasn't enough positive thinking and foresight that could have predicted both programs being ranked nationally so soon.

As for women's lacrosse, it finished its third consecutive season ranked in the IWLCA Top 25 national polls.

"It's been tremendous to have both teams nationally-ranked in just four or five years; it's really hard to do," Brown said. "I give all the credit to the coaches, the student-athletes that work really hard, and our support staff. We've created the environment for them to be successful, it's really nice."

When Brown first arrived at Pleasantville in 2011, he performed a gender-equity review. After a 10-month long process, the results showed that although there was an equal amount of men's and women's athletic programs, the large size of Pace's football, men's lacrosse and baseball teams meant that there were a lot more positions provided for male student-athletes.

Brown wanted to bring a balance by creating new teams in field hockey and women's lacrosse, laying down the groundwork to get those programs running for 2015.

"We were really looking for opportunities we could create for young women," Brown said. "(Field hockey and women's lacrosse) are immensely popular, they're very competitive in the northeast, so we really felt like this was a missed opportunity for us as an institution if we didn't create these teams so that these young women studying in high school — and were lacrosse or field hockey players — can come here and play. I think it's far exceeded even my wildest expectations."

Their early success has also surpassed the expectations of both programs' head coaches, as well as some of the veteran players within the program. While it can be off-putting at first to go to a place where the teams had barely been established, the Setters have gotten players and coaches to embrace the challenge and build a culture.

"I actually liked the fact that it was so new because we are going to be the people to make a name for Pace," women's lacrosse sophomore and North Rockland native Aleya Corretjer said.

For her teammate, Northeast-10 All-Conference honoree Mary Kate Lonegan, a senior attacker and midfielder from Brewster, she admits it took a little time at first.

"Honestly, when it originally came up, my parents practically forced me in the car to visit because I said, 'I'm not going to Pace, they hardly have a team,' " Lonegan said. "It's so small, it's too close. When I came here, I immediately changed my mind. ... It's cool to create something and feel like I was a part of the start of the program, because I do feel like every year this team has surprised me and that it really has good potential to be top-five eventually. I think that'll be cool, when it does happen, to say that I was part of the start of it."

Pace's field hockey coach, Kayte Kinsley, says it's that universal feeling of wanting to prove they can compete and belong that drove these young programs in their earliest stages. Kinsley, a Putnam Valley native, was part of the Tigers' state championship team in 2005. She played soccer in college at Adelphi, before eventually finding her way back to field hockey as a head coach at Mercy College, where she built the program from scratch.

Those experiences helped her when coming in to grow a fledgling program that went 6-12 in its inaugural season.

"Definitely not," Kinsley said, when asked if she anticipated the rapid growth of the field hockey program. "I think that's one of the nice things when you initially start, you have a young group, having the time to be able to build them and know eventually that you're going to have that team after that first year, that you're going to have them for three years to work the kinks out."

"By that point, they understand each other's style of play, what they can do individually, and the system too, definitely helps. We weren't expecting the Final Four in four years, but some good student-athletes and kids that were dedicated to wanting to do well definitely helps."

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"LoHud" featured Dyson professor of public administration Gina Scutelnicu in "Yonkers moves towards more greener, more transit oriented future"

09/19/2019

"LoHud" featured Dyson professor of public administration Gina Scutelnicu in "Yonkers moves towards more greener, more transit oriented future"

Priced out in Yonkers?

Westchester is generally classified as being a high-medium county, that's "kind of priced to drive out the middle class and lower class from being able to live there,” said Gina Scutelnicu, an assistant professor of public administration at Pace University. 

From 2015 to 2018, the number of rent-stabilized apartments in Westchester dropped by 3,000, according to statistics issued by the state Division of Housing and Community Renewal. 

The number of rent-stabilized apartments in Westchester was 26,651 in 2018, down by 2,995 from 2015 when the figure was 29,646.

“In Yonkers, in particular, the slogan is, ‘we want to appeal to the young professionals, to the empty-nesters,’ ” said Scutelnicu. She said that other cities such as Mount Vernon and Pelham have had greater successes in providing affordable housing. 

There’s a disconnect, Scutelnicu said. There should be better communication with the residents, so more public service, public opinion surveys, town halls and city hall meetings. 

Scutelnicu said more attention should be paid to educate and involve them in the process. 

When a new developer is coming in, the community needs someone to advocate for them, Scutelnicu said. A lot of neighborhood associations and nonprofits have been successful in doing this. 

Other than engaging communities, cities can build more affordable housing and increase the number of affordable units in new developments, Scutelnicu said.

Mayor Spano said the city isn't pricing people out, but rather bringing in “people who have higher incomes in," and that should have a net positive effect on residents. 

He also noted that much of the housing that was built was on formerly contaminated sites. 

“We're building workforce housing… So there should be something for everyone. It may not be everything everyone wants, but it should be something for everyone,” Spano said. 

Recently, the city renovated the William A. Schlobohm Houses, one of the oldest public housing complexes in Yonkers, and a nearby senior community. The substantial completion for the complexes is expected for December. 

Still, the Municipal Housing Authority for the City of Yonkers’ website says the Section 8 waiting list has over 10,000 applicants and it is closed.

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"Lo Hud" featured Pace University’s Camp CryptoBot in "High School students create and code underwater robots at Pace University’s Camp CryptoBot"

08/05/2019

"Lo Hud" featured Pace University’s Camp CryptoBot in "High School students create and code underwater robots at Pace University’s Camp CryptoBot"

Teams of students compete with underwater robots at Pace University's Camp CryptoBot in Pleasantville on Thursday, August 1, 2019.

A team makes last minute changes to their underwater robot at Pace University's Camp CryptoBot in Pleasantville on Thursday, August 1, 2019.

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"The Journal News" featured Pace University Women's Justice Center Executive Director Cindy Kanusher in "Freeman case: Why 'creepy' behavior not always criminal, and how New York could change law"

07/23/2019

"The Journal News" featured Pace University Women's Justice Center Executive Director Cindy Kanusher in "Freeman case: Why 'creepy' behavior not always criminal, and how New York could change law"

Are laws responsive?

Even in the post-#MeToo era, the law can be limiting, said Cindy Kanusher, executive director of Pace Women’s Justice Center, a nonprofit that provides free legal services for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and harassment.

“There needs to be recognition that these kinds of behaviors are falling outside the bounds of the criminal justice system, leaving victims without recourse,” Kanusher said in her office, located on the grounds of Pace University Elisabeth Haub School of Law in White Plains. “Change has to happen so that our criminal law is responsive to the types of criminal behavior that we’re talking about.”

Kanusher said that changes to the law have to be done carefully and constitutionally. But past penal code changes have created leaps toward justice.

For example, in 2011, the state added felony and misdemeanor charges specifically to address strangulation, an act that domestic abusers use to terrorize a victim. But choking someone often doesn't leave marks; since it wasn't a criminal offense on its own, abusers often got away with it.

When a criminal count of "obstruction of breathing or blood circulation" was added, more than 2,000 were charged within the first 15 weeks, the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services reported.

“Sometimes the laws are not written or don’t exist to respond to these types of behaviors,” Kanusher said.

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"The Journal News" featured Pace University's Physician Assistant program adjunct professor Paige Long Sharps, M.D. in "What New York and New Jersey are doing to stem black women's deaths from childbirth"

06/17/2019

"The Journal News" featured Pace University's Physician Assistant program adjunct professor Paige Long Sharps, M.D. in "What New York and New Jersey are doing to stem black women's deaths from childbirth"

The New York metropolitan area has some of the best hospitals and top doctors in the world.

Yet New Jersey has the fifth-highest maternal mortality rate in the nation and New York ranks 25th in the number of women who die during or after childbirth in the U.S., according to a USA TODAY investigation.

The United States, which has the highest maternal death rate among developed countries, is one of only three nations — the others are Afghanistan and Sudan — where the maternal mortality rate is rising, according to the Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health. 

And the overwhelming majority of women who die or suffer catastrophic injury in birth or post-delivery are black women.

New Jersey Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter said state Health Commissioner Shereef Elnahal "hit the nail on the head" when he said, "It's implicit bias."

Studies show that race, more than poverty or education, presents the most significant risk for maternal mortality. For example, New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene found that the maternal morbidity rate of black women with at least a college degree was higher than for any other racial or ethnic group of women who lacked a high school diploma or GED.

Dr. Paige Long Sharps said the cause is "multi-factorial," but bias by health care providers cannot be discounted.

She said she's seen colleagues treat women of color, especially women who are obese or poor, differently. And, Sharps said, she's had doctors be curt and dismissive with her when she has sought medical care — until they ask what she does and she tells them she's a doctor.

Sharps decided to go into teaching after serving as medical director of Montefiore Medical Center’s Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Women's Health in part because of the bias she witnessed. 

“If I can instruct in clinicals, I can eradicate the biases in how residents and nurses are treating patients in the hospital,” said Sharps, who is an adjunct faculty member for Pace University’s Physician Assistant program at the Pleasantville campus.

New York and New Jersey are taking action: Both have formed task forces to define the issues and develop ways to address health disparities; both states' legislatures have put forth bills to address the issues, and both governors have included money in their state budgets to act on recommendations.

Read the full article.

 

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