NEW YORK, N.Y. (March 10, 2023) – Guttman Community College, part of the City University of New York (CUNY), welcomed New York City Council Member Eric Dinowitz to campus on Tuesday, March 7. The council member spoke with students, staff and administration about his new legislation, Intro 660-A, which is designed to help high school students with disabilities transition into higher education.
Intro 660-A will help provide pathways to higher education at Guttman, where 20% of students identify as neurodivergent – the largest percentage of all CUNY schools. Guttman’s graduation rate (41%) is consistently higher than the national average (27%), and students with disabilities are no exception with a graduation rate of 45%.
“We were thrilled to invite the Council Member to our campus to celebrate this significant step toward equitable programming for this student demographic,” said Guttman President Larry Johnson. “We hope to become a model for other colleges around the country in regard to incorporating accessible practices and improving access.”
While on campus, Dinowitz met with neurodiverse students Samuel Clarke (Information Technology major), Eden Bishop (Liberal Arts major) and Lishon Vesprey (Liberal Arts major), who described the positive experience they have had transitioning to college at Guttman. Their success is largely attributed to the college’s Office of AccessABILITY, which facilitates equal access to educational programs, services and facilities on campus and ensures the college is a place where students can thrive, no matter their ability. Staff from that office described specific initiatives such as on-campus accessibility liaisons, special advisors who encourage self-advocacy and efforts to incorporate accessibility into every facet of the student experience.
“Guttman is a campus for all students to gain an inclusive educational experience. The Office of AccessABILITY Services takes pride in providing academic support for our students with disabilities,” said Crystal Vazquez, director of AccessABILITY Services.
The council member also met with Guttman leadership, including President Johnson, Executive Chief of Staff Rosslyn Knight, Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Nicola Blake, Vice President of Administration and Finance Mary Coleman and Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs Daniel Ambrose.
Stella and Charles Guttman Community College was CUNY’s first new community college in more than forty years. Reimagining what community college could be, Guttman opened its doors in Manhattan in August 2012 to create a research-based, innovative model focused on moving students efficiently toward graduation. Offering associate degree programs in a nurturing environment, the College’s three-year graduation rate consistently surpasses the national average, and most graduates transfer to senior colleges. Guttman is federally designated as a Hispanic-serving institution and minority-serving institution with more than 85% of the student population identifying as Latine or Black/African American. The College was named the best community college in America in 2020 and the top community college in New York State for 2020, 2021 and 2022 by Niche.com and other ranking agencies.