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Queens pols seeks to keep interim president at QC

But CUNY Chancellor Matthew Goldstein said he intends to adhere to the presidential search guidelines, which forbid Dr....

By Alexander Dworkowitz

Queens’ political leaders are pushing the City University of New York to keep the interim head of Queens College on as president.

But CUNY Chancellor Matthew Goldstein said he intends to adhere to the presidential search guidelines, which forbid Dr. Russell Hotzler from continuing on as president.

Queens College now has narrowed down its search for its next president to two candidates: Eugene Buccini and James Muyskens.

Buccini has been vice president for academic affairs at Western Connecticut State University since 1997, while Muyskens is the founding chief executive officer and dean of faculty at the Gwinnett University Center.

Nevertheless, Queens Borough President Helen Marshall and all seven state senators and 15 assembly members from Queens signed a letter asking Goldstein to keep Hotzler at the college he has served since September 2000.

“In a short time Dr. Hotzler proceeded to turn the school around, re-establishing it as a center of excellence for training teachers and generally improving standards and results across the board,” Marshall wrote on April 2.

Goldstein, who has the power to nominate presidents to the CUNY board of trustees, told Marshall he would adhere to the guidelines that prevent an interim president from being nominated.

“I will review the assessments of the final candidates and prepare recommendation to the board consistent with the guidelines,” he wrote.

Ron Cannava, a spokesman for Queens College, said Goldstein could override the guidelines if he chose to do so.

Cannava said allowing an interim president to run for office would set up a situation whereby his work at the school could be seen as a form of campaigning.

“It creates really a conflict of interest,” he said.

Hotzler, a master metallurgical engineer, replaced Allen See Sessoms as president of Queens College.

Sessoms resigned in April 2000 after a controversial five-year term at the college.

Sessoms was criticized for failing to raise enough money to construct a planned AIDS research center on campus. The center was to have been headed by Dr. Luc Montagnier, the co-discoverer of the AIDS virus.

Sessoms was also criticized in the campus newspaper, The Quad, which reported he made derogatory comments about remedial students.

Reach reporter Alexander Dworkowitz by e-mail at or call 229-0300, Ext. 141.

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