Saturday, July 20, 2013

Media! Media! Media! Lots of Support For Expanding ECC City Campus Instead of Amherst!

We have had a TON of pretty great press this week about the ECC expansion. We are very thankful for everyone's support on this issue - we had over 40 people attend the meeting on Tuesday and several news outlets. Your attendance on Tuesday was so important - without it, we would not have seen so many media hits on this issue. The only ones that did not attend the City Council meeting were the decision makers - Mark Poloncarz and The ECC Staff. 

We have reached out to Mark Poloncarz several times for a meeting but he continues to not respond. We will keep you all updated if and when a meeting is scheduled. 

If you want to reach out to personally let Mark Poloncarz know where you stand on  this issue - do it.  We are encouraging everyone to write emails, letters and make phone calls in support of expanding the ECC City Campus. Email:

Check out the media hits here:

Some of our favorite quotes:

  • Councilmember Darius Pridgen says instead of serving the community,  ECC is acting like an Ivy League institution.  " - WBFO News
  • "College should be a no-brainer. It should not be an uphill battle for them to go and get a two-year degree.” - Bernice Radle - Buffalo Rising
  • “There will be a lawsuit,” said Joel Giambra. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Letter From An ECC Student: Make Downtown Stronger & More Accessible!

This was sent to us days ago by a concerned ECC student. We need you to come out and support us TOMORROW at 1pm. (see LINK for details!) 

To Whom It Concerns,

I come to you as a current student at ECC-City Campus. I am also a resident in the city of Buffalo. It truly sickens me to learn of the recent proposal to build a Health Sciences building at Amherst-North Campus, and to focus Buffalo-City Campus on Work Force Development and remedial learning for inner-city youth. Over 50% of ECC students are residents in the City of Buffalo and have to commute to North Campus if they wish to partake in degree programs that can transfer to four year schools. We have the benefit of a campus downtown that is walking distance from the surrounding medical facilities and also surrounded by the Buffalo Transit System, serving a number of students that are without transportation.

I find it extremely discriminatory to take away from the students in the city that are eager to learn and build a future for themselves just because of limited means or simple geography. Why should students downtown have to travel over an hour by bus to Amherst-North Campus when we have a huge facility at arm’s length right here? I myself was delighted to learn that ECC had a campus right downtown that I could access just minutes away from my residence. I decided to go back to school in 2012 and if it wasn’t for the close proximity of Buffalo-City Campus and their evening classes I wouldn’t have been able to do it. How is Buffalo ever going to be the thriving metropolis that it was in years past if we keep removing educational opportunities and placing them in upper-class suburban neighborhoods, out of reach to those in more densely populated parts of the city? We should be promoting the expansion of City-Campus so that more residents do not have to settle for minimum wage jobs that barely support one person, let alone a family.

So many are eager to go to school but find themselves up against a wall. Let’s knock down that wall. Let’s give the residents of Buffalo a fighting chance to live the life they have imagined. We have the power to change lives and to make a difference. The root of success starts with education. Don’t slam the door in our faces; open it and let us through.

Thank you,
Erin Vaccarello
ECC-City Campus Student
Buffalo Resident

Sunday, July 14, 2013


On Tuesday, July 16th at 1pm - WE NEED YOU.

There is a VERY important community input meeting where we need supporters to stand up and speak in favor of supporting a stronger downtown campus. We need all hands on deck for this. 

If you cannot attend - we are urging you to write a letter and send it to your common council members, Governor Cuomo and ECC. Any questions - Email us at 
Buffalo Contact Info:

Quick ECC Talking Points:

  1. With 47% of ECC Students coming from Buffalo, the City Campus should be the only place where a new building gets built. 
  2. Currently the City Campus only serves 25% of the entire campus, which is not enough! 
  3. Space isn't an issue - the County purchased several vacant lots downtown for the expansion of ECC City back in the 2000's. 
  4. The proposed $30 Million dollar STEM building has 8 or 10 programs that are NOT STEM related. This is a disquise for ECC to get the building they want put in Amherst. 
  5. Our smart growth legislation sign in 2011 says that continued support for Sprawl is not allow. THIS IS SPRAWL.
  6. This is segregation by design. The City Campus will now have "workforce development and GED" programs while North Campus in Amherst has the degrees that will move towards a 4 year degree. 
  7. A trip to North Campus from Buffalo's West Side requires 2 buses and takes one hour each way. With over 30% of the City of Buffalo without an automobile, ECC should be expanding downtown - where we have over 30 bus lines that feed into downtown!

Here is the common council agenda

You can read the study report that EASILY justifies the need for downtown development over Amherst here:

Here are some older articles for you:
Bernice, Greg and Jim meet with Council Member Pridgen and Former County Ex. Joel Giambra about ECC. 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Buffalo Common Council Passes Resolution on 7/9/2013 !!! Urges ECC To Explore City Locations!

Call for Construction of ECC Health Sciences Facility at City Campus – 
The Council approved a resolution calling for the construction of Erie Community College’s proposed health sciences facility at the City Campus and calling on Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz and ECC’s Board of Trustees to give strong consideration to locating the facility at 100 N. Division Street. Doing so will both maximize returns on investment to county taxpayers who paid for the site and take advantage of the most obvious expansion opportunity adjacent to the City Campus.

Whereas: County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz has endorsed a $30 million proposal to expand Erie Community College (ECC)’s North Campus in Amherst;

Whereas: In spite of the fact that 47% of ECC students live in the City of Buffalo, the City Campus is still the smallest of ECC’s three-campus system and, due to its limited programs, serves only 25% of ECC's students;

Whereas: ECC’s expansion is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to shift ECC’s health sciences programs to the City Campus, steps away from the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus;

Whereas: Such a shift which would allow Erie Community College to leverage SUNY’s investments in a new Medical School, boost the region’s fastest growing job sector, and better advance the college’s mission of “providing access to all”;

Whereas: The American Association of Community Colleges reports that more than 50% of health sciences workers in the United States are trained at community colleges, yet ECC is not yet playing any direct role in the development of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus;
Sarah and Bernice Talk To Allentown Residents About ECC.

Whereas: The majority of programs slated for ECC’s proposed expansion are in health-related fields that belong near the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, where access to jobs, internships, and public transit are abundant, not eight miles away on Youngs Rd.;

Whereas: The ECC Program Needs Analysis and Space Utilization Assessment (2013), recently released by the Poloncarz administration, incorrectly states that land acquisition would be necessary for expansion of the City Campus;

Whereas: 100 N. Division St., a 1.3-acre, 178-space surface parking lot, was purchased in 2002 by Erie County for $3.1 million to facilitate City Campus expansion, and is perfectly suited for ECC’s proposed health sciences facility;

Whereas: A crisis in Buffalo’s public school student achievement, as well as the disproportionate poverty and unemployment of youth in Buffalo compared to the region as a whole, highlight more than ever the need for the State of New York, Erie County, and the State University of New York’s community college system to focus resources and attention where the need is greatest;

Therefore, Be It Resolved: That the Common Council calls for the construction of ECC’s proposed health sciences facility at the City Campus.

Be It Further Resolved: That the Common Council calls on County Executive Poloncarz and ECC’s Board of Trustees to give strong consideration to locating such a facility at 100 N. Division St., to both maximize returns on investment to County taxpayers who paid for the site, and to take advantage of the most obvious expansion opportunity adjacent to the City Campus.

A 30 Minute Public Transit Ride Can Get You This Far.
Be It Further Resolved: That the Common Council invites the ECC Board of Trustees to consider other downtown sites, such as the City-owned parcel at 201 Ellicott St., for the kind of expansion that will ensure the City Campus becomes the flagship, rather than the smallest, of ECC’s three campuses.

Be It Further Resolved: That the Common Council calls upon Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the Western New York delegation of the New York State Senate and Assembly to shift the State’s $15 million share for ECC’s expansion to the City Campus, where both the need and the return on investment are greatest.

Be It Further Resolved: That the Common Council requests this resolution be forwarded to Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, every member of the New York State Senate and Assembly, Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz, every member of the Erie County Legislature, ECC President Jack Quinn, and the ECC Board of Trustees.

ECC chooses Sprawl: Buffalorising Article By David Steele

ECC chooses Sprawl!!

Erie Community College unveiled  its long-awaited facilities evaluation report called the space needs analysis and space utilization assessment. It was touted as a tool for determining how and where to spend  substantial new capital development money (i.e. where to expand with a new building).  College officials hailed the report as proof that their plan to add a new $30,000,000 building to the ECC Amherst Campus was right after all.  In good “spread the limited resources around to make everyone happy” style the Report recommends  investment and revision of the educational mission for all three college campuses but reserves the biggest investment for the north campus in Amherst.  The Report recommends that Amherst remain the biggest and most important campus with the most comprehensive selection of course offerings designed for students planning further academic  advancement beyond the 2 year program.  The city campus curriculum would be redesigned for those seeking blue-collar style career paths. I guess the assumption is that the dumb old people in the city don’t need no real college or something.  I could not find anything in the  Report that gave explanations for  how this split in course offerings was determined.
The North Campus has long been the campus with the highest enrollment  with the city campus bringing up the rear as the smallest.  ECC officials continually point to this as a major reason they need to expand the north campus.  What they fail to mention is that the North Campus has a higher student population most probably because that is where college administrators have decided to offer the most classes.  In my opinion the Report is designed to confirm what officials wanted it to confirm.  In my reading I find no objective reasoning which points to the North Campus as the best place for expansion and no where did I read a thorough study of the reasoning for continuing a three campus system.  In fact with minimal effort you can list several objective reasons why the North Campus is a horrible place for this campus. For example:
  1. Almost half of all ECC students live in the City of Buffalo. This alone is reason to concentrate classes in Buffalo.
  2. 52% of North Campus students come from Buffalo. That is 2,994 buffalo residents to 668 Amherst residents.
  3. Land costs, which is cheaper? The Report says one big reason for using the North for expansion is that the  college already owns the land.  This means, they say,  that no money need be spent on purchasing new property.  This is true, sort of.  The college owns huge tracts of mostly empty space at both the north and south campuses.  But this empty land is not free. Any simple cost benefit analysis would include a tally of lost real estate tax on that land.  It would also include in the ledger a sum for what the land could be sold for.  The only way you can compare the true cost of land for a new building on any of the campuses it to compare all of these costs.  It is highly likely with a true comparison of all costs of land and facilities the determination would be that expansion in the city is cheaper.  This is very basic math, the kind they teach in 100 level business school classes.  If this comparison is in the Report I could not find it.
  4. Transportation? The city campus is the obvious choice if ease of transportation is a criteria for locating facilities. In this case it seems transportation was not an important factor in determining where investment should be concentrated.  The City Campus is served by 4 major highway spurs radiating out into the metro.  It is also served by 35 bus lines and by Metro Rail. There are 32,000 parking spaces near the campus.  Additionally there are nearby dense and attractive neighborhoods within walking distance which cater to all economic levels. It is by far the most accessible campus to the most people in the metro area.  The 3 campuses are served by an NFTA run campus bus shuttle but service is sporadic and the round trip between campuses is over 2 hours.  A quick use of the NFTA’s online trip planner makes no mention of this shuttle but does guide you to several options from downtown which include multiple transfers and a 1 hour trip minimum each way.  Don’t miss that last bus or you are in trouble. You can drive to Amherst of course but then you have to own a car. 30% of buffalo residents do not own a car. Are we saying that low-income Community College students need to own a car to have  reasonable access to an education?  I did not find any discussion of this in the report.  The report did list complaints about the shuttle system often being late.
  5. Access to jobs: Even after 60 years of decline Downtown Buffalo is still the dominant  job hub in the region, with the densest concentration of jobs.  In recent years the downtown work force has expanded and will take a huge leap forward as UB adds its medical school and Children’s Hospital moves to the Medical Campus.  ECC north and South campuses have minimal to no connection to local job centers.  Students already burdened with a  1 hour or more bus ride will be hard pressed to make connections with local employers from the remote and desolate suburban campuses.
College officials originally floated the idea for the new $30,000,000 building at the North Campus to concentrate and expand their offerings of medical services and technician training courses.  Many pointed out that these MEDICAL type educational services would be a great complement to the growing concentration of MEDICAL facilities in the  the Buffalo Niagara MEDICAL campus in downtown Buffalo and wouldn’t downtown be a more logical place for this new ECC facility for both staff and students?  College administrators quickly changed the name of the building eliminating any mention of medicine.  The Report uses a new trendy acronym for labeling the proposed building’s use, STEM.  This stands for Science, Technology,Engineering, and Math.  The Report provides a long list of careers related to these core subjects including chemical technician, aerospace,  web developer, physicist, etc. most of which will not be located in the new building.  The Report goes on to recommend that the new building to be designed to meet the needs of 10 educational offerings.  8 of these 10 subjects are for MEDICAL related fields!  So, the so-called  ”STEM” building is going to be primarily for MEDICAL training after all!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

ECC Continues to Ignore the City of Buffalo.

ECC tells all 6,600 inner city students who attend ECC that they are only worthy of workforce development training and entry level jobs...
"Quinn said the state’s Buffalo Billion economic development initiative calls for ECC to train potential workers at a yet-to-be-identified workforce training center, while programs at the Amherst campus will focus on placing students into four-year colleges and white-collar industries.
Inner-city students could start at the City Campus, get employed and, if they so choose, advance to programs at the Amherst location, he said.
He added that the mission of the City Campus is in line with Say Yes to Education’s public school tuition incentive program.
“Buffalo Public Schools is our feeder,” Quinn said. “If we don’t take care of these kids, who will? The graduation rate is embarrassing. It’s almost criminal.”"

What is criminal is that ECC continues to make it harder for the inner city students to succeed. These students are the ones who need the energy, time and resources the most.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Buffalo News Article: ECC Study SUPPORTS City Campus Growth, not Amherst Expansion.

Mark Poloncarz announces the
ECC study results in May 2013.
Featured in the Buffalo News on June 28, 2013. You can read it here. 
By Bernice Radle and Greg Conley
Prior to the release of a study concluding Erie Community College should expand its North Campus in Amherst, County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz happily presented its results.
But, did he read the study?
Consider the following fact from the study: Forty-seven percent of ECC students live in the City of Buffalo.
The study points out that the City Campus is still the smallest of ECC’s three-campus system and, due to its limited programs, serves only 25 percent of ECC’s students.
If this inequity between city and suburban campuses is not a subtle, but very real, form of racial and economic discrimination, what is?
Poloncarz would have taxpayers believe that the North Campus expansion is for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs, but the study reveals this is spin. Seven of 10 programs at the proposed $30 million facility would be in health-related fields, not STEM: anatomy and physiology, biology, biomanufacturing, medical lab technology, medical assisting, nursing and respiratory care.
These health sciences programs belong near the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, where access to internships, job opportunities and public transit are abundant, not eight miles away on Youngs Road.
According to the American Association of Community Colleges, more than 50 percent of health sciences workers in the United States are trained at community colleges, so why is Erie Community College playing no direct role in the development of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus?
The Medical Campus will not be able to compete globally without stronger links to the community college system. ECC’s expansion is an opportunity to shift its health sciences programs to the City Campus, where the college can leverage investments in the University at Buffalo’s new Medical School, bolster the region’s fastest-growing job sector, and better advance its stated mission of “providing access to all.”
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo gets it. His administration’s investment in the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus is helping reforge Buffalo’s economy, with more than 2,000 jobs created since 2011 and another 5,000 jobs on the way by 2017. Poloncarz does not need to hide behind a flawed study; common sense alone says that this success should be supported.
Buffalo can no longer afford to squander once-in-a-generation opportunities. Any growth in ECC facilities should be centered where both the need and the return on investment is greatest – the City Campus.
Bernice Radle and Greg Conley are co-chairmen of Young Citizens for ECC.