Letter to the editor of the Queens Courier:
At the June 16 Jamaica Estates Civic Association meeting, the secretary of the board provided a report of a recent meeting between members of the association and the president of Saint John’s University (SJU), Father Donald Harrington. The purpose of the meeting was to address the community’s dissatisfaction concerning the SJU off-campus dormitory presently being built on Henley Road in the heart of our residential community. A series of questions from the membership ensued, which Mr. Joseph Sciame, Vice President of Community Relations at SJU, attempted to address.
One of the questions/comments posed to Sciame and Arthur Flug, Chair of the Association, was if the SJU Queens campus is located outside the perimeters of the Jamaica Estates community, why does SJU include in their literature that their “Queens campus is located in the beautiful Jamaica Estates community?”
Sciame was quick to respond, saying that because of SJU’s strategic plan they will no longer refer to the school as the Jamaica Estates campus but as the Queens campus because the word “Jamaica” carries a negative connotation, which could adversely influence the decision of out of town students.
I consider SJU’s plan insulting, elitist and racist. Saint John’s University is modifying their brochures and literature, not to correct an error, but to target a different audience that might find the name Jamaica offensive!
Write and share your outrage with Father Harrington at Saint John’s University, 8000 Utopia Parkway, Jamaica, NY 11439.
Member of the Concerned Residents of Jamaica Estates
Jamaica Estates Civic Association