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Valhalla, NY - Student Group Fights Possible Touro Merger

Published on: April 5, 2009 11:58 AM
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The campus of New York Medical College in Valhalla. Officials at Touro College said they were in serious negotiations to make the medical school an affiliate. (Carucha L. Meuse/The Journal News)The campus of New York Medical College in Valhalla. Officials at Touro College said they were in serious negotiations to make the medical school an affiliate. (Carucha L. Meuse/The Journal News)

Valhalla, NY - A vocal group of New York Medical College students are saying “no” to a possible merger with Touro College.

Citing concerns about the value of their medical degrees, potential faculty changes and a scandal involving Touro officials selling grades, the students sent dozens of e-mails to the campus community and local media opposing negotiations between the two colleges.

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“The most important of concerns revolves around Touro’s current reputation and circulating rumors,” said Angela Fusaro, 29, a fourth-year student and president of the medical school’s Student Senate.

Two years ago, a former admissions director and a computer center director at Touro College were indicted in a well-publicized “cash for grades scheme.”

People paid $3,000 to $25,000 for the false or altered transcripts, the Manhattan district attorney said.

The state Education Department conducted a review of professional licenses issued based on fraudulently obtained credentials from Touro College to make sure the public was protected from unqualified individuals.

No fraudulent professional licenses were found, Department of Education spokesman Jonathan Burman said.

Officials at New York Medical College, sponsored by the Archdiocese of New York, had been looking to join a larger university for about two years.

In February, the medical school’s officials signed a letter of intent with Touro College, a Jewish university with sites on Long Island and in New York City.

Some medical students said they were angry that the administration had not shared information about the possible merger until this month.

“Some students felt a little blindsided,” said Fusaro, who represents more than 750 medical students. “They felt that the administration should’ve been more forthcoming.”

Fusaro said she has heard some students talk about transferring to other medical schools should Touro buy the college.

New York Medical College President Dr. Karl Adler sent an e-mail letter to students and faculty on March 24 addressing individual questions and saying officials were bound by “a strict confidentiality agreement, most of which still remains in place.”

The medical school set up a committee consisting of 15 members from the Student Senate, department chairs, Faculty Senate, alumni, and staff who were allowed to disseminate limited information.

“From the beginning, even with the limitations of a confidentiality agreement, my desire for transparency in this process has been sincere,” Adler said in the e-mail.

Adler was not available for an interview for this article, medical college spokeswoman Donna Moriarty said.

The 150-year-old New York Medical College is among the largest private medical schools in the country but one of the last that is not part of a university.

In their search for a buyer, the medical school’s officials engaged in serious discussions with Fordham University, Pace University, St. John’s University and Westchester Medical Center. None of them resulted in a financial partnership.

Other students, however, like Anil Kulangara, are in favor of the merger with Touro if it means the medical college will be more fiscally sound.

“There is a silent contingent that accepts the partnership as a financial necessity ... not all NYMC students are against the merger,” Kulangara said.

Pam Walsh, 24, a first-year medical student from Brooklyn, said she had faith that the college’s leadership would act in the best interests of the students and faculty.

“My father went to this school when it was taken over by the Archdiocese, so I’m not too worried,” said Walsh, citing the last time the college had financial problems about 30 years ago.

And Steven Kong, 24, a second-year student from Pomona, Calif., said he can see both sides of the argument.

On one side, he isn’t impressed with Touro’s reputation, but on the other, he doesn’t want the school to go bankrupt, he said.

“Right now, though, I’m more worried about studying for my boards,” he said.


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Read Comments (25)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Apr 05, 2009 at 11:17 AM i Says:

good for the students theyre degree will be less valuebule if they murge

2

 Apr 05, 2009 at 01:04 PM YW CPA Says:

I just want to drop a good word about Touro College a respectful institution that changed my life. First of all I grew up in chasiddish yeshivas so my English background was awful and thanks to Touro I know how to spell "merge". Now to the point, Touro is a phenomenal organization that saved many many jewish lives. They give an extraordinary level of education in a jewish atmosphere, something that was never available in jewish history. In every organization there are some crooks that try to abuse the system and believe me all my colleagues here in the blog you don't want to get me started with comparing to other abuse. Those students are jealous (a nice word for antisemitism) I am not familiar with all professions but in accounting. Touro college was ranked number 2 in the nation of their students success rate on the CPA exam. I myself scored 97 on the CPA exam (the average in the nation is 68-72) yes you just read good its a 97 for a guy who grew up in a satmar yeshivah without any English background. We say every day "shnei kesuvim hamakchushim zea as zea ad sheyovoi hakosuv hashlishy vyachria beineiham" I think I just gave a good example of a "kosuv hashlishie" Very few people in the U.S. gets a 97 score on the CPA exam and I did thanks to Touro College.

3

 Apr 05, 2009 at 12:32 PM Anonymous Says:

NY Medical College is not one of the highest ranking medical schools in the US. However, a merger with Touro will certainly not help its reputation. Touro, is academically inferior to most schools. Its law school is subpar as are most of its undergraduate divisions.

4

 Apr 05, 2009 at 12:18 PM Anonymous Says:

Money can buy anything. Touro is trying to buy respect.

5

 Apr 05, 2009 at 02:02 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #3  
Anonymous Says:

NY Medical College is not one of the highest ranking medical schools in the US. However, a merger with Touro will certainly not help its reputation. Touro, is academically inferior to most schools. Its law school is subpar as are most of its undergraduate divisions.

Yah, but its still a medical school.They have the ostopath schools in Harlem, but this would be a regular school that gives people the m.d. name...it's scary that Touro may be running a serious medical institution. I can't imagine I would even consider it if I was trying to be a doctor.

6

 Apr 05, 2009 at 02:26 PM Touro Graduate Says:

Most of Touros branches are decent. However, their Social Work Graduate School, and their Lander College for Men division which is a Yeshiva College program in Queens, are ranked high.

7

 Apr 05, 2009 at 02:39 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #5  
Anonymous Says:

Yah, but its still a medical school.They have the ostopath schools in Harlem, but this would be a regular school that gives people the m.d. name...it's scary that Touro may be running a serious medical institution. I can't imagine I would even consider it if I was trying to be a doctor.

True that.

8

 Apr 05, 2009 at 04:17 PM disappointed MSW student Says:

the MSW Program got off to a strong start, but has taken some serious steps backwards. Save your money and go to a school that takes education seriously.

9

 Apr 05, 2009 at 04:42 PM Phil Charach Says:

I am proud to read #2s YW CPA comments. I had him in my finance course, and I could attest that he was a bright and very hard working student. He scored a 97 on the CPA exam (the average in the nation is 68-72).
Well deserved!
Thanks to Touro College and Dr. Lander

10

 Apr 05, 2009 at 09:00 PM BDR Says:

#2 - you are obviously the same author as #9. This is not a site on which to boost your resume. Dumb tricks like this are what gives Touro its reputation for inferiority.

11

 Apr 05, 2009 at 09:51 PM Dr Fish Says:

I went to Touro and I find it inferior. As my parents wanted me to go there for undergrad, I did not really have a choice. However, their educational system is subpar. They pay their professors the lowest of many colleges. The students are not serious. Touro does have some good programs, such as accounting, but it doesn't help those people who want to go into real academic majors.
Touro's accounting program is only good as it is one of their main focuses. In a normal college, accounting doesn't even garner the college's attention. It is more like a trade school kind of job.
Touro, however is good for chassidim who need to brush up on basic academic skills before they graduate.

12

 Apr 06, 2009 at 04:00 AM YP Says:

I am a greduete of Touro College. I tink we got the bestet education posible. I'n goying to becum a elementry skool ticher!

13

 Apr 06, 2009 at 02:23 AM NYMC Alumni '08 Says:

I agree that #2 and #9 are the same person. Any support for Touro is NOT warranted - the fact that Touro has some nice endowments but needs the respect that comes with operating an allopathic medical school since the 1800s (did I mention that NYMC also has 2 additional graduate schools, a School of Public Health AND a School of Graduate Sciences for master's and doctoral level biological and biochemical research?). It disgusts me to think that NYMC was desperate enough to drop everything that it stood for at the first serious bite to the bait it's been holding out for over 2 years.
I don't buy the students acting like NO ONE knew this was coming. Since I came to NYMC in January of 2007, everyone knew a merger was in the air. There were "Serious" talks with Fordham, and even more "Serious" talks with St. John's University. A friend of mine and I were standing outside the School of Public Health in early 2008 when we chatted about the very real possibility of us graduating in a few months (at that time) with St. John's degrees.
Now you take a respectable allopathic medical school with a great reputation (albeit a very significant lack of money coming in from research and endowments, and the reasons for that could fill more than one novel) and merge it with Touro? I don't know who should be more pissed - NYMC graduates who are going to be "TOURO - MD" graduates or the TOUROCOM students who came on board with one of the country's newest medical schools only to be thrown to the side with Touro's newest "side project".
The tragedy that has befallen my NYMC has driven out ALL (yes, I said ALL purposefully) of my wonderful professors, albeit to bigger and much better positions. It's just very sad because with the right administration in place who focused less on themselves and more on the future, NYMC could have been one of the best in the country. Now, I'm just waiting for Touro to send ME an alumni letter asking ME to donate to my "newly named" alma mater. HAHAH!

14

 Apr 06, 2009 at 12:18 AM Yossie Says:

Reply to #11  
Dr Fish Says:

I went to Touro and I find it inferior. As my parents wanted me to go there for undergrad, I did not really have a choice. However, their educational system is subpar. They pay their professors the lowest of many colleges. The students are not serious. Touro does have some good programs, such as accounting, but it doesn't help those people who want to go into real academic majors.
Touro's accounting program is only good as it is one of their main focuses. In a normal college, accounting doesn't even garner the college's attention. It is more like a trade school kind of job.
Touro, however is good for chassidim who need to brush up on basic academic skills before they graduate.

You really know what you are talking about! 99% of Touro students are non Chasidim, and the Chasidim who do attend get better grades then other students in grades 9 out 10 times. So before you start spewing your anti Chasidim nonsense, you should know your facts.

15

 Apr 06, 2009 at 07:51 AM Touro Student Says:

To all educated wise guys. Phill Charach (#9) is a professor in Touro it's a real name not a screen name do you really think that YW (#1) is playing with his professors name??? I think you jealous commentators should know better then that.

16

 Apr 06, 2009 at 08:11 AM IW KJ Says:

It is ironic how deep rooted hatred towards “Chasidim” can be. #2 did not hide his name and neither did #9. Those who are students of Touro know this to be true. Professor Phil Charach is a popular person on the campus, yet you still cannot admire #2’s sucsess, instead you react with anonymous accusations of self promoting. I happen to know #2 personally, and yes he will beat any of you “lutvaks” in a chess match. I understand that your best response would be that I am #2, and whatever number this post will be, but how about answering the fact that #2 scored a 97 on an exam that averages 68-72 in the nation. The exam is conducted by the State not by Touro. And DR. Fish I understand that you had issues with your parents, they wanted you to become a Doctor and seemingly you where not the type, but good for you, you are a Doctor on this Blog.

17

 Apr 06, 2009 at 08:29 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #12  
YP Says:

I am a greduete of Touro College. I tink we got the bestet education posible. I'n goying to becum a elementry skool ticher!

It's obvious that your trying to smear Touro's name with your spelling.

18

 Apr 06, 2009 at 09:54 AM Anonymous Says:

Touro seves a great need for frum young men and women who wish to have a profession. we owe Dr. Lander a large measure of "hakaras hatov"

19

 Apr 06, 2009 at 09:38 AM not a fan Says:

I went to Brooklyn College and to Touro, as well. Touro is a joke. What's worse, it's an overpriced joke. It's a real pity that the frum world does not insist on a better quality college education for those who want to pursue that route.

20

 Apr 06, 2009 at 10:11 AM Anonymous Says:

Its true touro is a place that is only intrested in your money. If you have any problems, you're allalone. Nobody is there to help you out.

21

 Apr 08, 2009 at 05:05 AM Dr Fish Says:

Reply to #17  
Anonymous Says:

It's obvious that your trying to smear Touro's name with your spelling.

Did you need to get a degree from Touro to figure that out?

22

 Apr 18, 2009 at 11:12 PM Anonymous Says:

Touro has had 40 years to improve its reputation, and has unfortunately been unable to do so, albeit, they have made huge sums of money. They are in the education business, not the business of education. The dramatic improvement of NYMC over the past 15 years, will be instantly wiped out by a being taken over by such an inferior educational organization.

23

 Apr 29, 2009 at 03:02 PM TouroCOM 2011 Says:

I feel terrible for these NYMC students. They didn't sign up for this. I'm a second year TouroCOM student (Touro's brand new osteopathic school in Harlem) and I can say that I've never even heard stories of an institution ran as shamelessly as the one we attend here. As much as I hope that once Touro takes over NYMC it will leave it mostly intact, I also highly doubt it. The things done here are nearly criminal (in fact they probably are) and I completely agree that Touro is a money making machine. They have no interest in providing even a bare minimum standard of education. I feel as if our school only received accreditation based on money and connections. If anyone tells you different it's a complete lie. I recommend not touching any thing Touro with a ten foot stick.

24

 Oct 06, 2009 at 02:22 AM Dr. Phoenix Says:

I admire Touro College. In their 40 years of existence they have accomplished more than educational institutions that have been around for a century. Very few colleges and universities have achieved in such a short time what Touro College has achieved.

Too many educational institutions focus too much on standardized test scores, grade point averages, faculty research as well as building and maintaining expensive facilities. As a result, there is less emphasis on education. Touro College, on the other hand, focuses on offering a practical education to those individuals who may not have attended college at all. They are doing what community colleges have been doing for a long time and I admire that. Too many schools are trying to become second-rate versions of Columbia, Harvard and NYU; in fact, Hofstra wants to become like Columbia by 2020. We don't need more selective institutions that only educate the privileged few. We need institutions that educate all types of willing individuals for the increasing work force demands of the present and the future.

Having said that I would like to address the comment (#11) that Dr. Fish made about accounting being a "trade school kind of job." I believe, Dr. Fish that you may be confusing accounting with bookkeeping. Accounting is a real academic and professional major. It is rigorous and demanding. People who have studied mathematics, chemistry, engineering, economics, history, literature, computer science and other so-called rigorous majors have a difficult time when they take their first accounting course. They have to study intensively in order to get a decent grade.

Many business schools offer Ph.D.s in accounting (Columbia, Cornell, NYU, Baruch and more) and there are a number of competitive academic accounting journals such as the Journal of Accounting Research, the Journal of Accounting and Economics, Accounting Horizons, the Accounting Review and more not to mention all of the professional accounting journals such as the CPA Journal, the Journal of Accountancy, the Practical Accountant and more.

Furthermore, accounting has many specialties such as financial accounting, managerial accounting, tax accounting, independent auditing, internal auditing, operational auditing, cost accounting, international accounting, forensic accounting, accounting information systems, government and nonprofit accounting, trust and estate accounting, real estate accounting, brokerage accounting and more. The CPA exam has been called the toughest professional examination, with higher failure rates than other professional examinations (including the engineering, medical and bar examinations). Does this sound like a trade? Hardly. Accounting is a broad, multi-faceted, well-developed, rigorous, practical, theoretical, academic and professional field.

25

 Jun 04, 2010 at 08:50 PM New student Says:

Does anyone know for a fact whether or not MD degrees from NYMC will bear the name "Touro" in the future?

26

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