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Dippikill Board Chair Rejects Petition to Rename Julie’s Lodge

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A Student Association alumnus’ call to rename Julie’s Lodge after a 9/11 first responder carries little weight for the Dippikill board chair.

Casey Crandall, chair, rejects former senator Conner Dunleavy’s inert push to scrap the name of a former SA director, Julie St. Amour Glass, from the lodge’s title.

There has been no direct communication at press time between Dunleavy and the board.

“Can you imagine being told that something is named in your honor and you’ve told your family and your friends and whatever and then it’s taken away?” said Crandall. “That’s not right.”

Earlier this semester, Dunleavy started a petition calling on SA to rename the lodge after Joseph Maffeo, a New York City firefighter who died 16 years ago during the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Maffeo, who graduated from the University at Albany in 1994, often visited Dippikill.

The petition has 39 signatures. Dunleavy hopes to collect 100 signatures before submitting the change.org petition to SA and the Dippikill board.

“I can think of no more fitting a memorial to one of UAlbany’s greatest heroes than to rename this soon to be completed lodge after Maffeo,” Dunleavy wrote in Albany Student Press op-ed in October.

According to Dunleavy, the family which the lauded the idea was interested in donating the firefighter’s uniform to Dippikill.

Dunleavy first mulled over the idea following St. Amour Glass’ removal as SA director of operations two years ago.

The position split in two: executive office manager and financial manager. Among bylaw changes, the Office of Student Involvement was put in control of verifying stipended officer’s registration status.

This decision, a group of 18 past presidents, claimed was driven from university pressure to expand oversight over SA operations. The so-called Student Association Presidents Coalition pushed SA to reinstate the director’s seat.

Raymond Webb, then-senate chair, called the coalition “toxic” in an SA-wide email blast days after St. Amour Glass was removed from the position. The decision was made to improve the operational efficiency, he explained.

Her removal was supported by a senate majority, 29-2-4. St. Amour Glass was offered an interim role as executive office manager, a position she declined.

“I don’t think it’s right for us to name a new, expensive lodge after someone who was fired,” said Dunleavy in a message.

Austin Ostro, during his 2016-17 stint as senate vice chair, suggested to rename it after someone else last semester. His ask fell flat.

A name change would require re-marketing the lodge set to open this spring. For Jarrett Altilio, senate chair, renaming the lodge is no longer a relevant matter.

“For better or worse, it’s too late,” said Jarrett Altilio, senate chair and longest standing senator. “It doesn’t do us any good as an organization or Dippikill as a property too bogged down in this whole stance.”

Julie’s Lodge, expected to exceed $500,000 (it’s been projected to have cost $1.5 million had it been contracted out), has been in the works for seven years.

The former director of operations, who additionally worked as an assistant director, camp liaison, and Dippikill board member within her 25-year career in SA, was honored with a lodge designation in 2010.

“The board would agree unanimously that is the name of the lodge,” said Paul Schaffer, Albany alumni and member of the board since 2008. “I certainly would not be privy to change the name.”

She is one of two past SA staff members honored at the camp. Rita Levine, director of operations (1977 to 1995), also has a lodge in her name.

St. Amour Glass considers Dunleavy’s pitch to be ideal for a future cabin on the nearly thousand-acre property.

“I don’t know anything about him other than the fact the we graduated at similar times, but given the information I saw that you saw, it’s certainly a lovely idea, a lovely way to honor him,” said St. Amour Glass.

 

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