In 1988 I graduated from NYIT’s Central Islip Campus with a BS in Computer Science. NYIT stands for New York Institute of Technology. Four years earlier, they had opened up this campus for the first time, taking over buildings from a state mental institution. At that time, the state continued to operate other nearby buildings and patients were often seen walking around campus.
To say the school wasn’t prepared for our arrival is an understatement, but we considered ourselves pioneers, and survived. Over time, there were many improvements to the campus, and I enjoyed attending college there. One thing we discovered during our initial week on campus were these underground tunnels, which connected buildings together and had been used to transport patients between them in a secure manner. In coming weeks doors they attached doors to block off the tunnels from our basements, but initially there wasn’t much to do on or nearby campus, and exploring the tunnels became a fun diversion despite the admin’s declaration they were off-limits. Yeah, right.
Fast forward to my senior year. I had purchased an Amiga computer, which offered a gui interface even before Apple took off, and a dot matrix printer. One of the dots wasn’t working, so the printouts looked a little off to say the least, but that was what I had available to me. We were college students heading towards the end of our schooling, seniors, the first graduating class of the campus, and had much to say the administration did not want to hear. Too bad.
The dean at the time was an interesting individual to say the least, and the president of the school was very high-strung with thin skin toward the normal behavior and antics of young adults our age. We felt we had earned the right to speak what was on our minds, didn’t like it that our satellite campus did not enjoy all the perks of the main campus in Old Westbury, and decided to start our own newspaper to speak out. The school had made no attempt I was aware of to initiate a student run paper, and had demonstrated censorship on the paper at Old Westbury. We decided to do it on our own, underground so to speak.
Attached is a pdf of that first issue, printed on my slightly broken dot-matrix printer. It wasn’t much to look at, but WOW did it slam the administration. They were extremely upset that mere students dared to speak out and criticize their establishment. The timing was perfect, because they had scheduled some kind of open house that weekend, and prospective students with their parents were picking up the copies we left everywhere, along with the current student population. We used fictional names, so no one knew who we were. Now let me state for the record, we had no clue about the open house because the school didn’t see fit to share such things with the students, and that was the type of thing we griped about. We felt we were part of the school, and our grievances weren’t being taken seriously or even heard, because the dean and President didn’t want to be bothered with it. This might be untrue, but that was our impression at the time, and in all honesty they demonstrated little interest or effort to take any of us seriously.
The rest, as you say, is history. We ended up doing 5 issues, outed ourselves to the administration because after our voices were heard, it was more important to let everyone speak out as part of the first official paper for our campus, and stopped when finals hovered in the horizon since it was more important to focus on passing them. Copies were kept in the school library, but I have no idea if anyone has seen them over the past years, or even remember they existed.
I’ll scan the others and post as time permits, but review our premier issue and let me know what you think.
Can you guess which name I used for the paper?
The Tunnel Issue 1 (4.4 MiB, 458 hits)