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SUNY Plattsburgh Center for Canadian Studies to be displaced as Clinton Community College moves onto campus

SUNY Plattsburgh Center for the Study of Canada at 133 Court Street
Pat Bradley
SUNY Plattsburgh Center for the Study of Canada at 133 Court Street

Canadian Studies and the Institute for Quebec Studies at SUNY Plattsburgh has been welcoming dignitaries from across the U.S. and Canada to its on-campus home for decades. But the department will be relocated to an undetermined site as a result of Clinton Community College’s move to co-locate on the campus.

On January 10th, officials from Clinton Community College announced plans to relocate its programs, faculty, and students to the nearby SUNY Plattsburgh campus. At the time it was not known where the college’s programs and administration would be housed.

Last week SUNY Plattsburgh announced that SUNY Central had approved plans for the community college to move into Redcay Hall on Beekman Street and an adjacent house at 133 Court Street.

At the same time, the Clinton Community College Board of Trustees accepted the resignation of President John Kowal. SUNY Plattsburgh Chief of Staff Ken Knelly has been named Clinton Community College Administrator in Charge. Reached the day before he assumed that leadership role, Knelly says the buildings chosen are the best spaces for the relocation.

“The prior plans for Redcay, which had been ongoing, were to put a welcome center with admissions and several other offices,” said Knelly. “And so the occupants in Redcay were going to move at some point to other locations on campus. This just accelerates that. And the Court Street house has included other offices over the years in addition to Canadian Studies and work will be done over the next months to find another location for them.”

SUNY Plattsburgh’s Canadian studies academic program was created in 1966. The Center for the Study of Canada was formed in 1975 and soon after moved into the 133 Court Street location, according to Director Dr. Chris Kirkey.

“I’ve always recognized that we’ve been privileged over the years to have 133 Court Street as our home,” Kirkey said. “We’ve held many, many countless events there. We’ve had ambassadors and delegate generals and ministers of various ilk from Quebec and Canada with us over the years. I knew very well that there was a possibility that our center would be looked at. I’m confident that in the months ahead that the college will identify a spot for us on campus that will allow us to do what we’ve always done.”

Kirkey first received a call at 5 a.m. that his department would be displaced. He does not anticipate any impact on current or incoming students.

“We’ll be able to deliver what we’ve always delivered as far as our academic programming goes regardless of where we ultimately settle,” said Kirkey. “You know there have been some questions and rumors swirling that this is part of a larger plan to effectively shutter the center and the Canadian studies academic program. And I can confirm that from the top down, from the president, there are absolutely no plans what-so-ever to do that. The college’s institutional commitment is still there fully. It’s just a matter of where we’re going to do our jobs. That’s all.”

Departments in Redcay that are being displaced include sociology, anthropology, Africana studies, gender and women’s studies, and criminal justice.

The transition plans call for Clinton Community College to move to the SUNY Plattsburgh campus by the summer of 2025.