By Angelique D’Alessandro
William Clyde, the director of the Arthur O. Eve Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP), which has provided academic opportunities for university students who would otherwise not have the economic opportunity or educational criteria to attend classes, left campus on Friday, Jan. 18 to work as Director of Special Programs- EOP Director at Nassau Community College.
HEOP, which provides three programs for students, has been co-sponsored by the New York State Education Department throughout its years’ operating on campus. The program provides tutoring, advisement, financial aid, and counseling to students.
According to Clyde, students currently enrolled in HEOP at Post will not lose their scholarships. However, Clyde also said that the programs offered to them will be changed, and no new HEOP students will be accepted.
“The [HEOP] program will phase out, but current students will still maintain their eligibility and be supported,” Clyde said. “The HEOP director from LIU Brooklyn, my friend and colleague Kamel Boukerrou, who has been director there for a number of years, will be on [the Post] campus at least one day a week.”
Clyde said there are currently 60 students enrolled in the HEOP program. Some of these students worry about what the end of the program will mean for their educational careers on campus.
Jackie Escobar, a sophomore adolescent education major in HEOP, said the announcement of the program’s end was unexpected.
“I’ll be transferring out [of Post],” she said. “One of the reasons is because I thought LIU would keep their promise. I don’t find it fair. Now that Clyde is gone, I feel that the one support I had from a faculty member is gone. I don’t have the motivation to stay at Post.”
Escobar said that while she was told she would still receive financial support, all other forms of HEOP support would no longer be accessible to students. According to Escobar, HEOP students received counseling and tutoring through the program.
“It’s grandfathered in that [the school] would continue to commit [financially] to you,” she said. “When it comes to the academic support, it’s not there anymore.”
Of having a temporary director on campus, Escobar said she does not feel it will help HEOP students.
“For [the program] to just have someone temporarily is not right. It’s not fair,” she said. “We were supposed to have counseling with the advisor. With Clyde, he tried to help us in every way.”
While Clyde is no longer on campus, he shared a final word on what he wants for HEOP students.
“I encourage them to continue to do well- they have the wherewithal to be successful,” he said. “Do not be afraid to ask for help still. As long as they are accountable, good things will happen.”
Despite the program’s end, Clyde said he is happy with the successes that he has seen come from it in his 34 years working for HEOP.
“It is about what the students have done. That’s the bottom line,” he said. “That’s the legacy of the program.”