Bulletin News

CANCELED: Farmworker Discussion


A discussion about farmworkers in New York state set to take place Monday at SUNY Cortland has been canceled due to inclement weather. The event will be rescheduled for the fall.

Mary Jo Dudley, who was honored as a “Champion of Change” as part of United States President Barack Obama’s “Winning the Future” initiative, was set to discuss “Hidden in Our Midst: Strengths and Challenges Facing Farmworkers in New York” at 4:30 p.m. in Brockway Hall Jacobus Lounge.

The event was organized by the College’s Philosophy Department and the Center for Ethics, Peace and Social Justice.

As a “Champion of Change,” Dudley embodies Cesar Chavez’s spirit by dedicating herself to improving the lives of others. The director of the Cornell Farm Worker Program and a faculty member in the Development Sociology Department at Cornell University, she received the award on March 29.

The lives of migrant farm families are of special interest to SUNY Cortland. The College began the Migrant Education Outreach Program (M.E.O.P.) in 1979 as a way to assist migrant workers and their families. M.E.O.P was designed to help school districts in meeting the unmet, unique needs of migrant children. The program provides each child and family with an individualized program.

As one of 11 migrant education programs in New York state, the College’s program serves more than 600 migrant children in 56 school districts. The MEOP office is located on the SUNY Cortland campus and is fiscally managed by the College through the School of Education.

Dudley, a member of the New York State Governor’s Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force and a founding member of the Tompkins County Immigrants Rights Coalition, currently is researching farm workers’ perceptions of their lives in New York state.

Her study examines the factors that motivate farmworkers to leave their home communities, how they view their journey to where they work now, their perspectives on their social and economic contributions and what they envision for their future.

In 2012, Dudley received the James A. Perkins Prize for Interracial Understanding and Harmony and the Kaplan Family Distinguished Faculty Fellow in Service-Learning, both from Cornell University. She also serves as a Faculty Fellow of Cornell's David R. Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future.

For more information, contact Philosophy Department chair Kathryn Russell at (607) 753-2014.