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August 19, 2014

Public Advocate Letitia James to Teach at SUNY Empire State College

James will teach in Manhattan for the Harry Van Arsdale Jr. Center for Labor Studies

Letitia James, public advocate for New York City will join the faculty this fall and teach at the Harry Van Arsdale Jr. Center for Labor Studies.

Letiia James, New York City public advocate, will teach at the college's Harry Van Arsdale Jr. Center for Labor Studies.

Letitia James, the public advocate for New York City, will join SUNY Empire State College this fall to teach a class section in labor and public affairs at the college’s Harry Van Arsdale Jr. Center for Labor Studies.

James was recruited to the college by Katherine Spaulding, the director of intergovernmental and legislative affairs for the New York City Department of Probation.

Spaulding also is an adjunct professor with the college’s labor center and the two will work together teaching students this fall.

On July 10, James spoke to a gathering of students, faculty, staff and guests from the city’s greater labor community to discuss labor studies.

"It's very exciting to us that the public advocate of New York City will be part of Van Arsdale for three and a half months to help our students learn to think about the issues of the day,” said Michael Merrill, dean of the labor center. “She is the genuine article – a politician who cares more about people than about power. In fact, she is only interested in power because she is interested in people. If she can't help people, she's not interested, as the four-minute clip makes clear. And it is just the start of a 60-minute back-and-forth with faculty and staff. Public Advocate James was specific, concrete and inspiring. It was awesome.”

The video excerpt of James’ remarks is available at

About Letitia James

Public Advocate for the City of New York Letitia "Tish" James was elected Nov. 5, 2013. She was born and raised in Brooklyn and continues to call the borough home. After graduating from Howard University School of Law, James began her career in public service, starting as a public defender for the Legal Aid Society. She later served as a top-level aide in the state Assembly and as an assistant attorney general with the state Office of the Attorney General, Brooklyn regional office.

In addition to Howard University, James is a graduate of Lehman College, the City University of New York, and the city’s public schools.

More information about James and the city’s Office of the Public Advocate is available at

About the SUNY Empire State College Harry Van Arsdale Jr. Center for Labor Studies

Labor center faculty and staff provide students with a combination of in-person, group study and online courses.

Students have the opportunity to focus on work, workers and the working-class presence — social, cultural and institutional — in a historical and contemporary context, as they work to complete their degree.

More information about the labor center, including its programs with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 3, the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters, Local 1 and the New York City classroom teacher aides represented by the United Federation of Teachers, is available at

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