Gov. Andrew Cuomo has nominated one in all New York City’s staunchest defenders of Christopher Columbus to function a trustee on CUNY’s governing board — and a battle is already brewing over the transfer.
Cuomo’s choose — Angelo Vivolo, 74, a retired restaurateur and distinguished native Italian-American chief — shall be interviewed throughout scheduled board affirmation hearings Monday, and sources say his advocacy for Columbus will come up.
The Democratic-run state Senate should ratify Vivolo’s nomination to serve on CUNY’s board, and there are some lawmakers who oppose the form of public celebrations that Vivolo has fervently backed for Columbus, who enslaved native peoples throughout his well-known explorations within the 1400s.
“I told [Vivolo] there are people who are going to have questions. We’ll ask what makes him qualified to be a CUNY trustee,” stated Toby Stavisky (D-Queens), who chairs the Senate Higher Education Committee, to The Post.
Vivolo has served because the longtime chair of the Columbus Citizens Foundation, which runs town’s annual Columbus Day Parade, and heads the Columbus Heritage Coalition.
He recently slammed Mayor Bill de Blasio and town Education Department for putting the Christopher Columbus vacation from the public-school calendar and renaming it Italian Heritage Day/Indigenous People’s Day.
He additionally served as a Cuomo appointee to a state panel that commissioned a statue to honor Mother Frances Cabrini — after de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray snubbed the Italian immigrant saint when saying the primary spherical of names of well-known girls to be honored with monuments. Cabrini had acquired essentially the most nominations from the general public to be honored with such a monument.
Vivolo is a Brooklyn native who taught in metropolis public faculties for 10 years after graduating from Long Island University in Brooklyn. He went on to run profitable “Vivolo” Italian eating places within the metropolis.
“I’m going to keep my fingers crossed,” Vivolo advised The Post of his pending affirmation vote. “I’m very familiar with CUNY.”
Vivolo took programs towards a grasp’s diploma in instructing at CUNY’s Brooklyn College and Hunter College.
His brother and sister additionally earned affiliate levels from CUNY’s New York City Tech, the place Vivolo lectured when he was a restaurateur.
He additionally has served on different boards and foundations, together with John Cabot University in Rome.
Vivolo advised The Post that he wears his help of Columbus on his sleeve — and he’ll tackle it head-on on the affirmation hearings.
“My position on Columbus is very simple: education,” Vivolo stated.
“The finest approach to cope with Columbus is to supply schooling, to supply information and to supply the reality. I hope the controversy doesn’t forestall me from being a trustee on the CUNY board.
“Columbus is someone Italian-Americans look up to. There are detractors. But I’m here to serve the interests of everyone — not just Italian-Americans. I’m just one voice.”
Meanwhile, de Blasio advisable the appointment of his former deputy mayor for well being and human companies, Herminia Palacio, for a separate spot on the CUNY board. The mayor in addition to governor choose appointees to the board.
Palacio turned CEO of the abortion-rights Guttmacher Institute in 2019 after serving at City Hall for three years grappling with points together with homelessness, NYCHA’s lead-paint scandal and the measles outbreak.