Q&As with Board of Trustee candidates: Hanna Leung

By Peter Hernandez
The Guardsman
Why do you want to be a trustee right now, in the midst of the accreditation crisis?

I’m a workers’ compensation attorney and I’m familiar with the work that City College has been doing. Many of their services are very useful for my clients.

I’m good at working with people, I’ve been in this business for 26 years. I feel that I’m an asset on the board. I have ideas on decreasing deficits and increasing the balance of the male and female (makeup of the) board, and reducing temperament and increasing negotiation.

I think it’s important that we have oversight on administration and ensuring academic freedom.

Day One, you’re a trustee. What’s at the top of your to-do list?

As a trustee, it’s working with the chancellor, it’s all the items on the agenda.

I’d like to increase revenues for the college. I’ve already put a program in place that should bring in steady income for the college.

Hopefully, people can continue with the changes in the department chairs. I’ve been working with the department chair of Disabled Services and she’s been helpful with putting a program together with vouchers for insurance companies to give to disabled workers if they’re injured and return to their jobs.

They can use these vouchers in class. These vouchers are normally unused. These workers usually don’t know what they’re for. I explained how they work, and it took a few months because it’s not as easy as it sounds.

Each voucher is worth $5,000-$6,000. I think it can be a steady income to the college.

What’s your connection to City College?

A lot of my clients have gone to City College.

I was talking to one lady who was in immigration hold, in prison, and I represented her. We went to court and had a trial, she was released, and after she was released I helped her set up an apartment.

And she went to college for ESL classes. Now she works in a large department store in Union Square with a union job and union wages.

Is it daunting to represent a college of 90,000 students?

It would be daunting for anyone to represent a school that big. I think it’s the largest community college in the U.S.

I have presided over various nonprofit organizations, definitely not of this magnitude, but I feel confident in my ability to do it.

What happens if Proposition A and Proposition 30 don’t pass?

The strategy is that we have to be even more aggressive to generate revenue. We do have to cut, and everyone recognizes that there will be very painful cuts.

We need to have a long-term perspective on our actions today, whether it’s cutting or adding programs. It’s the lack of foresight that brought us to today’s situation.

Even though we’re cutting, we should think about retaining quality faculty and teachers. If we don’t do that, we might have a balanced budget but we won’t have much quality.

We might have to take some painful short-term cuts, but with hope that in time we can return some of the services later.

What’s on your iPod?

I love music, but no, I’m not one of those people who have an ear bud in my ear. When I’m in my car I listen to public radio. I usually work till very late and I like to work out. I go to concerts and symphonies and operas and I like to go to Broadway shows.

Do you read The Guardsman?

I do read it from time to time. I usually go online. I really enjoy that video section of The Guardsman because you can pull things up and it’s always quite interesting to me.

Follow Hernandez on Twitter: @milesof
The Guardsman