By Jay Behrke

NEWBURGH – Bob Mullin teaches Business Management at SUNY Orange, drawing on a lifetime of valuable firsthand experience to help guide those attending his class. He also likes a spirited debate, and Tuesday, his students did not disappoint, touching on topics as disparate as immigration, entitlement and work ethics in an environment that often simmered, but never exploded.

“The statistics are there to prove that certain genders and certain races do not get paid the same amount in a civilian capacity,” said Liberty, who serves in the military, and appeared to have done her homework.

“What statistics? What jobs?” asked Justin, an active marine, seated next to her.

“All over the place, every job,” she answered. “I will bring them in for you for class tomorrow.”

Bryan admits to being an undocumented Colombian immigrant whose parents left him to tend to his younger siblings, but also instilled a work ethic that continues to serve him well.

“My mom and dad say a week’s pay here is one month’s pay over there in Colombia,” he said. “I’m not afraid, but I’m undocumented, I don’t have papers. But just knowing that I can find a job wherever I can, whenever I can. My parents always did. Whenever they came upon a job, they went. No matter if it’s cleaning, cooking, even being a maid for some people, they went, and didn’t complain. When mom got home, she was like ‘Here’s the food, at least we have food, at least we have a home, at long as we have that, we’re good. As long as we got what we got, and what we couldn’t get in Colombia, that’s all that matters.”


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