The John Jay College of Criminal Justice (John Jay) is a senior college of the City University of New York in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. John Jay was founded as the only liberal arts college with a criminal justice and forensic focus in the United States. The college is known for its criminal justice, forensic science, forensic psychology, and public affairs programs.


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In 1964, a committee convened by the Board of Higher Education recommended the establishment of an independent, degree-granting school of police science. The College of Police Science (COPS) of the City University of New York was subsequently founded and admitted its first class in September 1965. Within a year, the school was renamed John Jay College of Criminal Justice to reflect broader education objectives. The school's namesake, John Jay, was the first chief justice of the United States Supreme Court and one of the founding fathers of the United States. Jay was a native of New York City and served as governor of New York State.

Classes were originally held at the Police Academy on East 20th Street. Leonard E. Reisman served as college president from 1964 to 1970, succeeded by Donald Riddle, president from 1970â€"1975.

Era of protests and disputes

In the spring of 1970, after President Nixon announced that the Cambodian Campaign would be extended, the college held two "heated" teach-ins about the conflict. Many other college campuses were home to student strikes across the nation. On May 7, 1970, the faculty voted 52-39 in favor of closing the college in protest of President Nixon's handling of the Vietnam War and the killing of students by National Guardsmen at Kent State University and Jackson State College. But the closing of John Jay College would ultimately be up to its students, the faculty decided. At an impassioned student meeting, the final vote was 865â€"791 in favor of keeping the college open.

In the summer of 1970, Professor Abe Blumberg made some criticisms of the FBI and the Director J. Edgar Hoover in a graduate course on the sociology of law. One of his students, an FBI agent named Jack Shaw, examined the agency's role in American society in his master's thesis, granting that some of Blumberg's criticisms may have been valid. His paper found its way to Hoover's hands, who ordered that Shaw resign and told President Riddle that as long as Blumberg (a tenured professor) remained on the faculty, no FBI agents would attend John Jay. Riddle defended Blumberg, citing academic freedom. After Hoover's death in 1972, FBI agents began to enroll again at the college. The FBI later paid former agent Shaw $13,000 in back pay.

Open Admissions

CUNY's open admissions Program came into effect in the fall of 1970. The program had been slated to begin in 1975, but was sparked into early enforcement after a group of students at City College demonstrated against the overwhelming whiteness of CUNY's student body, demanding greater access for black and Latino students. Adopting the Open Admissions policy meant that the University would now provide a place for any high school graduate who desired to attend. Across CUNY, student enrollment ballooned. At John Jay, undergraduates numbered 2,600 in 1969; 4,400 in 1970; 6,700 in 1972; and 8,600 in 1973. The size of the faculty grew by over 200% between 1970â€"1972. Moreover, the policy brought many more "civilian" (non-law enforcement) students to the College. The school's massive and sudden growth had a profound effect. More of the college's budget went toward remedial programs to help transition underprepared freshmen. In addition, the college broadened its curriculum, expanding into liberal arts. Majors including English, Math, American Studies, and Chemistry were introduced during this period in the early 1970s. The SEEK program developed during this time as well, supporting students from underprivileged backgrounds who showed academic promise.

President Riddle resigned to become chancellor of the University of Illinois at Chicago. From 1975â€"1977, Gerald W. Lynch served as acting president, and in 1977, he was sworn in as college president, a position he would hold until 2004.

As the school grew, its space constraints were felt, despite having acquired the Miles Shoe Building on West 59th Street (North Hall) in 1969. In 1973, John Jay rented the former 20th Century Fox building (South Hall) a few blocks from North Hall.

CUNY Fiscal Crisis of 1976

In 1976, City University Board of Trustees threatened to shut down the college during a time of fiscal crisis for CUNY and New York City as a whole. Throughout the campaign to "save John Jay," the faculty and administration united to advocate the sentiment voiced by President Lynch in a memo: "John Jay can contribute to the city as a unique resource to help solve the problems of crime, public productivity, manpower needs, and budget management." After weeks of turmoil, the college decided to trim its budget to remain independent rather than merge with Baruch College. On April 5, the Board of Higher Education voted to preserve John Jay. Though the budget cuts were still painful, the college community's efforts were successful.

Curricular Expansion

In 1980, at President Lynch's urging, the college established its first doctorate program, offering a Ph.D. in Criminal Justice on the heels of several Master's programs. In the next two decades of Lynch's presidency, enrollment and the faculty grew, the school's external activities expanded, and its curriculum continued to evolve. John Jay continued to pursue an approach to education more attuned to the liberal arts. The college supported more curricular cultural diversity, establishing an Ethnic Studies track and strengthening its Women's Studies program. Between 1985 and 1988, as faculty pursued more research opportunities, the amount of grant money given to John Jay faculty increased by over 500%.

Again, the college felt the constraints of space, and in 1986 acquired Haaren Hall (formerly DeWitt Clinton High School) across the intersection from North Hall. After renovation, Haaren Hall was opened to students in 1988. The new hall included a spacious two-level library, christened Lloyd Sealy Library in 1991 for Lloyd Sealy, a John Jay alumnus.

CUNY Fiscal Crisis of 1995

In 1995, CUNY suffered another fiscal crisis when Governor George Pataki announced a $162 million cut in state financing for the university. The CUNY board of trustees declared a state of financial emergency. By June, in response to the threat of budget cuts, CUNY had adopted a stricter admissions policy for its senior colleges: students deemed unprepared for college would not be admitted, a departure from the 1970 Open Admissions program, in order to save money spent on remedial programs. The proposed $162 million in cuts was reduced to $102 million, which CUNY absorbed by increasing tuition by $750 and offering a retirement incentive plan for faculty. (In May 1996, a State Supreme Court justice ruled that CUNY misused their emergency financial authority to lay off professors, close departments, and cut remedial aid.)

Academic Overhaul and Campus Expansion

On September 11, 2001, John Jay lost 67 alumni and students, many of them firefighters, in the World Trade Center attacks. The school resumed class on September 13, providing additional counseling for students, many of whom saw their studies and career aspirations in a new light. In September 2011, John Jay dedicated a memorial to the fallen members of its community who died on 9/11. The memorial, a large steel fragment from the World Trade Center ruins, was officially unveiled in September 2013.

In 1998, the New York State Legislature had approved a five-year capital budget of $352 million for the college to improve its facilities. The college continued to expand its campus as enrollment grew. The "New Building," a 13-story tower connected to Haaren Hall's west side, opened in 2011, dramatically increasing the college's square footage and adding green space to the campus.

President Lynch retired in 2004, having headed the longest senior-level administration in City University of New York history. He was succeeded by Jeremy Travis, who was previously a Senior Fellow at the Justice Policy Center and had directed the National Institute of Justice.

John Jay joined the Macaulay Honors College, an advising program for top students, in September 2012. In December 2012, the college received its largest ever donation: $5 million from adjunct professor and alumnus Dr. Andrew Shiva.


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John Jay College of Criminal Justice is fully accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The school is primarily known for its criminal justice studies, forensic psychology, and forensic science programs, supported by a liberal arts curriculum. The student-faculty ratio is 18:1, and the average freshman retention rate is 75.5%. The college offers a variety of in-person, online, and hybrid courses. There are a total of 1,100 faculty members employed by the school.


As of 2013, U.S. News and World Report ranked John Jay's Criminology graduate program #10 nationally and its Public Affairs graduate program #59 nationally (in the top 20%). U.S. News ranked John Jay College of Criminal Justice #38 in the top public schools of the regional north.

The Conference on College Composition and Communication awarded a certificate of excellence to the John Jay College Writing Program in 2012â€"2013 for "imaginatively address[ing] the needs and opportunities of its students, instructors, institution, and locale" and offering "exemplary ongoing professional development" for faculty.


The college currently admits 47% of applicants to its undergraduate programs. Graduate admission is competitive, attracting law enforcement professionals worldwide. The school's applicants tend to be in-state residents with 97% of students enrolled in classes at college being residents of New York State, with just 3% out-of-state.

Honors programs

John Jay College is a member of the selective Macaulay Honors College program, which awards academically gifted students with a full four-year tuition scholarship, specialized academic advisers, and an Opportunities Fund of $7,500, to be used toward academically enriching experiences. Students accepted into the program are deemed University Scholars and collaborate with other honors students across CUNY campuses.


The college houses multiple research centers and institutes focused on crime and justice:

  • Academy of Critical Incident Analysis
  • Center for Crime Prevention and Control
  • Center for Cybercrime Studies
  • Center for International Human Rights
  • Center on Media, Crime and Justice
  • Center on Race, Crime and Justice
  • Center on Terrorism
  • Christian Regenhard Center for Emergency Response Studies
  • CUNY Dispute Resolution Consortium
  • Institute for Criminal Justice Ethics
  • Prisoner Reentry Institute
  • Research & Evaluation Center

Degrees offered

John Jay awards bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees, as well as certificates.

Student life

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Approximately 13,000 undergraduate students and 2,000 graduate students attend John Jay. The diverse student body includes 135 different nationalities and is 39% Hispanic, 21% African-American, 12% Asian, and 28% white. Four hundred students are veterans. 47% of the student body are first-generation college students. About half of John Jay students speak a language other than English at home. The school is considered a "commuter college" as all students reside off-campus.

The student body is governed by the Student Council, a Judicial Board, a faculty advisor, and voluntary student organizations. There are 38 student organizations are active on campus, many of which are housed in "Club Row", a series of hallways where the student clubs are given space. The Student Council disburses funds for organizations deemed "Essential Service," such as the Yearbook committee.


College teams participate as a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Division III. The Bloodhounds are a member of the City University of New York Athletic Conference (CUNYAC). The following sports include:

  • Fall: men's and women's soccer, women's volleyball, women's tennis, men's and women's cross country
  • Winter: men's and women's basketball, women's swimming, and rifle
  • Spring: baseball, softball, and men's tennis


The college consists of six buildings. It is located in northwest midtown Manhattan near Columbus Circle and Lincoln Center.

Haaren Hall

Haaren Hall, also known as the 'Tenth Avenue building or, simply, the T building, is the main campus building of John Jay. Located at 899 10th Avenue, it houses the majority of the administrative departments and classrooms. Originally designed by Charles B.J. Snyder to house De Witt Clinton High School, the building was erected in 1903. In 1988, Haaren Hall was acquired by John Jay and now contains the Lloyd Sealy Library, the Gerald W. Lynch Theater, a gymnasium, and a swimming pool.

North Hall

North Hall, also known as the N building, is located at 445 West 59th Street, diagonally across the intersection from Haaren Hall. Prior to the acquisition in 1973, the building was a shoe factory.

Westport Building

Westport Building, also referred as the W building, is a 24-story residential/commercial skyscraper located at 500 West 56th Street. Constructed in 2003 by The Related Companies, the first two floors of Westport Building are occupied by John Jay. It was also the location of the John Jay branch of Barnes & Noble College Booksellers, until the summer of 2014, in which the bookstore was closed as the campus switched to a digital service.

BMW Building

The BMW Building is a commercial skyscraper on 555 West 57th Street, opened in 1992. Located adjacent to the New Building, the 6th floor of the BMW Building houses the Academic Centers and Training Rooms of John Jay.

54th Street Annex

The 54th Street Annex is a 10-story building, built in 1930 and located at 619 West 54th Street. It is the southernmost structure of the campus. Some of John Jay's administrative offices are located there.

The "New" Building

(Also known as "The Tower" and denoted "NB".) The New Building is located at 11th Avenue between West 58th and 59th Streets. The modernistic 240 ft. tall, 13-story structure was designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, and structurally engineered by Leslie E. Robertson Associates. The New Building was opened on November 2, 2011, at a cost of $600 million. The tower is directly connected to the western side of Haaren Hall and includes classrooms, conference rooms, a black box theater, a mock court, a 9/11 memorial, and an exterior roof quad called the "Jay Walk."

Online Degrees and Certificates

In 2014 John Jay College launched two completely online Masters degrees and one online professional certificate. The online portion of the college currently offers a Masters degree in Security Management, Masters degree in Public Management, Certificate in Terrorism Studies, and a non-credit Certificate in Homeland Security. John Jay College Online plans to launch more degrees and certificates in the future.

Notable people

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  • Eric Adams (BA), Brooklyn Borough President (2014- )
  • Edward Thomas Brady (MA), trial attorney and former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of North Carolina
  • Jennings Michael Burch (BA), author of the 1984 best-selling memoir They Cage the Animals at Night
  • Marcos Crespo (BA), New York State Assemblyman representing district 85
  • Edward A. Flynn, Chief of the Milwaukee Police Department
  • Petri Hawkins-Byrd (BS '89), Judge Judy bailiff
  • Dr. Henry Lee (BS '72), forensic scientist and founder of the Henry C. Lee Institute of Forensic Science
  • Miguel Martinez (BS), former member of the New York City Council representing the 10th District in upper Manhattan's Washington Heights, Inwood, and Marble Hill areas until his resignation on 14 July 2009
  • Eva Norvind (MA), actor and director
  • Pauley Perrette, actor best known for her role as Abby Scuito on NCIS
  • Ronald Rice, New Jersey State Senator
  • Ariel Rios, undercover special agent for the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), killed in the line of duty
  • Imette St. Guillen, a criminal justice graduate student murdered in February 2006. A scholarship was created in her name
  • Scott Stringer (BA), New York City Comptroller (2014- ) and former Manhattan Borough President (2006-2013)
  • Kenneth P. Thompson (BA), Kings County District Attorney (2014- ) and former attorney for Dominique Strauss-Kahn accuser Nafissatou Diallo
  • Dorothy Uhnak (BA), novelist and detective for the New York City Transit Police Department
  • Lovely A. Warren (BA), 67th Mayor of Rochester, New York

Faculty, past and present

  • James DiGiovanna, author and award-winning film reviewer and filmmaker
  • Saul Kassin, psychologist best known for starting the scientific study of false confessions
  • Jane Katz, competitive swimmer and member of the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame
  • David M. Kennedy, author of Don't Shoot (2011) and professor of criminology
  • John Matteson, winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 2008 for the biography Eden's Outcasts: The Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Father
  • Peter Moskos, former Baltimore Police Department officer and author of Cop in the Hood
  • Kevin Nadal, notable Filipino American professor, comedian, and author
  • Rosalie Purvis, theater director and choreographer
  • Flora Rheta Schreiber, author of Sibyl (1973)
  • Lloyd George Sealy, the NYPD's first African-American officer to graduate from the FBI National Academy and the first African-American officer in the NYPD to make rank as the commander of a police station
  • Mike Wallace, co-author of the 1999 Pulitzer Prizeâ€"winning Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898
  • Benjamin Ward, the first African American New York City Police Commissioner


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External links

  • John Jay College of Criminal Justice
  • John Jay Athletics
  • "John Jay College Archives (description)". Lloyd Sealy Library Special Collections, John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Retrieved 5 March 2013.  These include minutes, correspondence, reports, publications, materials from administrative offices, and other records that document the college's history from 1965 to the present. Some materials have been digitized.
  • John Jay College Archives (digitized photographs) from the Lloyd Sealy Library Digital Collections
  • History of John Jay College: "Fifty years of educating for justice" digital exhibit

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