Thursday, May 9, 2013

Voting Begins on Pathways No Confidence Referendum

May 8, 2013

Dear Colleague: 

Tomorrow, May 9, voting begins in the first No Confidence referendum in the union’s history. Don’t miss the chance to be part of it. A vote of No Confidence is historically the most profound rejection of political direction a voting body can deliver. If we have an overwhelming turnout and a large majority voting No Confidence, we reposition the faculty to demand that the incoming CUNY administration rethink and replace Pathways.

The referendum is about two things: the quality of a CUNY education and the professional authority of faculty in decisions on curriculum. We take a major step toward reclaiming both if we deliver a resounding vote of No Confidence. [Click here to find out how to vote.] 

The success of the referendum depends on you. Don’t sit this one out. Don’t disregard it because you feel you have already voiced your opposition to Pathways. This vote is different. A definitive result will allow us to go to the new Interim Chancellor—and to the public—with incontrovertible proof that the full-time faculty does not support Pathways and that we demand an alternative. Other expressions of opposition continue to be important: the lawsuits against Pathways are finally starting to move through the courts, and the union continues to work with faculty governance to uphold motions of opposition to Pathways. But the referendum is a strategic vote at a strategic moment. For the sake of your students, your colleagues and yourself, take the opportunity to participate.

Each of us has a stake in Pathways, whatever discipline, professional field or level of courses we teach. Pathways will determine the quality of the educational foundation CUNY students receive and the quality of the curriculum in the academic majors. It will determine whether the thousands of CUNY students who come to college under-prepared meet a rich and demanding curriculum that gives them a second chance—or a curriculum that reinforces their history of being shortchanged by the education system.

Each of us has a stake in reclaiming control of curriculum. A university where the curriculum is not developed and overseen by its faculty is hardly a university.  Pathways is an attempt to strip the faculty of agency, just as teachers in the public schools have been deprofessionalized.

Ballots are being mailed today, and voting begins tomorrow. Participating is simple, and your vote will be completely anonymous. It is shameful that we have to worry about intimidation in a university, but the coercion that has been exercised around Pathways shows that we do; and the secret ballot will allow you to vote without fear. The ballot contains one sentence: “I have No Confidence in Pathways.” As a voter, you can indicate “Agree” or “Disagree.” By casting your vote—and by voting “Agree”—you will help to reclaim the curriculum and the professional authority of the faculty.
We don’t have a minute to lose. I urge you to vote as soon as your ballot arrives.

In solidarity,
Barbara Bowen
President, PSC/CUNY

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