Wednesday, December 11, 2013

BC Faculty Council calls for Withdrawal of CUNY "Expressive Conduct" Proposal

On Tuesday Brooklyn College’s Faculty Council overwhelmingly passed a resolution opposing CUNY’s draft policy on “expressive conduct” (see below). The draft policy has been heavily criticized by faculty and students and the PSC Delegates Assembly also called for the withdrawal of the policy at its last meeting.  Today the New York Times reported on the issue, quoting PSC President Barbara Bowen saying, “if CUNY is to be an intellectually vibrant university, it must recognize that ‘expressive activity’ is a vital part of campus life, not a danger to be confined to narrow limits.” CUNY senior vice chancellor Frederick P. Schaffer, claims that it was faculty who requested the creation of a unified policy. While it may be true that one or two of the 15,000 faculty may have mentioned something to him along these lines, that does not mean that this point of view is representative of faculty opinion broadly. Now that CUNY has heard from the PSC’s Delegate Assembly, elected by the entire faculty, as well as campus based faculty governance bodies, it’s time for CUNY to drop this misguided endeavor and to stop hiding behind unnamed or hand-picked faculty to justify their policies of increasing centralized control over the university.  

Resolution on Draft CUNY Policy on Expressive Conduct

Whereas, the CUNY Central Administration has circulated at least two drafts policies on “expressive activity” in an effort to centralize control over college protest policies; and

Whereas, there has been an increase in excessive administrative action against protests at CUNY in the last 2 years including arrests and injury of students at City College, Baruch, and Brooklyn College; and

Whereas, no effort has been made to consult with either the Professional Staff Congress or elected campus governance bodies representing faculty, staff, or students; and

Whereas, the new policy would create restrictive protest zones, limit locations for distribution of flyers, enhance potential penalties against protestors, encourages cooperation with the police in controlling protests, and signals a general intolerance of protest; and

Whereas, existing educational laws and CUNY policies already set legal standards for protests at CUNY; therefore be it

Resolved, that as a university founded as the result of dissent, CUNY should uphold the highest standards for freedom of speech and assembly; and

Resolved that the Brooklyn College Faculty Council calls on the University Administration to withdraw from any future consideration by the Board of Trustees the proposed “Policy on Expressive Conduct” and any successor drafts that may be issued.

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