Thursday, October 23, 2014

PSC Address to Stated Meeting of the Faculty October 2014

Address to the Stated Meeting of the Faculty
October 23, 2014

Alex S. Vitale
Chair
Brooklyn College Chapter
PSC-CUNY

We remain concerned about developments in the School of Business. In their drive to accreditation, the administration seems to have adopted an approach that consistently attempts to go around faculty. Unelected Department Chairs are being brought in, departments are being reconfigured with little or no faculty input, faculty are being told what and how to teach and what journals and conferences are acceptable, and the school appears to be increasingly walling itself off from the rest of the college. The administration seems to be pursuing a very narrow vision of how accreditation can be achieved that distances the school from the rest of the college, rather than embracing a broader liberal arts approach that would build on the college’s many strengths in this area in a way that would enhance the overall education our business students receive. We will be meeting with Business School faculty over the coming weeks to get a clearer picture of the situation and will continue to update you on the blog and at the Spring Stated Meeting.

Once again the faculty has rejected a call from the administration to embrace Pathways. At the October meeting of Faculty Council a motion to authorize participation in CUNY wide Pathways course review committees was defeated by a huge margin. It is clear that the faculty at BC and throughout CUNY continue to view Pathways as a failed policy. Here at BC the faculty is working hard on our own vision of General Education, which may or may not comport with Pathways. At our last meeting, this body voted almost unanimously to support that faculty driven effort and called on the President and Chancellor to support us. That support has not been forthcoming. Instead the administration continues to try to pressure faculty to accept a curriculum that we believe to be flawed --, one that is a disservice to students and a blatant attack on the central role of the faculty in developing curriculum. We expect the President to work vigorously with the new Chancellor to make sure that he and the Board of Trustees accept our General Education proposal, which we hope to see completed this spring.

As you know, contract bargaining is well underway. CUNY and the PSC continue to bargain over a variety of non-economic issues but are stymied by the lack of a reasonable financial offer from the City and the State. It is imperative that the Governor and the Mayor put real resources on the table. After 4 years without a raise, CUNY is losing out on hiring faculty and staff because of our uncompetitive salaries. One of our greatest concerns is that Gov. Cuomo may authorize some minimal salary increases and then force CUNY to pay for those increases out of existing diminished resources. This would be yet another attack on CUNY and its core mission of educating our students and a clear attempt to divide the faculty, students, staff, and administration. We call on the Governor to add new resources to CUNY, not take them away. We expect the President to convey this to the Chancellor and Board but we also need to communicate directly with the Governor and Mayor. So, today we will begin distributing postcards to be sent to them, demanding a real non-concessionary financial offer so that bargaining can be completed.  Please fill them out and return them to us so that we can keep track of the total number and deliver them as a group at time that is strategically beneficial.

https://ssl.gstatic.com/ui/v1/icons/mail/images/cleardot.gif

Open Letter to President Gould Regarding Contract Negotiations

Dear President Gould:

We write to ask for your help – your vigorous advocacy in support of the Brooklyn College community.

As of Monday, October 20, CUNY faculty and professional staff have been without a new contract for four years. Our work at the University shows our commitment to quality public education: in fact, it is our academic work that makes the University run. We deserve fair remuneration for the jobs we do; we have been denied that for four long years.

Enrollment at CUNY is at an all-time high, yet we, who are daily in the classroom, are expected to work without reasonable raises and just benefits. Faculty and staff wellbeing is put at risk as we have faced the rising cost of living. We are full-time faculty, CLTs and HEOs struggling to pay rent; we are adjuncts forced to work at multiple institutions just to buy groceries. Our diminished living conditions have a direct impact on our students’ learning conditions.

Exhausted, anxious faculty and staff cannot give 100% to their students when their minds are on their own survival.  This problem has been exacerbated by the fact that CUNY is having a difficult time hiring new faculty and retaining recent hires, putting more pressure on the limited and overworked resources we already have.  Not only has the lack of a contract affected the hiring and retention of faculty, it has also been a blow to the morale of current faculty. The lack of a contract is, therefore, endangering the growth of CUNY, the University’s future aspirations, and the quality of CUNY public higher education. It is both irrational and unconscionable that we still do not have a contract. 

The PSC is eager to settle the contract and has been negotiating with CUNY in good faith. But CUNY has still not presented us with an economic offer, which is the essential foundation for any detailed bargaining.  Without an economic offer, we cannot begin to bargain about salary increases, much less retroactive pay. Nor can we truly address the Chancellor’s stated goal of lowering the CUNY teaching load. CUNY trustees and administrators must make it their first priority to get an economic offer on the table so that bargaining in earnest can begin.

President Gould, we call on you to do what you can to impress upon the Chancellor and Trustees that we need an economic offer now. We ask that you speak up for the faculty, professional staff, and the students we serve at Brooklyn College by urging the Chancellery to immediately make an offer and thus open serious contract negotiations. We urge you to publicly advocate for justice for the Brooklyn College community, for CUNY faculty and staff, and for public higher education.

Sincerely,

Executive Committee

Brooklyn College Chapter, PSC CUNY

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Molinaro Nomination to CUNY Board on Hold

As you may recall, last Spring Governor Cuomo continued the tradition of appointing political hacks to the CUNY Board of Trustees. In this case it was James Molinaro to represent Staten Island. The former Borough President is a member of the Conservative and Republican Parties and was chosen because he crossed party lines to endorse Cuomo for governor. The PSC raised objections with this appointment, which also irritated many Democratic members of the State Senate, who must confirm such nominations.  Women’s rights groups also criticized the nomination after Molinaro called singer Lady Gaga a “slut.” He has also spoken out against programs to reduce teenage pregnancy and a wide variety of social welfare programs that CUNY students directly benefit from.  He also opposes gay rights and access to abortions.

Ironically, CUNY Board Chair Beno Schmidt, chief purveyor of lower standards and champion of greater power for boards of trustees, argues in a new book that trustees need to be educational visionaries to fulfill their new expanded roles as educational innovators. Molinaro has no experience in higher education and lacks even a BA degree.


As a result of concerted opposition,  no action was taken on Molinaro’s nomination in the last legislative session and it remains unclear whether the governor intends to put him up formally or rescind the nomination.  If the nomination reappears we may decide to launch a campaign targeting Senate Democrats to oppose it. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Contract Rally Sept. 29th

Dear Colleague: 

We have waited long enough for the CUNY Board of Trustees to put an economic offer on the table. It is time for us to demonstrate to the Board and the University administration that we need a good contract now.  The quality of education at CUNY—as well as our own economic stability—is at stake.  

On Monday, September 29, the union will organize a mass demonstration to deliver a simple message to the Board of Trustees and Chancellor Milliken: CUNY Needs a Raise!  If a good contract is important to you, then you should be there. Click here to confirm that you will join us. This time, we need everyone.  

We will assemble at 3:30 on Monday, September 29, at Baruch College, where the CUNY Board meets. After a spirited demonstration and picket outside the meeting, we will take our demand inside, to the college presidents, CUNY administration and trustees. We will call on the trustees and Chairperson Benno Schmidt to take responsibility for the university with which they are entrusted and get an economic offer on the table. The faculty and staff work our hearts out for CUNY: we deserve fair compensation.  

The union will need a mass presence to create momentum for a good economic offer. A handful of activists will not be enough. I am asking you to make the demonstration a priority: make time in your schedule, reorganize your day, do what you have to do to be there on Monday, September 29, from 3:30 to 5:30. (If you can’t come for the whole time, come for as much time as you can. If you need to ask for annual leave to attend during work hours, please ask now.) 

September 29:  3:30pm - 5:30pm
Baruch College Vertical Campus
55 Lexington Avenue (corner of 24th Street), NYC
 

The union leadership has met with Chancellor Milliken about the need for an economic offer, and we believe he is working seriously to resolve the issue. But time is critical: after four years of rising costs, and with other union contracts in the city being settled, PSC members feel the urgency of settling now. A strong presence on September 29, five weeks before the gubernatorial election, will also help to send a public message about the importance of CUNY to the state as a whole.    

The PSC bargaining team continues to hold negotiating sessions with CUNY management and to make progress in discussions. Without an economic offer, however, we cannot move to a settlement. The bargaining team presents our demands forcefully, with extensive research, comparable contracts, salary comparisons, testimony from individual members and more. But our real power is you, the union members. And sometimes we need to make that power visible.  

That’s why we need every member to make September 29th a priority. I hope to see you there.
In solidarity,
Barbara Bowen
President, PSC/CUNY

Monday, September 8, 2014

Teaching Resources on Climate Change

Colleagues,

Below are links to resources that may be of use in developing in class activities related to the upcoming People's Climate March on Sunday, September 21st

Report from the American Sociological Association/NSF-sponsored Workshop on
Sociological Perspectives on Climate Change:


NOAA prepared education resources on climate change:


Teaching resources are also available from the Association of American
Geographers:

SUNY-ESF:

Oxfam:

USEPA:

Royal Geographical Society:

Friends of the Earth:

UNICEF:

National Center for Science Education:

Cornell University:

Talking Climate:

Evangelical Environmental Network:

Northwestern University:

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Sisters and Brothers:
 
We are receiving many inquiries from several campuses about assignments for summer work so I am resending this email to all. 
 
Please be reminded of the following contractual rights:
 
1. The annual leave period defined:
 
The period of annual leave for full-time teaching members of the faculty is from the day subsequent to the spring commencement on each campus until the third day, excluding Saturday and Sunday preceding August 30 or an equivalent consecutive period. (Article 14.1). For the 2014-2015 academic year, the last day of the annual leave period is Tuesday, August 26, 2014 and the first day of the fall 2014 semester is Wednesday, August 27, 2014.
 
2. Classroom teaching members: 
 
For members of the teaching faculty annual leave begins the day immediately following spring commencement and teaching faculty may not be compelled to work during their annual leave period.  The PSC/CUNY contract, provides in article 15.1 that members of the teaching faculty do not have to be available for professional assignments during the annual leave period. If you are asked to work for any reason during June, July or August it must be on a voluntary and paid basis. This would include any assignments made by your department chair or conveyed by you from management, including but not limited to meetings of department committees. If you agree to an assignment during this period you must be compensated at 60% of the adjunct hourly teaching rate for all non-teaching assignments and the adjunct teaching rate for all teaching assignments.  Department Chairs are to be compensated during the annual leave period at one-ninth of their annual salary multiplied by the number of hours assigned based on discusson with the colege President.
 
3. For Faculty Counselors
 
For Full-time Faculty assigned as Counselors the annual leave period is the same as it is for full-time members of the teaching faculty above. However, at the college's discretion, Counselors may be scheduled in no less than four week periods, except for the last of such periods, which shall consist of the remaining number of day, of annual leave. The number of annual leave days must be equivalent to the number of days. excluding Sat., Sun., and legal holidays, between the day after spring commencement of each college until the third day, excluding Sat.., Sun., preceding August 30.
 
4. For Faculty Librarians
 
 
 
For Full-time faculty Librarians annual leave is accrued and the work year is 12 months.  In accord with article 14.3(b), faculty librarians earn 30 workdays of annual leave per year if they were hired prior to 1/1/98. For those hired after 1/1/98 they earn 20 days of annual leave during the first year of service and 20 days of annual leave plus one additional day for each year of service to a maximum of 30 days during the 2md through the each year thereafter.
 
5. Teaching and Non-teaching adjuncts
 
The workload during the annual leave period is defined by University policy, not by the contract. Adjunct instructional staff are limited to 105 hours of instruction during the summer except in departments with four credit courses for which a 120 hour assignment is permitted
 
Non-teaching adjunct instructional staff, including adjunct CLTs, are limited to 175 hours during the summer.
 
 
The Summer In-House Counselor schedule is attached below along with the University's memorandum on Teaching Instructional Staff Start Dates -2014-2015 Academic Year.
 
 
 
If you have any questions please contact a PSC Central Office Counselor.
 
 
 
In solidarity,
Debra
 
 
 
Debra Bergen
 
Director, Contract Administration
 
PSC/CUNY
 
61 Broadway, 15th Floor
 
New York, New York 10006
 
Tel - (212) 354-1252, xt. 248
 
Fax - (212) 391-2076
 
dbergen@pscmail.org

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Online Ed: Teaching Millions or Making Millions?

The Campaign for the Future of Higher Education (CFHE) has released a short animated video disputing the overblown and misleading claims made by the online higher education industry about Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7vkKPt0Aacg&feature=youtu.be

Spread the word.
CFHE is a national grassroots campaign to support quality higher education; it is comprised of faculty organizations from 21 states, including the PSC and our sister union at SUNY, United University Professions, and the California Faculty Association, representing the Cal State campuses. The video will be unveiled formally in front of hundreds of faculty at CFHE’s Seventh National Gathering in Albany, New York this week. PSC hosted the Sixth National Gathering of CFHE over the Dr. Martin Luther King Day weekend. (Videos from the gathering.)
CFHE recently released a series of working papers on online higher education available at futureofhighered.org/workingpapers.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

BC Administration Responds to Faculty Resolution.

Brooklyn College spokesperson Jason Carey told the Eagle on Wednesday,
“While the President of Brooklyn College must transmit recommendations
of the Faculty Council to the Chancellor, these proposals must be
lawful and in line with recent court proceedings that ruled in favor
of the CUNY Board of Trustees in initiating academic policy.”

He added that reviews of general education happen periodically at the
college, and have been encouraged by the Provost. “Our faculty plays a
key role in shaping the academic curriculum at Brooklyn College. When
reviewing and revising our general education requirements, however,
the College is obligated to be guided by the broad framework of the
Pathways initiative approved by the CUNY Board of Trustees."

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Brooklyn Eagle: Brooklyn College faculty breaks with CUNY: votes to retake control of curriculum

Brooklyn College faculty breaks with CUNY: 

votes to retake control of curriculum



















Has 'no confidence' in CUNY Board of Trustees

Brooklyn Daily Eagle

The full-time faculty at Brooklyn College passed a resolution on Wednesday to “retake control of curriculum decision making” and demand that the Brooklyn College and CUNY administrations “respect the faculty’s historic role in designing courses,” programs and degree requirements.
Professors are rejecting CUNY's move to “override faculty decision making” to implement the “inadequate” Pathways general education program, according to the Brooklyn College Faculty Council.
Pathways implements a set of course requirements that every student must complete to earn an undergraduate degree from CUNY, making it easier to transfer one CUNY college to another.
But professors complain that Pathways “waters down” the core curriculum and is meant as a cost-cutting measure. Faculty members say they were excluded from the planning stages of the program, and the move is an attempt to “consolidate power at the top.”
Fran Clark, spokesperson for CUNY’s Professional Staff Congress (PSC-CUNY), told the Brooklyn Eagle the Pathways program reduces significantly the number of credits a student has to take to fulfill their general education requirements.
The standardized, "compressed" curriculum will mean “less flexibility for students to pursue wide-ranging academic interests, and fewer opportunities for students to explore different and important ideas, because of a reduction in specialized course offerings,” Clark said. She said she feared the program would lead to a narrower understanding of cultures and international diversity.
Professors from across the CUNY system have complained about Pathways, which was opposed by 92 percent of full-time faculty who voted in a referendum held last year.
Nivedita Majumdar, professor of English at John Jay College, said, “[Pathways] means students could graduate with a bachelor’s degree without ever having taken a literature or a history course or without any training in a foreign language or reduced time in science labs. Our students are denied the intrinsic value of a good education.”
CUNY did not respond to a request for comment by press time.
Wednesday’s resolution calls for the Brooklyn College and CUNY administrations to abide by the decisions of local faculty in designing a new general education program at Brooklyn College. The vote was 298 in favor, 9 against and 18 abstentions.
The resolution also states that the faculty have “no confidence” in the CUNY Board of Trustees to make curricular decisions. “The current Board of Trustees is almost completely devoid of educators and is comprised of political appointees, whose main qualification was political support for current and former mayors and governors, rather than their expertise in educational policy,” according to the Faculty Council’s statement.

PSC Address to the Stated Meeting of the Faculty

Address to the
Stated Meeting of the Faculty
By Alex S. Vitale
Chair
Brooklyn College Chapter
PSC-CUNY

April 8, 2014

The de Blasio administration has expressed interest in getting bargaining started with the over 150 municipal unions without contracts. Right now there is haggling over whether cost savings in health care should be tied to contractual raises. The Municipal Labor Council, which represents all municipal unions and the City have said they want to avoid increasing premiums. In addition, the MLC leadership has said that city nurses, teachers, and professors should be the first to bargain with the City, since they have gone the longest without a contract. The City hasn’t agreed to this idea, but hopefully this will move us up on the list. The PSC continues to talk with management about a number of non-financial issues, and is ready to begin bargaining in earnest at any time over a full contract.

I’m sure you will hear more on the budget from President Gould. I’ll just point out that the governor reneged on his pledge to maintain the baseline CUNY budget and use new revenue generated by tuition increases to expand funding. In fact, both the governor’s proposed budget and the final budget failed to fund mandatory cost increases such as inflationary cost increases for utilities and other services, forcing CUNY to plow new tuition dollars into maintaining existing services. This is in essence a new state tax on our students. So while the governor has prioritized tax breaks for banks and the very wealthiest New Yorkers, he is happy to raise taxes on our students, who are among the poorest in the state.

The battle over Pathways continues CUNY-wide. While the central administration has changed its position on some key issues, opposition and resentment remain widespread. CUNY has refused to commit to any kind of meaningful outside evaluation of Pathways, so the union is undertaking its own review. We are asking that faculty members and departments concerned about the impact of Pathways on specific courses or programs of study share their stories with us. We have already obtained many of these stories and shared some with the City Council, which has taken up the issue of Pathways and we have reprinted several in the most recent issue of Clarion. I will be sending out a more specific request to all faculty soon.

The PSC recently delivered over 5,000 signatures from HEO union members across CUNY to the Chancellor demanding that CUNY rethink its use of timesheets for these employees. On many campuses 70-80% of HEOs signed the petition, including here at BC. HEO’s view this as a move to deprofessionalize their work and experience the process as demeaning. I urge faculty to talk to the HEOs they work with about this important issue and I would like to state that the faculty chapter here formally endorses their calls for major reforms of this system.

One of the reasons we are gathered here is to support the Faculty Council’s general education development process. The Executive Committee of the PSC chapter strongly urges you to get involved in this process. If we are to argue that the will of the faculty must be respected in curricular matters, then we must take the process seriously and do everything we can to develop the best possible educational program for our students. The ongoing Faculty Council review has included faculty, professional staff, administrators, students and alumni. We have talked about best practices and budget implications as we deliberate on the best general education curriculum for our students. This is exactly what faculty responsibility for the curriculum entails. The administration has said that they support the Faculty Council review process, and faculty control of the curriculum in general. We need them to go on the record that they respect the process and will accept any curriculum changes it might produce, even if they are different from what the local or CUNY central administration would prefer.


I would now like to move the following resolution on general education:

Resolution on General Education

Whereas, Faculty Council is currently undertaking a process to develop new general education requirements at Brooklyn College; and

Whereas, Brooklyn College’s governance plan states that it is the faculty who determine the college’s curriculum and degree requirements; and

Whereas it is the faculty who are best positioned to assess the educational needs of students and determine the best ways of meeting those needs; and

Whereas we have no confidence in the CUNY Board of Trustees as currently constituted to make curricular decisions; and

Whereas Pathways has significantly undermined the educational standards at Brooklyn College, including the elimination of science labs, speech, and foreign language requirements; and
Whereas the purpose of general education requirements is more than just ease of transfer and improvement of 6 year graduation rates, 

Be it therefore resolved that the Brooklyn College Faculty call on the Brooklyn College administration to implement whatever general education requirements are adopted by the Faculty Council,


And be it further resolved that the Brooklyn College Faculty call on the CUNY Chancellor and Board of Trustees to respect the historic role of the faculty in developing curriculum and approve all general education requirements adopted by the Brooklyn College Faculty Council. 

BC Faculty vote to retake control of curriculum; vote no confidence in CUNY Board

BROOKLYN COLLEGE FACULTY VOTE TO RETAKE CONTROL OF CURRICULUM DECISION MAKING;
VOTE NO CONFIDENCE IN CUNY BOARD OF TRUSTEES
Contact: Alex S. Vitale, avitale@brooklyn.cuny.edu

Brooklyn, NY--For the first time in decades, the entire full-time faculty at Brooklyn College passed a resolution at a special college-wide meeting on April 8 to demand that the Brooklyn College and CUNY administrations respect the faculty’s historic role in designing courses, general education programs, and degree requirements.

Two years ago the CUNY Board of Trustees instructed local college administrations to override faculty decision making in implementing the inadequate Pathways general education program, which was opposed by 92% of full-time faculty at CUNY who voted in a referendum held last year. This is despite the fact that college governance documents vest curricular decision making solely in the hands of the faculty.

By a vote of 298 in favor, 9 against and 18 abstentions, today’s resolution calls for the Brooklyn College and CUNY administrations to abide by the decisions of local faculty in designing a new general education program at Brooklyn College. The resolution was brought by Prof. Alex S. Vitale, the chair of the Brooklyn College chapter of the Professional Staff Congress, the faculty and professional staff union of CUNY. Prof. Vitale said that this vote was crucial for sending a message to the incoming Chancellor that the faculty will not tolerate political interference in curricular matters.

The process of general education development is being undertaken by the College’s Faculty Council, made up of elected representatives from all the departments at the College. Faculty Council Chair Yedidyah Langsam urged all members of the faculty to attend today’s meeting.

The resolution also states that the faculty have “no confidence” in the CUNY Board of Trustees to make curricular decisions. The current Board of Trustees is almost completely devoid of educators and is comprised of political appointees, whose main qualification was political support for current and former mayors and governors, rather than their expertise in educational policy.

Across the country faculty are experiencing attacks on their control over the intellectual direction of their programs and colleges. Too often administrators are using cost savings as an excuse to undermine educational standards. The faculty at Brooklyn College feel strongly that their daily interaction with students and in depth knowledge of the fields they work in best qualify them to make decisions about educational content.

The faculty expect the Brooklyn College and CUNY administrations to abide by this resolution. Failure to do so will undoubtedly undermine the basic legitimacy of their roles in the eyes of faculty.

Text of the resolution can be found at this link.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Historic Stated Meeting of the Faculty Vote on Tuesday

Dear Colleagues,

On Tuesday, for the first time in decades, the Brooklyn College faculty will be voting on a measure at the Stated Meeting of the Faculty. The resolution to be voted on supports the Faculty Council in their effort, as elected representatives of the faculty, to undertake a process of redesigning general education at Brooklyn College. Given recent attacks on faculty governance and faculty control over curriculum it is imperative that this vote succeed. So far the response has been overwhelming. Over 300 full time faculty have committed to attending the meeting. If those numbers hold true, then we will meet our quorum of approximately 275. But that does not leave much room for error. If you have committed to showing up, we need you there. If you haven’t yet and can do so, please let us know you are coming.

This vote is about much more than just Pathways or general education. It’s ultimately about faculty power. Over the last generation, at CUNY and throughout academia, we have seen our power eroded by constant assaults by administrators, elected officials, and the media. So far, in higher education we have avoided some of the worst abuses meted out on K-12 teachers, but there are many out there, who would like to see us disempowered in the same way, through high stakes testing, one size fits all curriculum, and the erosion of faculty governance. A win on this resolution will send a clear message to the Brooklyn College and CUNY wide administrations, as well as faculty and administrators across the country. Tuesday’s actions are being closely followed and we expect press coverage of the outcome. In addition, faculty governance leaders at other CUNY campuses have already approached us about replicating our strategy at their campuses if we are successful.


Tuesdays vote is open to full-time faculty on professorial and lecturer lines, including people who are currently on sabbatical or leave. Substitutes, visiting professors, and those who have already informed the administration of their intent to resign or retire are not eligible to vote. Be sure to arrive early. Lunch will be served at 12:15, but try to sign in and get your ballot before getting your food, so that we can move swiftly to voting as close to 1PM as possible. We hope to know the results of the vote before the end of the meeting. 

Friday, April 4, 2014

Saving CUNY’s Past: The Story of Open Admissions


A Public Launching Event for the CUNY Digital History Archive

April 9, 2014 | 6:30pm

CUNY Graduate Center, Martin Segal Theatre

Hear from activists who have advocated for public higher education for all New Yorkers. Participate in plans for collecting and organizing a public archive of our CUNY history. Join the archiving effort: Tell your story, contribute documents, conduct interviews! The panels will involve activists in the struggle for and defense of Open Admissions from the late-1960s to the present, who will describe their experiences and offer insights about the past and its implications for the future. Come and participate in the community breakout/discussion session after the second panel, where we talk about the archive and community involvement.

The Fight for Open Admissions, 1969–1976

Former student and faculty activists who led the fight on CUNY campuses to open the University to all NYC high school graduates discuss this transformative historical moment.
  • Steve Brier (Graduate Center), moderator; Professor of Urban Education and coordinator of the Interactive Technology and Pedagogy certificate program at the CUNY Graduate Center. He was the founding director of CUNY’s American Social History Project (ASHP)/Center for Media and Learning, which he headed for eighteen years. He is currently working on a book (with Michael Fabricant) entitled “Austerity Blues,” a policy and historical analysis of the transformation of public higher education in America in the post-World War II era.
  • Gerald Meyer (Hostos)historian, a founding member of the faculty at Hostos Community College (which opened in 1970), and a life-long political activist. As PSC Chapter Chair, he helped lead the five-year movement to save the college when it came under attack in 1973.
  • Pedro Pedraza (Centro, Hunter) one of the founding members of El Centro, the Puerto Rican Studies Center at Hunter College (founded in 1973), where he worked as a researcher and activist until his retirement in 2011. He then taught at BMCC and did research on open admissions at CUNY.
  • Charles Powell (CCNY, 1969)a CCNY undergraduate in 1969 and was one of the leaders of the sit-in and the larger movement that fought for Open Admissions at CUNY. After graduating from CCNY, he attended law school and and practiced Civil Rights and Labor law in New York for 25 years and after he retired to advocating for and managing affordable housing in Harlem.
  • Anthony Picciano (Lehman, 1968-75)Executive Officer of the PhD program in Urban Education at the Graduate Center, a professor of education at Hunter, and a CUNY “lifer.” He was a student at Lehman from 1968 to 1975 and was active as an employee in the fight to save Medgar Evers College in the 1975-77 period.

Student Activism against Cutbacks, 1980s–present

Activists and organizers discuss campus-based movements across CUNY that resisted city and state cutbacks. Hear how self-archiving efforts can ensure a more egalitarian CUNY history.
  • Cynthia Tobar (Hunter), moderator;  Cynthia is the founder of the WRI Oral History Project, which is documenting the Welfare Rights Initiative (WRI), a grassroots student activist and community leadership training organization located at Hunter College. She has collaborated with the Occupy Wall Street Archives Working Group, where she conducted life history interviews with OWS occupiers, as well as with the Brooklyn Historical Society on its “Crossing Borders, Bridging Generations” oral history project, which analyzes mixed-heritage issues, cultural hybridity, race, ethnicity, and identity. Currently, she is the Library Archivist at Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College.
  • Maureen Lane (Welfare Rights Initiative); WRI Co-Executive Director, was a pilot year participant in the Community Leadership Seminar of Welfare Rights Initiative in 1995.  On public assistance when she entered the Thomas Hunter Honors Program at Hunter, Maureen graduated cum laude with a Bachelor’s Degree and later she earned her Masters of Social Work degree. Maureen has been instrumental in fostering sustainable relationships with policy makers, advocates, activists, academics, service providers, business and civic leaders to support WRIs mission.
  • Suzy Subways (SLAM! Herstory Project); the coordinator of the SLAM! Herstory Project, a collaborative oral history project about the Student Liberation Action Movement. She’s also a fiction writer, a freelance copy editor, and an editor for Prison Health News, a national newsletter for people in prison. SLAM! was a multiracial radical group based in CUNY that fought tuition hikes and the elimination of open admissions, and organized youth to resist police brutality and the prison industrial complex. Suzy was part of the CUNY Coalition Against the Cuts, a founding member of SLAM! and a member of Love and Rage Revolutionary Anarchist Federation.
  • Conor Tom├ís Reed (Medgar Evers, Occupy CUNY, Free U.); a student, educator, archivist, and activist at the City University of New York since 2006, and a co-founding participant of Free University since 2012. Conor’s work focuses on 20th and 21st century Africana social movement literatures and freedom schools, and recently published “‘Treasures That Prevail’: Adrienne Rich, the SEEK program, and social movements at the City College of New York, 1968-1972″ in Lost & Found: The CUNY Poetics Document Initiative, series 4. 
  • Alyssia Osorio (Morales/Shakur Center, CCNY); the lead organizer at City College of New York with Students for Educational Rights and New York Students Rising. She is also the Student Director of the Guillermo Morales Assata Shakur Student and Community Center. She has led numerous campus campaigns and direct actions regarding tuition affordability and accessibility, gender-based violence, queer visibility and resources, access to educational resources, and administrative transparency.
  • Nancy Romer (Brooklyn College); Professor of Psychology, has been an activist for 45 years. She was a founder and/or key organizer of numerous organizations at Brooklyn College (BC) and in Brooklyn including: BC Women’s Studies Program, BC Reproductive Rights Action Group, BC Anti-Bigotry Committee/Multi-cultural Action Committee/Center for Diversity, Executive Board Professional Staff Congress/CUNY, US Labor Against the War, and Educators to Stop the War. Nancy has written on issues of political participation and human development and about social movements in NYC, Mexico, Bolivia, and South Asia.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Tell Us How Pathways Is Affecting You

To aid in the PSC’s press for a fair and exhaustive review of Pathways, please share your experience of the new curriculum on this web form. The union wants to know how your students’ education is affected and how Pathways affects your day-to-day work. Reports collected here may be posted on the website, printed in Clarion, presented to the CUNY central administration, or cited in public testimony. Selected testimony may also be shared with the media.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Rally to Condemn the Senate’s Bad News Budget Friday, March 21st

The State Senate’s one-house budget resolution is appalling:

  • it sells out public K-12 education in favor of charter schools and private schools;
  • it leaves CUNY woefully underfunded while reducing estate taxes for the wealthiest New Yorkers;
  • it includes a property tax freeze that would primarily benefit the rich; and
  • it says NO to the NYS DREAM Act, ignoring that undocumented students were brought to New York as children.
Don’t let the short list of proposed CUNY restorations in the Senate budget resolution make you think it’s a “good budget;” it’s not! And don’t let the news about the Senate’s support of funding of universal pre-K in NYC obscure the true priorities of the Senate Republicans and the Independent Democratic Caucus. The Senate’s budget plan—its starting position in negotiations with the governor and the Assembly—is bad for CUNY, bad for CUNY students and bad for most New Yorkers.
Educators across the State are standing up to denounce the Senate’s plan and calling for a more equitable final budget that invests in the people of New York, rejects the privatization of public education and makes corporations pay their share. The PSC is working with our partners at UFT to bring our demands to the doorstep of NYC’s most vulnerable Republican Senator, Senator Marty Golden of Brooklyn. This Friday at 3:30 PM members of both unions (and coalition partners) will rally across the street from Senator Golden’s office at 74th St and 5th Avenue in Brooklyn. Join us to show him the voters of NYC will not stand for the budget his house has put forward.

Click here to RSVP

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

10 Reasons Why the Pathways Struggle is Not Over


1) Our students need us to stand up for educational excellence. Despite the claims of serving students by easing transfer (the benefits of which have been grossly overstated), Pathways undermines educational standards. Eliminating science labs, speech, and  foreign language requirements disadvantages our students. Restricting the ability of individual colleges to experiment and specialize outside the narrow Pathways framework undermines innovation and the development of new best practices.

2) Brooklyn College’s Faculty Council is currently undertaking a broad review of general education and we are in a position to challenge the Pathways framework by demonstrating strong faculty support for a general education program that is rigorous and effectively meets our students’ needs.

3) Whatever the ultimate outcome of the general education process it is essential that the faculty make clear that the process used to implement Pathways was a violation of faculty governance and an usurpation by the administration of the faculty’s traditional role in developing curriculum and that this is not acceptable.

4) One of the key reasons to continue to assert the illegitimacy of Pathways is that CUNY Central has many other initiatives on its drawing broad that it would like to implement with little meaningful faculty input. Continued resistance to Pathways indicates that centralized top-down administrative practices are not supported by the faculty and often lead to bad decisions.

5) The Chancellor has already signaled important changes to the Pathways framework in response to faculty objections. These changes have shown that the inflexible top down premise of Pathways is not sustainable and that continued pressure can carve out even more space for campus specific approaches to general education such as the process underway at Brooklyn College.

6) A new Chancellor will be taking office in the Fall. It is imperative that he hear that the faculty are not ready to accept the Pathways framework as it is; that there remain significant problems with both the process and content and that further changes are needed. To cede that territory now will basically give him the impression that he is free to move forward with Pathways and similar initiatives.

7) There are changes coming to the Board of Trustees. New Trustees and a new Board Chairman are likely in the next year or two. It is important that the Governor and Mayor be aware of our objections to the Board’s illegitimate and reckless intervention into the curriculum and that we need new Board leadership that respects the faculty

8) The PSC continues to pursue a grievance against CUNY’s unilateral implementation of Pathways. An arbitrator recently ruled against CUNY’s effort to avoid negotiating with the PSC over these issues and further victories are possible, but only if faculty continue to assert their fundamental objections to the Pathways process.

9) Further legal action from the University Faculty Senate and PSC is possible and being actively discussed.


10) The City Council Committee on Higher Education has taken an interest in pathways and held a day-long hearing on the subject last month. There is significant potential for the City Council to put additional pressure on CUNY to make important changes to the Pathways framework and process.