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. 

Faculty Council Demands Restoration of Gen. Ed. 4 Hour Science Lab Courses

The following Resolution Passed the Brooklyn College Faculty Senate on Tuesday by a vote of 80-1. After the vote, the Provost thanked the faculty, saying that he had fought and lost to keep the science labs, and that the administration supports the return to the 4 hour science courses.



March 11, 2014

Special Resolution on General Education

Steering Committee

Whereas, according to the Governance Plan of Brooklyn College (Article II), the faculty “shall be responsible for the formulation of policy relating to the admission and retention of students, including health and scholarship standards; student attendance, including leaves of absence; curriculum; awarding of college credit; granting of degrees”; and

Whereas, Faculty Council is “the legislative body of the Faculty and shall have all the responsibilities of a faculty”;  and

Whereas, Faculty Council, at its meeting of April 3, 2012, voted not to “implement a [CUNY] Pathways curriculum under the current guidelines,” and again, at its meeting of May 8, 2012, reaffirmed that stand, and since that time has not approved any Pathways-related curricular changes; and 

Whereas, Faculty Council, at its meeting of November 12, 2013, directed the College administration to correct the changes to the general education requirements in the 2013-2014 Undergraduate Bulletin it made without approval by Faculty Council; and

Whereas, the College administration has not corrected the Undergraduate Bulletin; and,

Whereas, Interim Chancellor William P. Kelly announced on February 13, 2014, that the 3 credit limit on general education courses has been removed, beginning in fall 2014,

Be it therefore resolved that the Faculty Council of Brooklyn College directs the College administration to restore the four hour, three credit lower tier lab science courses to the Undergraduate Bulletin and allow departments to schedule them in the fall 2014 semester and beyond until such time as Faculty Council approves any revisions of the general education curriculum,

And further be it resolved that the chairs of the lab science departments should only offer the four hour, three credit lower tier general education courses, and that the administration should provide the resources necessary for departments to do so.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Draft General Education Resolution

Below is draft language of a resolution to come before the Stated Meeting of the Faculty in April. We will be discussing this draft at our Chapter Meeting on March 18th in 222 Whitehead. Feel free to write comments below or email them to

Draft Resolution

Brooklyn College
Stated Meeting of the Faculty
April 2014

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.

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. 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Center For Constitutional Rights: Academic Freedom Under Attack

CCR Action Alert!

Dear CCR Supporter,
In response to rampant and widespread human rights violations committed by Israel with impunity, the movement for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) is growing in the United States.  But as BDS activism for Palestinian human rights grows, so does the threat to a critical and time-honored protest tactic: the right to engage in boycotts to effect political change, which is protected under the First Amendment.
  • In academia, the right to boycott is under fire. State governments in Illinois, New York, and Maryland have introduced legislation that would deny aid to universities that fund organizations that support boycotts of Israeli academic institutions.  Legislation condemning such boycotts is also pending in Pennsylvania and Florida, and we expect more to emerge.  Take action today! Your action makes a huge difference—last month, constituent outcry in New York stalled an even harsher version of an anti-boycott bill.  Similar federal legislation has been introduced and is pending in the House Committee on Education.  If enacted, this law would have a serious impact on the right to boycott in the United States. Please read our reaction to the federal legislation here.
  • There have been threats of litigation against the American Studies Association (ASA) since it endorsed a resolution in December 2013 to boycott Israeli academic institutions. See CCR’s response to threats of litigation against ASA.
  • After voting to boycott Israeli products, Olympia (WA) Food Co-op board members were sued in 2011.  CCR and co-counsel fought – and won – the lawsuit in 2012, and we just argued the appeal last week. For more information about this key case regarding the “Right to Boycott,” please see our case page and stay tuned for the outcome of the argument.
CCR and our partners at Palestine Solidarity Legal Support (PSLS) are tracking and responding to these and other attempts to suppress nonviolent ways of effecting change in Israel-Palestine. In 2013 alone,
PSLS responded to over 100 cases of legal and other intimidation against Palestinian rights activists.  For more information, visit the PSLS website.
Maria LaHood
Senior Staff Attorney