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


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




Royal Geographical Society:

Friends of the Earth:


National Center for Science Education:

Cornell University:

Talking Climate:

Evangelical Environmental Network:

Northwestern University: