Thursday, May 21, 2020

Submit Your Spring 2020 Grades on May 28, Not Sooner

Dear Colleagues,

You’re likely aware that many Brooklyn College adjunct jobs are currently at risk, and for some the health insurance that comes with their CUNY employment. The PSC is engaged in a union-wide campaign to preserve those jobs and build for the larger struggle ahead. Here at Brooklyn, the PSC chapter is urging all faculty to submit Spring 2020 grades on the last permissible date, May 28. We are not asking you to violate university policy or state law, nor is your students’ degree progress in jeopardy. But in solidarity with one another as faculty, we must act in protest of the demand to cut 25 percent of Fall course offerings. Having everyone on the faculty do the same thing at the same time is one important way to show to the administration and ourselves that we are capable of acting in concert. In order to exert pressure on the decisionmakers and those who hold the purse-strings of the university, we will need to escalate coordinated actions beyond next week, into the Summer and Fall, and we will need the participation of our professional staff colleagues as well. Their concerns – and ours – about returning to a healthy and safe workplace may become the next site of collective action, even as the immediate task is to keep our faculty on payroll and insured.

The campaign to submit grades no sooner than May 28 builds upon the good work that has been launched by our BC chapter working-groups on Legislative outreach, Communications & Media, Strike Authorization, and Student & Alumni outreach. You have probably seen the #CutCovidNotCUNY social media campaign. You may have seen coverage of the struggle over Brooklyn College funding in The New Yorker, The Nation, and City Limits, among others. We are building the participatory local infrastructure that is needed to wage a successful struggle for a safe and fully funded university, even as campus and university leaders remain silent.

If, like those of us on the PSC chapter executive committee, you are concerned and outraged by the proposed layoffs, please wait to submit your grades until May 28, no sooner. If this seems to you like too tepid an action, unequal to the forces arrayed against us, do it anyway! Then come build capacity with us for bolder actions ahead. If this feels to you like too risky an action, rest assured that you can still provide your students with their grades as soon as you complete them, just send them by email. Here’s a way to convey to your students the urgent need for this collective action.

Please let me know if you have any feedback about this action, and if you’d like to join the dozens of colleagues engaged in outreach to others in their departments and across campus, email me (jcdavis@brooklyn.cuny.edu) and PSC organizer Janet Kwon (jkwon@pscmail.org).

In solidarity,
James Davis, English Department
BC PSC Chapter chair

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