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Letters to the Editor

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Overlooking long-timers?

It won’t be long until the various chairpersons at CUNY schools begin to schedule for the Fall 2017 semester. As a long-term adjunct, I happen to be the perfect example of what is wrong with the current contract. I’ve been at Queensborough Community College for the better part of 45 years. I started in 1972.

Under the terms of this agreement, I could easily lose my job, as I have no seniority/retention rights. This while people with far less service than I have now not only have retention rights, but, if classes are eliminated, must be retained while I am forced to leave so that they receive their guaranteed two classes. All of this is due to the fact that the agreement gives adjuncts who have taught two classes for a few consecutive years retention rights over adjuncts (like myself) who have not done so. Years (or decades) of service and total classes taught over the years are ignored.

Bernard A. Bilawsky,
Queensborough Community College


Safety at SPS

I would like to add to some of the points raised in “Fighting for safe drinking water at SPS,” which appeared in the March 2017 Clarion.

In addition to high levels of copper in two of the rooms tested at the School of Professional Studies, detectable levels of lead were also found in one room. Repairs were made to the water system in the building, though we have been unable to obtain details about when they were done. Following these repairs, the lead level in the affected room was actually higher than the initial test results.

Additionally, water samples taken after flushing in some cases have higher metal levels than before – this is the opposite of what would be expected.

While all metal levels are now below Environmental Protection Agency limits, we know that there is no “safe” level of lead in water. Employees remain concerned about the safety of the water and the effectiveness of repairs that were made.

For these reasons, we are requesting additional water testing. SPS management has not yet agreed to pay for testing.

Susan Fountain,
School of Professional Studies

Editor’s note: Fountain recently won the American Association of University Professors 2017 Georgina M. Smith Award for her work on this issue.


Credit the committee

Your wonderful coverage of the conference, “Union Hosts Global Voices,” (Clarion, April 2017) has one important omission: it was organized by the PSC International Committee. Its members – especially the chair, Professor Manny Ness and Secretary, Tony O’Brien – contributed much time and effort to make it as successful as it was. The International Committee has been actively working on solidarity with academic unions in other countries for the past 16 years and has recently grown in membership.

Renate Bridenthal,
Brooklyn College, retired

Editor’s note: We regret not highlighting the role the International Committee played in organizing this important conference.


Israel, a fair state

The April 2017 Clarion published a letter “No to anti-BDS laws” by Sarah Schulman.

On November 29, 1947, the United Nations declared the establishment of two states: one Jewish and one Arab (not Palestinian) effective May 15, 1928. The Arab League ordered the Arabs in Palestine not to declare a state. Instead, Arab countries (Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon) invaded Palestine to push the Jews into the Mediterranean Sea.

Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East.

All residents get the same salaries, fringe benefits and pensions. In Israel there is an Arab on the Supreme Court. The Arab members of the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) get the same salary, benefits and diplomatic passports.

Schulman’s letter is a complete misrepresentation and far from the truth about farmers, students and artists. Schools are funded equally.

Yehuda Tamir,
College of Staten Island, retired

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

To submit a letter for possible publication, write to: Clarion/PSC, 61 Broadway, 15th floor, New York, NY 10006 or email apaul@pscmail.org.