At the December 16 meeting of the PSC Delegate Assembly (DA), union activists compared notes on their chapters’ experiences in pressing for transparent budget information – and for public discussion on how to respond to campus cuts.
“Resistance helps!” reported Baruch College’s Jackie DiSalvo. Baruch’s administration appears to have backed off from an effort to push some departments into a shift to “jumbo” classes of more than 100 students each, with no discussion sections. The administration plan ran up against chairs who, as part of departmental control over curriculum, would not assign anyone to teach a class of that design, Di-Salvo said.
Cuts will still be felt at Baruch, she said. In her own department, English, overall class size limits will probably be increased by about three. But that at least is a choice that does less harm to students, adjuncts and full-time faculty.
“One of the things these chairs said is that it’s really important to not let management take department chairs out of the union,” DiSalvo added, “because if chairs weren’t union members, they could not have resisted the way they did.”
WAITING TO HEAR MORE
In a labor/management meeting at John Jay, “we warned them that their plan to cut the adjunct budget would not work – and they finally admitted that, because too many people are leaving for the ERI,” said the college’s chapter chair, Carl Williams.
So far cuts at John Jay have fallen most heavily on college assistants, Williams told the DA, and in a meeting with management the chapter objected that this has increased Higher Education Officer (HEO) workload to unsustainable levels. “They said that no HEOs have complained,” Williams told the DA, to widespread and somewhat bitter laughter. “We are sure that there are some HEOs who will make sure their complaints are heard.”
At Queensborough Community College, “the president assured us that there would be no cuts in sections,” said QCC Chapter Chair Judith Barbanel. The chapter did get a copy of the the college’s plan for handling funding reductions (known as “the PEG,” for the NYC budget initiative called “Program to Eliminate the Gap”).
“We are waiting for the all-funds budget,” Barbanel added. “I spoke to the VP for Finance and she assured me it would be forthcoming.”
At BMCC, “in our second labor/management meeting, we asked for an all-funds budget,” Chapter Chair Joyce Moorman told delegates. “They told us we don’t need to know anything about auxiliary services,” she said with a slight smile. “They said they’d just give us the tax-levy budget. We told them we’d like to know about these other funds as well, but we’ll take the tax-levy budget to start.”
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