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Home » Clarion » 2014 » April 2014 » Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

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Don’t Cut Retiree Email Accounts

The CUNY administration is beginning to implement a policy of denying retired faculty and professional staff continued access to their college email accounts. It is forcing them to move instead to new, non-college, Microsoft-hosted email accounts that are CUNY in the “cuny.edu” name only, in violation of the negotiated terms of our last contract.

For CUNY retirees, their college email addresses are critical to maintaining professional contacts, responding to requests for letters of recommendation, etc., and their loss may mean losing years of professional correspondence and possibly access to library electronic resources.

The University’s stated position on retired faculty access to college email is that it cannot allow continued access because New York State does not allow individuals who are off the state payroll to use State resources. CUNY’s position is demonstrably incorrect since SUNY retired faculty are not only allowed to continue to use SUNY resources – they are encouraged to do so.

The New York State Code of Rules and Regulations includes SUNY policy statements that define the privileges of emeritus status (granted to almost all SUNY faculty retirees) as including the following:

“Emeritus rank shall carry with it such of the following privileges which in the judgment of the chief administrative officer are feasible: use of library and study facilities, use of office and laboratory space, eligibility for research grants, and representation of the University in professional groups.” (8 NYCRR 339.5)

Several SUNY websites explicitly list continuation of college email – and access to electronic library resources – as among the perquisites granted to retired faculty.

In view of SUNY policy on retired faculty, there is no basis for New York State to object to CUNY faculty and professional staff retirees maintaining the same email and library privileges that SUNY retirees enjoy.

I am totally bewildered as to why the CUNY administration and Board of Trustees are not actively fighting for the same strong relationship between CUNY and its emeritus faculty that SUNY clearly cherishes.

Bonnie Nelson
Professor and Associate Librarian for Information Systems
John Jay College

PSC First Vice President Steve London responds: I share Professor Nelson’s bewilderment at CUNY’s policies toward retirees and professors emeriti. The PSC reached an impasse with CUNY central administration in negotiations on implementing a reasonable email policy for retirees. What should have been a simple, straightforward negotiation over implementation of the agreed-to contractual provision turned into protracted discussions of how CUNY could protect itself from retirees who might not adhere to relevant CUNY policies or might misrepresent who they are. The union did not agree with the restrictive and insulting practices demanded by CUNY. The PSC will continue to pursue implementation policies that value the historic ties between retirees and the University.


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