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Home » Clarion » 2016 » May 2016 » Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

Why is Bernie still in the race? He’s not done winning

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, flanked by activist Bianca Cunningham and CWA District 1 VP Dennis Trainor, at an April 13 rally of striking Verizon workers.

Bernie Sanders might not win the Democratic nomination this year. But he has successfully ridden a wave of insurgent populism not seen in decades. Progressive goals like free college, universal health care and an end to fracking have taken center stage. And thousands of supporters are rolling up their sleeves and getting ready for what comes next.

  1. While the odds have always been against him, there’s a lot he can do by running in all 50 states and bringing as many delegates as possible to the DNC in Philadelphia.
  2. With 40 percent of the delegates, his representatives can demand floor votes at the DNC. These can be over policies or procedures – for example, on proposals to eliminate superdelegates.
  3. With 25 percent of the delegates, Team Bernie can have a ‘minority report’ included in the official Democratic Platform, offering an alternative for Bernie-crats to rally around.
  4. A new political generation has been born in the Sanders campaign. Hundreds of new grassroots groups are active around the country to build power for Bernie’s agenda.

Continued enthusiasm from his supporters will be channeled to down-ballot races, helping Democrats win where support for Sanders was strong.

Charles Lenchner, Murphy Institute/SPS
Editor’s note: the writer is a cofounder of People for Bernie

CUNY and the Cuomo legacy

In the mid-1990s when I served as chair of the University Faculty Senate, it became clear that Governor Mario Cuomo’s concern for CUNY was so far on the back burner that it fell off the stove.

Clearly, there are differences with the Cuomo who currently occupies the governor’s mansion. For one, Andrew Cuomo’s father was not perpetually trying to upend the mayor of New York City. But as far as lack of interest in CUNY – if not outright hostility – the inheritance seems unbroken. The two clearly differ in the modes of expression of their anti-CUNY postures: benign neglect versus open warfare.

Andrew Cuomo has made trustee appointments – including a new board chair who happened to be the current mayor’s opponent in the last election. Surprise? The incumbent Cuomo asserts that CUNY misuses its budget (too much devoted to administration), and he has announced that an investigator will be appointed to examine the numbers. Already the chancellery has rounded up data to show that our administration is leaner than others, perhaps even than SUNY’s. That assertion is possibly accurate regarding the central offices, but I have my doubts.

As much as I am furious at the current Cuomo, who has been blocking union members from their fair contract increases since 2010, and I certainly do not want some Albany-based time-and-motion efficiency expert redoing CUNY, I think faculty should take up this issue. A little historical analysis of the immediate past and present on each campus might be revealing.

Just as faculty need to reclaim control of the curriculum and create general education that truly educates, they also need to study the size and expansion of campus administrations.

Sandi E. Cooper
Professor Emerita
College of Staten Island and The Graduate Center
Former Chair, University Faculty Senate

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