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Home » Clarion » 2016 » September 2016 » New chapter chairs have big goals

New chapter chairs have big goals

Andrea Vásquez, the recently elected HEO chapter chair, looks forward to developing new union activists who will organize around union concerns in her cross-campus chapter.

As a part of building support for the strike authorization vote, newly elected Higher Education Officer Chapter Chair Andrea Vásquez visited more than a dozen campuses. Through meetings and one-on-one conversations with members, she saw the grassroots backing that the Professional Staff Congress had garnered throughout CUNY.

“I cannot wait to get into the campuses and begin to help build new PSC local leaders,” she told Clarion. “I believe that the new and experienced delegates who will represent HEOs across the university will be quite a team of leaders.”

Vásquez, a member of the PSC’s bargaining team and one of the 53 union members who was arrested this past November for civil disobedience outside CUNY headquarters, was one of many new chapter leaders elected in the PSC local chapter elections last April. Most candidates ran uncontested, although incumbents were challenged in elections at the College of Staten Island (CSI) and Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC). With some veteran union activists stepping down, some new leaders assumed local leadership positions. Now that a contract is settled and ratified, the heads of local chapters plan to build on the momentum created in the contract campaign to ensure that the contract is implemented and enforced.


“Our chapter is rich with both seasoned and newly engaged leaders,” Geoff Kurtz, the newly elected chapter chair of the Borough of Manhattan Community College, told Clarion. “We hope to take the energy that the contract campaign is generating and turn it to campus issues, including a campaign for teaching-load mitigation.”

The new chapter heads include activists, scholars and new-media innovators. Kurtz has written widely on national electoral politics. Vásquez, in her roles at the Graduate Center’s New Media Lab and the American Social History Project, has helped create digital archives and collaborative multimedia websites. New York City College of Technology Chapter Chair Benjamin Shepard has written about the changing power of public space in his book The Beach Beneath the Streets: Contesting New York City’s Public Spaces. Also new to their positions are Lehman College Chapter Chair Robert Farrell and Queensborough Community College Chapter Chair Edmund Clingan. The new representatives took office on May 27.


At BMCC, all New Caucus candidates were elected and drew between 205 to 240 votes. James Hoff, who ran as an independent for one of the 10 spots representing the chapter at the delegate assembly, received 74 votes in his unsuccessful bid.

Elections in every race at the College of Staten Island were contested.

Incumbent CSI Chapter Chair George Emilio Sanchez won reelection despite a challenge by Vasilios Petratos (a former CSI chapter chair). Going forward, Sanchez, who ran on the Brand New Day/New Caucus slate, said he plans to “maximize [the chapter’s] efforts to address numerous local issues.” Central to building union activism, Sanchez said, is increasing member participation.

“[We need to continue to] create stronger relationships across departments, divisions, schools and the overall campus, so we can all have a visceral understanding of the meaning of solidarity,” Sanchez told Clarion.

The newly elected leaders will serve three-year terms. Half of the chapters held elections for local leaders this year; the other half will vote in Spring of 2017. Union-wide elections for officers and the Executive Council took place last year and will be held again in the Spring of 2018. Both local officers and union-wide officers serve three-year terms.

Names of those elected are listed below. Those who were reelected are listed in regular type; names of those newly elected are in italics. Complete results are on the PSC website.

Borough of Manhattan Community College:
Chair, Geoffrey Kurtz; Vice Chair, Kathleen Offenholley; Secretary, Yolanda Medina; Officers-at-Large, Joel Barker, Yakov Genis, Charles Post, Samuel Sackeyfio; Delegates to the DA, Geoffrey Kurtz; Thomas Burgess, K.E. Saavik Ford, Erik Freas, W. Craig Hutchison, Robin Isserles, Howard Meltzer, Joyce Moorman, Yolanda Medina, Hemalatha Navaratne, Kathleen Offenholley; Alternates to the DA, Deborah Gambs, Andrew Levy, George Stevenson, Meghan Raimundo, Linda Wadas, Brianne Waychoff; PSC-CUNY Welfare Advisory Council, Fabian Balardini, Hyacinth Martin

Brooklyn Educational Opportunity Center: Chair, Felicia Wharton; Vice Chair, Angel Calderon; Secretary, Irene Dashevsky; Delegate to the DA, Felicia Wharton

Hunter College Campus Schools: Chair, David Towber; Vice Chair, Cristina Moore; Secretary, Sylvia Schaindlin; Officers-at-Large, Philip Frankel, Barbara Ghnassia, Inna Kruvi, Lee Weinberg; Delegate to the DA, David Towber

Kingsborough Community College: Chair, Rina Yarmish; Vice Chair, Michael Spear; Secretary, Mary Dawson; Officers-at-Large, Anthony DiLernia, Kevicha Echols, John Mikalopas, Elizabeth Tompkins; Delegates to the DA, Rina Yarmish, Susan Aranoff, Scott Cally, Elizabeth Dill, William Rooney, Florence Schneider, Dominic Wetzel; Alternates to the DA, John Acosta, Michael Barnhart, Stephen Majewicz, Jacob Segal, Eben Wood; PSC-CUNY Welfare Advisory Council, Gordon Bassen, Laxman Kanduri

Lehman College: Chair, Robert Farrell; Vice Chair, Duane Tananbaum; Secretary, Rosalind Carey; Officers-at-Large, David Hyman, Wingyun Mak, Janette Tilley; Delegates to the DA, Robert Farrell, Ayanna Alexander-Street, Diane Auslander, David Hyman, Abigail Mellen; Alternates to the DA, Eleanor T. Campbell, Thomas Conroy, Christy Folsom, Jennifer Poggiali; PSC-CUNY Welfare Advisory Council, Dana Fenton, Penny Prince

Medgar Evers College: Chair, Clinton Crawford; Vice Chair, Iola Thompson; Secretary, Verna Green; Delegates to the DA, Clinton Crawford, Obasegun Awolabi, David Hatchett; Alternates to the DA, Verna Green, Iola Thompson; PSC-CUNY Welfare Advisory Council, Kamau Chow-Tai, James Gaynor

New York City College of Technology: Chair, Benjamin Shepard; Vice Chair, Carole Harris; Secretary, Teresa Tobin; Officers-at-Large, Seymour Blank, Stephen James, Sharon Swacker, Suresh Tewani; Delegates to the DA, Benjamin Shepard, Katie Albany, Kyle, Cuordileone, Andrew Douglas, Renata Lansiquot, Angela Loguercio, Sean MacDonald, Joel Mason, Costas Panayotakis, Gerald Van Loon; Alternates to the DA, Carole Harris, Stephen James, Laurel Kallen, Patrick O’Halloran, Teresa Tobin, Shauna Vey; PSC-CUNY Welfare Advisory Council, Jacqueline Elliot, Albert Sherman

Queensborough Community College:
Chair, Edmond Clingan; Vice Chair, Julian Stark; Secretary, Michael Cesarano; Officers-at-Large, Susan Jacobwitz, Charles Neuman, Phil Pecorino, Clara Wajngurt; Delegates to the DA, Edmund Clingan, David Lieberman, Wally Rosenthal, Julian Stark, Michael Cesarano

Retirees: Chair, William Friedheim; Vice Chair, John Hyland; Secretary, Eileen Moran; Officers-at-Large, Joel Berger, Francine Brewer, Connie Gemson; Delegates to the DA, William Friedheim, Jackie DiSalvo, John Hyland, David Kotelchuck, Eileen Moran, Cecelia McCall, Jim Perlstein; Alternates to the DA, Miriam Balmuth, Judith Barbanel, Joan Greenbaum, Marva Lilly, Robert Wurman; PSC-CUNY Welfare Advisory Council, Irwin Yellowitz

Higher Education Officers: Chair, Andrea Vásquez; Vice Chair, Janet Winter; Secretary, Berkis Cruz-Eusebio; Officers-at-Large, Lawrence Bosket, Wayne Harewood; Delegates to the DA, Andrea Vásquez, Takiyah Ali, Anthony Andrews, Cynthia Bink, Shakia Brown, Arthur Ben Chitty, Diane Colón, Berkis Cruz-Eusebio, Iris DeLutro, Zee Dempster, Myrlene Dieudonne, Michele Doney, Megan Elias, John Gallagher, Sherrian Grant Fordham, Diana Hamilton, Sarah Hughes, Nick Irons, Philippe Marius, Graciano Matos, George Muchita, Keith Okrosy, Victoria O’Shea, Geniece Pacifici-Elejalde, Gogie Padilla, Carrie Roberts, Albert Robinson, Michele Stewart, Paul Washington, Michael Weisenfeld, Kristin Wilson, Janet Winter; Alternates to the DA, Valerie Brown, Deborah Charles, Sharon Hawkins, Paul Hiller, Arielle Shinder

College of Staten Island: Chair, George Sanchez; Vice Chair, John Lawrence; Secretary, Carol Hartman; Officers-at-Large, Catherine Lavender, Carol DeMeo, Sherman Heller, David Loncle; Delegates to the DA, George Sanchez, Joe Frusci, Cary Karacas, John Lawrence, Elizabeth Pete, Ruth Silverberg, Nelly Tournaki; Alternates to the DA, Jonathan Cope, Michael Batson, Jillian Baez, William Smith, Linda Revenson; PSC-CUNY Welfare Advisory Council, Donna Scimeca, Philippe Marius

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