President James Davis delivered the Spring Safe Return petition to Chancellor Matos Rodríguez on Thursday, January 6. His letter and a link to the signed petition are below.
Dear Chancellor Matos Rodríguez,
In December, before the Omicron surge, we discussed the need for the University to provide clear, sensible, safe guidance for the Spring 2022 semester that is responsive to emerging information about new variants. We reiterated our view that the guidance to date unilaterally established arbitrary standards, preventing the local exercise of academic judgment and undermining shared governance. The PSC supports a smart and gradual return to work for faculty and staff because we believe CUNY students are generally well served by in-person instruction, advising, and counseling. But we asked that CUNY meet the following conditions.
- Urge college HR officers to honor remote work requests from employees who live with someone who is immune-compromised, and urge supervisors to extend remote work agreements to staff who would primarily be working remotely (via computer or telephone) despite reporting in-person.
- Permit academic departments to exercise independent judgment about the appropriate percentage of Spring 2022 in-person classes, rather than adhere to a one-size-fits-all minimum of 70%.
- Count hybrid classes toward the in-person category for Spring 2022, as they were in Fall 2021, and define what qualifies a course as hybrid.
- Preserve in-person classes with lower than expected enrollments if demand for hybrid or remote sections exceeds demand for in-person sections.
- Refrain from offering HyFlex courses absent an agreement with the PSC about the terms and conditions under which instructors undertake HyFlex teaching.
Because CUNY did not move on these fronts, we asked faculty, staff, students, and the CUNY community to make their view on these matters known to you. The attached list of 3,200 signatures reflects the depth of their support. Many respondents also added individual comments to their signatures. We trust that you will take this information in and reflect on it with the seriousness it deserves. It is not too late to make important corrections for Spring semester that respect these priorities.
As for January, we demand that you permit remote work for non-essential employees during the inter-session. This position too has overwhelming support from PSC members. In addition to keeping employees and communities safer during the Omicron surge, this measure of flexibility will ensure a safer transition to Spring term.
James Davis, President, PSC
cc: Interim Executive Vice Chancellor and University Provost Daniel Lemons
Executive Vice Chancellor Hector Batista
Senior Vice Chancellor Pamela Silverblatt
Vice Chancellor Doriane Gloria