CUNY Faculty Protests Hiring of David Petraeus

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Update: Organized Protest Pays Off -- Petraeus to Work $1 a Year.

July 15. 2013. The New York Times reports that David Petraeus, after protest from within and without CUNY, will work at Macaulay Honors College for $1.00 a year. That is considerably lower than the $200,000 that CUNY was originally going to pay him for teaching a three-hour course for the 2013-14 academic year. After a shower of protest from CUNY faculty and staff and from elected officials, the salary was reduced to $150,00 and now $1.00.

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NYC Public Advocate and mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio and City Council Member Brad Lander are also protesting the hiring of Petraeus. De Blasio demanded in a letter to Interim Chancellor William Kelly that CUNY give Petraeus a pay cut and pay the general at “a rate that matches other professors in similar teaching arrangements.” That would be about $3,000. Lander, chair of the City Council Progressive Caucus, has launched an e-petition calling on CUNY to withdraw the job offer entirely.

CUNY Faculty Protests Hiring of David Petraeus

The news (ABC, Gawker, Salon, AM New York, Amsterdam News, Daily News ) of CUNY’s plan to pay disgraced former CIA Director David Petraeus $150,000 to teach one class per semester next year has sparked outrage among faculty, staff, students and many others. (For the reaction on social media, see these tweets and this post on the Brooklyn College PSC Chapter blog. For Clarion coverage of the appointment published before Petraeus' salary was disclosed, click here.)

Petraeus’ salary will be paid through the CUNY Research Foundation and CUNY claims it will be financed by private donations. Real adjuncts at CUNY earn about $3,000 per class—one fiftieth of what Petraeus will receive. They have no job security and lesser benefits than their full-time colleagues. Also, they have no team of CUNY-funded graduate students at their disposal, as Petraeus will have.

In a statement released to the media, PSC President Barbara Bowen said:

"It is obscene for a university that operates on a bare-bones budget to pay anyone $150,000 for a single course. Every dollar raised at CUNY, whether from public or private sources, should go to providing broad access to a quality college education.”

The union’s statement also calls out the Research Foundation for refusing to settle a fair contract with its own employees while it funnels payments to Petraeus. Read the full release.