Happy New Year!
On Friday, Governor Hochul announced that CUNY and SUNY faculty will be required to be vaccinated. As the number of COVID cases in the city and the region surge to unprecedented levels, and increasing hospitalizations burden our health care facilities and their overstretched staff, this is a welcome announcement. Our students, who have been required since October to be fully vaccinated to take classes in person, will also need to have a booster shot as soon as they are eligible. The Governor’s announcement is available here. We applaud the tireless work of PSC health and safety committee members across the university and our chapter leaders for highlighting our needs throughout the pandemic and helping to reach elected officials. We have already submitted a request to CUNY to bargain the implementation of the vaccine mandate. We will seek to ensure that our members’ due process rights and interests are upheld through these negotiations.
We expect the new policy to apply to all faculty and staff and support it as a critical layer of protection in our workplace, and an extension of the existing policy for students. We know, however, that vaccination is not enough, and CUNY must take additional measures so that each campus can ensure the safety of our members and students. So many of you have joined together to advocate for health and safety and to organize colleagues, just as PSC members did in the transition to the Fall semester, when the Delta variant reared its ugly head. Just as you helped to make that transition much safer through your extraordinary efforts, so too can 2022 be made safer still, despite the current COVID surge. If you have not already signed the PSC petition to the Chancellor for a more flexible approach to the Spring semester, please do so now. Not only do we need a safe workplace, we also need to reestablish flexibility for staff to work remotely and reclaim faculty authority over curriculum, scheduling, and related matters over which CUNY administrators have asserted authority in the emergency conditions of recent semesters.
Few details about the Governor’s vaccine mandate for CUNY and SUNY are available at this point. As more information becomes available, we will keep you updated.
Wishing you all the best for a happy, healthy 2022!
James Davis, President, PSC