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Opposition to Pathways Intensifies; PSC Goes to Court to Stop the Initiative

Oct 16, 2012

Curriculum Lawsuit

PSC President Barbara Bowen is one of three plaintiffs in a lawsuit urging the State Supreme Court to stop CUNY from further implementing Pathways. University Faculty Senate (UFS) Chair Dr. Sandi Cooper and UFS Vice-Chair Dr. Terrence Martell join President Bowen in bringing the lawsuit, which argues that the CUNY administration exceeded its authority in matters of curriculum and failed to follow university bylaws and faculty governance procedures in the development of Pathways. Read the court papers.

Curriculum Lawsuit Update

The joint PSC-UFS lawsuit against Pathways continues to move through the courts. On August 23, 2012, the PSC/UFS responded to CUNY’s motion for dismissal.

CUNY’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit argues that since it is ultimately the trustees who decide University policy, the board had full authority to adopt its Pathways resolution in 2011. The union and UFS responded that they have always acknowledged the board’s policy-making role. But “while it is ultimately the CUNY Board which decides what policy to implement, it is the UFS which, in the first instance, formulates that policy,” the union and Senate contend.

“CUNY, by its own admission, implemented Pathways without any involvement of the Faculty Senate,” notes the PSC-UFS response. Thus, it concludes, the trustees’ vote to establish Pathways was a direct violation of the 1997 settlement. A ruling is expected sometime this fall. Read the PSC-UFS response.

Open Meetings Lawsuit

On August 1, the PSC and the University Faculty Senate filed a new lawsuit against Pathways, arguing that the administration’s efforts to implement it are in violation of New York’s Open Meetings Law.

CUNY’s bylaws and college governance plans assign responsibility for considering changes in curriculum to the colleges’ academic senates, which hold their meetings in compliance with the Open Meetings Law. The lawsuit points out that at six CUNY campuses – Baruch, BMCC, College of Staten Island, John Jay, Lehman and Queensborough CC – Pathways curricula have been either rejected or simply not approved by the college’s faculty senate.

Having failed to obtain college senate approval, the administration at each of those schools submitted its own Pathways plan to CUNY central administration this spring. The content of those plans, the lawsuit charges, was thus never discussed at a public meeting as required by law. The suit asks that the plans be declared null and void. Read the Open Meetings lawsuit court papers.

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