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This Week in the PSC

Academic Freedom is the Union’s Fight

Dec 20, 2023

Academic Freedom is the Union’s Fight, and All of Ours

by PSC President James Davis

Universities are entering a period of intensifying struggle over academic freedom and free speech. It is fueled primarily by disagreements over the war between Israel and Hamas, and the role of the US government in that war. The most important responsibilities of an academic labor union such as ours during this period are to promote the values of free speech and academic freedom, which are enshrined in the U.S. constitution in the preamble to the PSC-CUNY collective bargaining agreement, and to ensure that the administration protects the safety of the campus community. The PSC has a long history of supporting academic freedom, which is often most at risk in times of national crisis and strife. No matter one’s political perspective, the best environment for the truth to emerge is for research and open debate to flourish. That commitment is what best serves a democratic society. It also means that members of a campus community may be made uncomfortable and members of the public may challenge the administration. These are features of a university that is fully committed to academic freedom. The struggle over ideas is not always calm, nor can that be a goal in itself…

Read more.



PSC Calls Out CUNY Administration for Budget Cuts


New “Enhanced Deficit Reduction Plans” from CUNY Management

College administrators have announced directives from the CUNY central administration to enact tens of millions of dollars in new internal budget cuts. Dubbed “enhanced deficit reduction plans,” the cuts would be ON TOP OF $128 million in internal cuts that the central administration has already demanded of the CUNY colleges for the last two years. Details were still emerging when the NY Daily News quoted PSC President James Davis and union chapter chairs Carolina Bank Muñoz of Brooklyn College and Karen Weingarten of Queens College in an article about the cuts at Brooklyn College, Queens College and York College: “CUNY orders deeper spending cuts, putting course options and student services at risk.” We now know that Borough of Manhattan Community College, Brooklyn College, College of Staten Island, John Jay College, Kingsborough Community College, New York City College of Technology, Queens College, School of Professional Studies, and York College will be affected.


Calling out Management and the CUNY Board of Trustees

PSC President James Davis called on the CUNY Board of Trustees to increase the value of the University Budget Request for Fiscal Year 2025 when he spoke at the Board meeting held this Monday afternoon. He criticized the administration for significantly scaling back the request from the preliminary version released over the summer, noting that requests for critical programmatic investments were reduced or zeroed out and that the call for restoration of $61.5 million in City budget cuts was canceled.

Speaking about the “enhanced deficit reduction plans,” Davis called out the administration for proposing no cuts to the Central Office or furlough days for management while they inflict cuts that will affect students and PSC members. He testified that the cuts would leave some adjuncts unable to pay their bills or maintain their health insurance, that class sizes would increase and that course offerings would decline, threatening student retention. Video of President Davis’s statement to the Board of Trustees is posted here.



Urge the Chancellor to Agree to a
Contract that Strengthens Adjunct Job Security

Send A Letter Now!

Image of PSC member holding up sign that reads: PSC/CUNY members want Job Security

Adjuncts deserve steady income and continued access to health insurance. They are due professional respect and fair treatment from CUNY. But management has sought to undermine the progress our union has made for adjuncts. Send a letter to the chancellor in support of the PSC’s demands to strengthen the multi-year adjunct appointment provision of our contract and to create an additional 600 full-time Lecturer lines for current CUNY adjuncts.




PSC Endorses US Labor Movement Call for Ceasefire


On December 14, 2023, the PSC Delegate Assembly voted to join the 78 labor unions calling for the restoration of humanitarian aid to Gaza, for the release of Israeli hostages by Hamas, and for President Biden to call for a ceasefire in the statement, The US Labor Movement Calls for Ceasefire in Israel and Palestine. Other endorsing unions include Rutgers University AFT-AAUP, Boston Teachers Union, Chicago Teachers Union, United Auto Workers, and UMass-Boston Faculty/Staff Union. Major labor unions expressing similar support for these priorities include the NY State Nurses Association and 1199SEIU. We hope a unified US labor movement can help bring about a just and lasting peace. This statement is posted here on the PSC website, along with the union’s October 12, 2023 Statement on the War in Israel and Gaza.



Want to Observe Contract Negotiations?

The first step is to attend an Orientation to PSC-CUNY Bargaining.

All dues-paying PSC members are welcome to observe a bargaining session, space permitting, after completing an online Orientation to PSC-CUNY Bargaining. The next orientation is Monday, January 8, 6:30-7:30 PM. Register here for the 1/8 Zoom.


Published: December 20, 2023 | Last Modified: February 2, 2024

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