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This Week in the PSC

This Week in the PSC (02.11.14): CUNY Begins to Yield on Pathways

Feb 11, 2014

CUNY Begins to Yield on Pathways

The CUNY central administration has finally begun to listen to the majority of faculty about Pathways. Changes to the new core curriculum will begin in Fall 2014, according a memo from Interim Chancellor William Kelly. The memo outlines the changes to Pathways that are the result of a review required by the Board of Trustees resolution that established the program. The memo announces an end to the three-hour limit on general education courses and says that faculty serving on the committee that reviews general education courses based on Pathways rules will be “chosen through college governance processes.” It also encourages colleges to seek waivers from Pathways rules whenever “a major or degree program cannot be accommodated.” The 30-credit limit on the colleges’ general education core curriculum will remain in place. The changes are consistent with demands for greater autonomy for CUNY’s colleges and respect for faculty’s expertise on curriculum that have been central to the PSC’s Repeal Pathways Campaign.

The announced changes are a testament to the power of faculty organizing, but the fundamental premise of Pathways is still wrong. Pathways still represents an illegal usurpation of faculty power and the 30-credit limit on core curriculum still threatens the quality and breadth of a CUNY education. The union will continue to oppose Pathways and will continue its demand for a thorough and unbiased review of the Pathways policies and processes.

Union Leaders to Legislators: Invest More in CUNY, the Solution to New York’s Inequality Crisis

President Barbara Bowen and First Vice President Steve London testified last week at a hearing about the proposed State budget for CUNY in 2014-15. In her testimony, President Bowen said, “If the problem is inequality, the solution is CUNY.” Describing the soaring economic inequality that pervades New York, she made the case for CUNY by explaining how CUNY helps students who are typically low- income and people of color change their lives. “We help them by providing skills—not just job skills or STEM skills, but critical thinking skills, writing skills and skills of reimagination,” she said.

President Bowen’s testimony called for significant enhancements to the governor’s Executive Budget, including full funding for CUNY’s unmet mandatory needs ($49.5 million), investments in new full-time faculty lines ($40 million), and restoration of Base Aid funding for community colleges to its 2008-09 level (from $2,422 per FTE student to $2,672 per FTE student, resulting in $19.5 million more for CUNY). She also urged the Legislature to expand financial aid and reject proposed cuts to CUNY’s celebrated ASAP program, opportunity programs like SEEK and College Discovery, and campus childcare at the community colleges. Click here to read the full testimony and download a book of supporting materials called New York Has an Inequality Crisis. CUNY is the Solution.

Come to Albany: Help Colleagues and Students Demand a Better Budget for CUNY

Legislators in Albany need to hear from you about the challenges you face teaching and working at CUNY. Please join us for the NYSUT Higher Ed Action Day (Feb. Tues., Feb 25 – Wed., Feb. 26) or the Student/Faculty/Staff Higher Education Lobby Day (Wed., Feb. 26). Sign up via this web form.

Transportation, food and hotel costs for the Feb. 25-26 Albany trip are covered by NYSUT. Members can also ride back and forth to Albany in one day with students on the buses for the Feb. 26 Student/Faculty/Staff Higher Ed Action Day. Contact Amanda Magalhaes ([email protected]) if you need further information.

Legislators Reintroduce Albany’s Anti-Academic Freedom Bill

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has introduced an amended version of a controversial bill that would outlaw the use of State funds to support any employee participation in groups conducting a boycott “in certain countries.” A version of the bill that was pulled from consideration last week after a groundswell of pressure from faculty unions and civil libertarians would have denied all public funding to New York colleges and universities for even reimbursing part of a faculty member’s travel to a conference hosted by an organization that endorses such a boycott. The new bill (Assembly Bill 8392a) does not threaten to eliminate State funding for colleges and universities, but it does prohibit the use of State funds to support employee participation in groups conducting such a boycott.

The Center for Constitutional Rights promised to litigate if the bill was reintroduced, and faculty groups are again mobilizing to oppose it. You can help by calling Sheldon Silver, speaker of the Assembly and the main sponsor of the bill, and Deborah Glick, chair of the higher education committee and a key cosponsor. Speaker Silver’s contact info: (518) 455-3791, [email protected]. Assemblymember Glick’s contact info: (518) 455-4841; [email protected]. Tell them we won’t stand for any infringement on our academic freedom or our First Amendment rights, and urge them to withdraw the bill.

CUNY Adjuncts in the News

Nicole Beth Wallenbrock, an adjunct professor at CUNY, was profiled along with several others in a segment aired on PBS Newshour on February 6. The segment, with business correspondent Paul Solman, is called: Is academia suffering from ‘adjunctivitis’? Low-paid adjunct professors struggle to make ends meet.

Labor Goes to the Movies Presents Glory

The union’s film series explores the theme of “work” this week with a screening of Glory (USA, Zwick, 1989). The film relates the story of the legendary 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment, the first black Union Army regiment, organized and commissioned in 1863 at the insistence of Frederick Douglass and other Black abolitionists and ‘sponsored’ by the free Black communities of the North. Doors open at 6pm, Friday, February 14, at the PSC Union Hall (61 Broadway, 16th floor). Light refreshments provided. A discussion will follow the film. Learn more.

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