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A Budget Deal Has Been Announced—and Opposition Escalates
The Governor, Senate and Assembly leadership have made a budget deal—a deal that hands over billions of dollars in tax breaks to the wealthy while it cuts hundreds of millions from CUNY, schools, heath care and social services. Final decisions on higher education are still being made, but the reported figure for all higher education restorations covers only a fraction of the cuts. CUNY community colleges seem certain to receive some restoration of funds, but senior colleges may suffer the whole 10% cut. The legislature may begin voting on the budget bills as early as Tuesday or Wednesday. There is still time to demand an alternative before the votes are cast and the bills are signed, and time until December to press for a continuation of the tax surcharge on the highest incomes. The PSC is supporting two actions:
- Tuesday, March 29th in New York City
At 5:30 pm a coalition of groups will gather at Chase Plaza (277 Park Avenue, between 47th and 48th) for an evening of music, street theater, marching and picketing to protest the budget deal and demand that millionaires pay their fair share.
- Wednesday, March 30th in Albany: Non-Millionaires’ Rally
New York Communities for Change, Right to the City and other community-based organizations are joining forces with CUNY and SUNY students for a peaceful occupation of the State Capitol. They expect at least 1,000 to participate in the occupation on Wednesday, and many protestors will stay in the Capitol overnight. The organizers have notified the police of their intentions and no arrests are expected. Two buses will depart at Penn Station at 10:00AM and stop at Hunter College (68th St. and Lexington Ave.) at 10:30AM. One bus will return to New York City on Wednesday evening; the other will return Thursday morning (or later).
CUNY Faculty Take Direct Action to Protect CUNY
Thirty-three people were arrested in a peaceful, non-violent direct action by CUNY faculty and staff, after they sat down and blocked access to the governor’s office in the NY State Capitol. Joined by hundreds of supporters from community groups, schools and colleges across the state, the PSC members demanded that Albany not pass a budget that pays for a hefty tax break for the wealthy with deep cuts to CUNY and other public services. The action, which PSC organized in less than ten days, generated a lot of media coverage. More important, it empowered the Union and our coalition partners to keep pressing—now and after the current budget is passed—for public policies that benefit CUNY and ordinary New Yorkers, not the richest one percent. Watch video of the protest at the PSC website.
National Teach-In on Austerity, Debt and Corporate Greed
Cornel West and Frances Fox Piven will moderate a national teach-in Tuesday, April 5th at the Judson Memorial Church (55 Washington Square South) at 2 pm. The event, entitled Fight Back USA, has been organized to build resistance to the austerity agenda that is producing cuts to education and the social safety net. The national teach-in will be webcast to campuses across the nation.
Teach CUNY at BMCC—Our Working Conditions are our Students’ Learning Conditions
The BMCC chapter’s week-long effort to build student-faculty solidarity for the budget and contract fights to come is under way. Here’s the announcement on the PSC website. Throughout the week, BMCC faculty will educate their students about the nature of the current fiscal crisis, the consequences for higher education and alternatives to austerity. Sample lesson plans and a fact sheet for the week are available at the Teach CUNY website. This week’s actions will build toward a Student/Faculty/Staff summit on Tuesday, April 6th at 2:00 PM on the BMCC campus, room S370.
Upcoming Reappointment Dates
Notice of reappointment and non-reappointment for Higher Education Series members (HEOs) in their first and second years of service are due on April 1. For instructional staff in tenure-bearing and certificate-bearing titles who are in their first year of service, notice is due on or before April 1. Lecturers in their second year of service should also receive their letters of reappointment by April 1. If you do not receive a letter, or if you receive a letter of non-reappointment, contact your local campus grievance counselor or contact the PSC office for a HEO or faculty grievance counselor at 212-354-1252 as soon as possible. The deadline for filing these grievances is May 13, 2011.
2011 PSC Chapter Elections: Ballots Mailed Next Week
This spring half of the PSC’s chapters will be electing officers, delegates and alternates to the PSC Delegate Assembly, as well as members of the PSC-CUNY Welfare Fund Advisory Council. Ballots will be mailed to members’ home addresses on April 1, 2011 and must be received by 5:00 pm on April 28, 2011.
PSC’s First Environmental Justice Awards
The first ever PSC-CUNY Environmental Justice Awards were given out at the conclusion of the two-day annual Nature, Ecology and Society Colloquium at the Graduate Center on March 11th.
Three “Spirit of NES Awards” for individual or group work that uses visual and/or digital media to enhance the understanding of the impact of climate change were awarded at the event: Nina Young, a CUNY graduate student who organized a panel discussion on People, Parks and Power plants received the first award; Shawndel Fraser and Bijan Kimiagar, CUNY graduate students who coordinated the NES conference shared the second ; and Sharon Abreu, an arts-based environmental educator who has performed songs for the United Nations, Air America and WBAI received the third.
Two “We are in this Together Awards” for an individual or group whose research and work strives to involve community action were also awarded.
Take our new poll on the PSC homepage. What’s the best new name for the Committee to “Save” New York?