The CUNY Mayor Cuts CUNY Again | Defenses of Academic Freedom
Nov 18, 2023
AFT & AAUP Reaffirm Academic Freedom in Times of Strife
The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Executive Council passed a resolution last week: Condemning Hate and Affirming Freedom of Speech on Campus. Read the full resolution, which, among other things, resolves:
“that the AFT will call on college and university administrations to respect academic freedom and debates on campus; to condemn hate and racially, politically and religiously motivated attacks; and to ensure the safety of all members—whether teaching, working or learning—of the campus community.”
The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) released a new statement this week as well. Read the full statement, which calls on colleges and universities to:
“Recommit themselves to fully protecting academic freedom…”
“Protect the freedom of students to express their positions on such issues on and off campus…”
“Safeguard the independence of colleges and universities by refusing to comply with demands from politicians, trustees, donors, faculty members, students and their parents, alumni, or other parties that would interfere with academic freedom.”
PSC members have the support of our national affiliates as we engage with our college administrations in defense of academic freedom. Canceling events (NY Times, 11/16) and tamping down on peaceful demonstrations and free expression is not the way for a university to behave in the face of polarizing events. The Hunter College PSC chapter and Hunter College Senate said as much this week.
Sign the PSC Letter to the Chancellor In Defense of Academic Freedom
Hundreds of PSC members have joined PSC President James Davis in urging Chancellor Matos Rodríguez to affirm freedom of expression and freedom of assembly at CUNY. The Chancellor and CUNY College administrators have abridged these rights often since the horrific October 7 Hamas attacks on Israeli civilians and Israel’s ongoing bombing and mounting casualties in Gaza. Please click here to add your name to the letter.
Sing Out, Shout Out for #APeoplesCUNY
Saturday, December 2, 1–3 PM
The Sing Out, Shout Out For #APeoplesCUNY rally is two weeks away! December 2nd is a Saturday, so our HEO and CLT colleagues don’t have to take time off to join a day-time action, and more of our families, friends and allies can attend. A large and vocal turnout signals to management our resolve to fight for and win a just contract. Please make this event a priority!
Every gain we make in the final contract will have to be a collective victory. So, tell us you’ll be there. We’ll meet at the Governor’s Midtown office (map) to Sing Out for more state funding at just the right moment in the budget process. Then we’ll march to CUNY Central, just a few blocks away, to Shout Out for the contract we deserve and to demand that CUNY make an economic offer.
Come ready to sing out and to hear performers raise their voices for the university and the contract that we deserve. And plan to wear your red Everybody Loves Somebody at CUNY sweatshirt! If you don’t have one yet, we’ll have them available for members who turnout.
Mayor Adams has announced another round of what he calls “extremely painful” mid-year budget cuts to City agencies, including CUNY. Budget modification plans are released every November. They are meant to be technical adjustments to account for spending and revenue fluctuations, not a way for the Mayor to override the City’s budget process. PSC President James Davis blasted the Mayor in a statement, which began:
“It’s confounding to see Mayor Adams, a two-time CUNY graduate who calls himself ‘the CUNY Mayor‘, take a hatchet to the CUNY budget again with this 5% mid-year cut. I guess no one should be surprised because since he took office, Mayor Adams has undermined CUNY at every opportunity, eliminating nearly 300 faculty and staff lines due to attrition for our nationally renowned University system since his first budget, leaving the community community colleges short of faculty and staff, and students without the support they need to succeed.” Read the full statement.
PSC members and staff joined the CUNY Rising Alliance and the People’s Plan Coalition near City Hall yesterday to protest the latest cuts and call on the City Council to reject them. The Council restored significant funding for CUNY in the enacted budget passed last June, but did not act to stop the Mayor’s cuts during last year’s November modification.
Five Boroughs in Five Weeks
PSC CUNY Members Rally for Respect at Bronx Community College
PSC Chapters Deliver Petitions to Presidents at Bronx Community College, Hostos Community College and Lehman College
Thursday, November 9th, more than 50 CUNY faculty and staff rallied at Bronx Community College to demand that BCC President Milton Santiago act on local issues and press the CUNY Chancellor in support of the PSC’s contract demands. (News 12 TV coverage.) Following the rally, the union members marched to President Santiago’s, to deliver petitions (Bronx CC petition), ensuring that CUNY leadership hears their demands for action on local issues and support for the PSC’s bargaining agenda. PSC chapters at Hostos Community College (Hostos CC petition) and Lehman College (Lehman petition) organized petition delivery actions on their campuses as well. Video and photos of the actions are posted here on the PSC website and on the PSC’s Instagram.
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 orientations are Monday, November 20, 6:30-7:30 PM (register for the 11/20 Zoom) and Wednesday, December 6, 12:30-1:30 PM (register for the 12/6 Zoom).
Send a powerful message to the Governor and to CUNY about the power of CUNY to uplift students and communities. Everybody who loves somebody at CUNY is welcome! Everyone who wants a New Deal for CUNY, with free, high quality education for all, is needed!