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This Week in the PSC

This Week in the PSC (02.06.13):PSC Supports Brooklyn College President in Her Defense of Academic Freedom

Feb 06, 2013

PSC Supports Brooklyn College President in Her Defense of Academic Freedom

PSC President Barbara Bowen sent a letter supporting Brooklyn College President Karen Gould’s defense of academic freedom and the Brooklyn College Political Science Department in their co-sponsorship of a forum on the BDS movement, which calls for boycott, divestment, and sanctions against Israel. Rudy Fichtenbaum, president of the American Association of University Professors, also wrote a letter to President Gould praising her “courageous defense of the principles of academic freedom.”

In her February 4 statement (Posted on the Brooklyn College Facebook page), President Gould said:

“Students and faculty, including academic departments, programs, and centers, have the right to invite speakers, engage in discussion, and present ideas to further educational discussion and debate. The mere invitation to speak does not indicate an endorsement of any particular point of view, and there is no obligation, as some have suggested, to present multiple perspectives at any one event.“

Gould’s defense of academic freedom drew fire from a group of politicians (their letter) who wrongly equate the political science department’s co-sponsorship of the forum with an endorsement of the views expressed by the BDS movement.

In a February 5 editorial, The New York Times said it “strongly defend[s] the decision by Brooklyn College President Karen Gould to proceed with the event, despite withering criticism by opponents and threats by at least 10 City Council members to cut city funding for the college. Such intimidation chills debate and makes a mockery of the ideals of academic freedom.”

PSC President Bowen sent a second letter to this group of politicians saying “a college president who stands up for academic freedom at CUNY—where academic freedom has come under repeated assault in recent years—should be applauded by “progressive” politicians, not bullied.”

Support the Union’s State Budget Campaign; Sign Up to Lobby with Us.

PSC members are meeting with legislators in Albany and in their local district office here in the five boroughs to demand greater State investment in CUNY. For the senior colleges, the union is urging full State funding for all of CUNY’s mandatory expenses and public investments in full-time faculty and student services.

For community colleges, we’re opposing the Governor’s Next Generation Job Linkage Program because it incentivizes a shift toward “performance-based” funding for community colleges and gives private industry too much influence over certain community college degree programs. Instead of marginal increases to workforce development funding and worrisome partnerships with private industry, the union is calling for increases in community college Base Aid, which has been reduced in recent years.

Sign up for one or more of these events, via the web form on our State Budget Campaign page:

  • NYSUT Committee of 100 Advocacy Day, Albany—Mar. 4-5
  • NYSUT Higher Education Advocacy Day, Albany—Mar. 11-12
  • Student/Faculty/Staff Higher Ed Action Day—Mar. 12
  • Other In-District Meeting Dates to Be Announced

Transportation, food and hotel costs for the Mar. 4-5 and Mar. 11-12 Albany trips are covered by NYSUT. Members can also ride back and forth to Albany with students on the buses for the Mar. 12 day.

Sign the Pathways Petition

If you haven’t yet, please sign the National Petition for a Moratorium on CUNY’s Pathways Curriculum, and forward the petition to your colleagues in professional organizations, research groups and other networks. The CUNY-wide petition last spring was a separate petition. We are asking those who signed that petition to also sign the national petition.

Adjunct Health Insurance Extended Through April 30

On Thurs., Jan. 17 PSC President Barbara Bowen sent a message to insured adjuncts informing them that the current adjunct health insurance through the PSC-CUNY Welfare Fund has been extended through April 30. Read the message.


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