The Senate, with a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Pence, approved the nomination of Betsy DeVos as U.S. Secretary of Education today. PSC members placed many of the 5 million calls Congress received opposing DeVos for her total lack of experience and anti-public school ideology. Two Republican Senators voted “no” thanks to the public outcry, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. But no other Republican Senator was brave enough to choose the interests of the people over their party. AFT President Randi Weingarten, pointed to a silver lining in her statement. “The public in public education has never been more visible or more vocal, and it is not going back in the shadows. This same public—from rural towns to urban centers, from liberals to conservatives—will now serve as a check and balance, and they will be fierce fighters on behalf of children.”
Sign Up to Lobby with the PSC and CUNY Students
Sign Up by Wed., Feb. 8 for NYSUT Higher Education Lobby Day on Mar. 1-2
The PSC is calling on the State Legislature to commit to full funding of CUNY, starting with a $300 million investment in new full-time faculty, an increase to $7,000 per course for adjuncts and reduced teaching loads for full-time faculty to allow more time with individual students. We need your help in Albany to make the case. The PSC is partnering with NYSUT and United University Professions (UUP) and with student organizations like NYPIRG and USS to organize three action days in Albany. Please sign up today. Transportation, food and hotel costs for the NYSUT Higher Education Lobby Day (March 1-2) and the NYSUT Committee of 100 (March 6-7) are covered by NYSUT. You can also make a one-day round trip to Albany with students on the buses for the Student/Faculty/Staff Higher Ed Action Day (March 2).
PSC Member Saira Rafiee Granted Re-Entry to U.S.
Saira Rafiee, the PSC member and CUNY doctoral student who was denied entry into the U.S. as a result of President Trump’s executive order banning legal immigrants from seven countries, has been granted re-entry to the United States. Ms. Rafiee landed in Boston’s Logan Airport on Saturday. CUNY student activists, lawyers from CUNY’s Citizenship Now! program, family members and others were there to greet her. In a message to PSC members Saturday, President Bowen said Saira’s return is thanks to a “huge collective effort—together with her own political courage and vision.” Even while the outcome of her own case was uncertain, Saira called on us to elevate the cases of people without unions and with less access to public voice. “The PSC will resist the Trump agenda as it attacks students, unions, workers and the principles on which universities are founded,” Bowen said. “Thought has no borders.”
Labor Goes to the Movies Presents: Double Indemnity—Fri., Feb. 10
PSC’s film series will explore the theme “The Politics of Genre” with a screening of Double Indemnity (Wilder, 1944) at 6:30 PM, February 10 in the PSC Union Hall (61 Broadway, 16th floor). In this powerful film noir, blond temptress Barbara Stanwyck, second wife of a successful, older businessman, convinces Fred MacMurray to concoct an insurance scam to pay double indemnity on the “accidental” death of her husband. However, MacMurray’s boss, Edward G. Robinson, senses a crime brilliant and most foul. Film noir is often associated with paranoia, and this film provides a clinical demonstration of the disorder. Selected as one of the “100 Best American Films of the 20th Century” by the American Film Institute. Doors open at 6:00 PM. Refreshments provided. There is a $2 suggested donation. Learn more.
Lottery for Access to Middle-Income Housing Units in Manhattan
A small number of one and two-bedroom apartments are expected to become available at below-market rents at Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village. PSC members are invited to register for a lottery to create lists of interested potential tenants by clicking here and submitting the requested information between Mon., Feb. 6 and Fri., Mar. 10. NYC unions, including the PSC, pressed for access to this affordable housing for union members, so please enter if you’re looking for a new place to live.
Located on the east side of Manhattan, below 23rd St., the housing complex was recently taken over by a division of Blackstone Group. In an arrangement negotiated with the de Blasio administration, 40% of the apartments are to be offered at below-market rents as they become vacant. The rent-stabilized rents for apartments that become vacant this year will be about $2800/month for a one-bedroom unit and $3400/month for a two-bedroom unit. There are minimum and maximum household income requirements for eligibility. Learn more.
Sign up to Defend the Social Safety Net
Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act and other safety net programs are in the crosshairs of the 115th Congress. Given the louder and louder drumbeat of cutbacks and privatization, the PSC’s Social Safety Net Working Group is urging members to call their representatives in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. They are also scheduling face-to-face and call-in meetings for members with congresspersons in the NYC metropolitan area. Click here to sign up, to learn more about the campaign and to download talking points and background materials.
International Conference: Global Resistance in the Neoliberal University—Mar. 3-4
Click here to RSVP for a two-day conference organized by the PSC to build international solidarity with teachers, students and academic workers. The conference will begin Friday, March 3 at 6 PM with a discussion with activists from the #FeesMustFall campaign in South Africa. Join in resistance to adjunctification, privatization, the explosion of student debt, race and gender oppression, police repression, and the growing drum-beat of war and militarization on our campuses. Space is limited. Download a flyer.
Visit the online calendar for locations and more information
Bronx Community College Chapter Meeting, Feb 9, 12:00pm
York College Chapter Meeting, Feb 9, 12:00pm
Graduate Center HEO Meeting, Feb 9, 12:30pm
College of Staten Island Chapter Meeting, Feb 9, 2:30pm
International Committee Meeting, Feb 10, 4:00pm
Labor Goes to the Movies: Double Indemnity, Feb 10, 6:00pm
PSC Office Closed for Lincoln’s Birthday, Feb 13
Legislation Committee Meeting, Feb 15, 6:00pm