CUNY reverses Kushner decision; PSC calls for Trustee Wiesenfeld’s resignation and demands reform of trustee selection
Last Monday the CUNY Board of Trustees voted to table the unanimous recommendation of the faculty of John Jay College to award an honorary degree to playwright Tony Kushner. The vote followed a one-sided attack on Kushner’s political views that distorted them beyond recognition. More than 700 PSC members have voiced their opposition to the Board’s shameful actions, and the action has prompted criticism throughout academia, as well as from the New York Times. After a firestorm of protest, the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees met to reconsider the decision on Monday, May 9. PSC President Barbara Bowen addressed the media before and after the meeting.
“Jeffery Wiesenfeld has abused his position as CUNY Trustee on numerous occasions,” said Bowen. “He should resign immediately and the trustee selection process should be reformed so that the Board is composed of qualified people with genuine expertise in higher education, who will respect the faculty, staff and students in whose interests they serve.”
PSC’s statements on the matter and links to media coverage are available on our website.
CUNY at the Council—Wednesday, May 11
Tomorrow is PSC’s “CUNY at the Council” grassroots lobbying day, where we’ll be advocating a city budget platform that calls for full restoration of the $63.1 million in funding for CUNY community colleges that was left out of the mayor’s executive budget. We will also be urging for the full restoration of city funds for Vallone Scholarships, Black Male Initiative, Murphy Institute for Worker Education, Center for Puerto Rican Studies, the Dominican Studies Institutes and Creative Arts Team. Registration for this event is now closed.
Congratulations on a terrific May 5 rally and march
We marched from City Hall to Borough of Manhattan Community College on May 5 to oppose cuts to CUNY’s budget and demand a union contract that allows PSC members to do our best work for students. After a rally at City Hall, 700 faculty, staff and students marched to BMCC, where the crowd grew to about a thousand. Read about the event on the PSC website and in the next Clarion.
Building up to the May 12, make banks and millionaires pay
The May 12 mobilization will begin at 4:00 p.m. with rallies and orientations at eight different assembly sites throughout lower Manhattan. (PSC members will assemble at the Wall Street Bull at 26 Broadway.) After gathering at assembly sites, the various groups will march and converge on Wall Street where participants will take part in any of 100+ teach-ins. A number of PSC members are already signed up to lead teach-ins at the event. Let us know you’re coming by emailing Rob Murray. Visit OnMay12.org for more information.
On the evening of May 11, the May 12 coalition is organizing a “guerrilla drive in movie” to build up excitement for Thursday’s mobilization. Exact details of the action (embargoed for now) will be distributed over social networks in the hours leading up to the event. The film and the unusual location (you’ll love it!) will highlight the relationship between growing inequality of wealth, taxation and the city’s revenue/budget issues. No car is required. Free popcorn. Follow PSC on Twitter and we’ll send you an announcement when the details are made public. You can also txt FREEPOPCORN to 760-670-3130 to sign up for a text message about the event.
Academic freedom forum-May 10
On an issue that is especially timely now, the PSC’s Academic Freedom Committee is hosting a forum entitled The Ongoing Attack on Academic Freedom: Which Way Forward on Tuesday, May 10 from 6:00-9:00 PM at the PSC office in the Union Hall on the 16th floor of 61 Broadway.
Keynote speaker Frances Fox Piven, professor of political science and sociology at The Graduate Center, will be joined at the event by a panel of experts that will include Anita Levy, Associate Secretary for Academic Freedom for the American Association of University Professors (AAUP); Blanche Wiesen Cook, professor of history at John Jay; Clarence Taylor, professor of history and Black and Hispanic Studies at Baruch; and Kristofer Petersen-Overton, doctoral student at the Graduate Center and adjunct professor at Brooklyn College. Academic Freedom Committee Chair Stephen Leberstein will moderate.
Forum: CUNY, Race and the PSC. Save the date—May 26
Join us for an hour-long forum entitled CUNY, Race and the PSC right before the May Delegate Assembly meeting. The event will feature a short presentation by Dr. Carol Wright, head researcher for the PSC CUNY & Race Project. Dr. Wright’s talk will be followed by a moderated discussion with members of the Anti-Racism Committee and the CUNY and Race Advisory Council.