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January 20, 2010

Governor Announces Public Higher Education Changes, PSC Fights Cuts
The PSC calls on Governor Paterson to stop cutting the nation’s oldest and largest institution of public higher education. PSC members and leaders will lobby and testify in Albany next week, calling on the legislature to reject this proposal for yet another cut to CUNY, coming after nearly $100 million in cuts last year and two decades of underfunding.

The governor has proposed $63.6 million in cuts to CUNY’s 11 senior (four-year) colleges, a further $20.8 million in savings on personnel costs and $285 per full-time-equivalent student from CUNY’s six community colleges. Those same colleges are facing enrollment increases of 28% this semester.

The PSC recognizes the difficult economic conditions the state government faces. However, especially in a time of recession, public higher education is the smartest course and surest route to a secure future for New Yorkers and the state as a whole. Therefore, instead of the Governor’s misguided “rational tuition” policy that would shift the burden of funding public higher education onto our students, who can least afford it, the union suggests New York State adopt a “rational investment” plan of steady, escalating investment to help public higher education recover from years of underfunding, rebuild New York’s economy and pave the road to a secure future for our state.

Donations for Haiti Disaster Relief and Plans for Solidarity Night
“Many of our members—and more of our students—have close family and friends in Haiti, and on behalf of the entire union membership I send my profound sympathy for the sorrow and anger you must be experiencing,” said PSC President Barbara Bowen.  The PSC will be making a substantial contribution to the Haitian medical relief efforts, and invites members to contribute individually through the NYSUT website, which will transmit emergency funds to Education International’s relief effort.

The union is also planning a fundraising night in solidarity with the people of Haiti, to be held at the union hall early in the new semester.  Plans are still in formation, but we hope to include Haitian music and food, and to invite speakers to lead us in a discussion of the politics and history that underlie Haiti’s vulnerability to the destructive consequences of an earthquake.  As we learned from Hurricane Katrina, there are no “natural” disasters. Please plan to join us for this important conversation. If you’d like to participate, please email PSC staff member Moriah Berger, or call her in the PSC office, 212-354-1252.

GROWing a New Generation of CUNY Activists
The PSC has again teamed up with the United States Students Association to offer students training in organizing skills, information about the CUNY budget process and an opportunity to meet activists from other colleges. The trainings will be held on two Saturdays, 1/30 and 2/6. The all-day programs are held at the PSC office at no cost; the union provides Metrocards to cover students’ transportation. Please let your students know and pass on this link where they can download fliers and sign up electronically. For more information, contact Kate Pfordresher in the PSC office, (212) 354-1252 or GROWforCUNY@pscmail.org.

2010 PSC Chapter Elections Notice
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. Nominating petitions will be available upon request from chapter chairpersons or the PSC office from February 1, 2010 to March 8, 2010. Properly completed nominating petitions must be received at the PSC office, 61 Broadway – Suite 1500, New York, N.Y. 10006, by 5:00 pm, March 8, 2010. Ballots will be mailed to members’ home addresses on April 5, 2010  and must be received at the PSC office by 5:00 pm on April 29, 2010. For more, click here.

Saturday Matinee at the PSC on Saturday
Continuing this year’s theme of “Crisis,” Labor Goes to the Movies will have a special afternoon screening on Saturday, 1/23, at noon, when it shows A Grin Without a Cat, a reflective documentary by the acclaimed French director Chris Marker that looks at the trajectory of the international left since the Cuban Revolution. The movie will be shown at the PSC Union Hall at 61 Broadway, 16th Floor (bring photo ID to enter the building).