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May 11, 2009

PSC Opposes Chancellor’s Attempt to Impose Term Limits on Department Chairs

The University Faculty Senate has received a proposal from the Chancellor’s office to impose a two-term limit on department chairs. Last Tuesday, the PSC leadership wrote to the chair of the University Faculty Senate stating the union’s strenuous opposition to the proposal.  The PSC considers any such proposed change a matter for collective bargaining.  CUNY cannot make changes in the terms and conditions of employment for workers in the department chair title without negotiating such changes. 

The PSC leadership strongly supports the right of CUNY faculty to elect their department chairs.  That right should not be weakened by the imposition of term limits.  The decision on who is best qualified to lead the department—whether for one term or for many—should remain in the hands of the faculty.  The UFS passed a resolution opposing the proposed change, and the union will work together with the UFS to protect faculty governance.

PSC Continues the Fight for a Fair City Budget for CUNY

The PSC partnered with NYPIRG in its biggest CUNY at the Council lobby day on Wednesday.  Teams with as many as 35 faculty, staff and students met with City Council Members telling them that CUNY is the Path to New York’s Future – and urging them to reject the CUNY Board of Trustees’ proposed $350 tuition increase, rescind Mayor Bloomberg’s $36.3 million in cuts to CUNY community colleges, provide a $4.5 million increase in funding for Vallone Scholarships, restoring them to FY 2008 levels, reinstate funds for City Council-sponsored programs such as Black Male Empowerment Initiative; and match $160 million in capital funds provided by New York State.

There is a better way to balance the City’s budget, even in these hard times. The PSC supports progressive income taxes and investment in vital public services. You can still send a message to your City Council Member by going to the PSC website and sending a letter.

Also, the PSC will testify at the Hearings of the Higher Education and Finance Committees on Friday at City Hall. Come and watch from the gallery, and sport a PSC hat, sticker or placard to let the City Council know you’re watching. Contact Kate Pfrodresher in the PSC office by email or at 212-354-1252.

PSC in Albany to Lobby for Adjuncts’ Access to Unemployment Insurance

If you’re not joining the two dozen PSC members in Albany tomorrow, add your voice to the call for adjuncts’ access to Unemployment Insurance by sending a letter in support of the bill before the state Senate and Assembly.

You can also advocate for adjunct unemployment insurance by joining PSC lobbying teams who will be meeting with your legislators in their district offices here in the City. Contact Diane Menna at the PSC, 212-354-1252 for details or to sign up.

Sign On to Support a Fair Contract for EOC PSC Members

CUNY and SUNY management are dragging their feet in negotiating a contract for Educational Opportunity Centers (EOCs). Support our EOC brothers and sisters by signing a petition calling on CUNY and SUNY to expedite a settlement.

Paid Parental Leave Retroactive Deadline is 5/20

Full-time CUNY employees represented by the PSC, who became parents of a newborn or newly adopted child (under the age of five) between 7/17/08 and 3/20/09 and had at least one year of full-time service at the time of birth or adoption, are eligible for a retroactive Paid Parental Leave benefit. You must apply for it by Wednesday, 5/20. The PSC website has instructions and the retroactive benefit application form, plus the letter of agreement on Paid Parental Leave. Questions? Call or email Moriah Berger in the PSC office, 212-354-1252. (Clarissa Weiss is on vacation until the end of the month.)

LaGuardia and Hostos Budget Hearings Mark Successful End to Semester of Hearings

The final PSC budget hearings of the year took place at LaGuardia Community College on Thursday and at Hostos the week before. City Council Members David Weprin and Eric Gioia sent staff members to LaGuardia and Maria del Carmen Arroyo and Annabel Palma sent staff members to Hostos. The hearings drew more than a hundred students to each campus and were packed with intense testimony from staff, faculty and students.

The union is proud to have DC37, University Student Senate, and NYPIRG co-sponsor the hearings.

New Issue of Clarion Investigates Blackboard Outages
First the CUNY portal went down during registration. Then it was Blackboard, courseware now commonly used across CUNY. The new issue of Clarion has an exclusive story about what caused this semester’s snafus and the discussion of possible alternatives to Blackboard.