Earlier today the PSC received the decision by Judge Anil Singh on CUNY’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit contesting the original Pathways resolution passed by the Board of Trustees in 2011. Judge Singh decided in favor of CUNY’s motion to dismiss.
We are disappointed in the decision, but we are fully prepared to appeal. We maintain that the initial Pathways resolution was passed in violation of the law and feel confident that our position will eventually be upheld.
Nothing in the legal decision changes the terrible impact Pathways is having on our students or the importance of our collective fight for a curriculum that offers a meaningful college education. The sustained commitment to academic quality by the faculty and staff has already forced the CUNY administration to implement significant changes in the Pathways structure, as announced in CUNY’s February 3 memo. And the New York City Council has signaled its interest in oversight on Pathways by convening a hearing on the subject, to be held tomorrow, February 25, at 10:00 at City Hall. The shift in terrain on Pathways is the result of faculty and staff organizing. Continue reading
Author’s Note: A version of this post was publish on Raging Chicken Press under the title, “Slow Train to Destruction of Public Higher Ed in PA?: Defund then Divide-and-Conquer,” on Saturday, Feb. 22.
If the fall 2013 semester saw the term “retrenchment” – the elimination of faculty, programs, and jobs – become part of daily conversations on campuses of Pennsylvania’s state-owned universities (PASSHE), during the next several months we may witness the birth of the next phase in the slow destruction of public higher education in the Commonwealth. This past fall, PA Senator Robert “Tommy” Tomlinson (R – 6th District) and Senator Andy Dinniman (D – 19th District) began working in earnest on legislation that would allow individual PASSHE universities to secede from the state system and become a state-related university – or even completely privatize. On Thursday, PASSHE’s new Chancellor, Frank Brogan, seemed to be laying similar groundwork during his testimony before the PA House Appropriations Committee. And, after three years of austerity policies stemming from Gov. Corbett’s slashing PASSHE’s funding and the System’s “shock doctrine” accounting schemes, there just might be the appetite in the legislature to begin the process of dismantling the 14 university PA State System of Higher Education.
The Tomlinson/Dinniman Alliance:
Senator Tomlinson is by all accounts taking the initiative in drafting this legislation, but according to sources at WCU, Tomlinson said publicly that Senator Dinniman is so interested in the legislation that he will introduce it if Tomlinson does not. To understand why Senator Tomlinson, a Republican, and Senator Dinniman, a Democrat, would join forces in supporting legislation that would allow individual PASSHE universities to secede, you need only understand that both Senators have strong ties with West Chester University and that West Chester University is growing and thriving. Tomlinson serves on West Chester University’s Council of Trustees and is a WCU alumnus. Dinniman spent well over three decades as a professor at West Chester. Both Senators represent districts in which the university has a strong presence. West Chester University is the second largest PASSHE university, right behind Indiana University of Pennsylvania and is on pace to become the largest in the system in the near future. Continue reading
February 18, 2014
At the 2013 convention in Los Angeles, the AFL-CIO reaffirmed its historical commitment to increasing access to post-secondary education and alleviating the financial burden that now too often is part of that education. Accordingly, we call on federal and state policymakers to make post-secondary training and education more accessible by ending the trend of disinvestment and increasing funding for public higher education, especially community and technical colleges.
State funding for higher education is now at lower levels in the last quarter century. To make up for lost state funds, schools have raised the price of tuition fees by more than 1,000% since 1980. States have cut crucial student services such as tutoring and job placement, and has led to radical changes in the academic workforce. Colleges are increasingly relying on contingent faculty to do the bulk of teaching. Contingent faulty– who now comprise more than 70% of the instructional corps–are every bit as committed to the education of their students and the mission of their institutions as their tenure-track colleagues, yet they receive a fraction of the compensation, few of the employee benefits, and entirely too little respect for doing the same work. This is particularly true at those colleges that serve the students with the greatest needs. Disinvestment and a lack of commitment to instruction has left a majority of college educators without the professional supports they need to provide the highest-quality education to their students. In short, students are paying more, whether out of pocket or through student loans, and receiving less. Continue reading
Business Insider has published a map that graphically illustrates the reality that 50% of the U.S. GDP is generated in just 22 urban areas—Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington DC, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Chicago, St. Louis, Minneapolis/St.Paul, Denver, Seattle, Portland, San Jose, Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix, Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, Atlanta, Charlotte, and Miami:
The following report comes from Howard Bunsis, Chair of the AAUP Collective Bargaining Congress:
There was an enormous turnout of faculty at UIC today, as picketing took place all over the sprawling campus, and everyone congregated for two large rallies.
We had support from students, other unions on campus, as well as local activists, and finally faculty and grad students from the University of Chicago.
The AAUP was well represented, as myself and KIra Schuman were there to assist and organize strike preparation and implementation. It was an invigorating day, and we definitely showed the administration that UIC is about faculty and students working together.
UIC faculty are holding a two-day strike on Feb. 18 and 19 to protest the failure of the administration to negotiate in good faith for more than 18 months. Today, Feb. 18, there are rallies planned at 10am and 12:30pm, in addition to picketing and demonstrations. There has been news coverage in the Chicago Reader, Chicago Sun-Times, and Chicago Tribune, and an Illinois AAUP statement of support. Read an article by UIC professors Lennard Davis & Walter Benn Michaels in Jacobin explaining the reasons for the strike.
The UIC United Faculty (an AFT/AAUP union) announced a two-day strike next week:
After 18 months of bargaining, the faculty at University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) is headed for a two-day strike on Tuesday, February 18th and Wednesday, February 19th. UIC professors did not want it to come to this, but the trustees’ proposals continue to short change both faculty and students. UIC administration continues to hike tuition to the point it has amassed hundreds of millions in profits each year and more than a billion dollars in reserves, yet refuses to pay professors what they’re worth. Many members of the faculty who teach first-year students only make $30,000 a year!
In a recent op-ed piece on the Chronicle of Higher Ed’s Worldwide blog, Dzulkifli Abdul Razak responded to an article written by Nigel Thrift, vice chancellor of the University of Warwick. Thrift had argued for the creation of an international association of colleges and universities, suggesting that it would not only facilitate efforts to meet the common challenges confronting institutions, but it would also promote higher education as a global resource in meeting broader socio-economic challenges.
Razak, the president of the International Association of Universities, pointed out that his organization already exists and is committed to the core aims delineated by Thrift. I am not sure whether Thrift’s apparent lack of awareness of Razak’s organization demonstrates his own limited perspective or the limited reach of the organization, or both. But, since I was also completely unaware of the International Association of Universities, I sense that the that organization either has considerably more work to do in becoming more truly representative and effective, or that it somehow is not meeting the need that both Thrift and Razak articulate very convincingly.
Coincidentally, as I have been collecting materials for this blog, I have become much more acutely aware that the challenges that we are facing as faculty at American institutions are not unique to our country—that those challenges are not only being confronted by faculty in nations around the globe but they are often complicated by socio-economic, political, and cultural factors that make them much more difficult and even hazardous to confront. Continue reading
This is a more detailed version of the invitation to file amicus briefs with the NLRB prior to its consideration of Pacific Lutheran University’s filing to prevent SEIU from organizing the university’s faculty.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA BEFORE THE NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD
PACIFIC LUTHERAN UNIVERSITY
SERVICE EMPLOYEES INTERNATIONAL Union, LOCAL 925
NOTICE AND INVITATION TO FILE BRIEFS
On September 23, 2013, the Board (Chairman Pearce, Members Miscimarra and Hirozawa) granted the Employer’s Request for Review of the Regional Director’s Decision and Direction of Election because it raised “substantial issues warranting review…with respect to the assertion of jurisdiction over the Employer and the determination that certain faculty members are not managerial employees” under the Act.1
The Board invites the filing of briefs to afford the parties and interested amici the opportunity to address the issues raised in this case.
The parties and amici specifically are invited to address one or more of the following questions: Continue reading