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PSC Election Material: New Caucus Candidate Bios
Barbara Bowen has been President of the union since 2000, when she led the New Caucus effort to increase the power and vitality of the PSC. Under her leadership, the PSC has gained in stature as a political force, able to win material improvements in members’ lives and to articulate a larger vision for public higher education. As that vision comes increasingly under attack, Bowen has emerged as a leader in the fight to maintain quality education at CUNY. As head of the PSC’s bargaining team, she has developed the power of the membership to win such advances as sabbaticals at 80% pay, reassigned time for junior faculty, significant salary increases, paid office hours for adjuncts, paid parental leave, and professional development grants for adjuncts, HEOs and CLTs. A fierce opponent of accommodating to economic austerity, Bowen has been an outspoken critic of Albany’s failed strategy of disinvestment in CUNY and reliance on increased student tuition. She has gained a national reputation as a principled and articulate labor leader, pressing the City’s labor movement to challenge Wall Street and leading the effort within our national union to oppose unjust and wasteful wars. Bowen holds faculty positions at both Queens College and the Graduate Center; she earned her PhD at Yale and is widely published in the field of 17th-century literature.
FOR FIRST VICE PRESIDENT
Steve London has been First Vice President since 2000 and is an associate professor of political science at Brooklyn College. A founder of the New Caucus, he served three terms in the 1990s as Brooklyn College’s PSC Chapter Chair and as a University Faculty Senator. As the PSC’s Legislative Representative, he has led the union’s member-based political action campaigns – winning, e.g., increased employer pension contributions for ORP participants and enhancing CUNY budget advocacy at the City and State levels. He chairs the PSC’s Contract Enforcement Committee. Under his leadership in this area, the PSC has won significant arbitration and legal victories, including the 35-hour workweek for HEOs. Serving on the PSC Negotiations Committee since 2000, he has been involved in the detailed decision-making of every contract settlement. Steve is a Welfare Fund Trustee and its Executive Officer, initiating reform of the Fund and preserving benefits. As a NYSUT Board Director, he was instrumental in increasing NYSUT’s focus on higher education gaining more resources for the PSC. Co-editor of two books, Steve brings his expertise in political science to the union’s work.
Arthurine DeSola, Higher Education Assistant, is currently PSC Secretary, the first HEO elected to that position. A member of the CUNY community for over 30 years, she was a counselor in the Department of Student Services at Queensborough Community College and a faculty member in the Counseling Department at LaGuardia Community College. Chairperson of the HEO/CLT Professional Development Fund Committee for the past six years, she oversees the process for the professional staff’s receiving funds for the advancement of professional development and education. She is a member of the Contract Enforcement, Legislation, and Women’s Committees. DeSola has presented testimony before the City and State Higher Education Committees. Her lobbying efforts include frequent visits to Albany with the goal of supporting the CUNY budget request and obtaining additional funding for CUNY’s students, faculty and staff.
Michael Fabricant, professor at Hunter College and Executive Officer of the PhD Program in Social Welfare, is involved in every aspect of assembling and reporting on the PSC budget. His focus is the development of an organizing department that evolves membership networks and power for the enhancement of working and learning conditions at CUNY. As an advocate for faculty, staff and students, he works to build coalition relationships with students, labor and community-based organizations within and without the Occupy Wall Street movement. He plays a leadership role in the contract and budget campaigns and represents PSC on the AFT Committee on Organizing, whose focus is new membership organizing and advancement of a national public education agenda. He has authored numerous articles; the most recent of his eight books explores the threat of charter schooling and the restructuring of the American economy that has stimulated the recent intense attacks on public education and teachers. He has been Treasurer of the National Coalition to House the Homeless and for Community Access United, an agency serving the disabled.
FOR UNIVERSITY-WIDE OFFICERS
George Brandon is an associate medical professor in the Department of Community Health and Social Medicine, the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education at the City College of New York. His PhD in anthropology is from Rutgers University (1983). He joined the PSC soon after arriving at CCNY in 1989, and has served on that chapter’s Executive Committee as Chapter Chairperson and as a member of the Organizing Committee for the last contract. A jazz musician as well as a medical anthropologist, he is a member of the PSC’s Executive Council.
Jonathan Buchsbaum, Professor in the Department of Media Studies, Queens College, serves on the PSC Executive Council, chairs the PSC’s Labor Goes to the Movies Committee, co-chairs the Anti-Racism Committee and is Chair of the Queens College chapter. He has led the chapter’s organizing work on such issues as defense of faculty rights, and advocacy on health and safety. Under his leadership, the chapter filed a successful legal complaint against CUNY for failing to develop and implement a Workplace Violence Protection Policy. Buchsbaum’s academic work includes two studies of political filmmaking: Cinema Engagé: Film in the Popular Front and Cinema and the Sandinistas: Filmmaking in Revolutionary Nicaragua.
Penny Lewis is an assistant professor of labor studies at the Joseph S. Murphy Institute of the School of Professional Studies. She has been a CUNY graduate student, adjunct, Hunter High School teacher and instructor, and assistant professor at Borough of Manhattan Community College where she served on the BMCC chapter’s Executive Committee. She has served as an organizer for the PSC, as a representative to Jobs with Justice; a member of the Solidarity and Labor Goes to the Movies Committees, as a DA delegate, and as Executive Council member. Her research interests are labor, social class and social movements.
Costas Panayotakis, associate professor of sociology at New York City College of Technology, is the author of Remaking Scarcity: From Capitalist Inefficiency to Economic Democracy. He has become a prominent national commentator on the economic crisis in Greece. Costas has also used performance art to challenge the position that economic austerity is the appropriate response to the current crisis; the character he has created and sometimes performs as, “Austerity Nut,” rides the subways facetiously urging passengers to sacrifice for “our suffering brothers and sisters on Wall Street.” A serious scholar of social movements and a current member of the Executive Council, Costas has also worked extensively to build mutual support between full-time and part-time faculty.
Michael Spear is an assistant professor of history at Kingsborough Community College. Elected to the PSC Executive Council to fill a vacancy in 2011, he has been an activist with the union since the mid-1990s and a CUNY student activist before that. A delegate to the NYC Central Labor Council, Michael serves on the PSC Legislation and Contract Campaign Organizing committees. His research is on the US labor movement and post-World War II New York City history. An important article, “In the Shadows of the 1970s Fiscal Crisis: New York City’s Municipal Unions in the Twenty-First Century,” appeared in the September 2010 issue of Working USA. He is a co-coordinator of the New Caucus.
FOR VICE PRESIDENT FOR SENIOR COLLEGES
Robert Cermele, associate professor of mathematics and chapter chair at New York City College of Technology, has served as department chairperson and is active in local college governance, chairing several standing committees of the College Council. He is a representative to the University Faculty Senate, serving on the Status of the Faculty Committee. Elected a PSC Senior College Officer in 2000, he became Vice President for Senior Colleges in 2006. He serves on the Executive Council and is an active member of the Academic Freedom, Finance, and Legislation Committees. Bob is also co-coordinator of the union’s Manhattan borough political action committee, and Treasurer of the PSC-CUNY Welfare Fund.
FOR SENIOR COLLEGE OFFICERS
David Hatchett is a lecturer in English at Medgar Evers College. He has been active in the PSC for more than a decade as a part-time faculty organizer at Medgar Evers and Hostos Community College from 2000-05. After joining the Executive Council in 2005, he became the co-coordinator of the adjunct organizing project. He works with the New Caucus leadership at Medgar Evers, is a member of the chapter’s Executive Committee and is currently a representative of the chapter to the Delegate Assembly. He is a member of the New Caucus Governing Board.
Blanca Vázquez is adjunct assistant professor in the Film and Media Studies Department at Hunter College. At the Center for Puerto Rican Studies, she was the founding editor of Centro Journal and a researcher on the Culture and Oral History Task Forces. Vázquez has been a union delegate, secretary of the Hunter chapter’s Executive Committee and liaison for part-timers. In 2009, she received Hunter’s Cecile B. Insdorf Award for Excellence in Teaching for Part-Time Faculty. She is a lifelong activist in social movements for civil rights, women’s equality and Puerto Rican self-determination.
Alex Vitale is an associate professor of sociology at Brooklyn College. In addition to serving on the Executive Council, he has been chapter chair at Brooklyn College and co-coordinates the union’s political action committee for Brooklyn. He is a nationally known scholar on the policing of demonstrations and other political activities in the US and internationally. His book City of Disorder: How the Quality of Life Campaign Transformed New York Politics studies the rise of neoconservative politics and policing in the 1980s and 1990s. Before coming to CUNY, Alex was a labor/community organizer for the San Francisco Coalition on Homelessness.
FOR VICE PRESIDENT FOR COMMUNITY COLLEGES
Anne Friedman, professor of academic and critical reading at Borough of Manhattan Community College, is PSC Vice President for Community Colleges, also serving on the Contract Negotiating Committee. She is a member of the PSC’s Anti-Racism Committee and has been active in open admissions struggles for 40 years, beginning as a student at City College. Anne is also a delegate to NYSUT, AFT and AAUP; she has been appointed to NYSUT’s and AFT’s community college advisory committees. She is immersed in governance issues, and since 1997, on the Executive Committee of the University Faculty Senate, where she is a liaison to the Status of the Faculty Committee. She is committed to a democratic and collective process in union decision-making.
FOR COMMUNITY COLLEGE OFFICERS
Lorraine Cohen, professor of sociology at LaGuardia Community College, serves on the Executive Council and is a member of the Negotiations Committee. As LaGuardia’s Chapter Chair, she organized the struggle against the growing “shadow workload” and mobilized faculty and staff to support the PSC’s anti-austerity campaign. In 2007, she led the fight to prevent management from banning the use of college e-mail for union related communication. A sociologist with deep roots at CUNY, Lorraine is an outspoken advocate for CUNY students, working frequently with student coalitions in support of funding for the University. She was NYSUT’s 2005 Higher Education Member of the Year.
Sharon Persinger, associate professor in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at Bronx Community College, has served as Chair of the PSC chapter at BCC since 2010 and was recently elected to fill a vacant community college officer position on the PSC’s Executive Council. With her leadership, the BCC chapter has worked on improving health and safety at the college, winning equity for adjuncts, and restoring adequate funding for CUNY. Born into a union family in West Virginia, Sharon learned about the importance and power of organized labor from the United Mine Workers.
Felipe Pimentel, assistant professor of sociology at Hostos Community College, holds a PhD in sociology from the CUNY Graduate Center. Before accepting his full-time faculty position, he worked as an adjunct at several CUNY colleges, and he brings with him a deep knowledge of the institution. Since 2009, he has been a Community College Officer, a member of the PSC Executive Council and University Faculty Senate. He currently serves as campus grievance counselor. Felipe’s research includes a study of the racial and ethnic composition of the full-time faculty at CUNY, and he has participated in Chancellor Goldstein’s Latino Faculty Recruitment initiative. A seri us bird-watcher and photographer, Felipe is currently doing a sociological investigation of the practice of bird-watching in the New York Metropolitan area.
FOR VICE PRESIDENT FOR CROSS-CAMPUS PERSONNEL
Iris DeLutro, a senior counselor and coordinator of the LEAP to Teacher Programs of the Murphy Institute, is Vice President for Cross-Campus Personnel and chairs the Higher Education Officer chapter. She serves on the Executive Council, and is a member of the Negotiations, Anti-Racism, HEO Organizing, and Legislation committees; she is co-coordinator of the union’s political action committee for Queens. A Director of NYSUT, Iris participates actively in NYSUT, AFT and AAUP. In 2009, she was NYSUT’s Higher Education Member of the Year and recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Organization of New York for Puerto Rican Women. A powerful advocate for professional staff, she has focused on workplace bullying and championed legislation to address it.
FOR CROSS-CAMPUS OFFICERS
Alan Pearlman is a senior college laboratory technician at Baruch College and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees there. A member of the PSC Executive Council, he is also the Vice Chair of the College Laboratory Technician (CLT) chapter and a delegate to the Delegate Assembly. As a cross-campus officer, he proudly represents a hard-working and often unseen labor force of the University. He brings to the Executive Council years of experience interacting with students, faculty and management and welcomes the opportunity to be an advocate for the professional staff.
Andrea Ades Vásquez, the associate director of the American Social History Project/Center for Media and Learning, is the managing director of the Graduate Center’s New Media Lab, a resource for both students and faculty. She is also the designer of many US history websites and documentaries used in CUNY and other college and high school classrooms. On the Executive Council and the Negotiations Committee, Andrea is active in the HEO chapter and has helped to organize HEOs across CUNY. She has contributed to the union’s use of social media and was a leader in planning the conference “Defending Public Higher Education” at the Grad Center last fall.
Paul Washington, Higher Educational Associate, is Vice Chair of the HEO Chapter. He is the coordinator of outreach for the Male Development & Empowerment Center at Medgar Evers College. Serving on the Legislation Committee, he is co-coordinator for the union’s political action committee for Brooklyn. Before coming to CUNY, Paul was a counselor and case manager for the homeless and a teacher in New York City schools. He also served as chief of staff to the New York City Council Chair for Higher Education, Charles Barron, where he worked extensively on increasing CUNY funds. He also coordinated the Council’s Workforce Initiative, providing education, training and resources to unemployed men of color.
FOR VICE-PRESIDENT FOR PART-TIME PERSONNEL
Marcia Newfield, PSC Vice President for Part-Time Personnel and author of children’s books, has been an adjunct lecturer in English since l988. She is a grievance counselor for part-timers, a member of the Executive Council and Negotiations Committee and is an active participant in union committees from Finance to Academic Freedom. A fierce advocate for part-time personnel, Newfield initiated “First Friday” meetings for adjuncts and has helped to organize the campaign for adjunct health insurance. Newfield was also part of the international planning committee for this year’s meeting of COCAL (Coalition of Contingent Academic Labor) to be held in Mexico City. This year she was named NYSUT’s Higher Education Member of the Year.
FOR OFFICERS FOR PART-TIME PERSONNEL
Michael Batson, adjunct lecturer, teaches history and women’s studies at the College of Staten Island and Kingsborough Community College. He is an officer for part-time personnel and a current member of the PSC Executive Council. A respected teacher and tireless advocate, Michael is a member of the Legislation Committee, where he participates in establishing and promoting the legislative agenda by advocating at the City and State levels for issues such as more CUNY funding and unemployment insurance for adjuncts. He is most energized, however, by his campus activities, including the CSI chapter’s petitioning and securing a resolution from the faculty senate in support of adjunct health care.
Susan DiRaimo, an adjunct in English as a Second Language at City College and Lehman and coauthor of Life, Language and the Urban Experience, was elected to represent part-time personnel in 2003. She lobbies Albany for unemployment insurance for adjuncts and works for a seniority system for part-timers. She testifies regularly at the Board of Trustees, especially against tuition increases. Susan is the volunteer director of the Northwest Support Committee for the Homeless, which feeds the subway homeless and runs an overnight shelter. She received an award from Community Board 10 for her work with the homeless.
Steven Weisblatt, a continuing education teacher in the CUNY Language Immersion Program at York College, is currently serving as Chapter Chair at York – the first contingent faculty member to hold the position. As Chapter Chair, he has focused on improving physical conditions at the college. Steve is a delegate to the Delegate Assembly and a member of the Committee for Part-Time Affairs. He gained prior experience in union work as a shop steward with the Communication Workers of America, Local 9410.
FOR RETIREE EXECUTIVE COUNCIL OFFICERS
William Friedheim was Chapter Chair at Borough of Manhattan Community College in the sixties, seventies and nineties. A former labor editor, he is the PSC’s award-winning webmaster. He is an activist with the PSC and retiree chapter, a delegate to AFT and NYSUT conventions and played a key role in revising the union’s constitution, resulting in an amendment that gave retirees elected representation on the PSC Executive Council. In 2011, he helped initiate a PSC campaign to “Defend the Safety Net.” His publications include books on the Civil War/Reconstruction period and the intersection of pedagogy and new-media technology in the teaching of history.
Eileen Geil Moran currently serves on the Executive Committee of the Retiree Chapter and the PSC Executive Council. A longtime political activist, Eileen is a leader on the Legislation Committee and co-coordinator of the union’s political action committee for Queens. Recently, she has worked on the PSC’s Social Safety Net Project, alerting members to the national attack on employee benefits and organizing members to ensure that their pension, health and retirement benefits are enhanced, rather than diminished. Moran was active with the Queens College chapter and served on the Welfare Fund Advisory Committee. A research associate at Queens College’s Michael Harrington Center, she also taught in the sociology department.