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Higher Ed Briefs

Anti-union trustee resigns

Peter Pantaleo, who served more than seven years on the CUNY Board of Trustees, resigned this February after waiting months for Governor Andrew Cuomo to nominate his successor. His term expired in June of last year.

“I tried to follow the tradition of staying on the board until the governor appoints somebody,” Pantaleo told Conor Skelding of Politico New York. “The press of my law practice was such that I really could not do that any longer.”

Pantaleo is general counsel for the American division of the management-side employment law firm DLA Piper LLP. He has represented major Las Vegas casinos in anti-union efforts, and in May 1998, he co-authored a Gaming Law Review and Economics article describing strategies for “lessening the power” of the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Union, according to a March 25, 2013, blog post on the website of the PSC chapter at Brooklyn College.

The board consists of 17 members, including the vacant seat left by Pantaleo’s resignation. (At press time, Cuomo had not named a successor.) Currently three members are serving expired terms, including Board Chair Benno Schmidt, whose term expired in 2013.

Academic union may strike in April

Members of the California Faculty Association, who work in the nation’s largest university system, plan to strike in mid-April if an agreement with management is not reached. Union members have been demanding a 5 percent pay raise after years of stagnant salaries with raises that have not kept up with inflation. Management is offering a 2 percent increase. In October, a strike authorization vote was approved by more than 94 percent of members who cast ballots. If members walk off their jobs, it would be the largest strike at a four-year university in American history, according to the Los Angeles Times.

AFT resolution on Adjunct Action Day

Adjunct activists have hammered out a draft resolution designating April 25 as “Adjunct Action Day.” The resolution will be proposed at the AFT Higher Education Conference, which will convene in Las Vegas from April 1-3. The First Friday Committee of the PSC plans to raise awareness around adjunct issues on April 25.

Major collection donated to prison library

The estate of Manning Marable, a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and a leading African-American intellectual, donated the late academic’s book collection to John Jay’s Prison-to-College Pipeline, an initiative at the upstate Otisville Correctional Facility. Marable, who died in April 2011, told his family in one of his passing wishes that he wanted his work to be accessible to incarcerated individuals. He authored 15 books, including Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention and How Capitalism Underdeveloped Black America. Marable was the founding director of African American Studies at Columbia University and directed Columbia’s Center for Contemporary Black History. Leith Mullings, his widow, is a distinguished professor of anthropology at the Graduate Center.

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