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h2>CUNY Rising White Paper Praises What Works At CUNY, Calls for $2B in Public Funding to End Chronic Disinvestment

New York—The CUNY Rising Alliance and supporters called on Mayor de Blasio and Gov. Cuomo today to uphold their post-election promises to protect at-risk New Yorkers by committing to phase in a $2 billion plan to fund free, high-quality education for all City University of New York students.

CUNY undergraduates are 40% immigrants and 77% people of color. CUNY serves a half-million mostly low-income New Yorkers and most of New York’s immigrant students. Many CUNY students feel threatened by the racist, anti-immigrant rhetoric of the presidential election and the rise in hate crimes in its aftermath. Yet the university they depend on for a chance at the American Dream is too expensive for many and vastly underfunded.

About 8,000 students attend tuition-free as part of CUNY’s nationally renowned and well-funded Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) initiative. That number will grow to 25,000 by 2018 thanks to promised investments from the City, but still fewer than 10% of matriculated CUNY students will benefit. ASAP students are more likely to succeed at CUNY and graduate faster than other CUNY students because they receive high-contact teaching and advisement and robust supports that CUNY cannot afford to offer to most students.

The white paper released today by CUNY Rising explains the success of ASAP and CUNY’s other targeted student success programs. It also details the disinvestment that imperils CUNY’s mission to educate “the children of the whole people” of New York. From 2008 – 2015 per-student funding from the State fell 17% at CUNY senior colleges and 5% at community colleges, when adjusted for inflation. Per-student City funding for the community colleges fell 13% over the same period, when adjusted for inflation.

President Bowen presented this letter calling on CUNY to become a "sanctuary university," as defined by the AAUP, to Chancellor Milliken in a meeting the morning of Friday, December 2. The letter was sent to Chairperson Thompson later that afternoon. The PSC officers strongly urged the Chancellor to make a public declaration of sanctuary and to do so as soon as possible. The CUNY administration has already indicated that it is committed to several of the positions urged by the PSC. The union is hopeful that CUNY will make a declaration. CUNY should be at the forefront of the sanctuary university movement.

The PSC's Environmental Justice Committee sponsored a lively and highly informative forum on Climate Change on Wednesday evening, November 30, in the Union Hall. The theme was "Organizing Urgency: What the PSC and CUNY can and should do".

Three panelists looked at the crisis through two different lenses: scientific evidence and community organizing for climate justice.

Geology Professor Stephen Pekar of Queens College summarized the scientific case for the reality of climate change and the role of human activity in generating and exacerbating the problem.

Leslie Cagan, a renowned organizer of mass collective actions, including the 2014 People's Climate March that mobilized hundreds of thousands and in which the PSC had a strong contingent, promoted the organizing mantra of “think globally, act locally.”

Elizabeth Yeampierre, Executive Director of UPROSE, a community environmental organization in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, gave a powerful presentation on new approaches to resistance and transformation in the environmental justice movement.

Discussion following the presentations was lively, characterized by a commitment to joining and expanding the work over the coming months of the PSC's Environmental Justice Committee.

A Message from Barbara Bowen, PSC President

Many of us feel shattered and threatened by the result of the election last week. Violence of all kinds suddenly seems much closer-violence against the climate and against other nation-states, but also against women, people of color, the poor, Muslims, immigrants, Jews, children, people with disabilities, lesbian, gay, transgender and transsexual people and others. Political discourse, as Toni Morrison writes, has been "shredded by an unreason and hatred so deep that vulgar abuse seems normal."

And the implications of the election are only just beginning to unfold. We can expect that civil liberties, academic freedom, public education and union rights will also come under attack. Incidents of racism and anti-Semitism whose proponents have explicitly linked their actions to Trump have already occurred on college campuses.

Such attacks must not happen at CUNY-to anyone. I know that not all PSC members agreed with the union's position on the election. But I am confident that all PSC members join me in believing that there is no place for hatred on a university campus, especially when the university is CUNY. CUNY was founded on the principle that "the children of the whole people" are entitled to a free college education of the highest quality. That principle is more important now than ever.

Only Union Members Can Vote.

You must be a member of the union before December 5, 2016 to vote in the PSC chapter elections to be held in the spring of 2017.

Fourteen of the PSC’s chapters will elect officers this spring. They will also elect delegates and alternates to the PSC Delegate Assembly and members of the PSC-CUNY Welfare Fund Advisory Council. To be eligible for a PSC vote, you must have been a member of the union four months prior to the date of ballot mailing. There is no extra cost to becoming a member, but you must submit a membership application. When you submit an application, the deduction on your paycheck will simply change from “agency fee” to “dues.” (Here’s how to check your paystub to confirm you are a union member and not an agency fee payer.) Current CUNY employees may submit an online membership application by clicking on the appropriate membership form at this link. Please share this information and these links with your colleagues.

You must be a member of the union before December 5, 2016 to vote in the PSC chapter elections to be held in the spring of 2017. Adjuncts who work at more than one CUNY campus and are unsure of which chapter they are a part of may call the PSC membership department at 212-354-1252.

Everything you’ve never been told about fire safety at CUNY

with Glenn Corbett
Associate Professor Fire Science & Chair of the Department of Protection Management
CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice

5:30-6:00 Meet, greet, and eat
6:00-7:00 Workshop: Everything you’ve never been told about fire safety at CUNY
7:00-7:30 Campus sharing and strategizing

Fall 2016 Health Benefits Open Enrollment/Transfer Period Information for Current CUNY Employees

The Fall 2016 Health Benefits Program Transfer Period begins October 11, 2016 and ends November 11, 2016. Health plan changes requested during the transfer period will be effective the first day of your first full payroll period in January 2017. The Annual Transfer Period is your only opportunity to make changes. Click here for the 2016 Transfer Period Employee Notice. The Enrollment/Transfer Period for Young Adult Coverage to Age 26 is October 11 – November 11 (changes become effective January 2, 2017). The Enrollment/Transfer Period for the PSC-CUNY Welfare Fund Dental Plan is October 11 – November 11 (changes become effective January 1, 2017). Click here for CUNY’s listing of Open Enrollment/Transfer Period dates.

Fall 2016 health Benefits Transfer Period Information for CUNY Retirees

The Fall 2016 Health Benefits Transfer Period for retirees begins November 1 and ends November 30, 2016. During this period, all retirees may transfer from their current health plan to any other plan for which they are eligible, or they may add Optional Rider coverage to their present plan (the Optional Rider can be dropped at any time). Changes requested during the Transfer Period are effective January 1, 2017. Exception: When transferring into a Medicare HMO plan other than during a Transfer Period, transfers will become effective on the first day of the month following the processing of the special health plan application provided by the health plan. For more information, call the Retirees Inquiries line at the NYC Office of Labor Relations between 9 AM – 3 PM Monday – Friday: (212) 513-0470.

The PSC racked up five first-place and 13 total honors in the International Labor Communications Association 2016 Labor Media Awards. PSC staff, members and supporters were recognized for Best Photo Essay or Gallery, Best News Story, and Best Collateral from a Political Action/ Organizing Campaign. They also took home first-place Saul Miller Awards for writing about collective bargaining and organizing. Communications from the contract campaign accounted for most of the award-winning content, but awards also went to a member profile and a labor history. Second-place awards of general excellence for a union print publication and a single-issue publication went, respectively, to the union’s newspaper, Clarion, and to the PSC Social Safety Net Committee’s booklet Defending The Social Safety Net: A Call To Action. Read more for a full list of the awards.

For many members of the instructional staff, the time when colleges send out notices of reappointment and non-reappointment is approaching. For full-time faculty in their second and subsequent years of service, notice of decision must be received by on or before December 1, except for lectures who in both their first and second year of service must be notified on or before April 1. For lecturers in their third and subsequent years of service, notice of decision must be received on or before December 1. Notice of the decision for full-time faculty in their first full year of service must be received by April 1. Adjuncts must receive written notice of reappointment or non-reappointment on or before December 1 in the fall semester and May 1 in the spring semester for appointment by semester. Adjuncts who are entitled to a yearly appointment or a three year appointment must receive notice by May 15.

If you are due notice of reappointment/non-reappointment by the December 1 deadline and do not receive it or if you are notified that you have been denied reappointment, please notify the your chapter grievance counselor immediately. Here is a list of PSC’s contract enforcers. Grievance counselors can also be contacted at the PSC central office (212-354-1252) Under the terms of the PSC contract, grievances relating to non- reappointment must be filed within 30 days, excluding Saturday, Sundays and legal holidays of the scheduled dates of notification of either December 1 or April 1. Union grievance counselors can guide you through your college’s academic appeals process and file a grievance. The deadline for filing grievances for notices of non-reappointment due on or before December 1 is January 17, 2017 and for April 1, 2017 the deadline for filing is May, 12, 2017.

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