PSC today demanded that the CUNY Administration use the $455 million in new federal relief funds allocated to CUNY colleges to keep class sections open and allow students to enroll. CUNY colleges will receive more than $455 million under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA) passed on December 21, up to $337 million of which can be spent on institutional needs arising from the pandemic. These funds are on top of the $251 million CUNY received from the CARES Act earlier in 2020.
The PSC is demanding that the University provide complete transparency about its spending of federal funds; that it use federal funds to maintain classes for students; that it temporarily relax course enrollment minimums, and that it immediately institute a moratorium on Bursar’s holds, temporary holds on re-enrollment caused by debt of as little as $100.
The PSC’s statewide affiliate, NYSUT, has asked members from across the state to indicate their legislative priorities for 2021 on this page of the Member Action Center (MAC). Registering your personal priorities is a way to highlight them for the statewide union, which represents 600,000 workers. (Access and affordability at CUNY and SUNY is second on the list of options. Restoring cuts to CUNY and SUNY is also one of the options.) While you’re at it, consider signing up for text message alerts or download the MAC app to receive action alerts about NYSUT’s latest legislative campaigns. PSC priorities are often prominent among the actions available on the MAC.
I have a few short updates on availability of COVID vaccines, and I will keep sharing information as we receive it.
Thank you for the many kind responses the union has received to my previous messages about the vaccine. We are trying to answer individual questions as well as we can, but the information from Albany changes every day.
Professional Staff: The PSC leadership, together with our statewide affiliate, continues to press the governor’s office for a clear, official statement that “in-person college instructors” includes professional staff. The presentation given by the Governor’s Office last night listed “In-Person College Faculty and Instructors” as included in Phase 1B. The Governor’s Office reports that they are working on a clarification.
Professional staff who are required to work in person who want to receive the vaccine may want to sign up now to request an appointment so that your appointment is in place by the time your eligibility is confirmed. Several college Human Resources Offices have also informed faculty and staff that they are working on providing further information to employees requesting proof of on-campus work, should such proof be requested.
Eligibility Expanded Today: New Yorkers 65 and Over + Immunocompromised: Governor Cuomo announced this morning that New Yorkers age 65 and over are now eligible to receive the vaccine, as a result of new federal guidance. New guidance from the federal government also indicates that immunocompromised New Yorkers should also be eligible now, though as of this morning the State was still working to define “immunocompromised” for these purposes and to develop a plan for distribution to these New Yorkers. The state is still receiving only 300,000 doses of vaccine per week. Several PSC members eligible because of age have successfully scheduled appointments, but it may take some time to find an appointment; start by signing up here.