SUNY Downstate Medical in Critical Condition
Faced with hundreds and possibly thousands of layoffs at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, members of the United University Professions (UUP) have held multiple protests outside of the facility this summer. Downstate Medical, located in Crown Heights, serves nearly 400,000 patients a year, 85% of whom are African American. One of three doctors in Brooklyn have graduated from Downstate. Let Gov. Andrew Cuomo know that you support quality health care for all New Yorkers and go to savejobsatsunydownstate.org to sign the petition to Cuomo urging him to stop the layoffs.
Faculty Revolt Speeds Return of UVA President
University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan was reinstated to her post on June 26, 2012, 16 days after she was forced to resign by members of the University’s Board of Visitors who wanted the school to be run more like a corporation. Sullivan’s unexpected dismissal ignited protests across the university community, with faculty who admired her consensus-oriented approach to governance taking the lead.
“The Faculty Senate here has transformed itself into a major player, the guiding force that galvanized alumni, students, and community members in demanding that the university bring Ms. Sullivan back,” reported the Chronicle of Higher Education in the aftermath of Sullivan’s return.
The Board members behind Sullivan’s ouster all had ties to the the UVA’s Darden School of Business and advocated that the university cut “unprofitable” humanities courses, embrace low-cost online teaching technologies and embrace “strategic dynamism,” a corporate management theory that emphasizes swiftly shifting short-term goals as the business environment changes.
NLRB Revisits Grad Student Unions at Private Colleges
Graduate students at private universities may get another chance to unionize following a June 22, 2012 announcement by the National Labor Relations Board that it will reconsider a Bush-era ruling that denied them the right to union representation. The NLRB agreed to hear appeals of two cases, involving efforts to unionize teaching assistants at NYU and graduate research assistants at the Polytechnic Institute of NYU. Teaching assistants at NYU won union recognition from NYU in 2002, a first at a private university in the US. They lost legal guarantees for collective bargaining with their employer following a 2004 NLRB ruling that said that teaching assistants were essentially students and not employees. A 2005-2006 strike by NYU grad students failed to win union recognition.