News & Events

AFTER FOUR CONFIRMED COVID CASES IN HUNTER CAMPUS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL THIS WEEK, SCHOOL REFUSES TO IMPLEMENT TIGHTER SAFETY PROTOCOLS DEMANDED BY UNION

Online Press Conference, Sunday, October 18, 2PM


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As a union of 30,000 academic workers in New York City, the Professional Staff Congress/CUNY stands in solidarity with the teachers, office workers, and cafeteria and maintenance staff at Brooklyn Friends School who are on the picket line right now defending their right to be represented by a union.

Dear PSC Members,

I am happy to be able to wish the faculty of the Hunter College Campus Schools a great first day of in-person classes tomorrow! And I hope you will join me in congratulating them on their successful campaign to protect the safety of students, families, faculty and staff.

The teachers’ key demand was for an independent safety inspection. Today, after an 85% “yes” vote on strike authorization and much subsequent negotiating, we were on the brink of a strike. Finally, CUNY allowed an independent inspection. The inspectors presented a report that indicates that the ventilation system is acceptable and that it delivers "the maximum amount of fresh air with little to no return air."

As CUNY Teachers Campaign for Safe Reopening, Judge Bars Hunter College Campus Schools from Starting In-Person Classes in Rooms without Real HEPA Filters

NYS Supreme Court Judge Eileen Rakower, NY County, has granted a temporary restraining order barring administrators at the Hunter College Campus Schools from compelling teachers and College Laboratory Technicians to return in-person instruction in rooms without HEPA filters. Read the Temporary Restraining Order.

96% Vote ‘No Confidence’ in Hunter College President Jennifer Raab

73% Vote ‘No Confidence’ in Hunter College Campus Schools Director Lisa Siegmann

With days left before they are expected to return to in-person teaching in classrooms without windows and a building with a history of poor ventilation, teachers at the Hunter College Campus Schools have voted overwhelmingly that they have “No Confidence” in their school’s top administrators. 

Led by Hunter College President Jennifer Raab and Hunter Schools Director Lisa Siegmann, the administrators have pressed ahead with flawed plans to reopen their schools for in-person instruction.  Raab and Siegmann did not engage with the teachers or their union’s health and safety experts in the development of the COVID-19 reopening plan. They have rejected the teachers’ demands for smaller classroom pods, proper air filtration and other protections afforded to students and staff at other NYC public schools, and have refused to allow an independent inspector access to the Upper East Side building on 94th Street.

Prestigious K-12 Public Schools Run by Hunter College Violated Own COVID Safety Plan, Installing Unproven “Air Purifiers” Instead of HEPA Filters

New York—The union representing teachers at the Hunter College Campus Schools (HCCS) has petitioned a State Court to grant a temporary restraining order and injunction against the City University of New York and Hunter College. The Professional Staff Congress (PSC) asked the judge to bar administrators from compelling its members to return in-person teaching at the public elementary and high school until real HEPA filters are installed in every classroom, as required in the school’s reopening plan. The union also asked the judge to direct CUNY to permit an independent inspection of the HCCS building and ventilation system.

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Media Coverage (October 2020)

Member-written pieces:

As classes at most CUNY colleges begin, the issue on many of our minds is the reopening of schools, colleges and CUNY. The CUNY administration recently announced that 96 percent of classes this fall will be conducted remotely and that the University's goal is to have no more than 10 percent of CUNY employees on campus at any one time, although the number may go as high as 25 percent. Many PSC members were relieved to hear that news, especially after we had spent months reconfiguring our classes and other responsibilities for distance technology. Some faculty and staff whose research requires access to a lab feel an understandable urgency about being able to return to campus, and others point out that their disciplines require students to complete hands-on training in order to receive certification. All of us are eager to support our students and keep them engaged with their courses.

The PSC leadership understands the urgency of time-sensitive research grants and wholly supports the concern for research, teaching and student progress. We are aware that some colleges have developed plans for reopening specifically for research purposes. But if even one PSC member, CUNY employee or CUNY student is on campus, the building in which they are located must be safe. CUNY cannot risk a surge in COVID-19.

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