Statement by General Counsel and Senior Vice Chancellor for Legal Affairs Frederick Schaffer on Lawsuit to Stop CUNY Student Transfer and General Education Reforms

March 21, 2012 | The University

“The City University of New York will file a motion to dismiss any lawsuit by the Professional Staff Congress (PSC) filed in New York State Supreme Court aimed at preventing implementation of CUNY’s Pathways Initiative to ease student transfer of credits earned within the CUNY system and to offer rigorous general education courses with clear learning outcomes.  The reasons why this lawsuit lacks legal merit are set forth in my memorandum of November 3, 2011 which demonstrates that the Board of Trustees has full authority to make academic policy for the University.

“The Pathways Initiative was unanimously approved by CUNY’s Board of Trustees in June, 2011 following a year of meetings and public hearings. Chancellor Matthew Goldstein has described the purposes of Pathways as follows:

  • to raise the quality of content in general education courses at both community and senior colleges, by aligning curricula to rigorous learning objectives.
  • to give students more opportunities to explore and take chances and to study in more upper division classes than most can now;
  • to better enable students to do minors or to double major;
  • to put CUNY more in line with regard to the number of credits required by most U.S. universities for general education.
  • to remove uncertainty from the process of  transferring among CUNY colleges.

Pathways has been highly commended by the nation’s most prominent educators, including former Princeton University President William G. Bowen, President Vartan Gregorian of the Carnegie Corporation of New York,  President Hunter R. Rawlings of the American Association of American Universities, and President Molly Corbett Broad of the American Council on Education (see Prominent Academics Speak Out On Pathways).

“The faculty leadership who announced today’s lawsuit and  who now claim to be concerned about the quality of a CUNY degree are the same ones who publicly opposed CUNY reforms in 1999  to eliminate remedial education at the baccalaureate level—which raised CUNY’s standards and resulted in record breaking student enrollments and unprecedented student honors and awards.  The press release issued by the PSC entitled “Opposition to CUNY’s New General Education Plan Intensifies” includes many inaccuracies and inconsistencies which are addressed by Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs  and University Provost Alexandra Logue here.”

Pathways Legal Memorandum MORE>>
Prominent Academics Speak Out on Pathways MORE>>
Statement by the Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Alexandra W. Logue on Correcting Professional Staff Congress Press Release MORE>>