By Stasia Pasela
At the UFS Plenary on October 2, 2018 the Senate took pause in memory of Professor Stefan Bernard Baumrin (d. Sept. 19, 2018). He was elected to the UFS and served tirelessly in leadership roles. Professor Baumrin also was an active member of the CUNY Academy for Humanities and Sciences. Three of his colleagues, Enid Stubin, Manfred Philipp, and Philip Pecorino presented tribute to his service, scholarship, political skill, courage and his enduring friendship.
Professor Baumrin was a member of the Department of Philosophy at Lehman College, the Graduate School, and he taught Medical Ethics at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine.
Professor Philipp recalled Professor Baumrin’s leadership in the University Faculty Senate as a member of the Executive Committee and its parliamentarian, and his relentless championing of faculty governance and rights. Professor Stubin remembered Stefan in his work for the CUNY Academy for the Humanities and Sciences, where he impressed all as “a maddening, exasperating, and indispensable colleague.”
Professor Baurmin was a mentor of Professor Pecorino both in Philosophy and in shared governance. Professor Pecorino recalled, “He was an inspiration as a vigilant and persistent representative of the role of faculty and defender of the rights of faculty and protector of our cherished and fundamental principles of Academic Freedom and Freedom of Expression. He was cantankerous. He was a curmudgeon in the eyes of many, but at the same time those characteristics were [also] cherished. He was indefatigable in defense of our rights and our voices.” Professor Pecorino recounted an exchange between them: “Stefan often said that in the face of intractable administrators, the faculty needed ‘to stand in front of them’, if only to remind them that we are here. But what good, given the situation, does that do? ‘Then they have to walk around us’.”
Professor Baumrin was unique in his courage and strength to confront while at the same time execute quiet strategies that subtly created lasting change. He is missed.
The UFS Blog is a forum for CUNY Faculty, and welcomes the expression of all points of view. Please send submissions to Stasia Pasela.
Thank you to Professor Enid Stubin, Kingsborough Community College, for editing this post.
Image: S. Pasela, UFS Academic Freedom Conference, 2005