The 377th Plenary Session
of The University Faculty Senate
of The City University Of New York
Room 9204 – 6, The Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Avenue
October 22, 2013
6:30 p.m.

Agenda

  1. Approval of the Agenda
  2. Approval of the Minutes of September 10, 2013
  3. Invited Guests:
    1. Associate Vice Chancellor for Budget Matthew Sapienza (please fill in this questionnaire)
    2. Prof. Peter Knuepfer, SUNY Faculty Senate President
  4. Old Business – Vote on Charter Amendment
  5. Reports
    1. Academic Freedom Committee on proposed Expressive Activity Policy
    2. Representatives to Committees (see Chart from Budget Advisory Committee)
    3. Chair

Social at 6:00 p.m. – Refreshments served

Committee meetings:

Standing committees will meet before Plenary

  • 4:00-4:55 pm   Community College Caucus, Room 8301
  • 5:00-6:00 pm   Academic Freedom, Room 8402
  • Libraries, Room 8400
  • Status of the Faculty, Room 8301
  • Student Affairs, Room 8304

Minutes

Baruch: Present – Bazzoni, Harel, Martell, Weiser, and Wine. Absent – Edwards, Ellis, Pence, and Wymbs. BMCC: Present – Conway, Freas, Friedman, Salam, Soto, Wiseman, and Yablokova. Absent: Vozick. Bronx CC: Present – Ismail. Absent – Bernard, Lawton, and Zevin. Vacancies – 2. Brooklyn: Present – Braine, Florence, Fox, Hainline, and Alternate Juszczak.   Absent – Buchholz, Day, Massood, McEntee, Okome, Perez, and Winslow. CCNY: Present – Crain and Dalglish. Absent – Brass, Kalia, Khanbilvardi, Lascar, Laurich, Raj, and Watkins. Vacancies – 1. CSI: Present – Cooper, Lavender, Petratos, Sanchez, and Verzani. Absent: McCall and Sanchez. CUNY Law School: Present – Sokkar-Harker. Absent – Cicero.   Graduate Center: Present – Albrecht, Burke, and Alternate Pigliucci. Absent – Aguirre-Molina, Dauben, Maxfield, and Terilla. Hostos CC: Present – Pimental, Trachman, Worrell, and Alternate August. Absent – Shad. Hunter: Present – Donabedian and Hughes. Absent – Daniels, Kuhn-Osius, and Plichta. Vacancies – 7. John Jay: Present – Crossman, Kaplowitz, Katz, Kimora, Tovar, and Alternate Kapstein. Absent – Dunham, Kubic, and Munns. Kingsborough CC: Present – Barnhart, Hume, and Stubin. Absent – Alessandrini. Vacancies – 2. LaGuardia CC: Present – Albrecht, Berke, Fernandez, and Kapetanakos. Absent – Blagojevic and Mettler. Lehman: Present –Alexanderson, DelaCruz, Doyran, and Philipp. Absent – Boston, Sembenu, and Silverman. Medgar Evers: Present – Barker. Absent – Belcon, Brown, and Greene. NYCCT: Present – Cermele and Hounion. Vacancies – 4. Queens: Present – Brody, Savage, and Zevin. Absent – Cool, Gonzalez, and Grover. Vacancies – 5. Queensborough CC: Present – Avens, Meltzer, Pecorino, Rome, Tai, and Alternate Corneau-Kirschner. Vacancies – 1. York: Present – Barley, Hughes, and Lewis. Absent – Corkery. Vacancies – 1.

Governance Leaders present included:  Brody (Queens), Burke (GC), Hauber (Hunter), Hume (KCC), Kaplowitz (JJ), Martell (Baruch), Pecorino (QCC), and Tyner (GCC).

Guests (some are senators from last year whose reelection was pending):  Beth Rosenthal (York), Christos Giannikos (Baruch), Jason Wirtz (Hunter), Frances Ruoff (KCC), Lloyd Klein (York), Jason Young (Hunter), Stefan Baumrin, Peter Knuepfer (SUNY UFS President), and Stefanie Jones (Stu., GC).

The meeting was called to order by UFS Chair Terrence Martell at 6:30 p.m. in Rooms 9204/5/6 at the Graduate Center. Sixty-seven of 136 voting members were present.

  1. Approval of the Agenda –  Item 7, New Business, was added. The agenda was then adopted as amended.
  2. Approval of the Minutes of September 10, 2013 – The minutes of the September 10, 2013 meeting were adopted as proposed.
  3. Invited Guests
    1. Associate Vice Chancellor for Budget Matthew Sapienza – Mr. Sapienza was present to discuss two main items, CUNY’s Budget Request to the City and State due in late November, on which he wanted to hear input from the faculty, and CUNY’s recent report to the State with recommendations on the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP).
      1. A list of priorities compiled by the Budget Advisory Committee was handed out to members, who were asked to fill it out in ranked order. The results would be compiled and given to Mr. Sapienza within a few days.
      2. In the TAP report, CUNY asked the State to consider raising the maximum TAP maximum to match CUNY’s tuition level; to start covering undocumented students; to simplify the paperwork; and to tie TAP eligibility to Pell’s standards.
      3. Questions for Mr. Sapienza followed, and he was then thanked for attending.
    2. Professor Peter Knuepfer – As the recently elected president of the SUNY Faculty Senate, Professor Knuepfer of Binghamton University had been invited to introduce himself and to discuss issues before the SUNY Senate, some of which might be relevant to CUNY in the future.  Currently of some concern is a program among the Governor’s pro-job initiatives called Start Up New York, which involves bringing businesses onto or near SUNY campuses and allowing them to introduce courses into the curriculum and establish other links that might lead to future student employment in those businesses.
      1. Days before the last Board of Trustees meeting, new tougher admissions requirements for teacher education programs were sprung on the colleges.  Not only are the requirements arbitrary – a minimum 3.0 GPA and rank in the top 30% of one’s high school – but it is feared they may also threaten diversity in the programs.  Since this was also a gubernatorial initiative, it is being imposed without soliciting any faculty input, and it may also be coming to CUNY at some point.
      2. Finally, unrelated to CUNY since it is the SUNY chancellor’s initiative, a program called Open SUNY is being rolled out to encourage faculty in various ways to offer more online courses.   While commendable in some ways, this effort could end up usurping the right of individual campuses to set their own curricula, he said.  Professor Kneupfer was thanked for attending.
  4. Old Business
    1. Vote on Charter Amendment:  Professor Kaplowitz explained that Charter amendments go twice to the plenary:  for a first reading, which occurred last meeting, and then for a second reading and vote, which would take place now.  After suggestions were made by several senators at the first reading, the Executive Committee made minor amendments to the original to accommodate concerns they had brought up (noted in the packet).  In response to a question, one clarification was made:  “the whole number of the faculty” is language from the New York statutes, and it means that Charter amendments after this new provision goes into place would require that 60% of all UFS senators – meaning all senators excluding Alternates but including vacant seats — must vote in favor.  It was noted that this is a very high bar for approval of any future amendments.  The motion was passed by unanimous consent and will be forwarded to the campuses for ratification.
  5. Reports
    1. Academic Freedom Committee on proposed Expressive Activity Policy – Professor Alexanderson, the Chair, reported that the Academic Freedom Committee had discussed in some detail the draft policy put forward in June by VC Schaffer, and has received comments from many sources.  He pointed out that while it is true that reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions may be legally applied by CUNY to demonstrations, many provisions in the draft seem so broad and vague that they may constitute a deterrent to demonstrating and may amount to giving unfettered discretion to presidents or central administrators (e.g., demonstrations may be limited to areas designated by University; sponsors must give notice; campus security can deem itself adequate to handle a demonstration and deny a permit for any demonstration).  Also, the mechanics are not clear when you want to hold a protest.  Are there forms to fill out, which can be turned around within 24 hours?  If denied, is there no appeal?  Is there any way to negotiate?   Will this policy be officially reviewed somehow at the end of the first year it is in effect?  He noted that he and Professor Weiser will meet eventually with VC Schaffer to present suggestions for revising the draft.  There is now more time to do this since Board action has been put off from November at least until January.  Professor Alexanderson asked others for their views.
    2. Many speakers’ opinions ran to the view that the draft so clearly violated the First Amendment right of free speech that it should be rejected outright, with no attempt to negotiate with CUNY over the text.  A counter argument was made by others that the UFS, by not participating in the deliberative process on proposed CUNY policies, would be forfeiting its own committee process and its right to be consulted on University policy.  A motion to reject the draft outright was made by Professor Crain; it was seconded but then defeated by a voice vote with a few ayes.  Thus deliberation would continue, but with the realization that ultimately the UFS might choose to reject the policy if negotiations with the administration are not fruitful.
    3. Representatives to Committees – Professor Conway, Chair of the UFS Budget Advisory Committee (BAC), displayed a chart she had assembled comparing over time the number of faculty FTEs and student FTEs.  The chart showed that while net new faculty have been hired, the growth in enrollment has resulted in the ratio’s being flat from 2008 through Fall 2012.  She noted another trend that has come to light:  some college presidents, responding to incentives in the Performance Management Process (PMP) to maximize the number of courses taught by full-time faculty, are scrimping on reassigned time for truly deserving faculty. Finally, she recalled that BAC had long supported per-credit TAP, saying it was disappointing that this was not one of the recommendations in the recent TAP report.
    4. Chair –  At Chair Martell’s request, Professor Jochen Albrecht, a member of the newly-formed UFS Technology Advisory Committee, reported on its first meeting. The purpose of the committee, he said, is to improve communications between faculty and the administration on current educational technology issues.  Based on the first meeting, the outlook for this seems promising, he said. Administration members are CIO chief Brian Cohen and Director of Academic Technology George Otte. Faculty members are Professors Albrecht, Karen Kaplowitz, Terrence Martell, Maura Smale, and Frank Crocco. The advisory committee will report back regularly to the UFS Executive Committee.
    5. Chair Martell reported that the Doctoral Science Steering Committee, on which he sits as an observer, would begin meeting next month.  It consists of 25 people, two-thirds of whom are faculty members, all possessing large grants. The Steering Committee is charged with recreating CUNY’s current consortial model for doctoral science programs and redeploying them onto the campuses. The Committee’s work will cover all aspects of the transition:  budgeting, governance, organization, etc. As an observer, he said his simple objective would be to try to ensure that whatever rules the Committee comes up with are fair to all faculty.  In response to a question, he clarified that the faculty members on the Committee were chosen not by election but by their campuses based on large grants.  He also noted that the UFS has representatives on the Committee.
  6. New Business
    1. Request to extend floor privileges to Professor Stefan Baumrin – Professor Jay Weiser requested that the UFS honor the long service to the UFS of Professor Baumrin by granting him floor privileges at plenaries. The request was passed by acclamation. Professor Baumrin thanked the body.

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 8:30 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

William Phipps

Resolution on the Free Expression of Ideas

Picking up again the theme of demonstrations discussed earlier in the meeting, the following resolution from the Student Affairs Committee was moved by its Chair, Siochain Hughes, and seconded:

Whereas, Recent events at CUNY raise issues of protest, dissent, and public safety officers’ actions; now therefore be it

Resolved, That the University Faculty Senate Student Affairs Committee reaffirms the democratic right of students and faculty to engage in peaceful protest and express the full range of their views; and be it further

Resolved, That the Committee calls on local and Central CUNY administrations to refrain from actions that threaten the free expression of ideas.

A call for quorum was made by Professor Brody, who explained that she personally supported the resolution but felt that important UFS votes are liable to being discredited if it is not known whether a quorum is truly present when they are taken.  She noted that outside observers in the past have inspected the attendance list and declared votes invalid if a quorum was not present.

The Chair ruled that since a quorum was lacking and since the resolution was coming from the floor without prior notice, the best course would be for the plenary to endorse it as “the sense of the body,” to be forwarded to the Executive Committee for disposition.  After some discussion, the resolution was unanimously adopted according to these terms by voice vote.  The Chair urged members to see that their campuses conduct elections to fill all their UFS seats and to report the results promptly to the UFS.