The 396th Plenary Session
of The University Faculty Senate
of The City University Of New York
Room 0818, 205 E. 42nd Street
Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016
6:30 p.m.


  1. Approval of the Agenda
  2. Approval of the Minutes of October 25, 2016
  3. Invited Guests:
    1. President Richard Rothbard of the CUNY Research Foundation
    2. Vice Chancellor for Budget and Finance Matthew Sapienza
  4. New Business
  5. Reports
  6. Chair
  7. Representatives to Board of Trustees committees (oral and/or written)

Committee meetings:

  • Community College Caucus, 3:30 p.m., Room 0962
  • Status of the Faculty, 4:30 p.m., Room 1002
  • Student Affairs, 5:00 p.m., Room 0963

Social starts at 6:00 p.m.  Light refreshments will be served.


Baruch: Present – Edwards, Harel, Martell, Weiser and Wine. Absent – Bazzoni, Ellis, Pence, and Wymbs.  BMCC: Present – Carson, Conway, Freas, Gosslau, Tsiklauri and Wiseman.  Absent – Bratsis, Perdomo and Salam. Vacancies – 1.  Bronx CC: Present – Kossak and Stewart-Titus. Absent – Edwards, Harris and Lawton. Vacancies – 1.  Brooklyn: Present – Chu, Hainline, Queneau, Wild and Alternates Bassell and Fischer.  Absent – Adams, Cohen, Ebert, Fox, Haggerty, Okome and Sowers.  CCNY: Present – Binz-Scharf, Brass, Crain, Dalglish, Jeruzalmi, Kornhauser, Li, and Miller. Absent – Raj and Stemberg.  CSI: Present – Feola and Verzani.  Absent – Cason, Lavender, Petratos, Sanchez and Simpson.  CUNY Law School: Present – Sokkar-Harker.  Absent – Kassem. Graduate Center: Present – Burke, Nolan, Wunder and Alternate Vora.  Absent – Dauben, Giannikos and McDougall.  Hostos CC: Present – Ostrin, Trachman, Worrell, and Alternate August.  Absent – Pimentel. Hunter: Present – Kuhn-Osius.  Absent – Albrecht, Hickman, McCauley, Nicolai, Ramasubramanian, Walsh, Wirtz and Young. Vacancies – 3.  John Jay: Present – Kaplowitz, Kimora and Tovar.  Absent – Crossman, Domashevskiy, Dunham, Kapstein and Katz.  Kingsborough CC:  Present – Barnhart, Nagel and Stubin.  Absent – Feeley, Hume, Majewicz and Spear.  LaGuardia CC: Present – Albrecht, Berke, Fernandez and Keyes.  Absent – Licari and Seo.  Lehman: Present – Alexander-Street, Duncker, Tilley and Alternate Kabat. Absent – Doyran, Jervis, Jitianu and Rice.  Medgar Evers: Present – Barker, Franz and Lashley.  Absent – Grazette.  NYCCT: Present – Bennani, Grujicic-Alatriste and Hounion.  Absent – Gelman, Okumakpeyi, Van Loon and Williams.  Queens: Present – Brody, Costigan, McElwaine, Sanudo and Alternate Harris.  Absent – Gandhi, Grover, Leites, Nelson, Savage, Vesselinov and Zevin.  Queensborough CC: Present – Pecorino, Tai, and Alternates Holden, Mann and Ward.  Absent – Counihan, Ford, Meltzer, Murley and Rossi-Miller.  York:  Present – Bowman and Gerena.  Absent – Cleary, Grosskopf and Rooney.

Governance Leaders present included: Burke (GC), Jeruzalmi (City), Pecorino (QCC), Sanudo (Queens), Tyner (Guttman), Verzani (CSI), and Wallach (Hunter).  Guests present: J.B. Milliken, Chancellor, Vita Rabinowitz, Executive Vice Chancellor and University Provost, Richard Rothbard, President of the Research Foundation, Matthew Sapienza, Vice Chancellor for Budget and Finance, Dina Dahbany-Miraglia (QCC), Matthew Cotter (BCC), and Teresa Ober (Student, GC). Executive Director Phipps, Administrative Assistant Pasela, and Secretary Blanchard were also present.

The meeting was called to order by UFS Chair Katherine Conway at 6:30 p.m. in Room 818 at 205 E. 42nd Street, NYC.   Seventy-one of the 139 voting members were present.

  1. Approval of the Agenda – The agenda was adopted as proposed.
  2. Approval of the Minutes of October 25, 2016 – The minutes were adopted as proposed.
  3. Invited Guests
    1. Chancellor James B. Milliken
      1. The Chair greeted the Chancellor who had not been scheduled to appear but expressed a desire to do so to address recent events. As to the allegations that the former CCNY president misused funds, he could not comment because the case is under investigation by a U.S. District Court. As to the interim report issued by the NYS Inspector General’s Office (OIG), the Chancellor said that he takes the findings and recommendations very seriously, and that he and the Board of Trustees will address them to ensure the highest level of financial integrity and transparency. Already, administratively, CUNY has terminated contracts with outside lobbyists at the colleges and put a moratorium on salary supplements for new college presidents and university-wide deans using non-tax levy funds, and has also imposed an annual reporting requirement on colleges for non-tax levy expenditures. Other longer range goals for the Board of Trustees will be to do a review of Executive Compensation Plan rules and regulations, and also to review college foundations policies to ensure sufficient internal controls, which has been a national issue as attested by guidelines issued just in August by the Association of Governing Boards.
      2. Presidential searches are under way at John Jay and City College. The Chancellor said that in the future he would prefer to see additional external representation on all such committees, which is common practice nationally.
      3. The Chancellor’s Research Fellowship Program for faculty in CUNY’s community colleges has been renewed for another year.
      4. He briefly described a new initiative recently featured in the Wall Street Journal, the CUNY Foster Youth Initiative program, which would address the low graduation rates of students from foster care backgrounds.
      5. He noted CUNY had engaged McKinsey & Company to work with the administration on improving business procedures to increase user satisfaction and create efficiencies.
      6. The University’s Strategic Framework, which has already influenced the Master Plan, will be available for faculty to read and comment on shortly.
      7. The Chancellor said he had sent a joint letter with other college presidents to President-Elect Trump urging the continuation of the DACA program.
      8. Finally, he noted the recent announcements that Frederick Schaffer and Jay Hershenson were leaving their posts in the central office, the former to retire, and the latter to take a position at Queens College. He said CUNY is indebted to them for their outstanding service. The Chancellor was thanked for attending.
    2. President Richard Rothbard of the CUNY Research Foundation – Mr. Rothbard was introduced by Chair Conway, who had invited him to clarify the mission of the Research Foundation, which is also mentioned in the OIG interim report.
      1. To summarize:  The CUNY Research Foundation is an educational corporation dating to 1963 entirely separate from CUNY, chartered by the NYS Board of Regents.  Its relationship with CUNY is currently governed by a 1983 agreement.  It was needed beginning in the early 1960s when CUNY became a doctoral granting institution to receive grant money from sponsors and to administer those grants outside of CUNY’s tax levy budget.  The University Faculty Senate appoints research-active faculty to a Faculty Advisory Council that advises RF chiefs in quarterly meetings; four Council members serve on the RF Board of Directors.
      2. He also cited the various responsibilities of the RF, including negotiating indirect cost recovery rates (ICR) on federal grants for CUNY colleges with Health and Human Services, ensuring that grants are compliant with all regulations, administering the PSC-CUNY Awards, and now with a new Office of Award Pre-Proposal Support intensively helping faculty locate opportunities to apply for and improve their grant writing.
      3. He noted that the RF funds itself by taking a fee of between 5% and 6.5%, which colleges pay out of their ICR funds.
      4. He said that, generally, the ICR rate on grants does not affect the decision of funding agencies whether or not to fund a proposal, and that colleges have a free hand in how they spend those funds as long as it is legal and in line with their institutional missions.
      5. In the Q & A, he clarified that if a federal agency says that no awarded funds can be used for lobbying, it is referring to “research funds” but not ICR funds.  However CUNY has now banned the practice in any case. Mr. Rothbard was thanked for attending.
    3. Vice Chancellor for Budget and Finance Matthew Sapienza – VC Sapienza encouraged everyone to try to view current events constructively as an opportunity that can help CUNY make changes to improve the performance of its mission, rather than simply as something negative happening to an institution we all greatly care about.
      1. He noted that he and VC Schaffer had recently sent out a memo to campuses on the use of discretionary soft funds.  It summed up existing policies and procedures that emanated variously over the years from the Board of Trustees, the Budget Office, Internal Audit, and so on. He also noted that CUNY was establishing a task force to review and refresh the governing documents dating from 1983 that spell out the relationship between CUNY and the RF.
      2. In cooperation with the UFS, the Vice Chancellor said efforts were continuing to develop an all funds budget for the University.  He would also be pushing jointly with the UFS to find permanent ways of ensuring meaningful consultation on the part of college presidents with college faculty on budget priorities.
      3. The Executive Budget proposal will come from the Governor in January, at which time CUNY will be learn how Albany reacted to CUNY’s Budget Request, sent in November.  It called for a small tuition increase to provide new dollars for such things as academic advising of students, more full-time faculty, and adequate upkeep of campus grounds.
      4. He noted that the recent Contract called for a labor-management committee to try to find a way of granting full-time faculty a 3-hour workload reduction, which faculty would put towards research or increased advising.  The proposed funding for this effort is $35 million.
      5. Several senators spoke in favor, both on moral and financial grounds, of CUNY making an effort to downsize administration costs and salaries to free up dollars for student needs. VC Sapienza noted that Central has already been trimming over the past two years, and that the McKinsey recommendations are expected to result in more streamlining. Vice Chancellor Sapienza was thanked for attending.
  4. New Business – There was none.
  5.  Reports
    1. Chair – *Chair Conway summarized her activities as Chair in the prior month, including visits to college senates, university events, and so on.  *She related that the Executive Committee had listened to opinion at the previous plenary that UFS meetings included too many invited speakers, which cut deeply into the time the body had to discuss issues in general.  To assess the body’s will, she called for a straw poll.  A large majority expressed a preference for outside speakers who bring useful information to the body, as opposed to general discussion.  *She praised the abundant output of the UFS Blog, which is run and largely written by Professors Tai and Weiser, and urged senators to visit the UFS website to view the Blog.  In fact, the Chair said she will be using the blog in the coming term to as a way possibly to compile a white paper on the topic of online education.  Many faculty will be invited to write on various related topics, and if the effort comes out as a reasonable whole, it will then be circulated as a white paper.  *When she mentioned she would discontinue writing her summary of the plenary from her notes within days, the body all insisted that she continue since the notes were speedy and good.  She therefore agreed to continue doing the notes and to place them on the Blog as an informal thing.  *Members were reminded of the UFS spring conference on April 28 on shared governance.
    2. Representatives to Board of Trustees committees – There were none.

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 8:35 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

William Phipps