The 397th Plenary Session
of The University Faculty Senate
of The City University Of New York
Room 0818, 205 E. 42nd Street
Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017
6:30 p.m.


  1. Approval of the Agenda
  2. Approval of the Minutes of Nov. 29, 2017
  3. Invited Guests
    1. Chancellor James B. Milliken, 6:30 p.m.
    2. Senior Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer Matthew Sapienza, 7:00 p.m.
    3. Shirley Raps, Chair, Faculty Advisory Council to the RF, 7:30 p.m.
  4. New Business
    1. UFS Practices for Considering Resolutions (see enclosed)
  5. Reports
    1. Chair
    2. Representatives to Board of Trustees committees (oral and/or written)

Committee meetings:

  • Community College Caucus, 3:30- 4:30, Rm 1002
  • Library & Information Technology, 5:00 pm, Rm 1102
  • Status of the Faculty Committee, 4:30 pm, Rm 0963

Student Affairs Committee, 5:00 pm, Rm 1002

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


Baruch: Present – Ellis, Harel, Martell, and Wine. Absent – Bazzoni, Edwards, Weiser and Wymbs.  BMCC: Present – Bratsis, Carson, Conway, Freas, Gosslau Navarro, Salam, Alternate Shneyderman, and Wiseman.  Absent – Brockington, and Perdomo, Tesfagiorgis, Tsiklauri.  Bronx CC: Present – Kossak and Lawton. Absent – Edwards, Harris, and Stewart-Titus.   Vacancies – 1.  Brooklyn: Present –Chu, Cohen, Hainline, Queneau,.  Absent – Bassell, Belyayeva, Fox, Okome, Sowers Wild and Wilson.  CCNY: Present – Brass, Crain, Dalglish, Jeruzalmi, Li and Stemberg. Absent – Binz-Scharf, Kobbets-Miller, Kornhauser, Miller and Raj.  CSI: Present – Feola, Petratos Simpson and Verzani.  Absent – Halley, Lavender, Radoslav and Sanchez.  CUNY Law School: Present – Sokkar-Harker.  Absent – Kassem. Graduate Center: Present – Burke, Dauben Giannikos and Nolan. Absent – McDougall and and Wunder.  Guttman: Present – Tyner. Absent – Saint-Louis.  Hostos CC: Present –Trachman, Worrell and Alternate August.  Absent – Ostrin and Pimentel.  Hunter: Present – Albrecht, Hickman, Kuhn-Osius, McCauley, and Nicolai.  Absent – Ramasubramanian, Walsh  Wirtz and Young.  Vacancies – 3.  John Jay: Present – Carbonell, Crossman, Kaplowitz, Katz, and Tovar.  Absent – Domashevskiy, Kapstein and Kimora.  Kingsborough CC: Present – Barnhart, Feeley, Nagel, Spear, Stubin and Alternate Echols.  Absent –Hume and Majewicz.  LaGuardia CC: Present – Albrecht, Berke, Fernandez, Gaines, Keyes, Licari, Seo.  Lehman: Present – Doyran, Duncker, Rice and alternate Kabat. Absent – Alexander-Street, Hyman, McGovern Tilley and Alternate Wangerin and Jitianu.  Medgar Evers: Present – Barker, Franz, and Lashley. Absent – Grazette. NYCCT: Present – Hounion and Okumakpeyi.  Absent – Coughlin, Grujicic-Alatriste, Bennani and Gelman.  Vacancies – 2.  Queens: Present – McElwaine and Sanudo.  Absent – Brody, Cedeira-Serantes, Costigan, Leites,and and Zevin, Nelson, Savage and Vesselinov.  Vacancies – 1.  Queensborough CC: Present – Counihan, Clingan, Ford, Murley, Pecorino, Rome, Tai, and Alternate Ward.  Absent – Rossi-Miller.  York:  Present – None.  Absent – Bowman, Cleary, Gerena, Grosskopf and Rooney.

Governance Leaders present were: Burke (GC), Jeruzalmi (City), Pecorino (QCC), Sanudo (Queens), Tyner (Guttman), Verzani (CSI) and Wallach (Hunter). Guests present were Matthew Sapienza, Senior Vice Chancellor, James Murphy, University Dean for Enrollment Management, Lloyd Klein (LaGuardia CC), Mark Eaton (Kingsborough CC), Alexander Gosslau (BMCC) Teresa Ober (Student, GC) Eric Ivison (CSI) and Peter Simpson (CSI). Executive Director Cotter, 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-eight of the 137 voting members were present.

  1. Adoption of the Agenda – Adopted as proposed
  2. Adoption of the Minutes –Adopted as proposed
  3. Invited Guests:
    1. Chancellor James B. Milliken
      1. The Chancellor began his remarks with an acknowledgment of CUNY’s supportive administrative infrastructure in light of President Trump’s recent Executive Order regarding immigrants from several countries, and commented on the depth of appreciation for CUNY’s countless immigrant students. The Chancellor noted that both CUNY lawyers and volunteers worked non-stop to help students impacted by the ban.
      2. The Chancellor spoke approvingly of the most recent budget, citing it as “the best one in years” in light of significant allocations for critical maintenance for many campus infrastructures and support for fringe benefit costs. Furthermore, he lauded Governor Andrew Cuomo’s recent announcement regarding the Excelsior Scholarship, which assure students attending CUNY and carrying 30 credits a year and whose family income is less than $125,000 a debt-free education, as well as the support for the Dream Act
      3. The Chancellor noted that the NYS budget also calls for the transfer of the Institute for Basic Research (“IBR”) to CUNY’s College of Staten Island (CSI).
      4. The Chancellor conjoined a recent New York Times article on Raj Chetty’s social mobility research and the most recent iteration of the CUNY Strategic Plan. The Chetty research has shown that CUNY propels six times more students into the middle class than the Ivy League institutions plus Stanford, Duke and University of Chicago combined. The article lauded CUNY’s instrumental value as an institution, he continued, and he was optimistic that with sufficient funding the goals of the Strategic Plan—college and career readiness, faster graduation rates, and experiential learning—would continue CUNY’s formative role as an engine of upward mobility. The means by which these goals were to be achieved are fourfold, he concluded: 1) increased state and city funding; 2) administrative restructuring via the McKinsey organization recommendations so that costs savings can be plowed back into the academic enterprise; 3) enlisting the philanthropic and private sectors for support; and 4) increased collaboration with all of our partners so that we can leverage our resources alongside institutions with similar goals.  The Chancellor lastly spoke about the role of online education and then noted that the CUNY catalog was available online for the first time this past fall, which should enable students to identify courses anywhere in CUNY that meet their degree requirements.

The Chancellor then took questions:

First was a question from Prof. Crain imploring the Chancellor to help part-time students. He replied that research shows that most part-time students begin as full-time students and that perhaps one way to ameliorate their challenges would be to afford them sufficient support, such as Excelsior. The Chancellor asked Prof. Crain for suggestions re part-time financial aid and Prof. Crain suggested that a part-time version of the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) awards was needed. Prof. Gosslau asked what was the Chancellor’s office doing to achieve the goals stated in the Strategic Plan, i.e., college and career readiness, specifically STEM preparation which the questioner, Prof. Gosslau stating that he sees too many students who are deficient in their STEM prep upon arrival at the community college.  Chancellor Milliken answered that CUNY already has a strong infrastructure via precollege programming.  College Now, College Discovery, and Tutor Core are examples of successes CUNY can build on to help meet the goals of the plan.  The Chancellor also said that we have to work closely with the NYC DOE since we provide 40% of all DOE teachers. Prof. Stemberg asked if CUNY had any plans for P-Tech programs. The Chancellor said that the original P-Tech program was launched by CUNY, IBM and the DOE, and in total, CUNY has 7 P-Tech schools in the city.  The next questioner asked if the budget for the IBR will transfer along with the facility.  The Chancellor said the details were under discussion. Prof. August asked the Chancellor what he is doing to reduce the course load of its faculty, especially at the community colleges? He replied that CUNY CO is engaged in ongoing talks with the Professional Staff Congress (PSC) on that very point in the hopes of freeing up faculty time for advisement. Prof. Brass asked: what is the status of the Inspector General’s report, and the status of the suggestion to survey faculty about CUNYFirst, and the moratorium on the use on non-tax levy funds to supplement President and senior admin salaries.  The Chancellor replied that a number of steps have been taken since the issuance of the IG report – new positions including a CUNY Risk and Compliance officer and a Director of Change Management (to oversee the administrative efficiencies effort), as well as the creation of a distinct Audit committee are on the horizon to ensure that all administrators and faculty are apprised of fiscal policies and comport themselves accordingly. Prof. Albrecht asked about the status of a Chief Librarian for CUNY, and suggested that hiring a Chief Librarian would be cost effective as it would eliminate redundancies across CUNY’s 24 libraries.  The Chancellor called upon Vice Chancellor Vita Rabinowitz, who explained that, while desirable, there is not yet a sufficient allocation in the budget for the position, though there may very well be at a future date.

The Chancellor departed asking the UFS to read the Strategic Plan and the report on Administrative Efficiency and to provide feedback.

  1. Senior Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer Matthew Sapienza (SVC). With the Chancellor, he agreed that the NYS Budget Request was one of the better ones in years, with a 4.6% increase in funding for the senior colleges, $35 million for tuition assistance for “needy students,” $250 million to cover the retroactive pay and salary increases for PSC members, and roughly $43 million to be raised via tuition increases (though approximately $10 million of the tuition increase will be needed for the TAP gap). In the state budget resources for ASAP program, for childcare centers, and programs such as College Discovery will need to be added back in by the legislature. The total Base Aid Rate allocation per CC student will remain at $2,697. Moreover, $80 million was allocated for capital projects in matching funds for the community colleges (NYC will provide $80 million as well). There is a provision in the NYS budget allowing for future reductions in the event federal support for higher education is reduced.  Finally, roughly $23 million has been allocated by the city for the ASAP program for FY 2018
    1. With the Chancellor the VC hailed the Excelsior Scholarship as a means by which the goals of the Strategic Plan—especially those related to access and success—could be achieved.
    2. The city budget includes coverage of the retroactive pay for faculty and administrators, as does the state budget, but the state budget doesn’t cover the cost of the new salaries in future years.  There could be a $60 million shortfall if those funds are not forthcoming, but some portion of that shortfall could be covered by tuition.  Tuition increases—amounting to roughly $250 a year—and approved for the next five years – would mitigate some of the potential deficit.  Asked later by Prof. Brass to estimate the amount of any planned cuts to the senior college, the SVC replied that he could not make a guess at this time as too much of the info was preliminary.
      The SVC then took questions (in addition to the one noted above):Prof. McCauley asked about ominous signs stemming from the President and the Congress regarding Federal Aid (such as Pell Grants and work-study). UFS members predicted that, given the makeup and tenor of the Congress aid would be reduced dramatically. The VC noted that it was not yet clear what policies will follow from the administration but noted that the prospects were not altogether encouraging. In the meantime he would check with the Office of Financial Aid to gauge the nature and extent of its policies related to work-study and the like. Prof. Sanudo asked about funding for librarians.  The SVC confirmed that the budget includes a workload reduction of 10 hrs per year for librarians to do research, but that there are not funds in place for additional staff. Prof. Keyes asked if ASAP was a net winner or loser in the budget.  The SVC said that ASAP was getting more money and that most of ASAP’s funding is from the city, which is increasing ASAP support by almost $23 million. The goal is to have 25,000 CUNY students participating in ASAP by 2019.

      1. Professor Shirley Raps, Chair of the Faculty Advisory Council to the Research Foundation (RF).
        1. Professor Raps stated that after a rigorous search, a new Director of Customer Service, Sean McPartland, has been hired by the RF in response to concerns raised by PIs. Chancellor Milliken created a task force to review the Memorandum of Understanding between the RF and CUNY, which dates back to 1983.  The Chancellor appointed Marc Shaw, Chair of RF’s Board of Trustees, and Vita Rabinowitz, University Provost, to co-chair the task force.  Prof. Louise Hainline is representing the UFS on the task force. Underlying these processes is an inquiry into how RF can best pursue new resources to support CUNY faculty. With the Chancellor, Professor Raps maintained that RF, with CUNY, will assist anyone adversely affected by the President of the United States’ recent Executive Order on immigration. Lastly she noted that the RF subscribes to two databases which can help faculty in their search for grants: Grant Forward and Pivot, and both can be found on the RF home page.  At the upcoming meeting of the FAC of the RF this Friday, the members will hear a presentation on indirect costs and the plan is to make the presentation available to a wider group of faculty in early March. No questions were taken.
      1. Reports
        1. Chair. Katherine Conway introduced Dr. Matthew Cotter, the new Executive Director of the UFS.  Dr. Cotter joins the UFS from BCC where he was director of College Now; he also holds a PhD in history from the CUNY Graduate Center.  The Chair will post to the UFS web page UFS Exec member Jay Weiser’s brief on the process of submitting resolutions to the Plenary Agenda. She will also send the body the most recently updated travel policies, feedback on the policy will be needed by Feb. 15th.  Finally, she mentioned that she and Prof. Phil Pecorino are serving on a committee to draft a RFP for a vendor to provide a wide range of online education supports to both central and the individual campuses.
        2. Representatives to Board of Trustees committees will be submitted in writing due to the hour.

      5. New business – Prof. Bill Crain (CCNY), asked what, if any, stance would the UFS take on free tuition.  Prof. Conway suggested that the Student Affairs committee consider the suggestion.  Prof. Crain then suggested that we take a voice vote to get a sense of the body.  Chair Conway suggested that the body have time to deliberate on resolutions as our statement should be well considered and the body responded in the affirmative that they agreed that items should go through committee.

      The body then proceeded to celebrate the contributions of former UFS Executive Director, William Phipps.  Past UFS Chairs spoke (Cooper, Sohmer-Tai (on behalf of her father, Bernie Sohmer) O’Malley, Phillip, and Martell) along with Stasia Pasela of the UFS staff; Prof. Kaplowitz presented a resolution (copy attached) which was passed unanimously and Chair Conway asked for a toast to Mr. Phipps.

      With no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 9:00 p.m.

      Respectfully submitted,

      Matthew J. Cotter