Don’t Tread on these educators.
Released: April 8, 2014
Alex Vitale, Brooklyn College Chapter Chair, PSC-CUNY
Yedidyah Langsam, Chair, Faculty Council
Fran Clark, Communications Coordinator, PSC-CUNY
BROOKLYN COLLEGE FACULTY VOTE TO RETAKE CONTROL OF CURRICULUM DECISION MAKING;
VOTE NO CONFIDENCE IN CUNY BOARD OF TRUSTEES
Brooklyn, NY–For the first time in decades, the entire full-time faculty at Brooklyn College passed a resolution at a special college-wide meeting on April 8 to demand that the Brooklyn College and CUNY administrations respect the faculty’s historic role in designing courses, general education programs, and degree requirements.
Two years ago the CUNY Board of Trustees instructed local college administrations to override faculty decision making in implementing the inadequate Pathways general education program, which was opposed by 92% of full-time faculty at CUNY who voted in a referendum held last year. This is despite the fact that college governance documents vest curricular decision making solely in the hands of the faculty.
By a vote of 298 in favor, 9 against and 18 abstentions, today’s resolution calls for the Brooklyn College and CUNY administrations to abide by the decisions of local faculty in designing a new general education program at Brooklyn College. The resolution was brought by Prof. Alex S. Vitale, the chair of the Brooklyn College chapter of the Professional Staff Congress, the faculty and professional staff union of CUNY. Prof. Vitale said that this vote was crucial for sending a message to the incoming Chancellor that the faculty will not tolerate political interference in curricular matters.
The process of general education development is being undertaken by the College’s Faculty Council, made up of elected representatives from all the departments at the College. Faculty Council Chair Yedidyah Langsam urged all members of the faculty to attend today’s meeting.
The resolution also states that the faculty have “no confidence” in the CUNY Board of Trustees to make curricular decisions. The current Board of Trustees is almost completely devoid of educators and is comprised of political appointees, whose main qualification was political support for current and former mayors and governors, rather than their expertise in educational policy.
Across the country faculty are experiencing attacks on their control over the intellectual direction of their programs and colleges. Too often administrators are using cost savings as an excuse to undermine educational standards. The faculty at Brooklyn College feel strongly that their daily interaction with students and in depth knowledge of the fields they work in best qualify them to make decisions about educational content.
The faculty expect the Brooklyn College and CUNY administrations to abide by this resolution. Failure to do so will undoubtedly undermine the basic legitimacy of their roles in the eyes of faculty.