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April 30th SPS Labor-Management Notes

PSC Notes on SPS Labor Management Meeting, April 30, 2018



Management: John Mogulescu, Dean;  George Otte, Senior Associate Dean of Academic Affairs; Rachel Levine, Senior Associate Dean for Administration and Finance.

PSC: Susan Fountain, Adjunct Professor, PSC Delegate; Jennifer Lee, Associate Registrar and PSC Welfare Fund representative;  Anh Tran, Vice-Chair of the Graduate Center Chapter of the PSC and Grievance Counselor; Marc Kagan, Graduate Center Chapter of the PSC; Stephanie Luce, Professor, Murphy Institute; Nelly Benavides, Academic Operations Manager, Murphy Institute.


  1. Update on water testing 119 W. 31st building
  2. Revision of governance plan
  3. Three-year contracts for adjuncts
  4. Active shooter training
  5. Union orientations in Fall 2018

Update on water testing 119 W. 31st building

PSC requested an update on the status of the newly-installed water fountains, and plans for water testing in the building. Management responded that water testing would be carried out, but that no date had been set for testing. Bottled water will continue to be supplied until test results are satisfactory. Testing will be done by H. A. Bader Consultants, the firm that has previously tested the water.

PSC asked about what repairs have been carried out. Management was not able to supply this information, but said that “enhancements” had been done to the plumbing at the building level.

PSC asked that water would be tested in Room 123 and other rooms which have had a history problems with the water. Management gave assurance that this would be done. PSC shared with management information from the US Environmental Protection Agency, stating that there are no safe levels of lead in water.

Revision of governance plan

PSC asked for an update on the revision of the governance plan, and when the next version would be available.

Management acknowledged that it had expected controversy over this, and then recapped:

  • the Clarion article on the governance plan (Dec. 2017)
  • the Feb. 7, 2018 forum on the plan, attended by a large number of SPS faculty and staff
  • the letter to the editor of the Clarion from members of the drafting committee (March 2018).

Management further stated that the drafting committee was at work on a revised version, and that some momentum had been lost on this due to Brian Peterson and Rachel Levine leaving SPS, and the transition of the Murphy Institute to an independent school.

Management indicated that there would be some accommodations to concerns raised by the PSC, as well as things that the PSC may not like. The PSC asked what some of those changes might be, and management declined to be more specific. There will be another period of circulation of the revised plan to the SPS community for comments.

Three-year contracts for adjuncts

PSC asked how many adjuncts would be eligible for three-year contracts beginning in Fall 2018. Management was not able to provide that number, but indicated that because some programs are relatively new, it would not be a large number. Management agreed to get back to the PSC with this information. There was some lack of clarity about when letters for three-year appointments must go out. (This was later determined to be May 15.)

Active shooter training

PSC has received requests from adjuncts about the need for active shooter training at SPS, and asked management how we might get this. Management replied that videos have been used in the past, that these could be circulated again, and that they should be made available to staff as well.

PSC pointed out that videos can provide some types of information, but face-to-face training would allow faculty and staff to ask questions related to the specific locations in which they work.

Ways of addressing the need for training were brainstormed. It was agreed that:

  • Management would speak to John Flaherty about this, and look into what was offered at the Murphy Institute
  • PSC would check with the union’s Health and Safety Watchdogs about a consultant who provided training in March

Union orientations in Fall 2018

The newly passed changes to NYS Civil Service Law, requiring that all newly employed and re-employed personnel have the chance to attend a union orientation, were discussed. Management stated its willingness to fully comply with this law, and that guidance from CUNY Central should be forthcoming. Management agreed to provide rooms for orientations; how to handle orientations for adjuncts who teach online was less clear.

PSC reminded management that time must be given to full-time staff to attend these orientations during their work day, and that adjuncts should be paid for attendance. PSC also pointed out that as most adjuncts are reappointed each semester/year, they should be eligible to be paid to attend these orientations.

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