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Resolution Against the Proposed Plan to Implement an ‘Excellency Fee’ for Masters’ Students

Adopted 11/13/17

 

WHEREAS, President Chase Robinson and Provost Joy Connolly have proposed a plan to effectively increase the tuition for Masters’ students at the Graduate Center by proposing a $100/credit ‘excellency fee’; and

WHEREAS, Masters’ students are required to take 6-12 credits for full-time status, and most Masters’ students take at least 6 credits per semester, which would amount to $600-$1,200 per semester effective increase in tuition; and

WHEREAS, because the GC’s budgeting process is not transparent or democratic, there is no evidence that the money from the proposed fee would go directly to benefit Masters’ students; and

WHEREAS, on October 23rd, the CUNY Board of Trustees voted to increase tuition, by up to $200 /yr for full-time master’s resident students; and

WHEREAS, the total cost of attending an institution of higher learning is more than just tuition and fees; and

WHEREAS, the cost of living in New York City has risen about 23% from 2009 to 2014; and

WHEREAS, in the 2015-2016 academic year, CUNY estimated that students living at home would spend approximately $9,592 in books, transportation, and living expenses, while students not living at home would spend approximately $20,295 on such expenses; and

WHEREAS, instead of demanding funding from the state for increasing services, President Robinson and Provost Connolly are shifting the cost for needed services down to already cash-strapped students; and

WHEREAS, the rising tuition and expenses, stagnant financial aid assistance, insufficient state funding, and the prevalence of low-wage jobs undermine the affordability and stymies the accessibility to higher education and the advancement of a highly-educated and skilled workforce; therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the GC chapter of the Professional Staff Congress hereby expressly rejects the plan to levy an ‘excellency fee’ on Masters’ students; and, be it further

RESOLVED, that the GC chapter of the Professional Staff Congress rejects any and all future plans to implement tuition increases under the guise of additional fees; and, be it

RESOLVED, that the GC chapter of the Professional Staff Congress urges management to deploy its ample resources to lead a public campaign and lobbying effort for the full funding of the Graduate Center, and, be it

FINALLY RESOLVED, that the GC chapter of the Professional Staff Congress demands that President Chase Robinson and Provost Joy Connolly release a plan to fund services for Masters’ students without increasing tuition or fees.

Process for Submitting Resolutions from the Membership at GC Chapter Meetings (amended and approved)

1. Members wishing to submit a resolution for discussion and voting at a chapter meeting shall
notify the Graduate Center chapter’s Executive Committee (GC-EC) by email
(lukeeliottnegri@gmail.com and anh.t.tran01@gmail.com) no later than three days before the
date of the chapter meeting, and attach a draft of the resolution and the contact person for the
resolution.

2. The EC will propose the agenda at the beginning of the chapter meeting, at which point
members can move to amend the agenda, including which/how many resolutions will be
discussed. The agenda will be changed upon majority vote.

3. Any PSC member who works at a PSC-GC campus and the GC affiliated campuses,
regardless of title, may propose and vote on a resolution.

4. Due to time constraints, the EC will place no more than 2 resolutions on the upcoming
chapter meeting agenda for discussion and voting on a first-come-first-served basis, unless
there is an urgent matter that must be prioritized. If an urgent issue impacting CUNY, the city,
the state, or the country, arises fewer than seven days before the chapter meeting, and a
member wishes to submit a resolution about that issue, the GC-EC shall be flexible as
possible about adapting the meeting agenda to include the resolution.

5. The GC-EC will post the draft resolution(s) on the PSC-GC website, and resolutions will be
linked to the chapter meeting email announcements.

6. The member(s) submitting the resolution shall bring hard copies of the resolution to the
meeting for all in attendance. If member(s) do not have access to printing, please contact
someone on the EC for help.

7. Discussion and voting on the resolution(s) will ideally be facilitated by someone who can
impartially facilitate the entire process from start to finish. The facilitator will not speak for or
against the resolution.

8. Resolutions will pass upon majority vote. Vote shall be conducted within the state meeting
time.

9. If the chapter meeting does not reach quorum, the resolution should be edited to replace
all instances of “the GC chapter” with “members of the chapter assembled” at that particular
meeting, and the edited resolution will still be discussed and voted upon.

10. Chapter members, chapter committees, and the chapter Executive Committee will work to
improve this process as needed.

11. Resolutions passed by members present at the chapter meeting which would affect PSC membership outside of the Graduate Center chapter will be introduced by the Graduate Center EC to the larger PSC-CUNY-wide Delegate Assembly

Process for Submitting Resolutions from the Membership at GC Chapter Meetings

Edit: This is the text of the original proposal. For the amended and approved (at the September 19th chapter meeting) version you can click here.

1. Members wishing to submit a resolution for discussion and voting at a chapter meeting shall
notify the Graduate Center chapter’s Executive Committee (GC-EC) by email
(lukeeliottnegri@gmail.com and anh.t.tran01@gmail.com) no later than seven days before the
date of the chapter meeting, and attach a draft of the resolution and the contact person for the
resolution.

2. Any PSC member who works at a PSC-GC campus and the GC affiliated campuses,
regardless of title, may propose and vote on a resolution.

3. Resolutions which break city, state, and/or federal laws may be re-framed as advisory in
nature and submitted to the Delegate Assembly.

4. Due to time constraints, the EC will place no more than 2 resolutions on the upcoming
chapter meeting agenda for discussion and voting on a first-come-first-served basis, unless
there is an urgent matter that must be prioritized. If an urgent issue impacting CUNY, the city,
the state, or the country, arises fewer than seven days before the chapter meeting, and a
member wishes to submit a resolution about that issue, the GC-EC shall be flexible as
possible about adapting the meeting agenda to include the resolution.

5. The EC will propose the agenda at the beginning of the chapter meeting, at which point
members can move to amend the agenda, including which/how many resolutions will be
discussed. The agenda will be changed upon majority vote.

6. The GC-EC will post the draft resolution(s) on the PSC-GC website, and resolutions will be
linked to the chapter meeting email announcements.

7. The member(s) submitting the resolution shall bring hard copies of the resolution to the
meeting for all in attendance. If member(s) do not have access to printing, please contact
someone on the EC for help.

8. Discussion and voting on the resolution(s) will ideally be facilitated by someone who can
impartially facilitate the entire process from start to finish. The facilitator will not speak for or
against the resolution.

9. Resolutions will pass upon majority vote. Vote shall be conducted within the state meeting
time.

10. If the chapter meeting does not reach quorum, the resolution should be edited to replace
all instances of “the GC chapter” with “members of the chapter assembled” at that particular
meeting, and the edited resolution will still be discussed and voted upon.

11. Chapter members, chapter committees, and the chapter Executive Committee will work to
improve this process as needed.

The Graduate Center, CUNY as a Sanctuary Campus

Put your name on this letter calling for Chancellor Milliken and President Robinson to make the Graduate Center a sanctuary campus! We will be discussing this as a chapter-wide resolution at the December 1st chapter meeting.

Resolution in Support of CUNY Adjuncts

WHEREAS the mission of CUNY is, in part, “to maintain and expand its commitment to academic excellence and to the provision of equal access and opportunity for students, faculty and staff from all ethnic and racial groups and from both sexes. The City University is of vital importance as a vehicle for the upward mobility of the disadvantaged in the City of New York,”

WHEREAS the City University of New York (CUNY) employs some 13,000 adjuncts (according to the Professional Staff Congress [PSC], the union of CUNY faculty and staff). Adjuncts comprise 59% of the CUNY faculty but earn only 29-38% of what full-time faculty earn making them the largest section of the bargaining unit and the most oppressed;

WHEREAS adjuncts are consistently subjected to unpredictable working conditions, including but not limited to late pay, classes cancellations, lack of rehiring, disproportionate class sizes that vary by campus and department, and inadequate access to instructional resources;

WHEREAS a significant number of Graduate Center (GC) students adjunct to subsidize their graduate studies and living expenses, whether solely or in addition to graduate assistantships, especially those students who entered the GC prior to 2013;

WHEREAS the working conditions of CUNY’s adjuncts are the learning conditions of its undergraduate and graduate students;

WHEREAS the recent contract negotiations did not make adjunct equity issues the main priority;

WHEREAS a public-facing campaign for adjunct parity, in addition to being morally right, is of great strategic value to the broader PSC;

WHEREAS solidarity across the PSC is urgent with the potential threat of the country becoming “right-to-work” with a new “Friedrichs” case presented to a Trump Supreme Court.  Studies have found that “right-to-work” laws end up reducing workers’ wages and their likelihood of receiving benefits;

RESOLVED that the PSC make adjunct equity issues the main priority in the upcoming contract negotiations and have majority adjuncts as part of the bargaining team.

RESOLVED that specific demands and goals should be developed in a sustained conversation between PSC leadership and Adjunct leaders from each campus.

RESOLVED that CUNY bargain this demand in good faith, since higher, more equitable salaries for CUNY adjunct faculty benefit all, especially CUNY undergraduate students, whose learning conditions are their faculty’s working conditions.

 

*Note: as of posting, this document is still open for comments. See the Google Doc here. It will be further discussed at the December 1st chapter meeting.

Joint Statement: Labor Against Trump

The election of Donald Trump to the highest office of government will be a disaster for the labor movement in the United States. Throughout the election season Trump campaigned on a far right wing platform of bigotry and xenophobia. Now that he is set to move in to the White House and Republicans control both houses of Congress, we can expect profound and sustained attacks on our union organizations and our communities.

As members of the labor movement, we have a special responsibility to stand against the policies and rhetoric of a Trump administration. The US working class is made up of people of all colors, religions and identities. Our unions are some of the most diverse institutions in the United States, and Trump would preside over attacks on the groups and communities that our members and their families are a part of.

Workers from Mexico, China, the Philippines or anywhere else are not our enemies and they are not responsible for the loss of union jobs in the United States. It is Wall Street and the corporate elites who are to blame. Collaborating with a Trump presidency and partnering with powerful corporations in an effort to bring back jobs will not make our movement stronger. Those who voted for Donald Trump will be given a dose of bitter medicine when they learn that his presidency will not put American workers first, but instead the interests of the 1%. We cannot allow Trump’s right wing appeals to workers to go unchallenged. Organized labor must unite and provide an alternative to scapegoating through fighting to defend workers’ living standards and putting forward a politics of solidarity. And our unions must organize the unorganized to bring millions more workers into the fold of the labor movement.

Now is the time for our unions to take action and begin to prepare for right to work legislation, legal attacks, and continuing employer demands for give-backs. Rather than give Trump an olive branch or offers of conciliation, our unions should come out swinging on day 1 of the new administration. Donald Trump lost the popular vote, and enjoys no mandate to rule. It is our duty to demonstrate to the world that we will fight back against Trump’s agenda, and to lend our resources to local battles against manifestations of this profoundly anti-worker onslaught.

We call on all unions to join us in Labor Against Trump contingents at any demonstrations or actions across the county on Inauguration Day, including in Washington DC. Our unions will also work locally to oppose Trump’s agenda, defend the communities he intends to attack, and join forces with those who call for solidarity rather than fear and division.

 

*Note: the chapter will be discussing whether to adopt this at the December 1st chapter meeting.

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