Ballots will be going out in the mail to all UUP members by March 12. You will have until April 26 to return them to UUP headquarters — please be sure to follow the directions to ensure that your vote will count! Following is a list of those who have put their names forward as candidates for the various chapter officer positions, and/or as delegates.
Please note that there are a several positions which will appear blank on your printed ballot, and for which individuals have put themselves forward as write-incandidates, who are marked as such on the list.
President and Delegate:
Beth E. Wilson (A)
It has been my privilege to lead our Chapter for the past three terms, since I was first elected President in 2015. It has been a pleasure, consulting in this work with our talented, insightful chapter officers and delegates as we worked together to address the needs of all our members I hope to continue this work, gaining ground as we attend to the many perspectives—academic and professional, tenured and contingent, full-time and part-time—that make up our bargaining unit. I ask for your vote, so that we can maintain this ongoing conversation and continue our important collective work.
Vice President for Academics and Delegate:
César Barros (A) [Write-in candidate]
Since 2012, I have been a full-time faculty at SUNY New Paltz. I am an immigrant. I teach Spanish and the cultures and politics of Latin America, the Caribbean, and their diasporas in the United States. Outside of my job here, I work with undocumented immigrant communities in their struggle for the right to live in peace, facilitating popular education workshops, and organizing and participating in legal clinics, accompaniment efforts, and mutual aid initiatives. I believe public higher education is a right and that it should be available to all. I am running to be your delegate and Vice President for Academics. I see our union as the opportunity to come together as workers, no matter our job description, in order to demand the working conditions we deserve. I don’t believe in top-down unionism, but in rank and file collective thinking and action. I am a member of UUP Member Action Coalition. UUP is the largest higher education union in the country and only we, together, can make it work as the powerful organized labor force it can be. As VPA, I want to facilitate spaces to build this power and work with all of you to make sure you see the union is your union. We all, professionals and academics of every rank and title, need to work together. With Rendesia Scott, candidate for Vice President for Professionals, we are running as a team. Together—with our union, with you—we will fight not only to resist the austerity that is increasing our workloads, increasing labor precarization, and deepening longstanding racial and gender inequities, but also to demand the working conditions we deserve as we labor for the betterment of our community.
Vice President for Professionals and Delegate:
Rendesia Scott (P) [Write-in candidate]
I work as the Director of the Center of Business Advising within the School of Business and I have been with New Paltz for slightly over 22 years. I attended Graduate School at New Paltz while working with the High School Equivalency Program (residential campus GED program). Once I earned my M.S. in Education Administration, I moved onto Vassar College to work there as a Resident Director for some time. I eventually made my way back to SUNY New Paltz as an Educational Opportunity Program Advisor.
I was hired within the School of Business to be their Senior Academic Advisor in 2005. While there, my hard work and integrity spoke for itself to my supervisor at the time, Dr. Hadi Salavitabar, as he eventually implemented a Center for Business Advising within the School of Business, thus promoting me from Senior Advisor to the Director of this Center.
I have served on numerous campus committees and as the Faculty Advisor to several student organizations. I presently serve as a Task Member on the Scholar’s Mentorship Program (SMP). I was instrumental in the implementation of the Harry K. Bonsu Scholarship (originally under SMP) and the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc Scholarship.
I advocated to create the first student of color student organization within the School of Business, B.A.S.C. – the Business Association for Students of Color. I presently serve as their Faculty Advisor.
I consider myself to be professional, detail oriented, organized, and yet still human! I am task Driven when needed, but true motivation is to see the result of great implementations whether I am in the forefront OR the background.
My goal is to remain honest and act with integrity. My primary concern is ethical behavior and doing my best to ensure the playing field is fair to those who have not received the same benefits of others.
I am a Mother of two beautiful children and the Wife to an awesome husband…who is also a SUNY New Paltz alum! I am active in my church, community, and sorority.
I have been a member of United University Professions (UUP) since I was hired here. I volunteered to be a dept rep for Professionals once in the School of Business and was recently elected one of New Paltz’ chapter Professional Delegates.
Both Cesar Barros Arteaga (VP of Academics candidate) and I took on the challenge to this new role within the union at the call of our colleague, Brian Obach. We are all excited to work with the existing team of E-Board Members with the mentorship of the previous members in this role.
I am hopeful you will consider my candidacy for this position.
Gowri Parameswaran (A)
Koop, Douglas (A)
I am a candidate for both Treasurer and Academic Delegate. As an 18+ year adjunct in the Physics, Mathematics and Engineering departments, I am gratefully eligible for the lifetime SUNY health benefits that were negotiated by the UUP, for which I like to thank you by serving in these positions for a third term. I ask for your vote.
Amanda Merritt (P) [Write-in candidate]
I appreciate the chance to continue to represent our members as Grievance Officer for a second term, and I hope I have your write-in vote.
Much of a Grievance Officer’s job is to help resolve situations in which our members are trying to cope with questionable treatment on the job. (If this is a current concern of yours, please be in touch with any chapter officer asap.) Sometimes the behavior the member is dealing with isn’t actually grievable or illegal, but that doesn’t diminish the resulting unhappiness and stress. Informal mediation and strategizing can help, and I am honored to have been trusted to support our members as they negotiate their personal minefields.
In the background, I continue to work with our excellent Labor Relations Specialist to get our contingent colleagues the health insurance coverage promised in our collective bargaining agreement. This is no time to be without health insurance, and we will challenge our campus administration and SUNY until our colleagues get the benefits they’re entitled to.
As we are all painfully aware, the stress level of our jobs jumped dramatically in March 2020. I hope to be able to continue to support our colleagues as we all plod through our current mess and get to happier times. I thank you for your write-in vote.
Membership Development Officer:
Edward T. Felton (P)
I look forward to continuing as MDO. Member participation is the key to our union’s strength. I’ll work with colleagues to further activate our Executive Committee, develop our Department Representative network, and provide opportunities for all members to contribute to our collective voice.
The application process for the current round Individual Development Awards — a benefit negotiated as part of our statewide Agreement — is open!! New Paltz has been allocated $44,816 through the statewide Joint Labor-Management Committee (JLMC).
Applications are being accepted in electronic/PDF format only. To submit your application and required materials, you must be logged into your SUNY New Paltz email account. Then click here: IDA Submission. Complete the requested information and include:
brief project description
any supporting documents (such as a conference acceptance letter, brochure, or announcement).
IDA funds are intended to assist eligible employees to develop their full professional potential and to prepare for advancement. Funding may be provided to enhance teaching, research capabilities, professional knowledge and skills. We have set a deadline of March 31, 2021 for receipt of completed applications.
The activity period for the current academic year runs from July 2, 2020 to July 1, 2021. All projects/proposals must take place within that time frame. The maximum grant for the IDA program is $1,000, although given the number of applications in recent years, most grants have been less than that amount. Part-timers are encouraged to apply, as 15% of the pool of funding available is initially earmarked for them; any funds left unused by part-time employee applications are swept into the remaining pool for full-timers.
Our local Joint Labor-Management Committee, which reviews the applications and decides on the funding priorities and amounts awarded, will include:
UUP is not a union that sits on the sidelines. We are champions for our students, our union, and we are pushing solutions and programs to better New York. For these reasons and more, I am asking you to join your colleagues and invite your students, to advocate for SUNY opportunity programs, access, affordability, and the resources needed to support our SUNY, our students and our communities.
SUNY opportunity programs have been an economic and educational ladder for thousands. We must continue to promote and advocate for these programs as well as new ones such as MEOP, and fight for the necessary revenue to fund them. Please join us on March 11th for our SUNY Opportunity Virtual Advocacy Day! The day will begin with a plenary where we will be joined by students, educators and elected officials. We will then take the remainder of the day to do the work of meeting with state legislators and advocating. You can register today here. Advocacy registration will close at 5PM on March 4.
All who register for this important event will receive an invitation for a March 10th virtual advocacy training. There will be two training session offered (12PM and 7PM).
Please share this message with your students and your colleagues. All who wish to participate must register using the above link.
Thank you for all the work you have been doing over these past months. Our union is stronger with your voice.
I am writing to present to you the UUP petition that we circulated last week. In the span of less than three days, we received 100 signatures from members; beyond that, we received a number of open-ended comments, which are appended (anonymized) here.
We understand that the Administration has committed itself to maintaining the application process for the forthcoming cycle of DSI awards; however, under the current extraordinary circumstances, even the prospect of a more egalitarian across-the-board distribution stirred significant support among our members.
Our emergency chapter meeting last Wednesday, announced at the last minute, drew an audience of 90. In that meeting, we heard from a wide range of members, reflecting every sector of our bargaining unit–professional and academic faculty, adjunct lecturers and those with tenure or continuing appointment. Scanning the various departments represented by the petition signatories, as well as the content of the open-ended comments, you will find a similar distribution.
At the meeting, while there were some who maintained their preference for maintaining the current system of DSI application, an overwhelming majority embraced the seemingly small concession of not having to submit ourselves to the application/review process, in the interests of recognizing the universal impact of the pandemic on all of us scrambling to keep up with our professional obligations. Ironically, those with the greatest burden to carry–among them the caregivers of young children, for whom juggling work and family has been so taxing, as pointed out in our Caregivers Letter last semester–will be those with the least time or energy to spare to complete even the streamlined application that you have produced.
One thing that has been driven home to me recently, by several workshops related to Black Lives Matter@School, is the absolute necessity of listening. This means attending to the perspectives of others, opening up one’s assumptions and expectations to allow the space for fruitful dialogue enables us to find meaningful solutions that will benefit everyone, in the long run. It is in that spirit that we present the attached petition and collective testimony of our members, in hopes that our issues, challenges, and concerns might enter into any future consideration you may have on this subject and enhancing discussions we may have in labor-management meetings (and in other venues) moving forward.
Last week, Faculty Senate leadership brought a proposal to the President and Provost, asking to suspend the 2020 DSI process in favor of an across-the-board, flat-rate distribution. The proposal was a compassionate and thoughtful response to recognize an overburdened faculty and staff during extraordinary times. Additionally, the proposal allowed for the incorporation of both 2020 and 2021 Faculty Annual Reports into the 2021 DSI cycle.
Despite gathering supportive responses to this proposal from not only the UUP chapter leadership, but also groups of POC and women faculty, and a number of department chairs as well, the Administration decided to press forward with the DSI application process regardless. We have decided to petition the Administration to reconsider this decision. You will find the online petition form here.
We are holding an emergency chapter meeting to discuss this situation with our members, at 5:45 pm on Wednesday, February 24 via Zoom. We would like to receive your input on this proposal and will be able to provide additional information regarding specific monetary impacts and other considerations related to it.
Here is the Zoom invitation for the meeting:
You are invited to a Zoom meeting. When: Feb 24, 2021 05:45 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Statement of UUP Principles Regarding Austerity Measures
Adopted by UUP-New Paltz Executive Committee, June 10, 2020.
By endorsing this statement, the we pledge that any decisions and actions we undertake to manage anticipated cuts will, to the best of our ability, be made in accordance with the following principles:
1. No job losses: The University’s employees are its most important resource. Protecting jobs minimizes the human suffering to employees. Moreover, it maintains the foundation of the University: its capacities to teach and provide services for students, along with the institution’s role in the preservation and creation of knowledge. Preserving jobs for part-time and full-time employees must be a priority.
2. No loss of healthcare: Healthcare in the US remains tied to employment. In the face of a global pandemic, we must do everything possible to prevent the loss of employee health benefits. This means not only keeping people employed, but particularly for contingent faculty and professionals, keeping them employed at levels that maintain their health coverage.
3. Equitable budgeting: Cuts should be distributed broadly across the campus. This is not a time to “build to strength,” or foster cut-throat competition among units for scarce resources. Our University’s strength is in the diversity of its programs; small units must be maintained alongside larger ones. Whether as the result of swift retrenchment or slow attrition, the loss of programs and units must be avoided at all costs.
4. Protect the most vulnerable: Equitable does not mean identical. Cuts should come first from those segments of the university community that are most able to withstand the losses. We should take special care to ensure the security of those who have the weakest job protections, the lowest salaries, and the most tenuous access to health benefits.
5. Revenue sources to save jobs: Campus management and unions should work together to identify ways to secure resources to save jobs for current employees. Avenues for voluntary adjustments that could assist the most vulnerable employees and benefit the university by maintaining its strong and diverse base of faculty and staff include use of the Voluntary Reduction in Work Schedule Program and Phased Retirement. UUP is ready to work with management to develop information and conduct an appeal for voluntary use of these options to help protect colleagues.
6. Transparent processes: The processes through which decisions are made, and the data on which they are based must be entirely transparent. Most pressingly, this means making complete, itemized university budgets public. Any data on enrollments, revenues, growth or other relevant criteria must likewise be public. Only with full information and transparent procedures can academic and professional faculty meaningfully participate in determining budgetary priorities.
7. Shared governance: UUP and the University Senate act as the two primary bodies of shared governance on our campus. In times of crisis, it is incumbent that the University work with and through these bodies. Full consultation, not the expectation of a rubber-stamp, is the only genuinely participatory process. Academic and professional faculty must participate in planning and decision-making bodies (i.e., committees, task forces, etc.) and processes as co-equal partners with the campus administration, drawing upon the collective expertise of the campus. When the University says, “we’re all in this together,” it must live up to its word.
8. Collaborative advocacy for SUNY funding: The entire campus community is needed to fully engage in efforts to advocate for federal resources to assist New York State. UUP is working with other unions and community groups to educate the public and press legislators to provide the financial support SUNY needs to provide medical care and accessible public education for the residents of our state. A campus community united around this continuous advocacy effort is a critical component for success.
9. Safety and well-being of the community: Regardless of the model used for re-opening of the campus for the fall semester, the health and safety of all members of the college/university community must be protected. This requires that there be collaboration between all members of the community to provide the necessary testing, Personal Protective Equipment, safety and cleaning protocols, and quarantine arrangements in the event of an outbreak of COVID-19 cases anywhere in the campus community. There must also be arrangements established to protect members of the community who are vulnerable to the virus, and their families.
10. Maintenance of academic quality: Decisions about the use of remote and online learning should be determined by the faculty, in consultation with professional staff and relevant administration. Recognizing that not all campuses are the same, decisions should be tailored to the needs and conditions of local campuses and the needs of the students they serve. The current crisis should not be used to accelerate the transition to online programs, recognizing that online education is not optimal in many situations and, when inappropriately used, can disadvantage students and erode the quality of education and the academic reputation of SUNY.
11. Protection of Academic Freedom and intellectual property: Protecting Academic Freedom and faculty intellectual property must remain central to the policies, programs, and life of the university.
12. Protect against privatization of public education: As a necessary public good, we will press to ensure that local agreements and state policies reject any and all institutional closures or privatization schemes including, for example, the outsourcing of student services, the creation and expansion of privatized units on campus (such as the Research Foundation), or the increasingly many contracts with private entities to provide educational services to campus. All partnerships with the private sector must be fully transparent, including contract terms, costs, conditions for service, etc.
13. Collaboration and shared responsibility: In order for the campus to function in a healthy, productive and safe manner, all elements of the community must be a part of the work of building a safe and productive learning and living environment for all. All members of the community bear responsibility for the safety of everyone in the community and, thus, must be party to discussions and deliberations on steps taken to insure that the campus emerges from this crisis healthy, financially strong, and a place where an affordable, high-quality education is available for all who seek it.
Mary Thompson, Chapter Assistant
Lecture Center 6D (basement)
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the UUP office is closed until further notice.
Please send your inquiries via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, and we will respond as quickly as possible.
Mac McAree, Chapter Intern
All in-person meetings will be over Zoom (virtual) until further notice.