SUNY Opportunity Advocacy Day – March 11

Dear Colleagues:

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 hereAdvocacy 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.

In Solidarity,

Fred Kowal

Letter to President Christian RE: DSI

Dear President Christian,

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.

Respectfully,

Beth E Wilson

President

UUP-New Paltz Chapter

bwilson@uupmail.@uupadmin

Notes on 2020 DSI Process

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)

Register in advance for this meeting: Zoom Registration Link Here

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

UUP-New Paltz Pledge re: Austerity Measures

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. 

UUP-New Paltz resolution: Commitment to Antiracism

The following resolution was pass unanimously in an email vote of the UUP-New Paltz Executive Committee on June 18, 2020:

UUP New Paltz Chapter Resolution on Commitment to Antiracism

Whereas COVID 19 has revealed the deep racial inequities in American society

Whereas the shooting of unarmed Black, Latinx and Native peoples by law enforcement officers has fractured trust in community to protect the disenfranchised and the vulnerable

Whereas the economic policies of succeeding governments have disproportionately affected communities of color adversely

Whereas our role as educators and helping professionals requires us to ethically respond to the situation

BE IT RESOLVED that the UUP New Paltz Chapter commits to the work of making SUNY New Paltz an antiracist institution,

AND BE IT ALSO RESOLVED, that toward that end, we are establishing a subcommittee of members to develop a program of concrete steps  in response to the grave injustices experienced by some members of our college community and beyond,  to be presented to the administration as recommendations for action.

Austerity U 2020 Pictures

Austerity University: March 6, 2020