Category Archives: Chapter updates

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Upcoming deadline to avoid classroom crowding and other updates

Colleagues —    Provost Li has acknowledged the CDC guidelines at last by giving faculty the chance to request a larger room in the event of crowding, AND to go on line if a larger classroom is not available. The deadline for applying is 5 pm on Thursday afternoon. Here is the link for that request.

On our website, you will find the report our health & safety watchdogs have forwarded to the administration, following our 3rd walkthrough.  Li’s modified policies, and cleanliness and responsiveness to our concerns that we have directly experienced help ease the greatest of our concerns, but as you will see we have a number of issues and we have not yet received any direct communication about our original punch list.

The PSC has demanded, CUNY-wide, a testing interval of 72 hours to confirm the safety of non-vaccinated entrants to campuses. The science says 72 hours is protective, not 168 hours, as CUNY is content with.  Non-teaching faculty and staff are still obliged to be on campus half of the time amid all who are allowed on campus, despite the inadequate testing interval.  Additionally, we seek the surveillance testing that CUNY management and its testing vendor promised weeks ago.  Since vaccinated people can, it turns out, spread the virus, and the surveillance tests themselves are not onerous, we want this to protect everyone and help put this pandemic behind us.

We want to know if there are concerns that have surfaced on campus.  Here is a link to our new reporting form . https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSehUBFHdTZtvr_PppqYP_i31S-8iv2-UiUGVvhnjow1N7S5-A/viewform?usp=sf_link

Provost Li has acknowledged the wisdom of the policy that we and the department chairs have been arguing for since early August — that faculty should be able to go online with their classes temporarily, given that the Chancellor has set us up for a situation on campus of mixed vax’ed in-person populations. The Provost’s offer is only for classes which still have unvaccinated students.

Finally, we have scheduled two PSC meetings for September. Our Chapter meeting will be on zoom on Tuesday, September 21st, during common hour, 1:40-2:55 pm.  A link will be forthcoming.  Also, the Adjunct Organizing Committee will meet from 1:30 to 2:30 on Thursday September 9th.  Adjuncts, please watch your inboxes for communications from its co-chairs Jonathan Epstein and Corinna Mullins.

in solidarity,

Zabby Hovey & John Pittman,   John Jay PSC Chapter co-chairs

Letter to President Mason and Provost Li – emailed 16 August 2021

Colleagues —

In light of the concerning news about the current high COVID transmission rates in the communities John Jay serves, we reiterated to the administration the importance of clear communication about social distancing, a mask mandate, and the option of working remotely for all those whose specific vulnerabilities or domestic circumstances pose significant health risks. Given the conflicting messages about the safety protocols for the reopening of CUNY campuses to in-person instruction, the John Jay PSC chapter sent the following letter, this past Monday, to the John Jay college leadership.

——

President Mason and Provost Li,

We have arrived at a very serious point. John Jay had a cautious and responsible reopening plan, set by the Reopening committee, that the CUNY administration required us to develop. We are now being told that key components of this plan are no longer in effect. When CUNY shifted course abruptly to require that 60% of classes have an on-campus component, the Reopening committee took the responsible approach, following CDC guidance, of establishing a mask mandate. Faculty who agreed to teach on campus did so because of the promise that there would be a mask mandate. With the spread of the highly infectious Delta COVID variant, the situation has drastically deteriorated, yet it seems the administration’s strategy has not adjusted accordingly.

We are relieved that CUNY management have accepted the PSC’s demand to ensure all teaching and work spaces will accommodate six feet of physical distancing until our members are positively assured that the people with whom they share space are vaccinated. However, there are other crucial health and safety concerns that have not been addressed in a satisfactory way by management. In particular, we are concerned that the Chancellor’s most recent email allows for exceptions to the newly implemented mask mandate for vaccinated people “in a classroom, dorm room, office, or other enclosed space, or… at a workspace/desk and is socially distanced from any other occupied workspace/desk.” This goes against the CDC’s recommendation that even vaccinated people wear masks indoors at all times, as well as the WHO’s recommendation that the vaccinated wear masks in places where there is any community spread.

It is imperative that we follow the CDC guidelines, especially given the high rates of COVID-19 infection in surrounding counties. As of today, all five counties that comprise New York City, as well as the tri-state area the John Jay serves, are areas of substantial or high transmission. In addition, in John Jay’s immediate vicinity the rate of community transmission is high, the CDC’s most severe risk category.

With infection rates and hospitalizations going up, the CUNY administration should be implementing a very cautious approach to re-opening. These are life-and-death matters and we must put the health and safety of our students and all CUNY employees front and center in decision-making. At the very least, John Jay should institute a mask mandate for all students, faculty, and staff regardless of vaccination status, and provide faculty members with the option of beginning their in-person class online, at least until all on-campus students have had their vaccination status verified. We also ask that individual faculty be authorized to delay the transition to in-person even later if faculty members, or members of their household, become especially vulnerable to COVID-19 (for example, the new diagnosis of a serious illness or the need to begin caring for a vulnerable family member). In these rare cases, it makes more sense to change the course modality, than to replace the faculty member. We also reiterate the importance of smaller class sizes, for both health and safety and pedagogical reasons, as well as our concerns that no changes to course offerings be made that would negatively impact faculty, staff, and student safety at this stage.

Adjunct Organizing Committee
Chapter Executive Committee
John Jay College PSC

From the Chairs – February 4th, 2021

Colleagues —  Despite the pandemic and the budget austerity imposed by Albany, CUNY’s Spring ’21 semester is underway. The fight continues for full funding, for pedagogically appropriate class sizes, for the teaching and learning conditions our students need and deserve.
Tomorrow, Friday morning (at 10 AM), the PSC holds a press conference announcing the filing of the New Deal for CUNY legislative package, aimed at instituting a budget framework to assure the funding and fiscal health of CUNY, while expanding the counseling staff and teaching faculty of the university and eliminating tuition. It’s an exciting vision whose time has come. If you’d like to be part of the zoom press conference, to show support for the New Deal legislation, you can do by registering here.

You can also easily personalize or just send a letter to the Chancellor and the CUNY Trustees, calling on them to “release the funds!” provided to the university by the CARES Act and the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA).

And do please sign — if you haven’t already — the online petition for smaller class sizes at CUNY .

Mark your calendar:  we have scheduled two John Jay College PSC Chapter meetings — for Tuesday, March 2nd (register here ), and for Monday, April 19th.  Our March meeting will feature the fight for a New Deal for CUNY. 

One last thing:  organizing to assure our funding and to be ready if management makes poor choices is vital now, so we want you to converse with another chapter member on the issues facing all of us this month.  Your department representative – you can find their name in our chapter website — would love to hear that you are ready to help us call some of your colleagues.  Or just join us in our zoom-based calling sessions on Tuesday afternoons at 4. Organizing colleagues  is meaningful and worthwhile.

Please let us know if you have questions, or special concerns or issues you think we should address.  You can reach us at JJayPSC@gmail.com

best wishes for a successful semester,

John & Zabby

Open letter on spring semester to Provost Li and President Mason, 24 January 2021.

Colleagues —    Below find a copy of a letter we sent earlier this afternoon to President Karol Mason and Provost Yi Li concerning the pandemic, its effects on our community, and the urgency of assuring course availability for our students this Spring semester. In light of the serious harm that can result from maintaining the minimum enrollment requirements, especially for online classes, we call for easing these restrictions at this critical moment for our college and our students. Please take a minute to read through the letter. 
 
If you agree with the thrust of the letter and what we are asking of the John Jay administration, please take a minute to forward it —or cut & paste— with any comments you think appropriate to President Mason (KMason@jjay.cuny.edu) and Provost Li (YiLi@jjay.cuny.edu).  If you do so, please copy us at jjaypsc@gmail.com.  Thank you for participating in this effort.
Open Letter on Spring Semester