CUNY

CUNY’s Love Affair with Violent Radicals

The choice of Linda Sarsour, an Arab-American activist, as a commencement speaker at CUNY’s School of Public Health last Spring generated much-heated debate. Good. Speech and counter-speech shed welcome light on the views of controversial figures. That Sarsour once advocated violence against a political opponent – stating that Ayaan Hirsi Ali needed an “ass-whipping” and […]

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CUNY Union Calls for Faculty to Teach Controversial Anti-Trump ‘Resistance’

Imagine if the CUNY administration had issued a general message to all CUNY faculty last year, asking them to “teach resistance” in one of their classes, to focus a “discussion of the [Obama] administration policies relevant to their subject.” Such a move would have been seen as a clear transgression of academic freedom and would have […]

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How Governor Andrew Cuomo Is Weakening CUNY

I’ve worked at CUNY under four governors—George Pataki, Elliot Spitzer, David Paterson, and Andrew Cuomo. Pataki (and state Senate Republicans) didn’t allocate to the institution sufficient funding. But he was by far the best governor of the four for CUNY. Pataki appointed a superbly-qualified chairman of the Board of Trustees, Benno Schmidt. He named other […]

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Serious student

Faculty Unions and the Problem of Adjuncts

With the demise of the Friedrichs case, with the post-Scalia Supreme Court giving a 4-4 victory to organized labor, it seems likely that the faculty unions that currently exist at public universities will survive. At the same time, the increasing number of adjuncts creates a potentially awkward situation: should faculty unions equally seek to represent […]

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CUNY’s Faculty Union and the First Amendment

The Supreme Court will consider two key cases relating to higher education this term. Fisher could curtail the use of racial preferences in admissions. Friedrichs could require higher-education unions to represent only those members who agree with the union’s usefulness. As currently structured, public employee unions, including those at colleges and universities, must refund the portion […]

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Postmodernism Comes to CUNY

It’s easy to mock the sheer silliness of postmodernism. But the pretensions of our present-day sophists, who traffic in knowingness as opposed to knowledge, have wormed their way off campus and into American life. No evidence, no logic is required to take a position on any issue since everything is merely about story telling backed by […]

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Politics and the Race/Class/Gender Trinity

My City University of New York colleague David Gordon has penned a convincing analysis about the current state of history in higher education. I share, and fully endorse, his critique about the direction of the field, with the vise-grip of the race/class/gender trinity “distort[ing] historical enquiry.” Stressing above all else victimization and oppression poorly serves […]

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More Rumblings at CUNY

I’ve written before about the Pathways plan, a sensible proposal  to create  a common core curriculum at the City University of New York (CUNY). It has been sponsored by the administration of Chancellor Matthew Goldstein and approved by the CUNY Board of Trustees. The extraordinary–and student-unfriendly–process that currently exists at CUNY contradicts the vision of […]

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Why Are There Still Preferences for Women?

Using federal statistics, Laura Norén has prepared a series of graphics showing gender distribution among recent recipients of undergraduate, M.A., and Ph.D./professional degrees. The charts are visually striking, especially since all three sets of charts show movement in an identical direction. According to Norén, by 2020, women are projected to earn 61 percent of all […]

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Where the White/Jewish Category Leads

A few weeks ago, controversy erupted after a diversity report prepared by two CUNY committees identified a “White/Jewish” category among the university’s faculty. (There was and is absolutely no reason to believe that this new designation reflected the thinking of either Chancellor Matthew Goldstein or the Board of Trustees, nor was there any reason to […]

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“Pinkwashing” Comes to CUNY

In a region in which the laws of many countries punish homosexuality with lengthy criminal sentences or even death, Israel’s laws and history stand out. Indeed, by virtually any measurement, Israel’s gay rights record far exceeds that of the United States. Decades before the Supreme Court’s Lawrence v. Texas decision, Israel had decriminalized homosexuality. During […]

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CUNY’s Self-Censoring Professors

How academic activists approach Iran is one of the more intriguing aspects of the groupthink-oriented academy. On the one hand, Iran is an enemy of Israel (the scourge of many campus activists) and a frequent target of U.S. foreign policy, which generally enjoys scant support in humanities and most social sciences departments. On the other, […]

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Affirmative Action Starts to Unravel

Listen closely and you can hear the sound of “diversity” crumbling, this week mixed with laughter over the news that the City University of New York has created two more official diversity groups–“white/Jewish” and “Italian-Americans.” Critics of the new Jewish category claim that “the creation of a label for Jewish professors could be used to […]

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New Diversity Groups at CUNY: ‘White/Jewish’ and ‘Italian-American’

It’s “diversity” in higher education gone mad: An embarrassed City University of New York system (CUNY) yesterday hastily denied a report that it had set up a separate “minority” designation for its Jewish faculty. As CUNY professors joked about “yellow stars” for their Jewish colleagues and Jewish Press columnist Yori Yanover wrote that CUNY’s chancellor, […]

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A Stage-Managed, Occupy-Like Protest at CUNY

A central mantra of the PSC–the City University of New York’s hapless faculty union–is a complaint about defunding CUNY, as part of an alleged plot (by whom and for what reason we never learn) to “defund” public higher education. Yet over the past several months, the most aggressive advocates of “defunding” CUNY have been none […]

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A Union’s War on University Quality

The recent story of the City University of New York is a tale of CUNY leadership making a series of bold and positive moves, and having each one blocked or opposed by leadership of the faculty union. The current PSC leaders opposed the Board of Trustees’ courageous (and at the time, highly controversial) plan to […]

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A Struggle to Reform the CUNY Curriculum

There have been two interesting, if somewhat under the radar, higher education developments recently in New York City. First, on Tuesday, the CUNY Board of Trustees continued its consideration of the administration’s proposed general-education curriculum plan, called Pathways. The proposal calls for a mandatory 30 credits of core offerings for all CUNY students, divided between […]

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“OccupyCUNY” Fails

Commendably, the trustees of the City University of New York refused to bow to intimidation, and put the best interests of the university first by approving, in a 15-1 vote, a new tuition structure. The new policy grants CUNY the authority to raise tuition by $300 annually for the next five years. The decision, of […]

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The Embarrassment of “OccupyCUNY”

A few weeks ago, I attended a presentation on the state of the university by CUNY chancellor Matthew Goldstein. In the Q&A session, a student asked Goldstein for his opinion on sympathy-protests with Occupy Wall Street that had sprung up on various CUNY campuses. Goldstein gave what seemed to me a reasonable answer. He said […]

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Three Strong Views of the Kushner Affair

Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME) displayed a fascinating range of opinion over the recent City University of New York decision to award Tony Kushner an honorary degree. First the Board of the group issued a statement deploring the award as “politicization of the university.” This drew a vehement letter denouncing the SPME […]

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The Usual Suspects Attack a Reformer

Today’s New York Post features a strong editorial praising the work of CUNY chancellor Matthew Goldstein, whose record of improving quality over the past decade is virtually unparalleled among university heads nationally. The Chancellor’s proposal, called Pathways, seeks to establish common general-education requirements at CUNY’s senior and community colleges, largely to smooth the transfer process […]

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Kushner and His Defenders–the Empire Strikes Back

The New York Times reports that on Monday, the executive committee of the City University of New York Board of Trustees will likely approve Tony Kushner for an honorary degree. If I were on the board, I’d endorse the position articulated by Trustee Jeffrey Wiesenfeld and oppose the motion. It seems to me hypocritical, as […]

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CUNY Trustees Stand Up Against Faculty’s Anti-Israel Sentiments

Over the past year, it seems as if faculty at the City University of New York have done everything they can to make it seem as if hostility to Israel is the institution‘s official policy. First came Brooklyn College‘s decision to assign as the one and only required book for all incoming students a book […]

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More Nonsense from Brooklyn College’s Designated Author

As I noted previously, controversy has greeted Brooklyn College’s mandating that all freshmen and transfer students read one and only one book, Moustafa Bayoumi’s How Does It Feel to Be a Problem? Being Young and Arab in America. The book opens with vignettes of young Arab-Americans, whose details are impossible to independently verify and thus […]

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Brooklyn College Assigns a Book

My home institution, Brooklyn College, has been receiving some bad press as of late, after the dean and the English Department required that all incoming and transfer students read Moustafa Bayoumi’s How Does It Feel to Be a Problem? Being Young and Arab in America. Jewish Week quoted from one of the courageous voices on […]

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Unfettering New York’s Public Universities

Fiscally beleaguered presidents of public universities around the country like to wisecrack: “public universities used to be publicly funded, then they were publicly assisted, now they are publicly named.” While easy to dismiss as a self-serving whine, there is something to their complaint, at least as it applies to the two public university systems in […]

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The Curious Case of Dr. Howell

By KC Johnson As part of its more general—and oft-expressed—commitment to academic freedom, CUNY’s Board of Trustees has a student complaint policy that appropriately balances the faculty’s academic freedom with a recognition that students, too, have the right not to be punished for disagreeing with their professor’s political or ideological agenda. To ensure that student […]

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The Times Misleads Its Readers about CUNY

On Friday, New York Times education reporter Lisa Foderaro penned a curious article about City University of New York Chancellor Matthew Goldstein. The substance was clear: to quote Terry Hartle of the American Council of Education, Goldstein’s “compensation, while a significant amount of money, is relatively modest for the best public university presidents in the […]

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The Embarrassing Barron of New York

By and large, Christine Quinn has done a commendable job as New York City Council speaker, working cooperatively with Mayor Michael Bloomberg and constraining the more extreme members of her caucus, which is no easy task in a city like New York. Yet she now has a decision that will help define her legacy—whether to […]

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College Students Who Can’t Do Math Or Read Well

By Sandra Stotsky and Ze’ev Wurman Every year seems to produce a burst of attention to a particular crisis in education. In 2009, the most publicized crisis is likely the staggering number of post-secondary students with severe debilities in reading and math. Estimates of those needing remedial classes before taking credit courses range from 30% […]

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