Vol. 16, No. 1                                                                                             April 1, 2000






     And NOT



      Never before in the history of New York City's unions were members given a clearer choice in selecting their next President as in this upcoming PSC election. No member can even think of voting for King Richard, the do-nothing Vice President who cannot claim even one single accomplishment of his own during the last five years as V.P.of the PSC. No one can even dare to place his/her fate (the health benefits, pensions, and above all future salaries) in the hands of a childish, immature, pompous man who could not, for a quarter of a century, even elevate himself from the rank of an assistant professor at York College of CUNY ( not Harvard, Yale or the Ivy League colleges of the East). How can Boris even think of becoming a president of a union of distinguished faculty which has all through its ranks and units members with doctorates from very reputable institutions of higher education and remarkable records of publications? He comes from a second tier institution (Indiana State) whose graduate program in his discipline is rated as twenty-one in the thirty-four schools. He is so lazy that we believe that his only publication during his long tenure at York was a three-quarter of a page book review. Is this the caliber of individual CUNY faculty deserve as their president to take them all into the 21st Century?

     Compare him to the feisty young lady from Queens, Barbara Bowen, a flower child of the sixties, a Yale graduate, an intellectual and a scholar in her own right (numerous scholarly publications) with boundless energy, enthusiasm and unending passion for correcting ills in CUNY. Barbara won two successive three-year terms as a Chapter Chair at Queens, and during her six-year tenure she fought against retrenchments, handled grievances and cared for the environment on the campus. She does not escape to Paris, Las Vegas, or Oneonta. She is there for her members when they need her.

      Let's look at the vice-presidential candidates on both slates, JoAnn Graham on lazy Richard's slate and Steve London on workaholic Bowen's slate. JoAnn, who has all the attributes of an actress, is from Bronx Community College, one of CUNY's smallest community colleges. She was discovered by Richard at a Chapter meeting and she popped up on the PSC scene as a treasurer, with no experience whatsoever in the PSC. Her total experience in the PSC leadership is a little over two years. She does have an earned doctorate, and according to our research, she coauthored a book, published twenty-one years ago and has a two- page article in a Bulletin published twenty-three years ago. What does she do? She presents the Treasurer's Report prepared by the auditors to the Delegate Assembly once a month, makes presentations about welfare benefits on the campuses and attends the Executive Committee meetings. Oh yes, she does go to conferences in Miami, Las Vegas and New Orleans. Steve London of the New Caucus, on the other hand, with his earned doctorate and two books (The Re-education of the American Working Class, N. Y.:Greenwood, 1990, 289p. and People, Power and Politics, Simon & Schuster, 8th ed., 1998, 630p.) and numerous articles in such journals as Policy Studies Journal, has over the years shown maturity and foresight in his role on the Delegate Assembly and as the Chapter Chair. As a former member of the Brooklyn College faculty, this author knows too well that members of the Brooklyn College faculty are too sophisticated to elect a flunky as their Chapter Chair. If Brooklyn College faculty can trust Steve for two three-year successive terms as Chapter Chair, we can trust him to be Vice President of the Union, especially when we know that Irwin Polishook coronated King Boris, the obscure Assistant Professor from York, as Vice President when Boris had no union experience whatsoever.

       As for the positions of Treasurer and Secretary, Dr. John Hyland and Dr. Cecila McCall of the New Caucus have much more to offer to the membership than do-nothing Dr. Ruth Frisz and Assistant to the President Mr. Carlos Hargraves of the Unity Caucus. While McCall is far more active, well informed on issues affecting CUNY and has courage to confront the problems head-on, Frisz appears to present a picture of a perfect lady well steeped into etiquette, manners, and what is proper, but showing no signs of accomplishing any specific goals for the PSC. While Assistant to the President Hargraves boasts about his seven years of lobbying in Albany and at City Hall, he fails to tell us exactly what he has accomplished for the PSC membership aside from telling us that he entertains one or two legislators at his home. If he is such a big shot lobbyist, often visiting Albany and staying at the Hilton and the Marriot at your expense, how come we have not made any improvements in CUNY budgets, or bettered salaries and fringe benefits for our faculty. Dr. Hyland, the New Caucus nominee for the Treasurer, is unquestionably a much superior candidate. Throughout his career he was devoted to the betterment of the plight of labor and has given extensively of his time and training to union activities. Hargraves, by any measure, falls far short of Hyland in terms of academic credentials, experience and commitment to the issues of concern of the membership.

      As for the members of the Executive Committee on the Unity Caucus, one has to be extremely disappointed that the Unity Caucus has selected, in large measure, the same old, tired cronies of Irwin Polishook who refuse to infuse new blood, new ideas and new programs. This is more or less the status quo Executive Committee of Irwin Polishook, mostly in their late 60s, who will gather around a round table like in an old-age nursing home, and rubberstamp Boris' dicta. They will give him the comfort of saying "Yes Sir," in exchange for some freebies, such as released time, free sandwiches, potato chips and soda before the Executive Committee meetings. Perhaps also a dinner in a nearby Greek restaurant before the Delegate Assembly (top officers, however, disappear and head for chick restaurants) or an air/ train ticket to a conference in another city where members are forced to share rooms with their colleagues while the top officers enjoy the luxury of suites. Members of the New Caucus Executive Committee, on the other hand, appear to be young, articulate, and full of vigor. They will not doze or snore during the meetings nor will they be cowed by the leadership or bought off for cheap returns. They will disagree with the leadership when they need to.

      TIME FOR A CHANGE: After a quarter of a century the time has come to throw out the old guards of Polishook cronies and replace them with the new leadership, fresh ideas and renewed energies. All unions, both local and national are undergoing changes of leadership. We must do so too in order to reinvigorate this semi-dead union which allowed itself to be pushed around much too long by the CUNY management.

      CONFLICT OF INTEREST: No matter which way you look at it, legally, politically, or common sense wise, it is wrong, wrong, wrong to have an Assistant to the President as one of the top officers of the union. To select Carlos Hargraves, Assistant to the Hostos Community College President, as Treasurer represents monumental stupidity on Boris' part, especially in light of the fact that there are almost 1,600 hard working well qualified HEO's in CUNY and any one of them who are not Assistant to the President could have accepted his invitation to be on the team. How can Boris develop plans for negotiating a contract when a management confidant is privy to his negotiating strategy? If Boris does not understand this simple yet extremely important issue of conflict of interest, he is not capable of negotiating anything for you. He is just not qualified to be President of our union.

      COMPETENCE: As stated in previous issues of The Patriot, the experience of all four top officers does not exceed ten years in the PSC leadership. Boris' tenure as Vice President has been severely marred by accusations of not showing up for work, frequent journeys to romantic Paris, and even a call for his resignation by the CUUC's inner circle. His failure to be in touch with his members, not responding to telephone inquiries, losing the 1999 chapter elections including York, his own college, to the New Caucus; and the absence of a single notable accomplishment on his part, have made it impossible for us to say that Boris is anything but incompetent. To elect him as the President is to invite disaster for our Union.

      COMMITMENT: It is widely known within the CUUC circle that King Richard had no confidence in the PSC and that he did not join the union until Oct. 1992, even though he had been a member of the faculty since early 1970s. Sources tell us that he rushed to join the union just before he became the Chapter Chair at York in 1993. Can we call this a "commitment" to the Union? Or is this opportunism? Sources have also told us that King Richard boasted about his influence in the Chancellory by saying that if he is defeated in this election for the presidency, he has been promised an important position at 80th street. Is this the kind of commitment one should expect from a candidate running for the presidency of the PSC? Of course not. Richard is for himself, selfish and self centered.

      ABILITY TO UNITE: Despite the fact that Boris heads the slate called "Unity Caucus" he has been more successful in dividing the Caucus and the PSC leadership than in uniting it during his five years as V.P. According to reliable sources, if you put your ear to the ground, you will hear that Boris the pompous does not talk, he barks at people. Sources have told us that he has been loud, nasty and arrogant at some of the meetings. By not giving proper representation to senior colleges on his top slate, he has alienated the senior college faculty. By giving two top spots to non-teaching members, he has ignored and offended the teaching faculty. As stated in the last Patriot, he has offended and enraged the CUUC leadership to the point that a number of them have already fled the Caucus. It appears that even his Benefactor, Irwin Polishook, has nothing to do with Boris the pompous. If Boris could not unite his Caucus behind him, how can he unite the CUNY faculty against the management's steady encroachments on faculty rights and privileges? Without question, Boris is unfit to be the leader of this Union.

      ISSUES: There is only one issue in this election, and that is the following: do you want to continue with the lethargic incoherent leadership of an incompetent Boris, or do you want change by giving a chance to these energized fairly well organized, well intentioned and committed individuals of the New Caucus? Remember,

      If Queens College's sophisticated faculty can trust and elect Barbara Bowen to be Chapter Chair for two successive three-year terms, we can all trust her as the President of the PSC.

      If Brooklyn College's outstanding faculty can trust and elect Steve London for two three-year terms as their Chapter Chair, we can certainly trust his abilities and leadership as Vice President of the PSC.

      If City, Baruch, Hunter, Borough of Manhattan, LaGuardia and other units of CUNY can trust the leadership of the New Caucus, we can be confident that the New Caucus will work in the interest of all members of the PSC. It's time for change.

PS: Dear CUUC Caucus Colleagues: not blame the Patriot for Boris defeat. Blame Dr. Irwin Polishook for forcing the Exec.Comm. to accept incompetent Boris as V. P and refusing to replace him despite the protests.

Dear New Caucus Colleagues: Remember that if the New Caucus is elected, and we hope it will be, it must focus on the issues directly affecting the welfare of the CUNY faculty. The Patriot is not going away. I am not retiring.

Make a few copies for your colleagues.

Editor: Sharad Karkhanis, Ph.D. Kingsborough Community College,
Brooklyn, N.Y. 11235 (718-368-5149)

Sharad Karkhanis


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