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Vol. 35, No.1                                                      October 06, 2006


CUNY's Queen Abdicates!

The University Faculty Senate breathes

Professor Susan O'Malley, longtime member of the English Department at Kingsborough Community College and a former editor of/contributor to the Radical Teacher, has returned, kicking and screaming, to her teaching position after four years as chair of the University Faculty Senate. Many considered her service there to be embarrassing, unproductive and harmful to the university. Long-suffering members of the UFS' staff were so delighted that--according to some reports--they threw a party in celebration of her departure at an undisclosed location in Chelsea. Numerous senators were so overjoyed that they, too, gathered at a watering hole in the Garment District and celebrated with a toast, or so rumor has it. Over the years, Smilin' Susan embroiled the Senate in issues of no import nor interest, save to her and her ideological buddies. Both staff and senators realize that the end of Susan's reign of errors marks the beginning of era in which the UFS may again make positive, substantive contributions toward improving CUNY.

As a non-voting member of the Board of Trustees, the Queen of Released time was a regular presence at plenary and committee meetings. But between peddling whacky ideas and raising needless objections to issues pending before those bodies, Susan soon became a laughing stock. Members of the BoT avoided her, and ignored the insights that she brought to the table. While collecting a full professor's salary without teaching, and enjoying the perks of an office at 80th Street and staff to order around, the sum of Professor O'Malley's contribution to the University's educational mission was--in our judgment--a big ZERO. Perhaps she'll consider reimbursing New York 's taxpayers for the time and money that she has squandered.


Prior to her elevation to the Senate, the Queen was seldom seen on her home campus. She was far too busy politicking for more released time. But with the end of her senatorial perquisites, Smilin' Susan faced the grim prospect of teaching English to undergraduates. Again she began angling for ways to avoid work. Though an opportunity arose to become Department Chair, she had scant support among her colleagues. Susan needed to think fast!

Now sabbaticals are a good way to get away from the quotidian tasks of teaching. So, Susan applied research leave, with a rumored project on "Assessing My Experience as an Academic Leader." She was quite confident that no one at the college would dare deny sabbatical leave to a VIFSC (Very Important Former Senate Chair).

Susan's delusions of grandeur began to dissipate, however when Kingsborough's P&B Committee turned down the sabbatical request. What a disappointment for our Queen! On April 8th she fired out an angry interrogatory to the Senate Forum: "Have sabbaticals been denied on your campus for next year? ...My two spring sabbatical at half pay or possibly 80 percent pay was [sic] denied..."

Sadly, only a few of her former subjects deigned to reply. Susan gave some thought filing a grievance, but soon discovered that a sabbatical denial was not grieveable. She considered demonstrating in front of Chancellor Goldstein's residence or conducting a candlelight vigil at KCC President Regina Peruggi's house. But we've heard that even Barbara Bowen, her favorite protestor-in-arms, would not join in such a piqued picketing.


But not to worry. Even at public universities power has its privileges. The UFS, to whom the University grants reassigned time for presumably important work, has in the past rewarded outgoing chairs with released time. It seems that Susan's designated herself 6 to 8 hours of annual released time for the next few years. In addition, the Dear Leader Barbara Bowen may be doling out additional released time in return for harassing the Chancellor and BoT Chairman Schmidt. This should enable her to earn a full salary without carrying a full, 27-hour teaching load for yet another few years! Tho' she won't be chair, nor on sabbatical, she won't be covered in chalk dust, either.


Yet, how do we know that she will not shortchange KCC's students? In an effort to protect their right to a good education, we politely recommend that the college's administrators take the following steps:

  • In an effort to prevent Professor O'Malley from getting lost or missing class, a knowledgeable security officer should be assigned to reacquaint her with the campus. Special care should be taken around access points to the Atlantic Ocean.
  • A junior member of the English Department should be assigned to mentor her, and make her feel comfortable in her new surroundings. Special attention should be devoted to how to deliver lectures, write exams, and relate to students.
  • The chair should regularly send observers to Susan's classroom, to provide remediation in blackboard manners and question and answer techniques. Follow-up meetings with the chair should be scheduled, at which teaching-related traumas can be dealt with.


Our advice to the Queen, however, is more succinct: it is time to go! Most members of KCC's militant sisterhood, such as "Lady Chattery" Chase and Eva (the Duchess of Park Slope) Richter, have left the lecture halls in favor of senior centers. You should, too. After all, you're just about entitled to Social Security. A monthly check, added to a CUNY pension, will yield a tidy sum. Medicare, which will permit you to choose competent physicians, may be able to compensate for the benefits that your friends at the Welfare Fund have whittled away. The federal Prescription Drug Benefit sure beats the heck out of the PSC's deal with MEDCO. Thanks to the union's recent give-back contract--one you endorsed---taking retirement will be more lucrative than teaching. And remember, your majesty, being paid to stay at home is the ultimate mode of released time.


Sharad Karkhanis, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus

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