Update on the Fight at QCC

It’s good to see that Pathways, and the fight over curricular redesign, is getting some much need attention in the media.  This morning, the New York Times has a story outlining the drama at Queensborough Community College which the Advocate reported on this past Saturday, and which Angus Johnston picked up and ran with shortly thereafter. In its coverage, the Times reports that QCC’s Vice President Karen Steele, who had issued an email at the end of last week making clear the school’s intention of retaliating against English Department faculty for voting against a proposal to strip down basic course  requirements, was busily walking things back. “In a follow-up e-mail Monday afternoon, Dr. Steele apologized for the earlier message, and said the outcomes it mentioned were hypothetical.” The story goes on to note that Diane Call, the interim president of QCC, “said Dr. Steele’s original e-mail was not an ultimatum, but members of the department saw it differently. ‘I understood it as a threat,’ Professor Humphries said. ‘As saying you have the right to vote however way you feel as long as it’s what we tell you. Honestly, I felt a little like I was being asked to vote for Raul Castro or Ahmedinijad.’

In Dr. Steele’s follow-up e-mail Monday, she said she regretted the earlier message, “primarily because it was needlessly hurtful to members of the English department and to other faculty as well.” “It was an e-mail sent in haste, out of an over-dramatized fear of the possible impact on the department,” she said. Dr. Steele said that the college would work to make sure faculty members had “plenty of classes to teach.”

Still. Steele underscored her commitment to the reforms mandated by the Pathways initiative, saying that “as a member of CUNY, we have the responsibility to comply with the board’s policy and the guidelines issued under it.” Factulty at QCC disagree, and will meet tomorrow to discuss, and likely reject, the possibility of voting again in reconsideration of the proposal.  More as it develops…

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