Monthly Archives: January 2011

Troubling Academic Freedom Case at Brooklyn College

February 1, 2011 UPDATE: It has been announced on Democracy Now that Brooklyn College has reversed its decision and rehired the professor.  Good sense and academic freedom prevails!

An adjunct professor at Brooklyn College was fired for his “pro-Palestinian” views.  Academic Freedom watchdog group FIRE protests the president on his behalf.  Here’s the link to the Brooklyn College case.

The Pratt collective bargaining agreement between the administration and faculty contains an article (article III) guaranteeing academic freedom, which reads:

III.1 Academic and professional freedom, creativity, and constructive dissent are essential to the functioning of the Institute as well as being a fundamental working condition. The Institute serves its community as an open intellectual forum where varying shades of opinion may be freely expressed and fairly debated.

III.2 Academic freedom shall include free discussion of material relevant to a course that a faculty member has been assigned to teach consistent with the published syllabus and established curriculum.

III.3 Faculty members are entitled to full freedom in research, creation of personal works and the publication of the results. The creation of these works is not to interfere with the satisfactory performance of responsibilities to the Institute.

III.4 Teachers are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing their subject, but they should not introduce into their teaching controversial matter that has no relation to their subject. Teachers are citizens, members of a learned profession, and officers of an educational institution. When they speak or write as citizens, they should be free from institutional censorship or discipline, but this special position in the community imposes special obligations. As men and women of learning and educational officers, they should remember that the public may judge their profession and their institution by their utterances. Hence they at all times should be accurate, should exercise appropriate restraint, should show respect for the opinions of others and for the established policy of their institution, and when properly identifying themselves to outside audiences as associated with the Institute should clearly indicate that they are not institutional spokespeople unless specifically commissioned to serve in such a capacity.

III.5 Academic freedom is inseparable from professional responsibility and ethics. Academic responsibility of the faculty shall include teaching effectiveness and professional competence.

III.6 Notwithstanding the foregoing, in those cases where a faculty member’s research or other work is sponsored through the Institute, the faculty member will not engage in conduct that is contrary to or inconsistent with any agreement between the Institute and the sponsoring entity.


Report from Election Committee, December 2010

TO:                  MEMBERS OF THE PRATT FACULTY UNION

FROM:            PRATT FACULTY UNION ELECTIONS COMMITTEE

RE:                   UNION EXECUTIVE OFFICES NOMINATIONS AND ELECTIONS

The faculty union elections committee met on Tuesday, December 14, 2010 and reviewed the nominations for president, vice-president, secretary and treasurer.

There were a total of 22 nominating forms sent to us.  Each form had a line for nominating president, vice-president, secretary and treasurer.

Individual nominations were declared invalid because there was either no contact          number for the nominator or for the nominee.  The invalid nominations are as follows:

8          for president

4          for vice-president

3          for secretary

3          for treasurer

The valid nominations are as follows:

14        Kye Carbone for president

11        Suzanne Verderber for vice-president

11        Holly Wilson for secretary

11        Anne Turyn for treasurer

Because there were valid nominations for only one candidate for each office an election will not be necessary.  Therefore the faculty union elections committee declares each of the four nominees the winner of the election for their respective offices.

If any Pratt Faculty Union member wishes to review the nomination forms and the nominating rules they can contact the union office and arrange a time to review them in the presence of a member of the elections committee.

Sincerely, the members of the faculty union elections committee

James Costanzo

Kathryn Filla

Daniel Gerzog

Martin Skalski