Community Meeting: 5-5-10

President’s Community Meeting
Wednesday, May 5, 2010

President William P. Kelly spoke of upcoming challenges and positive developments at the community meeting on May 5. At the top of the agenda was the ongoing budget issue for the state. The House of Representatives and the Senate in Albany had not come to a consensus on a budget as of the date of the meeting, and were still attempting to resolve conflicting proposals. Kelly discussed the imminent possibility of the state government authorizing a one-day furlough for state workers.
The president noted that next year’s budget for the Graduate Center could bring some additional cuts, but nothing that will derail the institution. “What I think is clear is that CUNY will be looking at a difficult but not devastating budget for next year,” he said. “I think we will not be looking at drastic measures: certain kinds of belt-tightening, saying ‘no’ more often than we have in the past, and limiting long-term commitments, at least until things clarify.” Kelly did, however, express concern about the New York gubernatorial election in November 2010, which could bring budget cuts in the middle of the 2010–11 academic year.

Kelly went on to say that delegates from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education visited the Graduate Center on April 11, 12, and 13. At an open meeting on April 13, the head of the six-member team Dr. Charles Caramello read to gathered faculty, staff, and students the team’s exceptionally strong report, which was subsequently submitted as a formal report to the Commission. “The oral response from the team was positive,” Kelly said. “And the written document not only was in accordance with what they had to say, but there was a good deal of commending and saluting and celebrating along the way.” The formal report made certain suggestions, said Kelly, one of them being that the Graduate Center disseminate widely “Avoiding and Detecting Plagiarism,” a guide produced under the office of former Provost Linda Edwards; and another, that the Graduate Center formally identify a group of “aspirational” peers for benchmarking purposes, Kelly said.

The new housing project is also under way and will share grounds with CUNY’s Schools of Public Health and Social Welfare on the new East Harlem campus at 118th Street between Lexington and Third Avenues. Kelly announced that $15 million dollars has been raised, the needed equity amount to finance the building. “We hope to… turn the project into both an extremely important resource for our students and faculty and an endowment in concrete,” he said. “The revenue that it will generate will flow back into student and faculty support.” The eight-floor housing facility, six floors for students and two for faculty and postdoctoral fellows, will be completed and ready for occupancy in September 2011. Current students may sign up for apartments now.

The president concluded the meeting by announcing two spring community events: Employee Recognition Day, an annual breakfast event, will celebrate the services of employees and recent retirees on May 20; and the GC’s first evening commencement ceremonies will take place at 6 p.m. on June 2 at Avery Fisher Hall in Lincoln Center, with Morris Dickstein, distinguished professor of English and theatre at the GC, as commencement speaker.

Submitted on: MAY 5, 2010

Category: President's Office - Community Meeting