CCU, P.O. Box 286248, New York, NY 10128 

William P. Kelly, Ph.D.
President, Graduate Center
City University of New York
101 West 31st Street
New York, NY 10001

[March 30, 2011]

Dear Dr. Kelly:

I am writing to inquire about a situation of great concern to CUNY Contingents Unite (CCU), an organization that works to defend the interests of contingent faculty and other members of the most vulnerable sectors of the labor system at the City University of New York.

This letter was mandated by our organization’s March 25 membership meeting.
It has come to our attention that Stuart H. Adams, Jr., J.D. (aka Ajamu Sankofa), a member of the CCU’s Coordinating Committee, has been non-reappointed (dismissed) from his position as Urban Leadership Coordinator / Higher Education Assistant at the Murphy Institute for Worker Education and Labor Studies. Effective July 1 of this year, he is to lose the position he has held since May 2007 at the Murphy Institute, which is part of CUNY’s School of Professional Studies.

Mr. Sankofa’s notice of non-reappointment came shortly after the termination of another leading African American staff member at the Murphy Institute: Dr. Jill Humphries, Urban Studies Program Manager / Higher Education Associate. Dr. Humphries, hired in mid-2010, was suspended and then terminated in early January 2011.

Our particular interest and concern regarding this matter stem from several factors, among them:

1) As noted above, Mr. Sankofa is an elected officer of CUNY Contingents Unite.
2) The objectives of our organization include attaining “real job security and due process for HEOs” (Higher Education Officers). Both Dr. Humphries and Mr. Sankofa are members of the HEO job category.
3) The CCU is committed to helping overcome “the racial stratification in employment at CUNY,” as the situation has rightly been characterized by the Professional Staff Congress. As active members of our union, we are alarmed that, in the words of the PSC Clarion (September 2009), “[t]he higher up one goes in the hierarchy of job titles – in terms of pay, presitige, authority and job security – the whiter the composition of the workforce.”
Thus, we are deeply concerned at the dismissal of two prominent, widely respected and highly placed African American staff members, trade unionists and community activists from a CUNY institute whose stated mission is to offer “educational opportunities to union members to meet their career advancement and personal growth needs” and serve as “an academic resource on issues of concern to the labor movement.”
We look forward to your early response to the concerns expressed in this letter regarding the dismissal of Jill Humphries and Ajamu Sankofa.

Sincerely,

S. Sándor John, Ph.D.
for the Coordinating Committee
CUNY Contingents Unite

cc:
Matthew Goldstein, Ph.D.
Chancellor, City University of New York
535 East 80th Street
New York, NY 10075

Jay Hershenson
Senior Vice Chancellor for University Relations and
Secretary of the Board of Trustees
City University of New York
Office of the Chancellor
535 East 80th Street
New York, NY 10075

John Mogulescu
Senior University Dean of Academic Affairs
Dean of the CUNY School of Professional Studies
101 West 31st Street
New York, NY 10001

Ydanis A. Rodriguez
Councilman, District 10
Chair, Committee on Higher Education
New York City Council
618 West 17th Street, Ground Floor
New York, NY 10033

Deborah J. Glick
Chair, Higher Education Committee
New York State Assembly
853 Broadway, Suite 1518
New York, NY 10003

Herman Farrell, Jr.
Chair, Finance and Ways and Means Committee
New York State Assembly
2541-55 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd.
New York, NY 10039

Barbara Bowen, Ph.D.
President, Professional Staff Congress
61 Broadway, 15th Floor
New York, NY 10006

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