On March 14, 2018, many students, parents, and teachers participated in a major coordinated action of a student-led movement for gun control. I want to express my support to the many students who participated; these peaceful protests were supported by elected officials, parents, and teachers. I applaud their public statements and hope that these efforts will make a real difference in our country.

On our own campus, we are taking measures to ensure that the campus community is prepared for emergency situations. We have ensured that membership is up-to-date for our three safety committees – Workplace Violence, Campus Safety, and CARES. The Chief of Staff and Deputy to the President, Hope Berte, will lead an initiative to assess and address issues of emergency egress from classrooms and offices, which includes assessing the functionality of windows and door-locking mechanisms. Once the assessment is complete, we will estimate a cost associated with necessary repairs. My intention is to take this cost assessment and make a case to CUNY for emergency funding.

As I reported last month, we are ending a tough budget year with significant budget cuts. Even though we are projecting a reduced year-end deficit, it is in the best interest of the College to end the year with a positive CUTRA in an effort to enable the College to roll remaining money from one fiscal year to the next. As I mentioned last month, ending with a flat or negative CUTRA will adversely affect the College. For example, last year, we were unable to automatically roll over faculty start-up funds and late fiscal-year awards. Instead, we were forced to use funds from this year’s budget.

While negotiations are currently underway in Albany for the 2018-2019 State-enacted budget, preliminary indications are that next year’s fiscal outlook points to healthier financial times for both CSI and CUNY. In addition to supporting the executive budget, the legislature has produced its own budget proposal that adds programs like ASAP, Child Care, College Discovery, Community College Base Aid, Capital CAP Critical Expansion, the Labor Contingency Reserve, the Murphy Institute, the SRO Pipeline Program at The Graduate Center, and SEEK back into the budget.

I’ve met with the Institutional Planning Committee (IPC) to discuss the structure for the Campus Retreat, which will focus on presentations and discussions about the budget. I urge you all to attend the Campus Retreat on Friday, April 20, 2018 from 10:00am to 3:00pm in the Campus Center Green Dolphin Lounge. This is an opportunity for the campus community to understand and recognize our current fiscal outlook and budget, thus far, followed by a collaborative session to discuss how we can move ahead with our new Strategic Plan while taking our current resources into consideration.

Last month, the College Council voted on a new Governance Plan, which fell short of the necessary two-thirds majority votes. With the results leading 48 in favor (7 no, 3 abstain, and 28 absent), the positive tally led me to proceed with a referendum, pursuant to Article V, Section 1 of the current Governance Plan. The proposed Governance Plan is the product of several years of work and it is considerably improved compared to the existing plan. It is a comprehensive plan that creates several committees, including the Academic Facilities Committee, the Academic Freedom Committee, the Academic Technology Committee, and the Faculty Personnel Policy Committee, as well as new provisions related to the composition of the Divisions, Schools, and Programs and Election Procedures for the Council and Other Bodies.

The referendum is open until Monday, March 19at 5:00pm. Targeted emails will be sent out to all faculty and staff who are eligible to vote. It is important for everyone to vote.

Provost Gary Reichard will be retiring at the end of this calendar year. Provost Reichard joined CSI in July 2015. I deeply appreciate the time and energy that the Provost has dedicated to making CSI an even better institution than when he arrived. I also appreciate that he is extending his departure by more than six months to allow for a smooth transition. Dr. Reichard will continue to serve as a resource to the College as needed.

I am committed to having a full national search and will engage one of the most highly regarded national search firms for academic searches. The firm will visit the campus in April to talk to various constituents and to meet with the search committee. I would like the committee to develop a job description that is ready to post on June 1. This will ensure that the search firm will be on track to recruit over the summer and present applicants to the search committee by September.

In closing, I hope that everyone will join us on April 20, 2018 at the Campus Retreat.