The New York Supreme Court upheld CUNY’s Pathways to Degree Completion Initiative (Pathways) and dismissed a lawsuit brought by CUNY’s faculty union that claimed the University violated the state’s open meeting laws and the CUNY bylaws.
“There is no evidence whatsoever that the procedures followed by CUNY to develop, approve and implement the Pathways Initiative were designed to circumvent the law,” wrote Justice Anil Singh in his decision.
“We are disappointed in the decision, but we are fully prepared to appeal,” said President of the Professional Staff Congress/CUNY Barbara Bowen in an e-mail to CUNY faculty. “Nothing in the legal decision changes the terrible impact Pathways is having on our students or the importance of our collective fight for a curriculum that offers a meaningful college education.”
Faculty also argued that Pathways dumbs down the educational requirements and turns the colleges into more vocational rather than liberal arts colleges.
But supporters of the Pathways initiative, like Acting Provost Panayiotis Meleties, hailed the court decision as a victory for students.
“It’s outrageous,“ said Meleties. “Most of the University has the same general requirements and each college chooses it’s own courses to put in.”
Meleties wants faculty to move beyond the lawsuit and focus on how to work with the Pathways guidelines.
“This outcome both affirms the authority of the CUNY Board of Trustees and recognizes the extensive faculty consultation involved in the initiative,” wrote CUNY’s Interim Chancellor William P. Kelly. “Singh’s statement that the plaintiff’s fundamental argument is ‘devoid of merit’ speaks for itself.”
This is the second decision made by Justice Singh that upheld Pathways. The first decision dismissed the argument that CUNY violated bylaws which give each college the ability to choose their own curriculum.
“Pathways is wrong for our students, it represents a betrayal of CUNY’s mission, and we will continue our resistance,” Bowen said. “We will continue our resistance.”