The Takeaway from NVC 13-268

by Lemuel Morrison, MBA 2012

Public Information
ZSB minutes of Faculty Meeting May 19th, 2011 where the AEF was introduced.
CUNY Board of Trustees Minutes June 27th, 2011 where the Baruch AEF was approved

On the evening of Monday, August 22nd Dean Elliot offered an open-ended and free-wheeling interview regarding the Academic Excellence Fee (AEF).  For an hour and half Dean Elliot answered my questions and discussed the AEF and fiscal constraints on the Zicklin School of Business (ZSB).  The technical staff videotaped the session. They are editing it now.  You will find it soon on the Graduate Baruchian.

Listed below are the takeaways that stuck with me:

  • The timing of the AEF was very unfortunate and he expressed sympathy and understanding at the stress and inconvenience the ill-timed AEF caused;
  • The AEF has been in the works for some time.  There is a governance procedure that the administration followed. All the steps were public and scheduled;
  • The Baruch administration made a decision to delay notification so that the tuition rise and AEF would be announced at the same time.  A legal action by undergraduates regarding the CUNY-wide tuition rise led to the decision to wait;
  • The AEF aims to address services that are lacking for the FT and PT students.  The intent is to bring the services to all the graduate students that are now available to the Honors class.  Honors students currently pay the $3,000 fee at the beginning of their program;
  • The administration will specifically direct some of the AEF towards reducing wait times at the GCMC and at the Academic Counseling office;
  • The Dean’s office and Frank Fletcher will put together a resource sheet for those who may have trouble meeting the sudden and unexpected fee; and
  • The Dean and others will meet with the GSA and will hold roundtable discussions in the coming semester.  The administration wants a continuing discussion. They will seek input on the most urgent services.

I felt he was earnest in his replies and that he and his staff are doing their best to improve a bad situation.  It is clear, though, there are raw emotions.  It’s understandable.  I share some of them.  However, the blame game is not productive.  There were plenty of missteps on the part of the administration and students.  The information was out there.  We just missed it. True the AEF was not “pushed” out, but that is the past.

Let’s channel that energy into steering how the administration uses the new funds.  Make sure you attend the roundtables and better yet, write about it.  Voice your opinion, influence the discussion and raise our profile. The Graduate  Baruchian is the conduit for that to happen.  This is an opportunity to develop and show leadership as we navigate difficult times and contentious issues.  I look forward hearing from you and helping to steer the discussion.

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Comments
2 Responses to “The Takeaway from NVC 13-268”
  1. Emily Rotella says:

    How about this: Show me a document that actually outlines how and when this fee will benefit students. And how it compares to full-time honors students. Don’t just charge me and promise that it will happen. If nothing gets implemented for the remainder of the time I am at the college, then why am I paying the fee?

    About the steps being public: So are the student evaluations of professors, so are the meeting minutes of the GSA , so are all the documents under the Freedom of Information Act. But the administration KNOWS that students would not be aware of this, because we don’t go reading all the minutes of all the various committees at the school. If they wanted us to know, they would have made announcements through the office of student life to make us aware.

    But instead of blaming the administration who I guess technically has no obligation to proactively inform us of this, let us look at our own engagement as students. Let us DEMAND that the administration communicate with us.

    If you are a student interested in making sure that we actually find out what goes on at the school, volunteer to sit on a committee so that you can know what is happening and report back to the wider student body. Email me at emily.rotella@baruchmail.cuny.edu.

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