Hearing on Hunter Childcare Cuts
- allow time for metal detector line at court
- see also youtube film link below
NYS Supreme Court Hearing on Hunter Childcare Cuts
Thursday, June 17, 2010
2:00pm - 3:30pm
60 Centre Street- Room 422
Yes, the struggle continues.......
Defend Parents' Right to Education!
SAY NO to Childcare Cuts at Hunter!
New York State Supreme Court Hearing on Childcare Cuts
Thursday, June 17 @ 2pm
60 Centre St Room 422
Take 4,5,6 train to Brooklyn Bridge/ City Hall
Judge Orders New Court Date on Hunter Childcare Case: June 17, 2010
Press Contacts: Angela Molfetas (646) 331-1041 Luz Schreiber (917) 628-9751
April 12, 2010 – On April 8, 2010, the New York State Supreme Court directed that it would hear oral arguments in a case challenging Hunter College’s proposed plans to reduce childcare space and services to students with children. Judge Emily Jane Goodman adjourned the case to give Plaintiffs time to respond to Defendants’ motion to dismiss the case. The next court hearing will be June 17, 2010 at 2:15 p.m. in room 422 at 60 Centre Street.
CUNY’s childcare centers are run by separate not-for-profit corporations governed by boards of directors, often controlled almost entirely by CUNY administrators. This corporate structure enables CUNY to be free from many liabilities and at the same time grants it control over the governance of the childcare centers. Documents obtained through the Freedom Of Information Law since the lawsuit was filed reveal that the current version of the Board of Directors of Hunter’s Children’s Learning Center (the Center) is made up entirely of CUNY administrators and administrative employees who answer to President Jennifer Raab and have to regulate the Center for the benefit of CUNY and Hunter College, not the student parents and their children. Plaintiffs’ attorneys called the structure of the Center an illegal conflict of interest.
Plaintiffs intend to file an amended complaint before the next court date incorporating challenges to the Children’s Learning Center’s recent governance, calling it conflicted, irresponsible, and marred by breaches of corporate and contractual duties. The entire board of directors of the Children’s Learning Center is composed of Hunter College administrators or administrative employees, in violation of New York State’s conflict of interest law (Public Officers’ Law § 74).
Hunter College, a historically women’s school, first proposed to close the fourth classroom of the Children’s Learning Center (room 209) last year in May when the chair of the Center’s board, Vice President and Dean of Students Eija Ayravianen, announced that classroom 209, the current home of the center’s school-age program, would be permanently removed from the Center. After student-parents protested, she explained to them that “childcare is a luxury” in June of 2009. The Board has been operating without an outside representative from the Department of Education, in violation of its own By-Laws. The minutes of the Board of Directors’ meetings, plaintiffs say, show a pattern of irresponsibility and lack of care for the Center’s operations and future.
Two student-parents sued in December of 2009 on their behalf, on behalf of their children, and on behalf of a student-parent advocacy organization at Hunter to stop construction that was announced in November of 2009, arguing that the loss of the classroom would cause irreparable harm to the Center’s quality, affordable, on-site childcare, early education, and related services, including by reducing the Center’s capacity.
The plaintiffs say that Hunter administrators muzzled the Center’s Director, who has run the Center for its 26 years, by retaliating against her in 2009 for sharing a memo with student-parents outlining the adverse impacts the loss of classroom 209 would cause to the Center. Among the “Issues/Concerns” identified in the document were the loss of staff members and student-parents who would be denied childcare in the future. Every teacher and employee of the Center, except the director, signed a statement opposing the loss of room 209.
The parents’ lawyers, Ronald B. McGuire and Gideon Orion Oliver, have argued that the decision to close the classroom was arbitrary, capricious, and illegal, based in part on provisions of Hunter’s contract with the CLC requiring that the Center provide winter intersession classes and that CUNY maintain the physical integrity of the Center’s space. They also say that CUNY has violated a Memorandum of Understanding it maintains with New York State regulating the conditions under which CUNY can receive and spend public welfare money. The Memorandum of Understanding requires that CUNY establish grievance procedures and advise those who apply for or receive subsidized childcare services of, among other things, their rights to fair hearings before state administrative law judges before childcare services are substantially reduced.
CUNY has argued that the student-parents have not been, and will not be, actually injured unless and until a student-parent applies for a childcare slot and is denied for lack of space, that Hunter has the right to decide what to do with its physical property, and that student-parents have no contractual or any other right to childcare at Hunter.
Oral arguments will be heard on June 17, 2010 at 2:15 p.m. in Room 422 at 60 Centre Street.
Last March, CUNY’s Film Festival featured a documentary on the campaign to defend the physical integrity of Hunter’s Childcare Center. “A Light for Childcare” was made by Hunter film student and parent Andres Otero and is available for public viewing here: