I join with the many students, faculty, labor leaders and elected officials who call upon Brooklyn College President Karen Gould to restore the Graduate Center for Worker Education to its full academic glory as a leading graduate program for New York’s working class. The GCWE developed generations of labor, legal, academic and political leaders and activists for over 30 years.
The recent tragic destruction of the Graduate Center for Worker Education and the wholesale purging of progressive faculty, staff and graduate students is an unconscionable assault on an invaluable urban working class institution. Brooklyn College also ended its support for the Center’s esteemed peer review journal “Working USA”. Reminiscent of the McCarthy era, under the pretext of administratively prosecuting Professor Joseph Wilson, and tellingly, without any substantiated legal or administrative findings, Brooklyn College used the attack as a cover to dismantle the Worker Education program.
The long list of distinguished scholars associated with the Graduate Center for Worker Education makes this attack even more outrageous. Prolific public intellectuals including historian Gerald Horne, legal scholar Genna Rae McNeil, labor scholar and activist Bill Fletcher, award winning filmmaker Stanley Nelson, journalist Juan Gonzalez, and Immanuel Ness, pathbreaking editor of the International Encyclopedia of Protest and Revolution, are part of the extraordinary radical worker education legacy CUNY and Brooklyn College seeks to sully and erase.
I recall with great pride my participation, a few years ago, in the hallmark Worker Education conference “Black Woman and the Radical Tradition” . The conference attracted scholars from around the U.S., Europe and Africa. We need to insure that the Graduate Center and the rich intellectual activism giving rise to this tradition is defended and restored.
Committee of Concerned Students, Alumni, Faculty & Staff through MoveOn’s public petition website