Category Archives: Murphy News

The Murphy Institute Welcomes New Staff

As the Murphy Institute prepares for the fall 2018 semester—our first as the CUNY School for Labor an Urban Studies—we are very pleased to announce four new appointments that will add luster to our already exceptional faculty and staff. Basil Smikle and James Steele have been appointed to our full-time faculty as Distinguished Lecturers in Politics and Public Policy. Stephen Greenfeld will assume the post of Academic Program Manager for Urban Studies. Warren Winter will be our new Information Technology Director, helping us advance our technical capacities as we make the transition from Institute to full-fledged CUNY School. Welcome all! Continue reading The Murphy Institute Welcomes New Staff

Welcoming the Spring 2018 Union Semester Class

Nadja Barlera

Born in New York and raised in many places, Nadja is a recent graduate from USC with a degree in English. She was a community and labor organizer with the Student Coalition Against Labor Exploitation and service worker unions on campus. She is excited to join the Union Semester and learn about the labor movement in New York.


Zane Markosian

Zane lives in Northampton, MA and is in his third year at Oberlin College where he is studying Politics and History. He’s been most interested in classes relating to economic inequality and power in America. He’s excited to be a part of Union Semester because he wants to spend time gaining a real-world perspective on these issues.


Kristina Lilley

A Portland, Maine native with a heart for serving others, Kristina is a recent graduate of the University of Southern Maine with a B.A. in Sociology and a minor in Biology. Her passion for social justice was heightened after her time spent overseas serving in the mission field. Kristina is eager to leverage all the experiences that will be earned by participating in her upcoming internship. She will complete her Master’s degree in labor studies this fall and plans to help advance the existing workforce and create a lasting impact within her community.


Jake Appet

Originally from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Jake Appet is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University, where he studied creative writing. After spending the last five years as a professional filmmaker, he has shifted his energy toward electoral organizing and activism. He  volunteered extensively for two DSA-endorsed City-Council candidates, Khader El-Yateem and Jabari Brisport, and continues to work on organizing efforts with the central Brooklyn branch of the Democratic Socialists of America. He is looking forward to exploring a new career path within the labor movement.


Jose Sanchez

Resident Leadership Academy Announced in Metro

This week, the Resident Leadership Academy, a program designed to “provide training and build leadership skills for residents interested in taking a more active role in civic life within their development and/or community” was featured in metro. The program, offered as a partnership amongst the Fund for Public Housing, New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), and the Murphy Institute, will offer course credit to NYCHA residents through the Murphy Institute, developing skills, knowledge and leadership potential among NYCHA residents.

From metro:

With 326 developments and more than 400,000 residents across the city, the New York City Housing Authority serves a large number of New Yorkers, but often, public housing is overshadowed by the city’s other for-the-public facilities like transit, parks, education and art.

That’s why, as part of NextGeneration NYCHA, the agency is launching its Resident Leadership Academy this month to empower its future from within. Continue reading Resident Leadership Academy Announced in Metro

Calling All Applicants: 2018 Diversity Scholarship

To be eligible for the Diversity Scholarship, you must apply to and be accepted into the MA in Labor Studies, or the BA in Urban and Community Studies, labor concentration.

MA or BA application deadlines:  11:59 pm, February 20th, 2018

For information about the MA and BA programs and applications, please contact:

  • Graduate applicants contact Laurie Kellogg, Labor Programs Specialist. Please text or call day or eve: 718-440-1550 or email
  • Undergraduates contact Cherise Mullings, Enrollment Specialist, Urban Studies, at 212-642-2059 or at

Please attend an Open House at 6 pm on January 18, 2018,  at The Murphy Institute, 25 West 43rd St., 18th Floor, NYC.

Become a better advocate for labor rights and social justice!

The Murphy Institute for Worker Education and Labor Studies at the CUNY School of Professional Studies (CUNY SPS) is seeking applicants for the Diversity Scholarships, which are dedicated to supporting diversity in leadership in the labor movement and in the field of Labor Studies.

Applications for the BA and MA programs are due: February 20th, 2018.  Scholarship applications will be due one month later, on March 20th

If you’re seeking to make a difference, advocating for social justice in your community, workplace, or the world, then the Joseph S. Murphy Scholarship for Diversity in Labor will help you achieve those goals. As a scholarship recipient, you will:

  • Earn an MA in Labor Studies or BA in Urban and Community Studies
  • Explore the dynamics of worker and community empowerment, urban life, and labor organizing
  • Strengthen your ability to advocate for labor rights, stronger communities, and social justice
  • Advance professionally and personally in a supportive environment
  • Receive up to $30,000 for graduate study or up to $20,000 for undergraduate study

Eligibility Requirements

  • For graduate scholarship: First-time entering students in the MA in Labor Studies degree program with a minimum 3.0 GPA
  • For undergraduate scholarship: First-time entering students or continuing students in the BA in Urban and Community Studies degree program (labor concentration) with 60 prior credits  and a minimum 2.5 GPA

Please visit the Murphy Institute website for more information: 212-642-2083.

Applications for the Diversity Scholarship are due March 20, 2018.  For more information contact scholarship coordinator, Janet Leslie at 212-642-2083

Jail Workers & the Fight to Close Rikers

The fight to close the Rikers Island Jail complex has received renewed attention since Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a plan last March to close down the facility in the next 10 years. Many have welcomed the moved, but one group has expressed resistance: correctional officers.

In a recent article in the Daily News, Brooklyn College sociology professor Alex Vitale argues that this resistance is misguided:

Corrections unions face a difficult challenge in the months and years ahead. Do they continue to defend a broken institution in the hopes of saving jobs or do they look for concrete ways to ensure that the people who work at Rikers have secure economic futures?

The irony of this dilemma is that the men and women who work at Rikers know better than almost anyone what a failed institution it is. They see day in and day out the deteriorating infrastructure, inadequate management, and culture of violence that organizes their daily work life. Continue reading Jail Workers & the Fight to Close Rikers