Overview of CUNY Policies & the CJ PhD Program

The CJ PhD Program and Governance

Why understanding governance is important:

As a Graduate Center (GC) student in a program housed outside of the Graduate Center at, and funded largely by, John Jay College, there are multiple entities that make and influence policy that has an impact on your education, your work environment, and your overall doctoral experience.  Knowing who these entities are, how they work, and what the rules and regulations are can help students in the Criminal Justice Doctoral Program have a voice on issues that concern us.

Who governs us?

In short, organizations and departments of The City University of New York (CUNY), the Graduate School of the Graduate School and University Center of the City University of New York (GC), and John Jay College of Criminal Justice (John Jay).


The City University of New York (CUNY) is a system of 23 colleges and universities (including both GC and John Jay) which all operate under a central administration, though each college has its own governance and mission.   CUNY administration policies generally derive from the CUNY Board of Trustees, which governs CUNY, and the CUNY Chancellor’s Office; the Chancellor is the chief academic officer of CUNY and is appointed by and reports to the Board.  A variety of other administrative individuals inform policy for defined areas, as well.  CUNY organizational charts outlining these administrators may be found at http://cuny.edu/about/administration/org-charts.html.  For definitions and responsibilities of CUNY administrative and faculty positions, see Board Bylaw Article XI at http://policy.cuny.edu/text/toc/btb/Article%20XI/.  CUNY-wide policies may be found at http://policy.cuny.edu/.

Other important CUNY administrative bodies include the University Faculty Senate (UFS), which is “the faculty governance body in academic matters of university-wide concern,” and the University Student Senate (USS), which  is “the official governance organization charged with representing the interests of the students” of CUNY.


All students in the Criminal Justice Doctoral Program housed at John Jay College are actually students at the CUNY Graduate Center (GC), and are most directly impacted by policies of GC.  Each graduate program has the right to create its own policies and procedures under the GC umbrella.

The Graduate Council (Grad Council) is the governing body of GC.  The Council is made up of representatives from the student body (1 per every 100 or fewer students in each program), faculty, and administration.  The Graduate Council bylaws may be found at http://web.gc.cuny.edu/provost/pdfs/ByLaws.pdf.  Grad Council operates within and alongside the overall Graduate Center governance regulations, which may be found at http://web.gc.cuny.edu/provost/pdfs/Governance_Document.pdf, and functions with and through the Council of Executive Officers and GC administration, which consists of the President’s Office and the Provosts and Deans.

The policies that most directly affect you are those of the Criminal Justice Doctoral Program.   Each program is run by an Executive Officer and an Assistant Executive Officer, and has five program standing committees with faculty and student members.  The current EO of the CJ PhD program is Dr. Joshua Freilich, and the AEO is Dr. Jeffrey Mellow.  The five program standing committees are the Executive Committee, which makes and approves all policies for the program, and the Faculty Membership Committee, Curriculum and Examinations Committee, Admission and Awards Committee, and Elections Committee.  Descriptions of each may be found in GC Governance Document Bylaws 3.5 and 3.6.

Program governance may be altered via the following methods:

To modify the program’s governance, the following steps must be taken, in accordance with the Graduate Center Governance document:

1.  With the approval of the Committee on Structure and Graduate Council, specific aspects of the program governance and organization may be modified to meet exceptional conditions that may prevail in a doctoral program

2.  Programs may at any time propose a change in their governance within the requirements of the Graduate Center Governance document provided that changes are submitted by a majority of the program’s Executive Committee to the Committee on Structure for review and recommendation.

3.  If at least 30 percent of the faculty or 30 percent of the students in a program wish to recommend a change in the program’s governance, their proposal will be considered by the Committee on Structure of the Graduate Council. If the Committee on Structure approves their proposal, it forwards the proposal with its recommendation to Graduate Council for its approval.


Policies of the Criminal Justice Doctoral Program may be found on the CJ PhD website, http://web.gc.cuny.edu/criminaljustice/index.html#.

John Jay

As the CJ PhD Program of GC is housed at, and to a large degree, funded by John Jay, we are also subject to the rules and regulations of John Jay College, another of the schools in the CUNY system.

John Jay College is subject to policies from its central administration, including the Offices of the President and the Provost, as well as policy recommendations from its Faculty Senate.

Your representation:

Graduate Center students have rights to representation on the program standing committees and Graduate Council as mandated by Graduate Center Governance document (Section 6.4B) and Graduate Council Bylaws (Section 2.1).

PhD students have representation on both USS and UFS via the Doctoral Students’ Council, and on CUNY program standing committees of the Board of Trustees via the University Student Senate.

The CJ PhD Program elects student representatives to each of the five program standing committees annually.  Your program standing committee representatives for 2012-2013 are:

Executive: Jennifer Ortiz, Cassandra Ramdath

Faculty Membership: Kathy Boyd, Lawrence Kom

Curriculum: Riccardo Ferraresso, Alana Henninger

Admissions: Mike Aiello, Brittany Hayes, Cassandra Ramdath

Elections: Adam Fera

The CJ PhD Program elects representatives to Graduate Council via the program standing Elections Committee every two years.  Your Graduate Council representatives for 2012-2014 are:

Bryce Peterson

Lauren Paradis

Your interests as a GC student are most directly represented by the following bodies:

Criminal Justice Doctoral Students’ Association (CJDSA): your representative body for the Criminal Justice Doctoral Program

Your CJDSA Board Members for 2012-2013 are:

Nicole N. Hanson, President

Cassandra Ramdath, Vice President

Lauren Paradis, Chair for Communications

Jeanene Barrett, Chair for Teaching and Professional Development

Michelle Cubellis, Chair for Business

Adam Fera, Chair for Elections

Julie Viollaz, DSC Program Representative

Doctoral Students’ Council (DSC): the sole policymaking body representing students in all doctoral and master’s programs at the GC

Your DSC Program Representatives for 2012-2013 are Nicole N. Hanson and Julie Viollaz.

Your interests as a member of the faculty at any CUNY college are most directly represented by the following bodies:

The Adjunct Project: an activist group and educational resource for GC student workers (you may be working at any CUNY school)

Professional Staff Congress of CUNY (PSC-CUNY): the CUNY faculty and staff union (you may sign your union card at John Jay’s Office of Human Resources or via the PSC-CUNY web page)

How do I find out what’s going on?

All governing and representative bodies are required to have regular meetings – all of which are subject to New York State Open Meetings Laws.  You may keep informed by:

1)      Attending meetings or viewing the publicly-accessible minutes of meetings of governing and representative bodies that interest you

  1. CUNY Board of Trustees
  2. Graduate Council
  3. University Student Senate
  4. University Faculty Senate
  5. Doctoral Students’ Council
  6. Criminal Justice Doctoral Students’ Association
  7. John Jay Faculty Senate
  8. Adjunct Project

2)      Signing up for the CUNY Newswire RSS Feed

3)      Signing up for email lists or Facebook or Twitter Updates

  1. The Adjunct Project
  2. The Advocate
  4. CUNY Academic Commons
  5. Doctoral Students’ Council Facebook
  6. Doctoral Students’ Council Twitter
  7. Doctoral Students’ Council RSS
  8. Graduate Center
  9. CUNY Newswire
  10. John Jay College Twitter
  11. CJDSA Twitter

4)      Checking the website of the CJDSA

5)      Checking out GC newsletter 365 Fifth and DSC-funded student newspaper The Advocate

6)      Contacting your CJDSA, DSC, or Grad Council representatives.

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 Supported by the CUNY Doctoral Students Council.