PSC President Barbara Bowen and Treasurer Sharon Persinger testified before the NYS Senate Higher Education Committee at a hearing focused on the capital needs of SUNY and CUNY. (Their testimony begins at the 48:40 timestamp of this video.) Enrollment at CUNY has increased 40 percent since 2000, but college facilities have not been expanded and improved to adequately accommodate CUNY’s enlarged student body. Maintenance on many of CUNY’s 300 buildings has also been long deferred. CUNY’s five-year Capital Budget Request calls for $4.5 billion in State funding (see page 23 of the University Budget Request).
President Barbara Bowen testified in support of the five-year plan and focused on the need for critical maintenance citing examples from Brooklyn College and Hunter College. “Lack of investment in critical maintenance sends a material message to our students that New York doesn’t care about their education,” she said. “It actively undermines the project of teaching and learning at CUNY.”
Treasurer Sharon Persinger described in painful detail the degraded conditions at her campus, Bronx Community College, and urged the Legislature to fix CUNY. “We need funding for basic heating system maintenance, for equipment upgrades that are required, and for the staff to see that those systems run correctly.”
CUNY student leaders delivered moving testimony about the state of their campuses and showed the Senators dozens of photos of crumbling facilities (time stamp 1:30:00).