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The recent $2 trillion bailout by federal government to mitigate the public health and economic fallout of COVID-19 is both welcome and necessary but not sufficient. The funds will certainly help New York State but state legislators must also do their part in allocating additional resources to protect the health of citizens and invest in public sector job preservation and creation. This can be accomplished through new progressive forms of taxation.
Please read and sign this letter that calls on Governor Cuomo to do the one thing that will make a real difference now and into the future. He must show true leadership and create new revenue by taxing the ultra-wealthy and lifting the 2% spending cap. Only in this way is there a chance that CUNY will be able to continue to give students the education they deserve, and, by doing so, to support and help build the economy.
Budget Emergency Day, March 12
Wear #RedforEd and Take Action
The budget emergency at CUNY is sabotaging our students, our work, our health, our future. It's time we transferred the crisis to Albany by taking action together. Everyone can do something on March 12 to stop the starvation of CUNY. Tell us here that you will wear #redfored and take at least one action on Thursday, March 12 to demand an end to the budget crisis. You can join a protest on your campus, post a #redfored selfie, call or email your legislators, or mobilize for a rally outside a legislator’s district office. The state budget will be decided by April 1. This is the time to act!
Faculty, Students Demand “New Deal” for CUNY and SUNY to End Higher Ed Funding Crisis
Hundreds Rally at Capitol for Higher Education Action Day
700 college students, faculty and staff rallied alongside Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and other lawmakers in Albany on February 27 during a statewide Higher Education Action Day held by groups mobilizing to end the funding crisis at the State University and the City University of New York—SUNY and CUNY.
The groups’ joint platform says “SUNY and CUNY need a new deal, not another year of flat operating budgets, tuition hikes and increasing tuition dependence.” They want increased public funding and a fully funded tuition freeze, not underfunding and program cuts. Read more.
When Will New York Stop Starving CUNY?
Dozens of PSC members were in Albany February 3-4 demanding $232.6 million for CUNY in next year’s State budget and a fundamental change to the way CUNY is funded in the years ahead. We need a New Deal for CUNY, not more flat funding and tuition hikes. Click here for the PSC’s priorities for next year’s budget.
At a hearing Tuesday, February 4 President Bowen testified before the members of the Senate and Assembly committees on higher education and finance.
“New York’s current policy on CUNY funding is impoverishment by design. ... We call on you to refuse to pass a budget unless it includes new revenue from progressive taxation and covers CUNY’s basic operating costs—without raising tuition,” she said.
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).
CUNY Budget Request for 2020-2021
PSC officers, union members and student leaders testified last night at a Board of Trustees hearing on CUNY’s University Budget Request for academic year 2020-2021. The University is requesting an additional $277.4 million above the current operating budget, a 7.5% increase. The proposed increase in the operating budget would be funded by increases from the State, the City, and CUNY students. A $200 per year tuition hike at both senior and community colleges is proposed, along with a new $120 “Health and Wellness” fee. The request asks the State and City cover CUNY’s $178.5 million in mandatory cost increases for rent, campus maintenance, fringe benefits and several contract settlements, including the PSC’s. The tuition hike and fee increase would fund new hiring, programs and student support services, if the mandatory costs are covered. CUNY's Draft Budget Request | PSC Summary of the Budget Request
Sign Up Now for Lobby Day Days Scheduled in February and March
The PSC is partnering with NYSUT, United University Professions (UUP) and student organizations like NYPIRG and USS to organize meetings with lawmakers about the need to increase funding for CUNY and keep college affordable. Three actions in Albany are already scheduled: Register by Friday, January 4 for NYSUT’s statewide Higher Education Lobby Day scheduled for the evening of Monday, February 3 and Tuesday, February 4. The annual Student/Faculty/Staff Higher Ed Action Day will be Thursday, February 27 and the NYSUT Committee of 100 Lobby Day will be Monday and Tuesday, March 2-3. Transportation, food and hotel costs for the NYSUT Higher Education Lobby Day (February 3-4) and the NYSUT Committee of 100 (March 2-3) are covered by NYSUT. Members can also make the round trip to Albany in one day with students on the buses for the Student/Faculty/Staff Higher Ed Action Day (February 27). Click here to register and for more information.
Testimony on the University Budget Request
On December 9 PSC officers, union members and student leaders testified at a Board of Trustees hearing held at Lehman College on CUNY’s University Budget Request for academic year 2020-2021.
At the hearing, President Barbara Bowen urged the Board to stake out a different position demanding full public funding for CUNY, no tuition and fee increases and a plan for adding the number of full-time faculty and counselors that CUNY actually needs. “The PSC urges you to submit a budget request worthy of the urgency students, staff and faculty feel about CUNY, one that has the courage to demand—and secure—the public investment CUNY needs,” she testified. Read the full testimony of President Bowen and other PSC leaders. Watch videos of student, faculty and staff testimony and clips from a pre-hearing press conference on the University Student Senate and CUNY Rising Twitter feeds.