For Immediate Release: Wednesday, May 18, 2022
Contact: Tiffany Brown, email@example.com, 347-869-9249
CUNY Students, Faculty, Staff and Community Call for Increased City Funding, Not Cuts, for CUNY
New York, NY– NYC Comptroller Brad Lander joined 75 CUNY faculty and staff, students and community allies at City Hall today to call for additional funding for CUNY in the FY 2023 City Budget. The press conference, immediately preceding a City Council budget hearing on public higher education, was organized by the Professional Staff Congress-CUNY, New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) and the CUNY Rising Alliance.
“CUNY holds the key to a just recovery for our city, '' said Brad Lander, NYC Comptroller. “There’s no better investment than public higher education to unlock doors for New Yorkers and strengthen our economy and public life. I’m proud to join CUNY students, staff, and faculty today in urging the City to fund CUNY accordingly.”
The advocates want a total increase of $85.6 million, $62.6 million for the PSC/CUNY platform of needed investments and $23 million for Speaker Adams’ “CUNY Reconnect” proposal. The union’s budget platform would fund the hiring of full-time faculty and staff and make CUNY’s celebrated Accelerated Study in Associates Programs (ASAP) initiative available to all community college students. CUNY Reconnect would give New Yorkers with some college credits but no diploma another chance at a great CUNY education.
“We’re here calling for a City budget that will allow CUNY to do what we do best: promote racial equality, boost the economy and ensure safer communities through higher education and skills development,” said Professional Staff Congress President James Davis, Ph.D. “That means funding programs like ASAP for All and CUNY Reconnect and more full-time positions, not a so-called “efficiency cut. As New York’s economy and workforce recover from the ongoing pandemic, this is not the moment to cut CUNY but to build on our strengths.”
Mayor Adams, a graduate of two CUNY colleges, City Tech and John Jay College who as Borough President marched in support of increased CUNY investment, has made rebuilding the City’s economy and protecting public safety focal points of his administration. Yet his proposed $14.6M Program to Eliminate the Gap “efficiency cut” would leave 128 full-time faculty lines at CUNY unfilled.
Advocates chanted “What do we want? ASAP for All! When do we want it? Now!” ASAP for All and CUNY Reconnect would both provide wraparound services and robust advisement to help students navigate the college environment and stay on course to graduation. CUNY is poised to expand such support with the additional City funding.
Speakers argued that passing the proposed NYC budget without increased CUNY funding would undermine a proven source of economic vitality for the city and opportunity for at-risk New Yorkers. A report from former New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer found that CUNY graduates contributed $4.2 billion to the state’s economy in 2019. The Department of Labor recommends investment in Community Colleges as a path to reduce reincarceration and recidivism.
“President Biden recently said: 'Don't tell me what you value, show me your budget, and I'll tell you what you value.' CUNY students are looking closely at the NYC budget to see if our elected officials value us.” said Salimatou Doumbouya, Chairperson of the University Student Senate. We need our officials to provide us with more full-time faculty, more staff on our campuses, and to invest in programs and initiatives that have proven results – like the ASAP initiative.”
"New York City must do its part to envision a New Deal for CUNY," said Ariadna Silva, a NYPIRG member and student at Hunter College. "The City's final budget must fully fund opportunity programs like ASAP, merit scholarships, and student services like campus childcare and Citizenship Now. Increased funding, rather than cuts, will help CUNY's students thrive and help community colleges recover from the pandemic."
“Currently, CUNY is significantly underfunded and lacks the necessary resources” said Rémysell Salas, CUNY Rising Alliance Campaign Director. “Without significant financial support, it cannot meet the needs of our students, staff, and faculty as we continue the city’s recovery process. Yet the Mayor has proposed an ill-advised $14.6M ”efficiency cut”. He must amend the proposal and submit a fair and equitable budget immediately for the people of New York City.”