The Professional Staff Congress/CUNY (PSC/CUNY), the union representing 30,000 faculty and professional staff at the City University of New York, launched a digital ad campaign calling on New Yorkers to contact their elected officials to support and fund the New Deal for CUNY (ND4C). The ads, which are set to run on multiple social and online media platforms for several weeks, feature shots of a December march where nearly a thousand New Yorkers including members of labor, social justice and student organizations rallied in Queens in support of the New Deal for CUNY.
“CUNY has been the bedrock of so many New Yorkers’ futures - for students of color, working families and immigrants,” the ad says.
The New Deal for CUNY legislation, supported by the CUNY Rising Alliance and introduced by Senator Andrew Gounardes and Assembly Member Karines Reyes, is a $1.7 billion, five-year framework for reversing decades of disinvestment in CUNY. The bill (S4461/A5843), which is supported by some of New York’s most prominent labor leaders and the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Legislative Caucus, seeks to restore CUNY as a tuition-free institution. It would also set minimum staff-to-student ratios for full-time faculty, academic advisors and mental health counselors, establish pay parity for adjunct faculty, and rebuild CUNY’s aging infrastructure.
The ad campaign comes after the release of Governor Hochul’s Executive Budget where she announced a five-year plan to scale up investment in CUNY and SUNY. The Governor’s budget proposes to increase state funding for CUNY senior colleges by $170 million next year, without increasing tuition. It also holds community college funding steady despite temporary enrollment losses and devotes $53 million to hire new full-time faculty. Campus childcare and state financial aid would receive significant increases from the Governor as well.
CUNY needs all the investments provided in the Governor’s budget – and much more! Her Executive Budget is a decisive rejection of the state’s pattern of austerity funding for CUNY. CUNY, however, identified $313 million in needed state investments in the University Budget Request. The PSC and their CUNY Rising Alliance partners are calling on the Legislature and the Governor to build on the Executive Budget by funding the full $313 million and passing the New Deal for CUNY.
“Free, well-funded high quality public higher education for the public college students of New York City is within our reach,” said Professional Staff Congress President James Davis. “Our union members are excited to mobilize around the vision for the New Deal for CUNY and eager to work with our coalition partners and elected officials to make it a reality.”
Even after many years of austerity funding, CUNY makes a powerful contribution to New York’s economic strength. In 2021, an analysis released by the New York City Comptroller’s office revealed that in 2019 nearly 80% of CUNY graduates remained in New York State and contributed over $4 billion in taxes. A 2020 Brookings Institution report reaffirmed CUNY’s position as one of the top drivers of social and economic mobility in the nation.