I hope you and your loved ones are in good health. These are difficult times for many reasons and our inability to gather and comfort each other makes it infinitely worse. But we are fortunate in being part of a union, a collective that has our back. And we are now facing a moment of great challenge as a union, as colleagues, and as educators committed to the public good.
As you may know, CUNY is planning on major budget cuts resulting in massive layoff of adjuncts and drastic reductions in course offerings. We cannot accept this. While there are certainly threats to the university budget, these are preemptive cuts before the university's budget situation is fully clear; we have not, for instance, seen the enrollment numbers for next year. At a moment of unprecedented economic crisis, we must oppose layoffs of any of our members. Layoffs also mean loss of health insurance during a staggering health crisis. Nor should we allow the evisceration of our university through drastic cuts to courses and services. Our students deserve better.
The union is fighting state and city budget cuts to our university and calls for renewed investment. This is in fact exactly the moment to tax the wealthy and invest in our public institutions like CUNY. We ask CUNY management to join us in making the same call.
The CUNY Board of Trustees was scheduled to hold a hearing tomorrow, Monday the 11th, but because of the COVID-19 restrictions, it is not holding the hearing or even a virtual hearing. Instead, the Board is accepting written testimony until 11:30 p.m. on Monday via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. All testimony will be distributed to the Board of Trustees and Chancellery. There is no restriction on length.
I strongly urge you to send in a statement demanding that the Board oppose budget cuts and stop being a willing partner in layoffs and the evisceration of course offerings. You can write of the impact of such cuts on you and your students.
CUNY Board members cannot be allowed to think that their current position is unnoticed or acceptable. Thousands of messages from members testifying to their support for the union's demands will send a strong signal.
Thank you for your engagement in this time of crisis!
Secretary, Professional Staff Congress
Associate Professor of English, John Jay College