CUNY Community Tells the CUNY Board of Trustees:
Fight for the Maintenance of Effort Bill and the Funding CUNY Needs
The Board of Trustees heard testimony Monday, October 16 at a hearing about the University Budget Request for 2018-2019. CUNY faculty, staff, and students packed the room, and were joined by elected officials and community allies from the CUNY Rising Alliance. Support for the College Maintenance of Effort (MOE) bill was outspoken in the vast majority of testimonies. The bill, which will soon be on the governor’s desk for signature or veto, would begin to reverse the State’s record of underfunding CUNY. CUNY Rising groups like New York Working Families and Alliance for Quality Education and student leaders from the University Student Senate were pointed in the their call for the Trustees to use their political sway with the governor to press for his signature on the MOE. (Ten of the 17 CUNY Trustees were appointed by the governor.) Many students, faculty, staff and community groups also opposed the tuition hikes included in the budget request.
Faculty and staff members testifying on behalf of and in coordination with the PSC joined the chorus of support for the MOE and described what it's like to teach and work under austerity conditions. They also pressed the Board to demand public funding to support the three-credit teaching load reduction agreed to in the latest PSC-CUNY contract and $7,000 per course for adjuncts. Here is some of their testimony.
The College Maintenance of Effort (MOE) bill will be on the Governor's desk soon. The bill would require the State to fund year-over-year increases for operating costs at CUNY and SUNY senior colleges. These costs include but are not limited to heat, rent, maintenance and personnel. CUNY currently finances these annual cost increases in its operating budget with revenue from tuition hikes. If the Governor signs the bill, the additional $200 million would help to cover investments in quality and access. The money could begin to fund a negotiated increase in the salaries of adjunct faculty, the hiring of more full-time faculty and professional staff as well as a tuition freeze. The Senate and Assembly passed the MOE bill almost without dissent.
Over the next two months the PSC in partnership with CUNY Rising and a coalition of unions and student student groups will be working on a number of fronts to persuade the Governor about the importance of the MOE. The students have recently launched a petition campaign and sign-on letter of support from organizations and elected officials. In addition, CUNY Rising is working with community groups, high school students and CUNY students to speak out on the MOE at the Board of Trustees hearing on October 16. The Board of Trustees, made up largely of the Governor’s appointees, could be powerful advocates for the MOE bill, if they choose to speak out.
Sign the #MOE4CUNY Petition
Here’s the petition. Once you’ve signed, please share it on social media and email it to your community and professional networks. You’ll see click-to-share links and a sample email on the thanks-for-signing page.
Support the Students’ Petition Drive
Student organizers throughout the state are scheduling five-minute presentations in classes to collect signatures on the #MOE4CUNY petition. NYPIRG and CUNY Rising are coordinating the effort at CUNY with support from the University Student Senate. Faculty members, please consider inviting students into your classes to speak about CUNY funding and collect signatures. Professional staff, please stop by to show your support when you see students tabling with the petition on your campus.
Click here for a list of NYPIRG contacts at BMCC, Bronx CC, Brooklyn College, City College, College of Staten Island, Hunter College, NYCCT, QCC, and Queens College. Class visits on these campuses are being scheduled now.
Class visits on other campuses will be scheduled starting in late October or early November. The PSC will make contacts available for these campuses soon.
Join the Campaign
Faculty and professional staff will have opportunities to speak out about the need for public investment in CUNY at hearings and other public events. Throughout the fall and spring, there will be meetings with legislators, and opportunities to write opinion pieces and letters to the editor. Click here to tell us you want to share your story and/or add your expertise to the campaign.