Members Testify About the CUNY Budget Request

Updated: October 19, 2017
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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


Jonathan Buchsbaum, Professor, Queens College

Jonathan Buchsbaum
"...Over the past two years, the Media Studies department at Queens lost two women of color. The first went to UCLA, with an offer that included a position for her husband. QC made a counter-offer, but she chose to accept the UCLA offer. The second colleague left for Loyola Marymount, a private school in Los Angeles. QC also made a counter-offer, but she also accepted the other offer. While all cases are different, with their own mix of factors, the College has not offered lines to replace the lines of those women. ..."
Read more here.

Lorraine Cohen, Professor, LaGuardia Community College

Lorraine Cohen
"...we committed to work together to develop a plan to implement the reduction and identify the resources to cover the costs. We ask the Trustees to make clear that this is a priority in the university’s communications about its budget request for the next fiscal year. ..."
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Susan DiRaimo, Adjunct Lecturer, City College

Susan DiRaimo
"Right now Adjuncts who teach the bulk of the courses at CUNY make 25,000 to 30,000 a year salary [if they teach full-time], which is poverty wages. We are asking for CUNY to pay Adjuncts $7,000 a course. We are currently making 3,500 a course. Teaching is a noble profession, teaching should be paid nobly."
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Michael Fabricant, Professor, Queens College

Mike Fabricant.jpg
"...The Board of Trustees signed on to be the stewards and advocates for CUNY. If you are not publicly advocating for the Governor to sign the MOE enhanced legislation, you are not doing your job. You have individual and collective political capital. You must use it now. ..."
Read more here.

Alan Feigenberg, Professor, City College

Alan Feigenberg
"...Departments at CCNY are now pushed to organize scheduling so that many courses will not be available each semester, or even each year. This is an immense burden on chairs in making schedules. It is especially burdensome on our students who have the immense pressures of commuting, working and taking care of families and relatives. This will delay graduation and in many cases delay licensing and jobs for many for our professional students."
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David Gerwin, Professor, Queens College

David Gerwin
"...After these years of budget cuts, Queens College is in peril, but in ways that are not visible in simple ways to the naked eye – there is no sinkhole open in the middle of campus with students falling into a visible pit. But I want you to keep that image in mind, because the constant budget cuts have opened up many holes around campus and people are falling. ..."
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Alexandra Juhasz, Professor, Brooklyn College

"...The Governor’s signature on the MOE and other legislation that would begin to reverse the State’s disinvestment is one small step in retaining me, and the many others like me who continue against all odds to make CUNY great. ..."
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Abigail Mellen, Adjunct Professor, Lehman College

"...I know too many of my freshmen will not make it to graduation and a degree, thrown off track by program and department requirement shifts, changing course availabilities and often their own personal obligations or responsibilities. These students need access to academic
advisement/mentoring personnel well beyond their freshman year. More trained, paid faculty advisers can better help these capable students complete their degree, better helping us all to further our goals for CUNY..."
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Sharon Persinger, Professor, Bronx Community College

Sharon Persinger
"...CUNY is a research-intensive institution, with increasing expectations for promotion and tenure at all colleges, even at those without the money to offer adequate start-up packages. The science faculty in those colleges need funds to start their labs in order to conduct their research so they will be reappointed and granted tenure and achieve promotion to higher ranks. The University needs to be adequately funded to provide initial support to its entire science faculty."
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Glenn Petersen, Professor, Baruch College

Glenn Peterson.jpg
"...Excelsior is bringing us more and more students who must complete their studies in the impossible span of four years. In its consequences, if not in intent, this is bait and switch. Although I haven’t seen data from the rest of CUNY, long experience tells me that structural problems of this sort are rarely limited to a single campus...."
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Susan F. Semel, Professor, City College

Susan Sumel
"... I urge you to urge Gov. Cuomo to sign the bill to provide continuous funding to CUNY and SUNY and not to veto it as he has in the past."
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Albert Sherman, College Lab Technician, NYC College of Technology

Albert Sherman.jpg
"... The colleges need the support to run these programs. Adjunct CLTs are the lowest paid and the most overworked staff. Please don’t give up on us...."
Read more here.