CUNY's Inadequate Draft University Budget Request for Fiscal Year 2020
There is no CUNY without the work we do!
Dozens of PSC members testified about CUNY’s inadequate draft budget request for Fiscal Year 2020 at a last-minute Board of Trustees hearing on Wednesday, January 9. The trustees’ request does not call for full funding for our contract by New York State, does not name an acceptable level of funding for the new teaching load reduction, and never mentions the word “adjunct.” Instead, it boasts about programs whose success is entirely dependent on our labor but makes only vague references to how the funding for our contract will be resolved.
The conditions described by faculty, staff and students at the hearing are indefensible. Adjuncts spoke about hundreds of hours of unpaid work, about losing their health, about being evicted because of their near-poverty pay. Full-time faculty described the damage done to the colleges by the lack of public funding. The PSC called on the CUNY Board to stop accepting poverty funding for CUNY and instead to demand the funding the University needs.
For the Spring 2019 semester, teaching adjuncts are scheduled to be paid on eight successive pay dates at two-week intervals. At the senior colleges, the first pay date will be Feb. 14 and the last pay date will be May 23. At most community colleges, the first pay date will be Feb. 8 and the last pay date will be May. 17. Kingsborough CC, LaGuardia CC and Guttman CC operate on a different academic calendar with different pay dates.
The Maintenance of Effort bill has been vetoed, despite having passed both houses of the Legislature with overwhelming bipartisan support. The bill won widespread support because it would have ensured that the state’s public universities, CUNY and SUNY, receive funding to cover mandatory costs such as rent and electricity increases, negotiated salary agreements, and the difference between the highest TAP award and the actual cost of tuition.
Without such funding in place, CUNY has been forced to cannibalize its own inadequate budget and increase the amount students pay in tuition and fees in order to cover costs that should be publicly funded. CUNY colleges have cut back on academic courses and computer support, reduced library hours, shortchanged student services and increased their reliance on adjunct faculty, who are paid a near-poverty wage.
A progressive state should provide the funding necessary to maintain high-quality college education at its public universities. The PSC is grateful to the legislators who championed the bill, and we will work with the Legislature and the Governor during the budget process to make 2019 the year in which CUNY is fully funded.