CUNYfirst, Staff and Students Last
The CUNYfirst system is a desk with three legs with no hope of prosthesis. This system is supposed to increase efficiency and student services. Nothing can be further from the truth.
CUNYfirst has increased the workload of all who work with it. No office is exempt: Admissions, Bursar’s, Business, Registrar, Financial Aid, Procurement, Counseling and Advisement offices are all affected, to name a few. Student dissatisfaction with CUNY services are at an all-time high, and many students frustrated with the system have opted to go elsewhere.
In academic advisement it takes five steps to view a transcript and six steps to access something as simple as a probation list. Employees spend huge amounts of time correcting unreliable data.
We often get complaints from students about CUNYfirst-related problems with their financial aid holding up their registration. Some get double-billing. When their advisors try to correct the problem they are told that this type of problem must be corrected at the Central Office level. Others have problems securing scholarships due to inaccurate reporting of their transcripts, thus increasing their frustration. Frontline staff in student services get the brunt of students’ frustration – but given the problems in their lives that CUNYfirst creates, that frustration is understandable. We are frustrated, too! This broken system is hurting all of us.
CUNY’s mission is supposed to be expanding access to a college education. But CUNYfirst is having the opposite effect.
PSC Vice President for Cross-Campus Units
A Change in the Weather
Congratulations and thanks to all the PSC members, officers, staff, and families and friends who contributed to making the People’s Climate March a success. One of the largest marches in NYC history, with many co-marchers around the world – not bad! The labor contingent was significant: numbers were satisfactory, with room for improvement. More and more unionists are seeing that good jobs and a sustainable planet go together, and that the economic crisis and the ecological crisis are deeply intertwined. Democratic control of energy, resources, land, and water is essential to our future.
The energy and exuberance of the march itself, the art and music, the presence of young and old and in between, the leadership of the multi-racial/ethnic environmental justice organizations were hopeful signs. Of course it was not perfect and not a direction-changer in itself. The limitations need to be acknowledged and addressed. But it was a beginning, an opening. It was an opportunity for organizations which had been separate to get to know each other.
Now comes the key part: follow-up, building a labor-environmental movement, militant and effective, both within the PSC and beyond – linking up with the organizations that worked well together mobilizing for the march. To that end we have scheduled a meeting at the PSC office on Wednesday, October 22, from 6:00 to 7:30, to assess the march and to plan next steps. All those interested in continuing this important project are invited to attend. If you can’t make it, stay in touch, and email us your ideas (at [email protected]).