Members marched for the release of federal funds.
PSC’s fight to fund CUNY continues on several fronts, including averting budget cuts at the city level and insisting that colleges use some of the $891 million in federal stimulus funds from its coffers to serve students.
In April, more than 200 PSC members, students and supporters gathered in Midtown Manhattan to march from the Graduate Center to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office and the CUNY Central Office to demand that colleges “free the funds” and use federal aid monies in hand to reverse the past year’s layoffs and ensure a safe reopening for colleges. These colleges, the PSC said, have the power and the funds to bring back laid-off adjuncts and to make the necessary upgrades and repairs for a safe reopening this Fall. (See college-by-college allocations)
The union is fighting Mayor Bill de Blasio’s proposed city budget, which slashes $67 million of the city’s CUNY funding. In a virtual rally on May 21, Barbara Bowen, in one of her last acts as PSC president, blasted the mayor’s proposed cuts to CUNY, noting they were originally included in the mayor’s preliminary budget before federal stimulus money came through, but conspicuously remain even after the addition of federal funds.
Bowen said in her testimony, “This is a radical disinvestment in CUNY and will do the opposite of driving economic growth and educational justice.”
Juvanie Piquant, the University Student Senate chair and the student member of the CUNY Board of Trustees, said “It’s slap in the face to the CUNY community.”
Scott Cally, the PSC chapter chair at Kingsborough Community College, said that the cuts will mean fewer supplies and a reduction of staff and faculty through attrition, saying, “The deep cuts would devastate community colleges…perhaps permanently.”