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Home » Issues » CUNY Board Hearing for the People Testimony

CUNY Board Hearing for the People Testimony

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The CUNY Board of Trustees typically holds a public hearing in the Bronx in June. This year, because of coronavirus, the Board did not hold a hearing, not even a virtual one. So PSC members hosted our own virtual CUNY Board Hearing for the People on Friday, June 26, 2020.

Below are some of the written statements:


Testimony of Remi Alapo, York College

Remi Alapo.png“… my department at York College sent out a notice that they were being forced to cut adjunct course offer down to 20%! If CUNY depends on the services of its adjunct faculty as a “lifeline” to keep costs down, why would adjunct faculty be laidoff at such an alarming rate?”(Full testimony)


Testimony of Diane Auslander, Lehman College

Diane Auslander.png“…faculty and staff…have always given of themselves to keep CUNY going despite continuous cuts that have been inflicted upon us over the years. This is the same faculty and staff who have gone above and beyond to help students and each other during this highly disruptive, stressful, and unprecedented semester. Our reward cannot be to lose our jobs. The most vulnerable jobs are, of course, the adjuncts, teaching and non-teaching, as well as CLTs and others who are already under paid and have little job security.” (Full testimony)


Testimony of Marcella Bencivenni, Hostos Community College

Marcella Bencivenni.png“…I love CUNY and all it represents, and I believe funding CUNY is a top priority. Investing in CUNY is a matter of racial justice and economic justice. Now, more than ever, is the time to address the ongoing inequalities that affect our students and their communities daily, struggles that have been made even more severe by the ongoing pandemic. (Full testimony)


Testimony of Harry Blain, CUNY Graduate School

Harry Blain.png

“Public higher education is essential for a decent and dignified society. It is not a bargaining chip or an item-line on a budget. It is not a luxuryonly to be enjoyed ingood economic times or a shiny advertisement to be marketed on the subway.” (Full testimony)


Testimony of Adraenne Bowe, CUNY Graduate School

Adraenne Bowe_0.png“…it is unacceptable that any positions be eliminated. C.U.N.Y. is, after all, an educational institution, yet ignorance and callous disregard for basic human rights – for health care, for working people – seems to prevail.” (Full testimony)


Testimony of J. Silvia Cho, CUNY Graduate School

J Silvia Cho.png” Much of the daily processing to make sure that interlibrary loan requests are put through and materials delivered are done by part-time College Assistants. This was true when the library was operating with physical materials, and it has been true while the library was exclusively online due to COVID-19. Working remotely, our unit has processed thousands of transactions, which takes a lot of effort, time and attention, and the work of part-time workers is a crucial part.Their work is key to the success of our scholars, of the Graduate Center, and ultimately, of the CUNY community. “ (Full testimony)


Testimony of Lorraine Cohen, LaGuardia Community College

Lorraine Cohen.png“…in a time when the millions in this country, many for the first time, are acknowledging the existence of a history of systemic racism in American society it is unthinkable that the Governor, and the Mayor are signaling that they are going to resolve their budget problems by making draconian cuts to CUNY’s budget, requiring laying off potentially thousands of part time and contingent workers… There are alternatives to budget cuts, and layoffs.” (Full testimony)


Testimony of Peter Hoffmeister, Hunter College

Peter Hoffmeister.png
“I maintain equipment including electric kilns, a laser cutter, and a 3D printer, and train students on their safe operation. In addition, I help the students solve sculptural problems that arise as they create new work. One day it might be making a rubber mold, another day it might be making a huge clay object that barely fits in the kiln. But we always get it done. I love doing this, and I feel horrible for the students right now…their projects have been on hold since March when Hunter shut down, and now I might not be hired back to help them.” (Full testimony)


Testimony of Yunah Hong, College of Staten Island

Yunah Hong.png “I work really hard to be a good teacher and love what I do. I also respect my students who study and work to support their family. Adjunct faculty are underpaid labor with no job security.” (Full testimony)


Testimony of Carl Jensen, Baruch College

Carl Jensen.png “… why are all your cuts focused on the classroom and poor adjuncts and part-time workers who are the lifeblood of the CUNY system? Why couldn’t all CUNY administrators take a 20% pay cut? These are the employees who can best bear the brunt of any budget cuts at CUNY.” (Full testimony)


Testimony of Jayashree Kamble, LaGuardia Community College

Jayashree Kamble.png “CUNY is not a fast-food restaurant where we provide a $1 menu. It is a pillar for our democracy. And that democracy needs defending.” (Full testimony)


Testimony of Michael Paris, College of Staten Island

Michael Paris.png “Before covid19, our students were not receiving the resources and opportunities that they need to succeed. Before covid19, the New York State government, under the leadership of Governor Andrew Cuomo, failed adequately to provide funding for CUNY. Before covid19, our infrastructure was crumbling. And, now, you [CUNY Board of Trustees] align yourselves with Governor Cuomo, and his refusal to have the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes, instead of with us, the faculty and students.” (Full testimony)


Testimony of Beth Posner, CUNY Graduate School

Beth Posner.png “It’s our job to lend and borrow digital and print material from libraries near and far. And, to find information from other sources as well, including open access or locally available or unpublished material in any way we can. At my campus, this work is essential to our mission because no single library collections alone could ever support the width and breadth of the scholarly needs of our graduate study and researchers…processing and filling each requests takes work and time…and our part-time staff, college assistants and student employees, are essential to this work. (Full testimony)


Testimony of Blanca Vazquez, Hunter College

Blanca Vazquez.png “What is the Board of Trustees and the Chancellor doing to publicly advocate for CUNY as a vital resource in the city’s economic recover? PSC members have written a flood of editorials and the PSC and its chapters have mobilized and worked diligently with state and local legislators to save CUNY. We don’t see you, we don’t hear you, even in support of the urgently and powerful written public statements union members are making in defense of CUNY. Are you public advocates?” (Full testimony)


Testimony of David Wilson, Hunter College

David Wilson.png “I rely on this position for health insurance which is always in a precarious balance due to the nature of hours required to keep it and the year to year budget cuts that eat away at the ability to meet those requirements. This year, due to those cuts, and the delay (and possible non-reappointment) in college assistant contracts for our 2020-21 fiscal year my health insurance was taken away in a pandemic, the same week I was run over by a van, dislocated my shoulder, and broke my collarbone. I have no idea how I am going to pay medical bills and physical therapy in relation to this accident now.” (Full testimony)


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