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Home » Issues » CUNY Faculty, Staff and Students Call on State Bronx Delegation to Support Increased CUNY Funding Ahead of Final State Budget

CUNY Faculty, Staff and Students Call on State Bronx Delegation to Support Increased CUNY Funding Ahead of Final State Budget

$500M IN INCREASED FUNDING FOR UNIVERSITY UNDER CONSIDERATION 

Bronx, NY – On March 30th, City University of New York faculty, staff and students held a rally at Lehman College alongside Councilmember Dinowitz, City Higher Education Chair, calling on the NY Senate and Assembly leadership and the Bronx Assemblymembers and State Senators to support the New Deal for CUNY and an increase in $500 million for CUNY in the final state Fiscal Year 2023 budget. With additional funding to its operating and capital budgets, CUNY could hire much needed full time faculty, mental health counselors and academic advisors and upgrade the infrastructure of its 19 community and senior colleges.

As evidenced by #CrumblingCUNY, many campuses and classrooms are in need of capital funding for repairs, improved HVAC systems and modern facilities. Years of disinvestment has led to a staffing crisis at CUNY. In 2008, CUNY senior colleges had 41 full-time faculty per 1,000 full-time equivalent students; in 2019, there were only 34 full-time faculty per 1000 FTE students at the senior colleges. Including part-time counselors hired with time-limited stimulus funding, CUNY has a mental health counselor ratio of 1:1,876, far less than the 1;1000 ratio required in the New Deal for CUNY.

“More than half of our students come from families with incomes less than $30,000,” said Councilmember Eric Dinowitz during the press conference. “CUNY has provided them an incredible opportunity to do better for themselves, their families, And our city.” And it’s time our state budget reflects that with $500 million extra dollars for our students, professors, counselors and everything our students need to succeed.”

The New Deal for CUNY would require 65 full time faculty and one mental health counselor per every 1000 students. The ND4C calls for one academic advisor for every 250 students.

“Tell the Governor that we have talent here in the Bronx just waiting for a fair chance to shine. They deserve the best and their teachers want the best for them. Now let the state government in Albany do its best for them,” said Ruth Wangerin, adjunct faculty member and PSC Lehman College Chapter Chair.

Since the early 1990s, per-student state funding for CUNY senior colleges has fallen a shocking 38% and has contributed to the university’s current staffing crisis. More than 75% of CUNY students are people of color. In an analysis of the university system, researchers found that colleges that serve predominantly Black and Hispanic students had the lowest full time faculty to student ratios.

“We are quickly running out of time to show New Yorkers that their government values their access to the high-quality higher education that they deserve,” said Assembly Member Karines Reyes, Assembly sponsor of the New Deal for CUNY. “CUNY has deteriorated heavily due to years of disinvestment that has left students, faculty, and staff unequipped and underfunded. The New Deal for CUNY would revitalize our public universities with the funding they need all while making CUNY free for all students. The time to invest in New York’s future generations is now!”

“Every New Yorker should have access to a high quality education, and that is why I am joining with my colleagues in government and CUNY faculty, staff and advocates in supporting a New Deal for CUNY that would ensure students have the academic advisors, mental health counselors and other resources available that invests not only financially in our students, but also in their health and well-being.” said Bronx Borough President Vanessa L. Gibson. “As a SUNY and CUNY graduate, having completed degrees from SUNY Albany and Baruch College, I understand just how important it is to fund and support our public colleges so they can operate efficiently, while providing crucial resources to our students and faculty.”

“I fully support the $500 million proposal to properly fund our CUNY schools,” said State Senator Gustavo Rivera. “The CUNY system has proven to be one of our City’s most important economic engines and it must be funded as such. Our students, full-time and adjunct teachers, and staff deserve much better than what they are getting now.”

Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz said: “As a proud Lehman College alumnus, I strongly support the inclusion of $500 million for CUNY in our state budget this year. We need to be taking significant steps towards tuition-free public college for all New Yorkers and we need to invest in the capital needs as well as the workers of our CUNY system. Public college has long been the backbone of our City, raising generation after generation to be productive members of our Bronx community. It’s time we put our money where our mouth is and recommit to our promise of higher education for future generations.”

“This pandemic has caused CUNY to face significant burdens these past two years. From lack of resources to crumbling infrastructure, it’s clear that this academic institution needs increased funding in order to provide the best education and benefits possible to its students and faculty. As a proud cosponsor of the New Deal for CUNY, I fully support a $500 million increase for CUNY in the final state budget. It’s time we show CUNY students and teachers our greatest gratitude and appreciation,” said Assemblymember Kenneth Burgos.

CUNY is the top engine of economic opportunity in the US. There is no better way to invest in the future of this City and State than to ensure our forthcoming leaders  have access to essential resources crucial to their success. CUNY-Bronx Community College is where my journey began, and so many more New Yorkers rely on the City’s university system for their future,” said Council Member Pierina Sanchez. “If equity is a true priority, it is only right to fund a New Deal for CUNY and ensure CUNY receives funding to expand access to mental health care and fully funded faculty and staff. Our investments in our public university system is what will guarantee our thriving city.”

“As we near the final state budget deadline, it is vital that our legislative leaders recognize the importance of higher education funding. A fully funded CUNY that supports smaller, quality classes, more support services like advisers and mental health counselors, and moves to free tuition will boost racial and economic equity and lift the state’s economy as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. We urge the Governor and legislative leaders to support a final state budget that includes the Senate and Assembly’s funding plans for a New Deal for CUNY,” said Ayesha Schmitt, NYPIRG’s Higher Education Coordinator.

“An investment of $500 million would not only increase students’ access to mental health care but it would also help us begin to pave a path toward free tuition for all NYers. The pandemic has shown us now more than ever that a New Deal for CUNY is needed.” said Senator Luis R. Sepúlveda.


Published: August 29, 2022

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