Tabling during March 2010 budget blitz at Hunter College. Prof. Tami Gold, chapter chair, is on the left. Faculty and students sent hundreds of postcards to their legislators.
Privatizing Legislation Defeated
. On August 3, the New York State Legislature finally passed a budget—and it did not include the Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act (PHEEIA), the plan to charge different tuition for different majors and to replace public funding for CUNY and SUNY with private tuition dollars.
In the course of just a couple of weeks, the PSC generated 7,606 letters to legislators on PHEEIA—the highest number the union has ever sent. And our voices were heard: Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Higher Education Chair Deborah Glick became powerful opponents of the proposal, particularly of its effect on access to education; and the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus defined opposition to the proposal as a civil rights issue. They held firm, and the proposal’s supporters were not able to win passage.
“The governor and certain legislators, often for narrow political reasons, were trying to force through a restructuring of CUNY and SUNY that would have affected the universities for a generation,” said PSC President Barbara Bowen. “Thanks to our members’ opposition, and the support we received from New York State United Teachers and other groups, we stopped them.”
State Budget Cuts.
While stopping PHEEIA was a major victory, the budget approved by the Legislature currently includes funding reductions for CUNY senior and community colleges. There is, however, some possibility these reductions can be mitigated if federal legislation for increased funding to the states passes this week. The PSC will do everything we can do to resist reductions and to protect the interests of our members and of CUNY students.
Implications of NYS Legislature Not Approving PHEEIA. Click here for a letter from PSC President Barbara Bowen on the implications of the NYS legislature not approving PHEEIA as part of the state budget package.