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City and State Legislators, CUNY Students, Staff, and Faculty Rally against Mayor de Blasio’s Planned Cuts to CUNY

Jul 01, 2021

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$67M Cuts To Tutoring, Child Care, Food Insecurity and Advisement Services

New York – Today, the CUNY Rising Alliance — composed of groups representing tens of thousands of City University of New York faculty and staff, students, and community members — rallied against $67 million in cuts to City funding for CUNY. Attendees at the rally including City Council Member Antonio Reynoso, Assemblymember Kenny Burgos, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams voiced their opposition saying the Mayor’s cuts would cut funding for remediation services and child care to students, for tutoring and service corps, and for food insecurity programs.

“In its current state, CUNY is significantly underfunded and lacks the necessary resources to provide for its students,” said Assembly Member Karines Reyes, prime sponsor of the New Deal for CUNY. “Without significant financial support, it cannot meet the mental health needs of our students as we continue the city’s recovery process. A $67 million cut to CUNY is reckless and could lead to the devastation of a system that has already been operating at a critical point for years. The Mayor’s proposal is ill-advised. He must amend the proposal and submit a fair and equitable budget immediately.”

“The path through the compounding crises that our city faces lies in investment, not austerity. We need a Renewed Deal for New York City that prioritizes equitable education, just as the original New Deal helped to fund opportunity through CUNY before the demographics of the students shifted. As a two-time CUNY alumnus, I have seen and experienced the power of a CUNY education, and it’s crucial to invest in the supports, programs, and resources that make these opportunities accessible for all New Yorkers,” said Public Advocate Jumaane Williams.

“We can not have an equitable recovery from COVID-19 with an Executive Budget that cuts critical funding for CUNY that would disproportionately affect communities of color and low income New Yorkers. Education is the gateway to success for many New Yorkers but the proposed cuts to CUNY in the Executive Budget would prevent those communities hardest hit by the pandemic from accessing vital resources to becoming academically successful. I join with my colleagues and the thousands of CUNY faculty, staff and advocates in calling on the administration to support 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 Council Member Vanessa L. Gibson.

“After an incredibly challenging year for CUNY students and educators alike, it is morally reprehensible for the Mayor to propose cuts to CUNY’s budget,” said Council Member Antonio Reynoso. “CUNY is a critical driver of economic mobility in the City of New York and the dollars we direct toward supporting this work is an investment in the future of some of our most vulnerable New Yorkers. This investment is even more important as we work to close the education gap that widened during the pandemic. I will be working closely with my colleagues in the Council to ensure CUNY is fully-funded so that our students and educators have the resources they need to be successful.”

“As we continue this recovery phase of the COVID 19 pandemic, it is unconscionable to propose budget cuts to our CUNY community. Our students and teachers need as much support as possible as they revive and re-energize their educational careers and work towards creating a stronger future for themselves and their families. Cutting the budget would unfairly make that harder for no good reason. I stand with my CUNY family in demanding that there be no further budget cuts, and only additional investments,” said Assembly Member Nathalia Fernandez.

“CUNY- the people’s university serves as a lifeline for many of New York’s most vulnerable communities, yet the Mayor is currently proposing to slash $67 million of dollars that would disproportionately affect communities of color. It’s unjust and perplexing that a Mayor would end his legacy with his final budget with cuts that would immediately affect most New Yorkers at large. These cuts would directly affect students and workers that serve as the economic engine and human capital for New York City.” said Remysell Salas, CUNY Rising Alliance Campaign Director.

“ Year after year the CUNY community has to come together to ensure that the City Council does not cut funding towards CUNY. Budgets are moral documents and it is important for the New York City Council to not only restore the $67 million dollars in cuts that our Mayor has proposed but to also invest more in CUNY. CUNY is an institution that serves the working class people and the City Council must pass a budget that reflects just that,” said Juvanie Piquant, CUNY Trustee, CUNY University Student Senate Chairperson.

“We’ve heard from CUNY community college students who couldn’t get the advisement they needed, who could benefit from childcare, and who rely on remedial classes. We’ve heard from ASAP students who know that great advisors, help with MetroCards and textbooks, and tuition assistance should be accessible to all students. We’re calling on the New York City Council to help deliver on the promise of a New Deal for CUNY in NYC by ensuring that the final budget restores the $67 million in cuts to CUNY, and funds campus childcare, food insecurity programs, and the Council Merit Scholarship,” said Megan Ahearn, NYPIRG Program Director.

“After a year of trauma and upheaval, students are counting on CUNY for a new start and a chance at a better life for themselves and their families. Over 80 percent of our students are people of color, and CUNY should be a priority for City Hall, not a target for budget cuts. We serve working-class and low-income students, whom we move into the middle class at greater rates than any university in the country. CUNY graduates earn $57 billion annually in our state, largely in New York City. If the Mayor and the City Council want a rapid, inclusive recovery from the COVID crisis, CUNY must be fully funded in the final City budget,” said James Davis, president of the Professional Staff Congress.

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