CUNY must use the stimulus to protect student enrollment and adjunct employment

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Send a letter to the Chancellor and the CUNY Trustees!

8/9/21

Dear Colleagues,

When NY State withheld 20 percent of CUNY’s budget allocations for most of 2020-21, the number of course offerings was reduced, many adjunct faculty and college lab technicians lost employment, and enrollment limits were raised on many classes. Please tell the Chancellor and the Board of Trustees, as we anticipate Fall 2021, that last year’s austerity measures must not be repeated. Courses currently on the schedule should be kept intact, not canceled for under-enrollment. This measure will maintain student academic progress and keep faculty on payroll. Sections should be added as registration continues this month, and adjunct faculty who were laid off last year should take priority in reappointment. These are among the express purposes of the three pieces of federal legislation Congress passed for higher education emergency relief.

The Chancellor recently directed $125 million in federal stimulus funds to student debt forgiveness, a laudable action that will allow thousands of active CUNY students to continue their education and register for more classes. Now he should direct additional funds to enhance academic continuity and support the faculty and staff, encouraging colleges to contain expanding class sizes, offer a larger number of classes with fewer students in each, and keep employees on payroll. Please contact the Chancellor and CUNY Trustees here.

Whether in-person or online, a stable, robust Fall schedule is not just a question of continued employment for faculty holding contingent appointments, it also has important implications for pedagogy and the health and safety of the campus community. Those of us who work and teach at CUNY know how vital the colleges are to New York City’s recovery from the pandemic. Let’s urge the administration to do it right!

In solidarity,

James Davis
President, PSC-CUNY