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Faculty, Staff & Students Rally in Support of Increased CUNY Funding

Oct 26, 2021

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PSC Urges Trustees To Vote For Ambitious University Budget Request

Increases of $416 Million in Operating Aid, $1.25 Billion in Capital Investment Would Begin to Reverse Years of Racialized Austerity

New York, NY – Hundreds of faculty, staff and students rallied in-person at Baruch College and online Monday, October 25 before a CUNY Board of Trustees meeting, urging the Board to approve the CUNY administration’s budget request. The demonstrators also called on Governor Hochul and presumptive Mayor Eric Adams to fully fund the request and put an end to years of disinvestment in CUNY’s mostly Black and Brown, mostly low-income students.

State lawmakers including Senator Andrew Gounardes and Assemblymembers Karines Reyes and Harvey Epstein joined in the chorus of calls – citing CUNY’s proven ability to provide economic mobility and opportunity to low-income and working-class New Yorkers and people of color. The action was organized by the Professional Staff Congress with support from CUNY Rising Alliance groups, including NYPIRG, the CUNY University Student Senate and Young Invincibles.

All but one CUNY Board member voted in favor of the University Budget Request (pg 18) Monday evening. Robert Mujica, CUNY trustee and state budget director appointed by Andrew Cuomo, abstained from the vote.

For its operations, CUNY is asking for 16 percent more in state support for FY 2023 than last year’s enacted budget, an additional $313 million, and 20 percent more in city support, an additional $103 million. There is no tuition hike in the plan.

If the funding is provided in the State and City budgets, CUNY will hire 1075 additional full-time faculty, of which up to 500 will be available for full-time lecturer positions to “provide a defined career pathway for part-time teaching faculty.” Investments in mental health services, child care centers and student wellness are in the request, along with funding to end the Cuomo policy of refusing to fund faculty and staff salary increases. The capital budget request calls for $1.25 billion in new investments, a much larger request than in recent years, to address CUNY’s long-neglected needs for upgraded ventilation and safe and modern facilities.

The request, which aligns well with the New Deal for CUNY legislation supported by CUNY Rising Alliance and sponsored by 57 state legislators, will now go to Governor Hochul and to the new mayor for inclusion in their budget proposals.

“This is the first budget request in a long time to begin to address the needs at CUNY senior and community colleges,” said Professional Staff Congress President James Davis. “The organizing among our members, students, and allies has broken through. It’s time for a tuition-free university and an end to years of racist austerity for the public college students of New York City. We look forward to the governor and the mayor fully funding CUNY’s request in their budget proposals and working with the Legislature and City Council to achieve the broader priorities of the New Deal for CUNY.”

“Although I am pleased to see the CUNY administration propose a robust budget of $416 million that addresses many needs of the New Deal for CUNY, I know that we can do more,” said Assembly Member Karines Reyes, R.N., sponsor of the New Deal For CUNY. “I urge Governor Hochul and the next mayor to pledge their support for the greatest asset we have for economic mobility in this country. CUNY students, faculty, and staff deserve to learn and work in the best conditions that our city and state can provide. We will never reach that level until the New Deal for CUNY becomes a reality for the hundreds of thousands of people whose lives are affected by the CUNY system.”

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