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May 5, 2023

Message to PSC Members on NYS Budget

Letter from James Davis

Dear PSC member,

The union ran a focused, successful state budget campaign this spring, including the additional month the budget ran late! 

Throughout the state budget effort, PSC members joined forces with students and the CUNY Rising Alliance. We made hundreds of calls and lobby visits to legislators and the Governor, rallied with our SUNY and NYSUT counterparts in the state Capitol, spoke out on our campuses, marched across the Brooklyn Bridge, publicized the New Deal for CUNY, and demonstrated at the Governor’s NYC office as the budget went down to the wire. Building on many years of PSC activism, our members expressed the urgency of this moment, when so much is at stake for our students, our colleagues, and the quality of the education we provide. Together, our efforts helped to make possible:

  • More than $100 million in new operating aid to CUNY this year – considerably more than the Governor initially proposed.
  • A defeat of the Governor’s proposed tuition hike for NY state residents. 
  • A commitment from NY state to increase CUNY operating aid not only this year but also for the next two years, at minimum.
  • A capital budget for CUNY of $1.1 billion for the coming year, nearly double what the Governor proposed.
  • Restorations and investments in critical areas, including $1 million to expand nursing programs, $0.5 million for the CUNY Black Male Initiative, over $1 million in new funding for SEEK, and $1 million for environmental and energy job training at Medgar Evers College.

While we did not win approval for the New Deal for CUNY in this legislative session, the depth of support for CUNY among legislators and the initiative from NYSUT, our statewide affiliate, for a New Deal for Higher Education demonstrate the positive difference that PSC members and our allies in the CUNY Rising Alliance continue to make. For a university that has withstood racialized disinvestment over decades, it will take more than a couple of sound budget cycles to become the university we want to see. But PSC members should be encouraged by these developments in Albany and the strength of our union. 

Now we must amplify our message to the City. The Mayor has not even proposed modest increases to CUNY’s budget but instead continues a drumbeat of cuts. CUNY has been cut $60 million in fiscal years 2023 and 2024, and more cuts are proposed in the executive budget.  Just as the state legislature stood firm on CUNY funding in negotiations with the Governor, so the city council is urgently needed now. Just as the Governor was moved off her initial positions, so must the Mayor be moved before the city budget is finalized in the coming weeks. The advocacy of PSC members and CUNY students will be critical. Our next opportunity to show up in force is the PSC rally at City Hall next Thursday, May 11, at 12:30 pm – rsvp here!

The needs that are still unmet by this year’s state budget are immense, and the struggle directly before us is to prevent CUNY from imposing the cuts enumerated in each college’s “savings plan” for the coming year.

Time and again, the PSC has shown that with the support of our students and communities, the strength of our members propels us to tremendous progress in adverse circumstances. I could not be more proud of the determination PSC members have shown this year to protect jobs and enhance the quality of education we offer our students. It comes from your abiding commitment to the mission of a university established to serve “the whole people” of New York City and your desire to see our programs flourish as they should. Our collective work is not done, and I look forward to seeing you at City Hall on May 11 at 12:30 pm!

In solidarity,

James Davis, President

Published: May 5, 2023

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