Statement on the FY2022 New York State Budget for CUNY
Barbara Bowen, President, Professional Staff Congress/CUNY
“The CUNY faculty and staff represented by the PSC are delighted to see important gains for CUNY in the budget agreement reached yesterday. The FY 2022 budget rejects every cut proposed by the governor, increases the maximum TAP award by $500, commits to closing the TAP Gap within the following three years, adds funding for opportunity programs, stabilizes support for community colleges hit by losses in enrollment this year, adds capital funds to fix CUNY buildings, and freezes undergraduate tuition.
“We thank the members of the Legislature who responded to the thousands of PSC members, CUNY students and allies who urged New York to break with decades of planned poverty for CUNY. All of us who support a New Deal for CUNY are right to claim these steps as victories. We applaud the progressive legislators who led the fight for them and the entire Legislature for their support.
“But in a year that cried out for bold investment in public higher education and an end to racist austerity for the Black and brown communities CUNY serves, Albany missed the opportunity to pass a transformative budget for CUNY. Rejecting a tuition increase without adding the funds to replace the lost revenue will ultimately undermine the quality of education CUNY can offer. CUNY needs investment on a larger scale if it is to recover from decades of underfunding and realize its potential for the people of New York. A fully funded CUNY would be a linchpin of a recovery that not only rebuilds New York, but reimagines it.
“The federal COVID stimulus funds allocated to CUNY are critically needed and will bolster the State’s investments, but they are not a substitute for fundamental changes in the University’s base budget. The progressive tax reforms enacted in the budget are also an important step in bringing economic justice to New York, and we pledge to work with the Legislature to build on them in the future.
“New York still has a chance this year to signal its commitment to a transformed and transformative CUNY by enacting The New Deal for CUNY (S4461/A5843). The legislation currently has 19 co-sponsors in the State Senate and 38 co-sponsors in the Assembly. The bill would establish minimum staff-to-student ratios for mental health counselors, academic advisors and full-time faculty at CUNY, while raising pay for adjunct faculty and restoring free tuition. Free, high-quality public higher education for all the people of our state would repudiate decades of austerity and usher in new possibilities for racial and economic justice for the people of New York. The PSC urges every legislator to sign on in support of The New Deal for CUNY and calls on the leaders of the Senate and Assembly and their respective higher education committees to advance the bill and get it passed this year.”