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PSC Members Testify

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More than 100 faculty and staff of the City University of New York showed up en masse at a CUNY Board of Trustees hearing Monday, October 22, 2018 to share firsthand stories of the damage being done to the University by salaries that lag thousands of dollars behind those at comparable institutions, near-poverty-level adjunct pay and chronic underfunding.

Here are some of their written statements:

Testimony of Frank Cioffi, Baruch College

Frank Cioffi Testifies 10-22-18.jpg   As for the full-time faculty, at the current salary levels, many simply leave for greener pastures. We lose one faculty member after another. Just one example might suffice: why do professors at Rutgers-Camden (a public IIA college) make close to $20k more than professors at CUNY senior colleges? (Full testimony)

Testimony of Diane Peters Auslander, Lehman College

Diane Auslander Testifies 10-22-18.jpg   Fully funding CUNY means paying everyone a competitive wage, even adjuncts. 7K is a start toward that goal. If you do not fully fund CUNY and pay adjuncts at least most of what we deserve, CUNY will not be able to attract or retain the best and brightest teachers as our students deserve, and a CUNY degree will lose credibility no matter how high our graduation rates. You need to make sure that we all have what we need to do our jobs – isn’t that your job?
(Full testimony)

Testimony of Sami Disu, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Sami Disu Testifies 10-22-18.jpg   And if you understand that most students who attend CUNY are from black and brown communities, then you will understand that underpaid college professors combined with austerity funding levels for the CUNY system amounts to racial injustice – whether deliberately designed or not. You don’t need to be a professor of African American History like me to understand this issue. (Full testimony)

Testimony of Lorraine Cohen, LaGuardia Community College

Lorraine Cohen Testifies 10-22-18.jpg   CUNY management and the BOT have to make up its mind about to whom they should be accountable, the political powers that be, or the people of the City of New York? We need to imagine and fight for a University that will serve “the whole people.” (Full testimony)

Testimony of Elizabeth Hollander, Lehman College

elizabeth-hollander-thumb.jpg   CUNY students, who must themselves juggle so many competing calls on their time, skills, and energy, require – and deserve – all the more time and attention because of their challenges. They are doing the impossible: pursuing a liberal arts education while commuting and working full time. They are heroes. Underpaying their instructors – and so forcing them to travel to multiple campuses, and to teach hundreds of students a year – deprives those students of the stability and investment they need and so richly deserve.
(Full testimony)

Testimony of Sarah Durand, LaGuardia Community College

Sarah Durand Testifies 10-22-18.jpg   There are massive pools of wealth in our State—the money to support a great University is here.
(Full testimony)

Testimony of Ruth Wangerin, Lehman College

Ruth Wangerin Testifies 10-22-18.jpg   We want to tell you that the Lehman faculty of all ranks, full-time and part-time, are working together now. We’re adopting the principle of all for one and one for all. I think you can see that from the 220 names on the petition that my colleague has presented.

It’s just a matter of time. We’re college professors, so don’t think we don’t know what’s going on, why there is austerity, why people who don’t need it get tax breaks and people who do need it get leaky ceilings and underpaid professors.

(Full testimony)

Testimony of Amy E. Hughes, Brooklyn College

Amy Hughes Testifies 10-22-18.jpg   CUNY students are incredibly—I daresay, atypically—passionate, inventive, talented, and, above all, diverse. Most step onto our campuses without the advantages and privileges that students at other colleges bring to bear on their education. As a result, our students need as much time as we professors can possibly give them. This is a key reason part-time faculty need a fair, living wage, and why New York State must fully fund the labor contracts that CUNY has negotiated with the PSC, rather than forcing the campuses to cannibalize their own budgets.
(Full testimony)

Testimony of Lynne Turner, Graduate Center

Lynne Turner Testifies 10-22-18.jpg   The annual pay for the average adjunct lecturer teaching a full load of 8 courses at CUNY is $28,000, which is about $20,000 less than the yearly income of $48,000 required for a modest yet adequate standard of living for even a single person without children in my borough of Brooklyn. (EPI family budget calculator). CUNY’s low adjunct pay is far less than adjunct faculty compensation at Barnard, Fordham, New School, NYU, and even 50% less than neighboring public university systems such as Rutgers and UConn. (Full testimony)

Testimony of Hester Eisenstein, Queens College and the Graduate Center

Hester Eisenstein Testifies 10-22-18.jpg   If I were a CUNY Trustee, I would do everything in my power to make sure that our students, who struggle with economic deprivation, balancing paid work, family, and schoolwork, have the best of everything to ensure their success. This extends from chalk in the classroom to books in the library to adequate systems of heat and ventilation, not to mention staff and faculty salaries. (Full testimony)

Testimony of Sigmund Shen, LaGuardia Community College

Sigmund Shen Testifies 10-22-18.jpg   It will be clear if you praise our adjuncts’ “hard work, dedication, and commitment” and then cry over your own poverty when it’s time to talk 7K per course. It will be clear if you have your picture taken signing off on the course reduction to give students more individual attention from their professors, and then turn around and cut the tutoring budget by 16%.

Don’t worry about history judging us; we should be so lucky. Our students are judging us right now and it will be plain as day if you self-censor your own budget request.

(Full testimony)

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