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Home » Students and professors protest Paterson at BCC commencement

Students and professors protest Paterson at BCC commencement

Grads in processional wearing stickers
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Pat Arnow
Dwight Peters, BCC student, handing out stickers
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Pat Arnow

CUNY faculty and staff joined members of the class of 2010 in a protest when Governor Paterson’s delivered the 5/28/10 commencement address at Bronx Community College. Wearing stickers that read “Fund CUNY: Build Our Future,” they asked the governor to stop cutting CUNY.

“As a professor, I couldn’t be more proud of our graduates and their accomplishments,” said Dr. Nichole McDaniel, who teaches biology at BCC and serves as the college’s union leader. “But Gov. Paterson has consistently turned his back on today’s graduates and those who want to follow in their footsteps – cutting CUNY’s budget, reducing financial aid, and trying to furlough faculty and staff. As we honor our graduates here today, we join with them to insist that the governor give BCC students the support that they deserve.”

BCC student Dwight Peters said, “We would like to congratulate the class of 2010 on their success. Students are one of this country’s greatest assets – but Governor Paterson has chosen to neglect our hopes and aspirations. May our display of discontent be a sign to the city and the nation that students and professors will stand in solidarity to secure a brighter future.”

Paterson wants to cut millions from State support for CUNY, including its community colleges, resulting in overcrowded classrooms, inadequate student counseling and advising, and overworked faculty and staff. He is seeking to privatize CUNY and permit its Board to set tuition levels without legislative oversight, so that increases could be as high as 10% this year alone.

Barbara Bowen
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At the same time, Paterson proposed cutting the state’s Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), by $93 million. While the governor has added some funds for construction and critical repairs at CUNY colleges, these funds only begin to address years of deferred maintenance and today’s record-setting enrollments.

“The State’s budget gap is real – but Governor Paterson has chosen the wrong way to close it,” said Dr. Barbara Bowen, president of the Professional Staff Congress/CUNY. “Cuts to Bronx Community College and to this community are not inevitable. Governor Paterson has resisted every proposal for progressive tax reform and has instead decided to inflict economic pain on the communities that can least afford it. As a CUNY professor, I know the challenges students face in earning a college degree. The way to honor their achievement is to support their education.”

BCC students working the ceremony wearing stickers
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Pat Arnow
Olga Miranda, graduate, shows that she is going to wear a sticker on her mortarboard
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Pat Arnow
And students march in the processional wearing stickers
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Pat Arnow
Protest signs at the graduation
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Pat Arnow
Protesters turn their backs on the speech
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Pat Arnow

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