WHY WE ARE HERE
The City University of New York (CUNY) is hurting. Hundreds of millions of dollars in funding cuts have led to overcrowding, fewer full-time faculty lines, less time for student mentoring and guidance, abuse of hard-working but underpaid adjuncts and increasing reliance on tuition to replace public investment. Elected officials in Albany and City Hall have allowed this to happen.
The Professional Staff Congress (PSC) is the academic labor union at CUNY. We teach more than 260,000 students. As faculty and staff at CUNY, we know first-hand the effects of repeated state and city budget cuts: we teach classes that are packed elbow-to-elbow; oversee labs using outdated equipment; juggle heavy workloads that leave little time for research that allows us to be better teachers; and council students who struggle to succeed despite work and family obligations, tuition hikes and a shortage of required course sections. Working and learning conditions at CUNY are harsh right now. It doesn’t have to be this way.
CUNY remains New York’s broadest avenue to opportunity for low- and middle-income students, immigrants and students of color, despite the cuts. But it can be so much more.
Another CUNY is possible.
CUNY can be a university that guarantees access for all students, that rewards and respects excellence and experience, that provides job security for part-time faculty, that fosters mentorship and research, that pays its faculty and staff—all its faculty and staff—a wage that allows them to focus on providing a quality education.
We are rallying at City Hall to challenge the myth of economic austerity, used to justify massive budget cuts. There is money in New York for CUNY. It’s in the hands of the richest 1% of taxpayers—they receive 44% of all income in the city! The politician’s refrain of “we’re broke!” is an oversimplification that denies the basic truth that budgeting is about political choices and priorities. We will not accept austerity for our students or ourselves, not while billions in new tax breaks are handed to the wealthy and the super-rich.
We are marching from City Hall to the Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC) to link our budget and contract demands. Class size, workloads, time for research and mentoring, equity for part-time faculty, salaries, and advancement—all issues that affect quality of instruction and student services—must be addressed in our union contract.
If the faculty and staff at CUNY have made a difference for you or someone you love, we invite you to stand with us in demanding…
The budget we need, the contract we deserve.
May 5, 2011