CUNY faculty go to the Bronx in search of a ‘New Deal’

Stephon Johnson | 4/1/2021, midnight
City University of New York (CUNY) faculty and staff took to the Bronx to call for change.
CUNY becomes tobacco-free

City University of New York (CUNY) faculty and staff took to the Bronx to call for change.

The CUNY Rising Alliance and the Professional Staff Congress (PSC-CUNY) held a rally at Hostos Community College and marched to the Bronx County Courthouse calling for increased funding for CUNY along with a New Deal for CUNY.

With an April 1 deadline, students, lawmakers and community members are also pushing for a “New Deal” for CUNY.

Barbara Bowen, president of the Professional Staff Congress, said the importance of CUNY (whose student body is 64% of people of color and 69% women) cannot be overstated and the union’s desire are justified.

“Increased CUNY funding and the New Deal for CUNY legislation are critical to building an inclusive economy and a stronger university,” stated Bowen. “The Legislature is on the cusp of reversing the pattern of planned poverty that has left too many CUNY students without the resources and support they need. We thank the Senate and Assembly for the bold investments for CUNY they have proposed and urge them to demand a final budget that includes even the more progressive revenue, more investment in CUNY and passage of the New Deal for CUNY bill.”

PSC-CUNY has a friend in New York City Comptroller and Mayoral Candidate Scott Stringer. Early in March, Stringer released a report detailing CUNY’s contributions to New York.

According to Stringer’s report, using data from the CUNY Office of Institutional Research and Census data on Post-Secondary Employment Outcomes (PSEO), 79% of CUNY graduates work full time in in the city after graduation, earning a combined $57 billion annually in 2019 and contributing $4.2 billion in state income taxes in 2019. The report also showed that nearly 850,000 CUNY graduates work full time in the state with 17% of them working in higher education and 10% in the private sector.

CUNY’s New Deal calls for making tuition free and hiring 5,000 more full-time faculty members with priority going to current adjuncts.

The state Legislature’s already rejected New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget cuts to CUNY that was part of the governor’s originally proposed budget.

The State Assembly and State Senate wants to allocate funding to freeze tuition for CUNY schools and close the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) gap claiming that it’s a structural deficit created annually by the difference between the money colleges get from the state for students on TAP and the actual tuition they have to pay.

Assembly Member Karines Reyes said that a New Deal for CUNY would enhance the college experience for low-income students and students of color. She said a New Deal would optimize the capacities and resources available to the university’s students.

Funding the New Deal for CUNY is especially important for schools like Hostos that have worked so hard to act as an accessible gateway that has helped bridge the gap for so many New Yorkers,” stated Reyes.