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CUNY has an historic mission. To educate “the whole people” of New York at “an institution of the highest grade” “controlled by the popular will, not by the privileged few” City College Of New York, Tower, 1905: Museum of the City of New York, Wurts Bros. Collection
But increasing tuition and fees prevent students from gaining access to CUNY and graduating. As part of SUNY 2020 legislation lawmakers voted to increase tuition $1, 500 ($300/year from 2011 to 2015) with the understanding that the increases would go to enhance education, not offset shortfalls in State funding.
The Promise “Coupled with the NYSUNY 2020 commitment to provide a consistent level of State General Fund support, the rational tuition policy makes it possible for the public university systems to add faculty, reduce class size, expand program offerings, and improve academic performance. ” Governor Cuomo, 2015 Opportunity Agenda
PSC/CUNY says, “Our working conditions are your learning conditions. We are a Union of Faculty and 7, 694 Full-Time Faculty 11, 727 Adjunct Faculty 1, 711 Graduate Assistants 889 Continuing Education Teachers
Professional Staff 4, 520 Higher Education Officers (HEOs) 1, 512 Non-Teaching Adjuncts 531 Full-Time College Lab Technicians (CLTs) 532 Adjunct CLTs
CUNY students are New York.
CUNY Students: CUNY is Their Opportunity
The SUNY 2020 promise has not been kept. The promise lawmakers made in SUNY 2020 was that tuition increases would be used to increase funding so students would have access to more full-time faculty, smaller classes, improved support services, etc. State funding has not kept up with basic cost increases forcing CUNY to use new tuition revenue to keep the lights on.
At CUNY senior colleges, State funding of mandatory costs has fallen short every year since 2011. CUNY’s mandatory costs include supplies and equipment, rent, fringe benefits, energy costs, new building needs and contractual salary increases.
Because the State did not fully fund mandatory costs, the entire shortfall in CUNY’s FY 2016 Budget (revised to $51 million) has to come from higher tuition. Without a true maintenance of effort from the State, CUNY can’t make the improvements promised by SUNY 2020. Even with tuition hikes, shortfalls in public funding for mandatory costs mean CUNY cannot: Fix its dismal full-time faculty-to-student ratio, Increase individual attention for students, Improve the treatment of adjunct faculty, or Provide enough mentors for students. The University will remain diminished in its ability to compete in the national academic labor market as long as mandatory costs remain unfunded, and CUNY’s student counseling and support services will remain unable to fulfill all students’ needs.
From 1990 -91 the proportion of State aid to total senior college revenue dropped from 74% to 53%. Tuition and fees have more than doubled as a proportion of total senior college revenues since 1990 -91, rising from 21% to 46%.
Senior Colleges In fall 2014 students of color constituted 68 percent of senior college enrollment. The State’s failure to maintain adequate funding of CUNY senior colleges disproportionately hurts people of color.
State aid to CUNY community colleges has decreased since 1990 -91, falling from 36% to 25% of total revenue, far below the 40% level promised in State law. Tuition and fees have more than doubled as a proportion of total community college revenues since 1990 -91, rising from 22% to 45%.
Community Colleges In fall 2014 students of color constituted 84 percent of community college enrollment. The State’s failure to maintain adequate funding of CUNY community colleges disproportionately hurts people of color.
If the State won’t maintain its effort, CUNY must rely on adjunct faculty to teach more courses. A bit more than half of all CUNY classes are taught by 11, 727 adjuncts, who have: No job security Fewer benefits Lower pay
If the State won’t maintain its effort, CUNY will continue to depend on a two-tiered labor system that exploits “career” adjuncts. “Career” Adjuncts Deserve Better Pay and Working Conditions • They are the most experienced adjunct teachers. • CUNY is their main source of income. • They work on multiple campuses. • Many earn little more than $3, 000 per course. • They have no job security. • Not getting a course assignment can mean loss of health insurance.
Keep the Promise: Increase Funding to CUNY More full-time faculty and instructional staff means: More of the courses students need to graduate, More time for mentorship and course preparation, Greater opportunity for research, Improved counseling and advisement ratios, Smaller classes and more attention for students.
Keep the Promise: Increase Funding to CUNY Treating adjunct faculty fairly means: Better pay and working conditions, More time to guide and advise students, Greater engagement with campus life, A better living for CUNY’s lowest-paid faculty, Respect for adjuncts’ contributions to CUNY.
MOE Status Passed 146 to 1 in the State Assembly Passed 62 to 1 in the State Senate Awaiting the Governor’s Signature
Sign the Postcard! We’re in this together! Tell Governor Cuomo that investing in CUNY is investing in your future and the future of all New Yorkers. It is a question of racial and economic justice.