New York, NY – On March 6, 2022, ahead of final state budget, over a thousand New Yorkers including students, faculty, staff and supporters of City University of New York (CUNY) and State University of New York (SUNY) marched from Brooklyn Borough Hall to Foley Square in support of increased funding for the public universities.
The marchers called on the NYS Legislature and Governor to provide an additional $500 million – $250 million each for CUNY and SUNY – in operating funding in the final budget to hire more full-time faculty, advisors and mental health counselors, rebuild academic departments and student services, stabilize community college budgets and restore critical mission funding for the hospitals. Governor Hochul has proposed state aid increases for the university systems. But after decades of state disinvestment in NY’s public universities, SUNY and CUNY need more.
If provided with the requested funding, SUNY and CUNY can power New York’s COVID recovery and build a stronger, more inclusive economy, if the Legislature provides the $500 million to fund new programs of investment such as the New Deal for CUNY and UUP’s NY HEALS agenda for Healthcare, Education, Access, Leadership, Sustainability at SUNY.
The march comes days before the State Senate and Assembly will release their “one-house budgets,” their responses to the governor’s budget proposal, which set the table for final budget negotiations. The final state budget is set to be finalized by April 1st.
“We’re calling on the Senate and the Assembly to make reinvestment in public higher education their priority in the budget negotiations,” said Professional Staff Congress President James Davis, Ph.D. “This wealthy state can afford to end the shortages of full-time faculty and staff, the dependence on low-paid adjuncts and the degradation of our CUNY buildings and facilities. New York needs a New Deal for CUNY and a budget that goes all in for our public university systems.”
“After years of slashing cuts and restrictive budgets, now is the time for the state to do right by our students and our patients by making a strong, lasting investment in SUNY,” said United University Professions President Frederick E. Kowal, Ph.D. The decades of disinvestment in public higher education in New York must end, and it must end this year. The state has plenty of tax revenue for the first time in years. If now isn’t the right time for the state to invest in SUNY, when is? SUNY can be the best public higher education system in the nation, but only if the state makes a long-term financial commitment to SUNY. It’s time to do right for our students, our patients and our future.”
“Our CUNY infrastructure is crumbling, and the need has never been so high for a New Deal for CUNY. No student should have to dodge falling tiles as they try to study for their midterms, or miss a full lecture because a ceiling leak shorted out their professor’s computer mid-presentation,” said State Senator Andrew Gounardes. “We have just a few weeks left to ensure that our CUNY students, faculty, and admin staff have the financial and infrastructural support they need to thrive, and return to their status as the crown jewel of New York City’s higher education world. It’s critical that adequate funding for SUNY and SUNY teaching hospitals be part of our state’s budget, and critical that we win the New Deal for CUNY our city so desperately needs.”
“New Yorkers are loud and clear: the Legislature needs to be #Allin4SUNYCUNY,” said Assembly Member Karines Reyes. “A thousand people are taking to the streets to let Albany know that we need $250 million each in additional funding for CUNY and SUNY. Our higher education systems need the funding to jumpstart the reversal of years of disinvestment that has left schools understaffed and students under-resourced. That can change with equitable budget proposals from both chambers.”
“SUNY and CUNY systems have provided numerous opportunities to our students for decades. Unfortunately, that is now in jeopardy as these academic institutions are underfunded and understaffed,” said Assemblymember Kenny Burgos. “If we are going to advance public higher education, we need our state to include $500 million for SUNY and CUNY in the budget. The time to invest in our students’ futures is now.”
“This budget comes at a pivotal time for all New Yorkers as we hope the worst of the pandemic is behind us. Throughout history we have learned that whenever there is an economic slowdown or crisis our education systems need us the most. By committing to make an investment today in CUNY and SUNY we know our tomorrow can be and will be better. The time for us to support our professors, our university professionals, our students, and New York’s future is today!” said Cory Provost, Chair of the CUNY University Student Senate and University trustee.
“On Sunday we rise and unite to fully fund public higher education! Investment in SUNY is critical to our social and economic future across New York State,” said Bradley Hershenson, SUNY Student Assembly President and University Trustee. “Every dollar invested in SUNY goes back into our local economy through the taxes we pay for decades after we graduate. We need to invest in academic excellence, empower our student leaders, and go all in for SUNY & CUNY this session.”
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