Statement on the Appointment and Confirmation of New CUNY Trustees

Updated: June 29, 2016
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Barbara Bowen, President, Professional Staff Congress/CUNY

The Professional Staff Congress congratulates William C. Thompson on the approval of his nomination by The New York State Senate Higher Education Committee as Chair of the Board of Trustees of The City University of New York. We also congratulate the other five CUNY trustees whose appointments were also approved: Fernando Ferrer, Mayra Linares-Garcia, Robert Mujica, Ken Sunshine, and Sandra Wilkin.

We commend Governor Cuomo on the decision to appoint a chairperson with a distinguished record of service in the public sector and a deep knowledge of New York’s working-class communities. The governor has put forward a group of trustees who have pledged to advocate vigorously for CUNY and are poised to make important contributions. We look forward to their efforts in defense of CUNY’s beautiful founding mission: to educate ‘the children of the people, the children of the whole people.’

CUNY is a powerful source of opportunity for low-income, immigrant and underrepresented New Yorkers in an age of acute inequality. But the University faces great challenges, including the resolution of the PSC-CUNY contract. After nearly seven years without a raise, CUNY’s 25,000 faculty and professional staff are struggling. Many professors are seeking other jobs because of CUNY’s low pay, new job candidates are reluctant to accept positions, and those who stay are under so much financial pressure that it is often difficult to devote to individual students the time they need.

The union has negotiated in good faith, offering multiple solutions, but the central administration has yet to make an offer that will support quality education at CUNY. We call on Chairperson Thompson and all of CUNY’s trustees to work with the CUNY administration, Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio before the legislative session ends to secure the necessary funding for a fair contract. The future of one of New York’s storied institutions and its greatest promise of opportunity is at stake.