Barbara Bowen, President, Professional Staff Congress/CUNY
New York, NY—If the problem in New York City is inequality, the solution is CUNY. Mayor de Blasio knows this and has articulated a progressive vision for CUNY that puts the University at the center of the City’s economic development strategy. Investments in CUNY pay off quickly, especially if they’re investments in the full-time faculty and student support staff, who teach classes, mentor students and help students to graduate on time and imagine new possibilities for their lives.
After years of underfunding, CUNY has a crying need for more full-time faculty and staff. With 4,000 fewer full-time faculty than when enrollments were last near current levels, the University struggles with larger classes and less availability of courses required for graduation.
The Mayor’s plan to invest $20 million in Science Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs at the CUNY community colleges is a powerful first step in ending the era of public disinvestment in CUNY. It marks the beginning of achieving the Mayor’s goal of dramatically increasing City support for CUNY.
More than half a million matriculated and continuing-education students enroll in CUNY each year; they come largely from low- and middle-income families and are largely people of color in this still-unequal city. Many enter CUNY with educational deficiencies. Giving CUNY students the support and attention they need is the right thing to do and a winning economic development strategy.
We thank the mayor for his commitment to ending income inequality with quality affordable public higher education, and look forward to working with him and the City Council to strengthen the University and address the needs that have developed over years of underfunding.
The Professional Staff Congress (PSC/CUNY) is the union that represents more than 25,000 faculty and professional staff at the City University of New York and the CUNY Research Foundation.