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February 9, 2009

Save Higher Ed Funding in the Stimulus Bill

Higher education is one of the hardest-hit areas in the Senate “compromise” on the federal stimulus bill.  The amendments accepted in the Senate over the weekend cut billions of dollars from the original Senate bill that would have increased the operating budgets of public colleges through the State Stabilization Fund and provided for construction of new college buildings. 

The Senate needs to hear that it is not acceptable to cut higher education funding from the stimulus bill.  Senators are expected to vote on the “compromise” tomorrow, and then to begin the process of reconciling their bill with the bill already passed in the House of Representatives.  The outcome of the bill could have a direct effect on the CUNY budget.

PSC president Barbara Bowen sent a message to members earlier today asking all of us to send an immediate message to the Senate and President Obama that funds for public higher education aid and construction in the stimulus bill must be restored and an enhanced stimulus bill must be passed.    

We need literally thousands of messages TODAY; send a fax by clicking here.

The Argument for Putting Higher Ed Back into the Stimulus Bill

The PSC never tires of telling Albany and the City Council that investing in public higher education, investing in CUNY, is an investment in the people of New York – the best investment they can make. It’s the philosophy of this year’s budget message that, “CUNY is the Path to New York’s Future.” Two timely stories today back the union up, and explain why including education and other social service in infrastructure building is a smarter short- and long-term strategy. In Friday’s New York Times, a story recounting Japan’s successes and mistakes in stimulating its economy points out that “Japan spent too much on increasingly wasteful roads and bridges, and not enough in areas like education and social services, which studies show deliver more bang for the buck than infrastructure spending.” And today on InsideHigherEd.com, find a comprehensive listing of what got axed.

Victory! Community College Cuts Averted

Congratulations to all the PSC members who joined the fight to avert the proposed 10 percent cut in State funding for CUNY community colleges.  We won!  The budget bills passed in Albany last week close the current year's budget gap without touching community college support. 

Thousands of PSC members were active in this fight—more than 9,000 people throughout the state sent messages to their representatives, hundreds organized on their campuses, and scores traveled to Albany--including a large PSC delegation last week—to press our point.  The union’s effort was supported by vigorous advocacy by the PSC’s statewide affiliate, NYSUT.  “I am grateful to the legislators who voted down the cut, to NYSUT, to the PSC legislation committee and to the union staff.  We are all indebted to our colleagues who gave up research time or annual leave days to get up before dawn and make the trip to Albany,” PSC President Barbara Bowen said. 

Budget Media and Policy Training Offered Again on 2/19

Last Friday, PSC members brushed up on the facts about the State and City budgets and perfected their skills of talking on radio and TV.  They emerged ready to take on any talk-show host about the budget.  If you missed the training last time, come on Friday, 2/19, from 4 to 6 pm in the PSC office. All members are invited. Please RSVP to PSC Communications Coordinator Dania Rajendra by email.

Labor Goes to the Movies Shows Two Shorts by Black Women Filmmakers

Labor Goes to the Movies shows Julie Dash’s Illusions and Agnés Varda’s Black Pantheron Friday, 2/20 at 6 pm. Email Albert Muñoz for more information. No RSVPs.

NYC Labor Chorus Celebrates Lincoln Bicentennial

The NYC Labor Chorus and Queens College’s Aaron Copeland School of Music are honoring Abraham Lincoln’s 200th birthday with a gala concert on Thursday, 2/12. The program includes labor composer Earl Robinson’s work The Lonesome Train; theorchestral score had been lost, but was recovered with the help of a PSC-CUNY grant, member Maurice Peress told the PSC. Tickets are available for purchase from the Riverside Church Box Office, 212-870-6784, and proceeds benefit the Riverside Food Pantry.

PSC Closed for Lincoln’s Birthday and Presidents’ Day

The PSC office will be closed on Thursday, 2/12 and Monday 2/16 in observance of Abraham Lincoln’s 200th birthday and Presidents’ Day, respectively. The next This Week will be published on Tuesday, 2/17.