April 14, 2008
PSC to NYC: Stop the Budget Cuts!
Mayor Bloomberg’s Preliminary Budget would impose a massive $65 million cut in CUNY funding and financial aid. The PSC is responding with an all-hands-on-deck mobilization to stop the cuts and secure the new funds the University urgently needs. The PSC is asking every member to help gather the “CUNY Rising” postcards addressed to the City Council and asking the Council to restore the cuts: Ask your students to join you in singing them. It’s their education that’s on the line. Ask everyone in your department to sign. Bring the postcards with you to staff meetings, department meetings—any meeting! Take some home and bring them with you to the community, religious or political gatherings you attend. Keep a stack in your bag and ask colleagues, students and friends to sign in one-on-one conversations. Contact your chapter chair to get a supply of postcards; make sure to get back all the cards you distribute and turn them in by May 2. Meanwhile, PSC members will also be visiting their Council Members to lobby for budget restorations. If you are interested in being part of a lobby team, contact Eileen Moran. We also urge all PSC members to send letters to the Mayor and the City Council Speaker, which you can do right now through the PSC website. Finally, on May 7, at 12:45 pm, we will rally on the steps of City Hall and deliver all of the postcards to the City Council.
For more information on the budget, and for a flyer you can hand out with the postcard, visit the website.
Coordinated Campus Actions Send Message to 80th Street
Last Monday, PSC members at John Jay delivered a letter to Chancellor Matthew Goldstein when he came to visit the campus, and members at LaGuardia were out with “CUNY Needs a Raise!” picket signs. On Tuesday, a joint PSC-DC 37 demonstration brought out 75 people at the College of Staten Island. PSC members at NYC Tech held a silent march on Tuesday, and on Wednesday 50 members and students at Hostos staged a noisy picket (and also got 500 “CUNY Rising” postcards signed on the spot!). Also on Wednesday, BMCC members sponsored a part-timer/full-timer solidarity day that included educational tabling. Several dozen LaGuardia members were back out picketing on Thursday with their DC37 colleagues, as were members at Baruch and Queens. These and other actions were all part of the PSC’s “Contract Week,” designed to highlight the crucial issues at stake in the current negotiations. In particular, the need for salary restoration was a consistent theme. Click here for more information on the contract campaign.
State Budget Wrap-up
On Wednesday, state leaders finally agreed on a budget for the 2008-2009 fiscal year. While there are some highlights for CUNY in the budget, and PSC members can be proud of their efforts to fight back budget cuts, the overall news for CUNY in the budget is decidedly disappointing. With recession on the minds of the governor and the legislators and the looming deficits that come with it, few areas were spared. One bright spot is capital funding, where the budget did make a significant new investment to address the urgent needs of CUNY’s physical plant. Another is the introduction of statutory language on an endowment exclusively for CUNY and SUNY, designed to address long-standing needs.The proposed cuts in the per FTE funding for community colleges was fully restored. This budget also contains no tuition increases. The cut to CUNY’s operating aid, some $17 million, is a hard blow, as is the shortfall for critical maintenance for community colleges and Medgar Evers, but the budget axe would surely have cut deeper without the hundreds of phone calls, e-mails and faxes that PCS members made to the governor and to state legislators.
“More than 200 CUNY faculty and staff called the governor’s office within the first two hours after receiving my message asking for calls. Thank you! Those calls made a difference – we see their impact in the creation of the endowment and the restoration of community college funds.” --Barbara Bowen, President