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State Budget Cuts

While stopping PHEEIA was a major victory, the budget approved by the Legislature currently includes funding reductions for CUNY senior and community colleges. There is, however, some possibility these reductions can be mitigated if federal legislation for increased funding to the states passes. The PSC will do everything we can do to resist reductions and to protect the interests of our members and of CUNY students.  [Posted 8/10/10]



Dear Members, 

Last night [Tuesday, 8/3/10] the New York State Legislature finally passed a budget—and it did not include the “Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act,” the plan to charge different tuition for different majors and to replace public funding for CUNY and SUNY with private tuition dollars. 

The governor and certain legislators, often for narrow political reasons, were trying to force through a restructuring of CUNY and SUNY that would have affected the universities for a generation.  Thanks to your opposition, and the support we received from NYSUT and other groups, we stopped them. 

In the course of just a couple of weeks, the PSC generated 7,606 letters to legislators on the “Empowerment Act”—the highest number the union has ever sent.  I saw a real change in the conversation in Albany as the force of our opposition was felt.  Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Higher Education Chair Deborah Glick became powerful opponents of the proposal, particularly of its effect on access to education; and the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus defined opposition to the proposal as a civil rights issue.  They held firm, and the proposal’s supporters were not able to win passage. 

Chancellor Goldstein continued, throughout the process, to be a supporter of the legislation, even though he has never held a public discussion of the issue with the University’s faculty, staff and students. 

The impulse behind the “Empowerment Act” has not disappeared, however.  The State Senate announced a “framework agreement” for tuition increases and private economic development at four SUNY campuses, but this agreement was not voted on by the legislature.  The “Empowerment Act” did not pass, and that is a victory for everyone who believes in public support for public education and in the principle that higher education should help to dismantle—not intensify—existing inequities of race and class. 

The State budget as a whole remains difficult for CUNY, with cuts in funding for both four-year and community colleges.  Assuming these cuts remain, the PSC will do everything we can to protect the interests of our members and of CUNY students.  We will update you as the impact of these reductions becomes clear. 

Meanwhile, I want to thank you for your support, and send my thanks also to the union’s NYSUT representatives in Albany, who did a superb job representing our position. 

Best wishes for the rest of the summer,
Barbara Bowen

[Click here for more on why the PSC opposed PHEEIA]

State Budget Impasse Continues..  The State Legislature was called into special session on July 28 by Gov. Paterson but no progress was made toward finalizing the New York State budget.

The Assembly and the State Senate have both passed a budget authorizing State spending, and the Assembly has also passed a revenue bill to fund it.  But State Senate action on the revenue measure remains blocked by some Senators’ insistence on first passing some version of Paterson’s plan for CUNY & SUNY, the “Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act” (PHEEIA). 

Opposition to the privatization and differential tuition pieces of the PHEEIA proposal has been building among Senate Democrats, especially among members of the Black and Puerto Rican Legislative Caucus.  Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson, chair of the Caucus, said that if some Senators insist on PHEEIA being part of the budget, then there is a "stalemate."

The PSC is strongly opposed to PHEEIA (more on the union’s position here).  To send a message to your representatives, click here.   [Posted 8/3/10]

THE LATEST BUDGET UPDATES are in the 7/26/10, 7/19/10, 7/12/10 and 7/6/10 editions of This Week in the PSC.  [Posted 7/26/10]

NOTE ON PHEEIA. The revenue legislation on the state budget has been held up in the Senate by a united Republican opposition and a lone Democrat from Buffalo, Senator Stachowski.  Since the Democrats have a one vote margin, one senator can stop the State Senate from acting.  Senator Stachowski is demanding action on the Governor's Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act (PHEEIA). PSC members have sent 5000 messages opposing passage of Paterson's proposed "Public Higher Education Investment & Empowerment Act" (PHEEIA) – a bill that would neither increase State investment, nor empower faculty, staff or students.  Click below for press coverage on PHEEIA (and go to the 7/12/10 and 7/6/10 editions of This Week in the PSC for more detailed analysis of the PHEEIA issue in Albany)

State budget in flux -- URGENT! SEND AN ACT NOW LETTER.  

[Posted 7/1/10]  Send a letter to your state senator demanding the immediate passage of the state budget revenue bill without CUNY/SUNY privatization language.  Hour-by-hour, the Albany budget situation changes.  The Senate and Assembly have passed budget authorization bills which restored $21 million in CUNY community college cuts and $49 million in State-wide TAP reductions.  The Senate and Assembly bills accepted the Governor’s cut to CUNY senior colleges of $84.4 million.  However, the Governor has vowed to veto the community college and TAP restorations.  We will send additional messages about how you can participate in a veto override campaign.

Right now, at the center of Albany budget negotiations is the Governor’s Public Higher Education Empowerment Initiative Act (PHEEIA).  The PSC, UUP, NYSUT, and other state unions are strongly opposed to PHEEIA.

The legislature still has to pass revenue bills to fund its spending plan and PHEEIA is a central issue.  Currently, the two houses of the legislature are embroiled in a high drama disagreement about how to proceed on the revenue bills.  While the Assembly has consistently and strongly opposed PHEEIA because it would deny access and shift funding of higher education from the state to students, several Senate Democrats are strong supporters of PHEEIA, believing it will help with the economic development of their regions.  Since the Senate has only a two seat majority, Senate Democrats have to have everyone’s agreement to pass legislation since the Senate Republicans are ritually voting against all Democratic budget proposals.

Pro-PHEEIA Senate Democrats (Stachowski of Buffalo and Foley of Long Island) are currently holding the budget revenue bills hostage.  They are demanding PHEEIA language in the revenue bills or they will withhold their votes.  Bringing down the state budget over a non-budget item and one that would undermine access at CUNY is unconscionable.  Please, send a letter to your state senator now demanding a vote on the revenue bill without PHEEIA language. 

There’s still time to send a letter to thank Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Higher Ed Committee Chair Deborah Glick if you haven’t already. It lets them know how much we appreciate their standing firm against PHEEIA.


[Posted 7/1/10]  The City budget for CUNY, passed on Tuesday 6/29, is welcomed good news.  CUNY community college base aid was increased over last year’s budget; a significant victory in this difficult budget climate.  There were some disappointments, too.  Full update.


Dear Members, 

I’m writing to update you as negotiations over the State budget enter what may be their final 24 hours, especially because public higher education is at the center of the discussions. 

As has been widely reported, Governor Paterson had planned to ram through a final budget bill on Monday unless agreement had been reached on a budget.  Now the Senate and Assembly have issued joint budget legislation of their own.  A major difference between the two bills is their approach to the governor’s Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act, which would usher in sweeping changes at CUNY and SUNY.  The joint bill by the Assembly and Senate eliminates the Empowerment Act, while the governor continues to insist on it.  

Spearheaded by the new SUNY chancellor and championed by Governor Paterson, the Empowerment Act would be a disaster for CUNY.  It is essentially a proposal to reduce public funding and replace it with private funding, in the form of higher tuition.  And the higher tuition could be increased still further: the Act would allow CUNY to set different tuition rates for different senior colleges and even for different majors within a college. 

Chancellor Goldstein supports this proposal.  He has testified to that effect and appeared at the governor’s press conferences in support of the Empowerment Act.  Yet he has not held a single public discussion of the issue with the faculty and staff.  To embrace such a change without public discussion and without respect for the role of the faculty in determining curriculum violates the norms of an academic community.  I have called on Goldstein to rethink his support for the Empowerment Act, especially in the absence of such discussion, but he has so far refused to change his position. 

The Empowerment Act is not the “CUNY Compact,” which includes a provision for matching funds by the State; it is a proposal to replace public funding with private, and replace public oversight with deregulation.  In the last two years, average public funding for higher education decreased 34 times faster in states where public colleges set their own tuition rates—as CUNY would under this Act—than in states where the tuition was set by the legislature.  This year’s State budget is a case in point: the governor’s proposal includes both the Empowerment Act and severe cuts to CUNY and SUNY.  If the Act passes, we can expect more of the same. 

Its proponents pretend that the Empowerment Act is about building the kind of public university system built by California in the sixties; it’s not.  The California system was built with massive public investment; the Empowerment Act is about disinvestment. 

And the disinvestment would be racialized.  The implications of charging different tuition rates at certain colleges and for certain majors are all too predictable.  Five CUNY colleges have already been identified for higher tuition in one version of the legislation, and Goldstein has spoken publicly about his desire to set higher tuition rates within individual colleges for a major such as Engineering.  Imagine what that would mean: shrinking resources at the other senior colleges; pressure on the community colleges to increase tuition to keep up with the increases at the four-year schools; and—above all—increased stratification of the University by income and race. 

What can we do?  PSC members have already sent nearly 5,000 messages to Albany on the Empowerment Act.  The new joint legislation by the Senate and Assembly shows that we have been heard.  But the budget is not resolved yet, and the legislation itself could change many times between now and Monday, so it is critical that we keep the pressure on. 

Here’s what you can do.  1) Everyone should send a letter to the State Senate thanking the Senators for moving on the Empowerment Act and calling on them not to retreat. 2) If you have not already done so, send a letter to the State Assembly, urging the Assembly to hold firm to its principled position.  The messages you have already sent to Albany on this issue have increased our influence. 

3) Then on Monday morning, assuming the budget has still not been finalized, you can call Goldstein’s office and register your position on the importance of public discussion on a proposal that would reduce State funding, limit student access, and tier the University: 212-794-5311.  Meanwhile, the PSC leadership and our representatives in Albany have been working virtually around the clock to oppose the Empowerment Act and support restoration of funds. 

During months of budget negotiations, the focus for higher education was on budget cuts, and then on the attempt to impose furloughs; it’s only in the last few weeks that the Empowerment Act has moved center stage.  The reasons for that are political and have very little to do with CUNY.  But the union will continue up to the last minute of the budget negotiations to be a forceful presence in Albany; I ask you to increase that force by sending your letters and contacting Chancellor Goldstein with your views.  We all have a stake in this proposal, which has the potential to restructure the University in ways that violate its historic mission.  I urge you not to remain silent. 

In solidarity, 

Barbara Bowen
President, PSC

PSC STATEMENT ON HIGHER EDUCATION EMPOWERMENT ACT  - 6/25/10.  “The union that represents CUNY’s faculty and staff is strongly opposed to the governor’s Empowerment Act for public higher education,” said Dr. Barbara Bowen, president of the Professional Staff Congress and a professor of English at Queens College. “The proposal strips CUNY and SUNY of public investment while limiting access for students.  Under the governor’s proposal, tuition could go up by more than 9 percent per year, every year, and could rise even higher for certain colleges and academic majors. 

“This cynical proposal would accelerate the under-funding of CUNY while purporting to enhance the University.  It is accompanied by devastating budget cuts to both CUNY and SUNY.  If the proposal is enacted, the governor’s legacy will be public universities that are weakened and increasingly stratified by income and race.  Lower-income students will inevitably be channeled toward the less expensive colleges and even to less expensive academic majors—a result that runs absolutely counter to CUNY’s historic mission.  The Empowerment Act has no place in the State budget; we call on Albany to drop this ill-conceived proposal and concentrate on restoring desperately needed funds for public higher education.  What CUNY needs is more public funding, not less.” 

PSC JOINS THOUSANDS AT "SAVE OUR CITY'  RALLY.  June 16.  The PSC joined with thousands of other municipal unionists and community groups on June 16 in a protest against City budget cuts. Sponsored by the Municipal Labor Committee, it was dubbed a rally to “Save Our City.”

“I want to make sure that they don’t close the budget deficit on the backs of public workers,” said Nicole Hala, an assistant professor of sociology at Queens College. “I’m here as a public worker myself.” Instead of deep budget cuts, she said, “we need to have that millionaire’s tax, we need to be talking about it.”

“It’s painful to me to think about what would happen to our students if there are major cuts at BMCC,” said Ingrid Hughes, an adjunct lecturer in English at BMCC and Baruch. “My students need so much support.  Their classes are already too big.  They’re struggling so hard, they’re up against so much, that even small cuts can make a big difference.”

The City Hall rally opposed cuts to public colleges, schools, firehouses, libraries, hospitals, senior centers and other vital City services. Layoffs of public workers would hurt NYC’s many communities, neighborhood activists said.

“We keep hearing that this is a time of economic crisis for this City.  The truth is that the City has more than $3 billion in surplus,” PSC President Barbara Bowen told the crowd. “Why is New York talking about laying off thousands of people when they have a $3 billion surplus?”

John Samuelson, president of TWU Local 100, spoke against the MTA’s plan to make public-school students pay for the MetroCards they need to get to school. “That’s an upside-down world! We’re bailing out billionaire bankers, and we’re making kids pay to go to school!  What happened to us, what happened to this society?” ” Samuelson asked. “I’m here to say that the public sector workforce needs to join together, dig our heels in, stand side-to-side and fight to defend our livelihoods.  If we stand together we’re going to prevail.”

The next day, it was announced that the MTA would continue to provide student MetroCards without charge. But the City budget is still unresolved.


SAVE OUR CITY:  Click image for video of Barbara Bowen and other education sector union leaders speaking at "Save Our City" rally on June 16th.

MUNICIPAL UNION WORKERS SPEAK OUT ON BUDGET CUTS.  Above, PSC member Penny Lewis, with daughter Eleanor, in video of MLC trade unionists speaking out on impact of budget cuts.  Click image to see video.

OPPOSE THE GOVERNOR'S "EMPOWERMENT ACT" -- SEND AN ACT NOW LETTER.  Send an ACT NOW letter to Assembly Speaker Silver and Assembly Higher Education Committee Chair Glick to thank them for opposing the Governor's "Empowerment Act" and to encourage them to continue to hold firm.

State budget negotiations are heating up and the governor is pressuring the legislature to adopt his Empowerment Act which would allow differential tuition by campus and program and would privatize SUNY and CUNY.  If adopted, student access to some programs and campuses would be limited and CUNY colleges would be tiered according to tuition. These measures will magnify existing inequities within higher education.

The "Empowerment Act" would also make CUNY and SUNY more dependent on
tuition for funding and continue the state's withdrawal of public support for public higher education. The "Empowerment Act" is a false solution to CUNY's funding crisis.

Please send an ACT NOW letter  immediately to encourage the New York State Assembly to restore needed state funding to CUNY's senior and community colleges and to reject the "Empowerment Act." [Posted June 16th]

Call Albany Today – State Nearing Budget Agreement.  [Posted June16th]  It’s crunch time – call lawmakers in Albany right away! After months of no progress, lawmakers appear close to agreeing on a state budget with massive cuts to education and health care. It’s an election year and legislators are desperate to get out of Albany and back to their districts. We can’t let them leave town agreeing to Gov. Paterson’s devastating and irresponsible budget plan.

Take a minute right now and use the AFL-CIO’s toll-free number (877-255-9417) to call your state representatives. Tell them to support a progressive income tax hike for the wealthiest New Yorkers, those earning more than $1 million and $5 million dollars per year. Tell lawmakers we’re depending on them to support a fair budget that does not disproportionately hurt working-class families.

State Budget Talks Remain Deadlocked, Legislature Focuses on Charter School Cap and Race to the Top. 

The State Legislature still has not approved a 2010-2011 budget. A funding cut of $84.4 million in State funding for CUNY senior colleges is still on the table. Meanwhile, advocates for a just solution to the State’s budget crisis continue to call for measures that would restore billions in much-needed revenues such as a reduction of the rebate on the stock transfer tax from 100% to 80%, (which would bring an additional $2.9 billion into the State’s coffers), and a millionaire’s tax.

The Legislature’s current focus is on New York’s Race to the Top application for federal K-12 funding. Central to that is a bill passed by the Senate that would allow the number of charter schools in New York state to more than double (from 200 to 460) without any real charter school reform. Another educational issue on which the PSC remains vigilant is the “Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act.” Based on a concept promoted by SUNY’s Chancellor and Gov. Paterson, this bill would allow SUNY and CUNY to increase tuition by much as 10% per year without any oversight by elected officials and would allow for differential tuition between different schools and departments. PSC members will need to continue to speak out forcefully against any deal that would inflict grave harm on public education here in New York. [Posted 5/25/10]

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Mayor’s Executive Budget Still Leaves CUNY Community Colleges Short. 

The Mayor’s Executive Budget is $9.4 million less than last year’s adopted budget for the 2010 fiscal year and contains $35.9 million in further reductions. The impact of this reduced funding level is compounded by the addition of new programs without additional funds to pay for them, inflation that increases the costs of delivering the same level of service, and enrollment increases that create new demands. In particular, the New Community College Initiative, funded by the Mayor at $8.9 million, will redistribute resources from the existing six community colleges to the new one. This is “robbing Peter to pay Paul.” The PSC recommends restoring the Mayor’s reductions to enhance community college funding, in order to pay for new programs, inflation and increased enrollment.

The Mayor would also zero out funding for City Council initiatives including the Black Male Empowerment Initiative, the Vallone Scholarships and the need-based Safety Net financial aid program. The PSC seeks $19.6 million for these programs.

To find out how you can get involved in the PSC’s political lobbying efforts, contact Amanda Magalhaes by email or at 212-354-1252. [Posted 5/25/10]

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Late Wednesday afternoon, Federal District Judge Lawrence E. Kahn granted the PSC’s motion for a temporary restraining order, stopping the furloughs until May 26, 2010. There will be no reduction in salary next week for members at the senior colleges nor for other public employees.  

At the hearing on May 26, the judge will hear arguments about a preliminary injunction to prevent Governor Paterson from implementing additional furloughs.  

“This is a victory for all of us,” PSC President Barbara Bowen told the 22,000 faculty and professional staff at the City University of New York. “Congratulations to all PSC members, and to the membership of the three other unions, UUP, PEF and CSEA, who also achieved a victory against the scapegoating of public employees today.”  PSC Statement.  [Posted 5/12/10]

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On Monday, May 10th,, more than 100 PSC members and others – students, other CUNY workers, allies – gathered in an emergency rally at Gov. Paterson’s Midtown office, protesting the proposed furlough of state workers. Paterson’s plan would mean a 20% pay cut for state workers the week of May 17.

The PSC is challenging the proposal in the street, in Albany and in court, said PSC President Barbara Bowen.   Full story [Posted 5/11/10]

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[Posted 05/11/10]  The Professional Staff Congress, on behalf of the 22,000 faculty and professional staff at the City University of New York, filed for a temporary restraining order and injunction against Governor Paterson’s legislation to furlough members of its bargaining unit.  Click here for press release.  [Posted 5/11/10]

psc takes action against proposed furloughs 

Click here for  5/9/10 letter from PSC President Barbara Bowen on Governor Patterson's proposed furloughs and the action PSC is taking against them.  [Posted 5/9/10].


Click here to read a 5/5/10 letter to the membership from PSC President Barbara Bowen on these proposals.  Posted 5/5/10

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City Council Stands with PSC Against Cuts to CUNY, Decries Closing of Admissions

City Council Committee on Higher Education Chair Ydanis Rodriguez and Council Members Charles Barron, James Vacca, Fernando Cabrera and Mathieu Eugene joined the PSC and NYPIRG at a press conference on Wednesday, May 5th, deploring the mayor’s proposed cuts to CUNY. PSC members and students spent the day talking with Council members about how to shore up support for CUNY. 

The press conference also addressed CUNY’s announcement that it would close admissions and, for the first time ever, begin a waitlist for students hoping to come to CUNY. “For the first time in its history, CUNY has announced that it cannot afford to keep its doors open to all the students who are qualified to attend.  The University simply doesn’t have enough room—or enough money.  Closing doors to students violates everything CUNY has stood for for 160 years,” Barbara Bowen, PSC President, noted.

Press coverage:

Daily News coverage including quotes from Barbara Bowen & Sharon Persinger (BCC)

NY Post coverage of Charles Barron & Ydanis Rodriguez.

NYT City Room (blog) coverage of the waitlist.

Staten Island Advance coverage of the waitlist.

And an AP story

In addition to the press conference, PSC faculty and staff and NYPIRG students lobbied NYC Council members.  Clockwise: Councilwoman Gale Brewer and students William Leverett (Queens College and the Black Male Initiative program) and David Valentine (Lehman College).  Photo credit: Pat Arnow.

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4/19/10 -- State Budget Talks in Albany Remain at Stand-Still

 "The stand-still in Albany is not necessarily a bad thing," First Vice President Steve London said.  "If the budget were to pass today, CUNY senior colleges would be cut by at least $84.4 million and maybe more.  The PSC wants to see more state revenue generated by taxing the rich and Wall Street and from jobs bills now in congress."  The PSC sent a delegation to the Somos El Futuro legislative conference this past weekend to fight for more revenue in the budget and push back against the proposed cuts to CUNY.  You can send a message to your legislator to increase taxes on the rich and to not cut CUNY by sending a message through the New York State Federation of Labor.  The PSC and the New York State Federation of Labor are both supporters of the coalition effort New Yorkers for Fiscal Fairness, which is running the Better Choice Budget Campaign.  To review the policy suggestions, click here

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SEND THE MAYOR A MESSAGE:  Click the image above to tell Mayor Bloomberg why cutting CUNY is not fair -- and not in the city's interest.  Join the PSC in saying “No!” to cutting city  funds for CUNY community colleges and student scholarships and other programs.  Details.

LOBBY AGAINST CUTS ON 5/5 AT CITY COUNCIL.  The PSC will lobby against Mayor Bloomberg’s proposed cuts at the PSC CUNY at the Council Lobby Day, Wednesday, 5/5. The PSC is again partnering with NYPIRG after last year’s successful day and the March 9 Albany Higher Ed Lobby Day. To participate, PSC members and students should contact Amanda Magalhaes in the PSC office by email or at 212-354-1252. 

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Budget Blitz On Campus, On Air, Online

Can’t make it to Albany? Add your opposition to the cuts during our postcard tabling on Monday, 3/22 and Tuesday, 3/23. Students, faculty, staff and supportive New Yorkers can all sign our new letter against the cuts. The PSC is reaching out to all New Yorkers to sign on, with advertisements on TV, on Facebook, on Google, and in newspapers next week.

Don’t forget to stop by the table on your campus to sign your postcards – and grab a stack of flyers about calling and emailing Albany for your friends and family to make their voices heard. Posted 3/16/10

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PSC Testifies Against Bloomberg’s Cuts to CUNY

On Friday, 3/5, PSC leaders and CUNY students testified against Mayor Bloomberg’s proposed cuts of $24.9 million to CUNY’s community college budget at a hearing of the City Council Higher Education Committee. PSC President Barbara Bowen, First Vice President Steve London, PSC Secretary Arthurine DeSola, BMCC Chapter Chair Rebecca Hill, and PSC Delegates Ron Hayduk (BMCC), Joel Kuszai (QCC), and Sharon Persinger (BCC) also spoke against the cuts.
A week earlier at the City Council, , CUNY administration and PSC President Barbara Bowen with other PSC leaders briefed the City Council on diversity among instructional staff at CUNY at a hearing of the Higher Education Committee, now headed by former City College student activist Ydanis Rodriguez. The hearing came out of a story in the September Clarion and generated coverage in the The Chief (login required) and Daily NewsPosted 3/16/10

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Photo credit: Pat Arnow

Above: Students lobby Bronx Assemblywoman Carmen Arroyo.

Tuesday, March 9th, was a massive CUNY/SUNY lobby day in Albany organzed by the PSC, the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG), the CUNY University Student Senate and our SUNY union affiliate, United University Professions (UUP).  Three hundred CUNY and SUNY students, faculty and staff converged on the state capital, participating in 160 meetings with legislators on four essential demands:

  • Reverse proposed cuts to CUNY($84.4 million) and to SUNY ($152 million);
  • Restore cuts to community colleges statewide by restoring $285 per full-time equivalent student;
  • Stop cuts to the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) beginning with the proposed $75 per student cut; and
  • Reject Governor Paterson's proposed tuition changes to ensure all students continue to have equal access to all programs of study and to prevent offsetting declining public investments by raising tuition.

CUNY students were clear that if the Trustees are allowed to raise tuition as much as allowed by the Governor’s reform proposal, CUNY would quickly become unaffordable.  They said that they would be priced out of more costly programs and degrees if CUNY implemented differential tuition.    Posted 3/10/10.


Click the image to the right for a PDF of new PSC budget brochure which outlines and documents the union's position for a rational investment strategy in response to the governor's executive budget.

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March 4 rally in Defense of Public Education

The PSC has also endorsed the March 4 rally in Defense of Public Education, part of a national day of protest, which will occur in New York City at 4 pm, at Gov. Paterson’s Manhattan office, at Third Avenue and 41st Street, followed by a march to the MTA hearings at the Fashion Institute of Technology (not MTA headquarters as previously planned) at Seventh Avenue and 27th Street. PSC president Barbara Bowen will be among the speakers. Other rallies and events supporting the day in Defense of Public Education will also occur on some CUNY and SUNY campuses.  More information is available here.

PSC Statement: "The PSC, as an endorser of the March 4 Day of Action to Defend Public Education, will march proudly in tomorrow’s events,” said PSC Treasurer Michael Fabricant. “Albany has disproportionately targeted public higher education in the last two years, and we call on lawmakers not to compound the damage by cutting CUNY again this year. New Yorkers are flocking to CUNY and enrollments are at record highs. Albany needs to consider progressive revenue sources, invest in public higher education because we regenerate our economy, and make a rational investment—planned and regular increases in State money for public higher education— in New York’s future."  Posted 3/3/10.

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PSC, nysut & uup  in Albany march 1 and 2

PSC president Barbara Bowen is in Albany Monday, March 1, joining the SUNY union (UUP) president and NYSUT officers in meetings with the leaders of the State Senate and Assembly on the public higher education budget.  Together, they are calling on the legislature to reject the governor’s proposal for sweeping cuts and increased privatization of CUNY and SUNY.  On Tuesday, March 2, two dozen more PSC members will participate in a day of public higher education advocacy, an effort that unites SUNY faculty and staff from every region of the state with CUNY faculty and staff in support of restoration of funds to public higher education.  Posted 2/25/10.


Click the image to see the ad that our state affiliate, New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) is running with the PSC and UUP (SUNY) on how CUNY and SUNY cuts hurt the state in a time of economic crisis.  Posted 2/25/10.

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PSC to Testify at the City Council

CUNY administration and PSC President Barbara Bowen with other PSC leaders will brief the City Council on diversity among instructional staff at CUNY Wednesday, February 24th,  at a hearing of the Higher Education Committee, now headed by former City College student activist Ydanis Rodriguez. The hearing came out of a story in the September Clarion. On Friday, March 5th, PSC leaders will return to the Council to argue against Mayor Bloomberg’s proposed cuts to CUNY’s community college budget of $24.9 million. The 3/5 hearing is at 250 Broadway, 14th Floor. It starts at noon, and public comment will begin at 1:30 pm. If you’d like to testify on either topic or just come to listen, contact Kate Pfordresher in the PSC office, 212-354-1252.   Posted 2/18/10.

March 4 rally in Defense of Public Education

The PSC has endorsed the , part of a national day of protest, which will occur in New York City at 4 pm, at Gov. Paterson’s Manhattan office, followed by a march to MTA headquarters.  Protestors will converge at 4:00 at Third Avenue and 41st Street. PSC president Barbara Bowen will be among the speakers. Other rallies and events supporting the day in Defense of Public Education will also occur on some CUNY and SUNY campuses.  More information is available here. Posted 2/18/10.

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january 26-27 lobbying: PSC pushes Rational Investment Strategy in Albany

PSC leaders met with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate leaders on Tuesday, January 26th, and presented testimony on January 27th to the Assembly and Senate Committees on Higher Education, making the case for the union’s smarter strategy for New York State, especially in the current economic crisis: start modestly this year and adopt a “rational investment” plan of steady, escalating State and City support to help public higher education recover from years of underfunding, rebuild New York’s economy and pave the road to a secure future for our state.

The governor has proposed $84.4 million in cuts to CUNY’s 11 senior colleges, (including $20.8 million in personal savings) and a cut of $285 per full-time-equivalent student from CUNY’s six community colleges (an 11% drop). Mayor Bloomberg announced last week he is also seeking a millions of dollars in cuts to community colleges. The PSC is still analyzing the Mayor’s proposed budget, but we strongly oppose cutting community colleges at this moment, when they are a lifeline for thousands of New Yorkers.

Community and senior colleges are facing record enrollments – and the proposed cuts come after nearly $100 million in cuts last year and two decades of underfundingPosted 2/1/10.


On Thursday, January 28th, the Delegate Assembly passed a resolution calling  on the New York State Legislature to reject the governor’s proposed budget cuts for CUNY, to support the PSC’s proposal to the Legislature to make a modest start this year on restoration of funds cut in the past two years, to reject the central, privatizing structure of the Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act, and to accept instead the PSC’s proposal to start now on a long-term strategy for rational investment by the State in its public university systems.  Click here for the resolution.  Posted 1/28/10.

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Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed big cuts in community college funding in his 1/27/10 preliminary executive budget. Click here for the PSC response. Posted 1/28/10.


Click here for highlights of PSC's proposal presented on 10/27/10   Posted 1/28/10.


On Wednesday, January 27th, PSC President Barbara Bowen testified on the CUNY budget before the joint Senate Finance committee and the Assembly Ways and Means Committee.  "Why CUNY, why now," she asked.  "Not only because of the need or because of the history of underfunding public higher education—but because public higher education is the single most important engine of economic resurgence the state has."  Click here for full testimony.   Posted 1/28/10.

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A twenty-year overview that chronicles in six charts the dramatic drop in state and city support as a percentage of CUNY's budget, the rise in tuition as a percentage of CUNY's budget and TAP (Tuition Assistance Program) as a percentage of the budget.

Charts (web pages):

  1. FTE Enrollment by CUNY senior and community colleges, 1990/91 to 2009/10.

  2. CUNY Senior College Funding by source adjusted for inflation and FTE enrollment, 1990/91 to 2009/10.

  3. CUNY Community College Funding by source adjusted for inflation and FTE enrollment, 1990/91 to 2009/10.

  4. CUNY Senior College Funding (Inflation) by source adjusted for inflation, 1990/91 to 2009/10.

  5. CUNY Community College Funding (Inflation) by source adjusted for inflation enrollment, 1990/91 to 2009/10.

  6. CUNY Senior and Community College Tuition Revenue as Percentage of Total Budget, 1990/91 to 2009/10.

PRESS RELEASE: 01/20/10:

The Professional Staff Congress/CUNY, the union representing 22,000 faculty and staff at the City University of New York, calls on Governor Paterson to stop cutting the nation’s oldest and largest urban institution of public higher education.

Click here for full press release (with overview of PSC budget campaign for full CUNY funding)

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01/20/10 UPDATE:

Governor Announces Public Higher Education Changes, PSC Fights Cuts.  The PSC calls on Governor Paterson to stop cutting the nation’s oldest and largest institution of public higher education. PSC members and leaders will lobby and testify in Albany next week, calling on the legislature to reject this proposal for yet another cut to CUNY, coming after nearly $100 million in cuts last year and two decades of underfunding Full update.


12/07/09 UPDATE:  PSC Beats Back Worst of CUNY Cuts.  The PSC, with our state-wide affiliate NYSUT, defeated the worst of Governor David Paterson’s proposed mid-year budget reductions to CUNY last week, but Albany did enact significant reductions. In good news for our students, TAP cuts were defeated entirely. 

CUNY senior colleges cuts were: $24 million from the general fund and $29 million from CUNY’s stabilization reserve fund. (Paterson proposed taking all $53 million from the general fund.) Community college base aid was reduced by $130 per full-time equivalent student ($4.4 million total) plus an additional $901,000 reduction in community college rental aid. (Paterson proposed $10 million.) CUNY will be hurt by these cuts, however, we do not expect layoffs or cancellation of searches to be among the immediate consequences of these cuts. 

Unfortunately, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has already announced he will propose $9.5 million in cuts to CUNY community colleges, so now is a good time to sign up to join the union effort to protect CUNY funding. Email Amanda Magalhaes or call her at the PSC office, 212-354-1252.

For a fuller breakdown by the PSC's First Vice President and Legislative Representative, Steve London, click here.

12/08/09 UPDATE:  vICTORY ON TIER V.  The thousands of messages PSC members sent to Albany worked!  CUNY faculty and staff represented by the PSC are not included in the lower pension tier passed Wednesday (12/2) in Albany.  This is a real victory for the PSC—and for the power and funds PSC members put behind our political work.  Details.

Click here for a June 18, 2009 Delegate Assembly  resolution opposing the introduction of a new pension tier.



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