CUNY and the Budget
June 25th, 2010
One of the sticking points in budget negotiations is Gov. David Paterson’s insistence that his “Empowerment Act” for SUNY and CUNY be part of any deal.
The Senate is mostly OK with the plan but the Assembly doesn’t want any part of it. The boards and presidents and of SUNY and CUNY are in favor of the plan because it will allow them greater control over tuition levels, among other things.
Student groups and unions oppose the idea. They say it will lead to higher tuition and alienate poor students. For more on the issue, see Paterson’s Plan for SUNY and CUNY Draws Criticism.
The Professional Staff Congress, the union that represents CUNY’s faculty and staff is steadfastly opposed to the Paterson’s plan. They say the plan lets the state off the hook when it comes to providing funding and instead places the burden on students.
“The proposal strips CUNY and SUNY of public investment while limiting access for students,” said Dr. Barbara Bown, president of the Professional Staff Congress. “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.”By David King on June 25, 2010, 4:28 pm
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