article
November 15, 2016

PSC, others ready to kick off advocacy for CUNY

Source: CUNY Rising

The CUNY Rising Alliance, a coalition formed last year to defend the City University of New York from a $485 million dollar cut in state funding, will hold its first planning meeting on Wednesday to prepare its advocacy campaign for the coming year.

Among the founders of the alliance is the Professional Staff Congress, the NYSUT affiliate that represents academic and professional faculty on CUNY campuses.

Wednesday’s meeting, which begins at 6:30 p.m., will be held at the Borough of Manhattan Community College. Other organizing meetings are scheduled for Monday at the City College of New York and for next Tuesday at the Brooklyn Borough Hall.  

The alliance is seeking $2 billion in new funding from the state and city to finance a Student Bill of Rights to ensure a free and quality public higher education.

According to alliance organizers, a half-million mostly low-income, mostly black and Latino New Yorkers depend on CUNY for a high-quality education and New York City depends on CUNY graduates to energize its economy and the cultural and civic life.

The Student Bill of Rights calls for:

  • free tuition and aid for other college costs;
  • more full-time professors and advisers for students;
  • upgrades to CUNY's aging infrastructure’ and
  • scaling up programs that aid students' retention and completion.

The CUNY Rising campaign includes a massive petition drive, community action meetings, media advocacy and citizen lobbying to make certain that critically needed, increased investment in CUNY is on the agenda for state and city budget talks, organizers said.

CUNY Rising is a broad and growing alliance of 30 community groups, non-profits, unions, student advocates and faith-based organizations that serve, mobilize and minister to millions of New Yorkers. The communities and constituencies they work with are the most hurt by policies of austerity and disinvestment from public institutions like CUNY. Living in a city with record income inequality and profound, systemic racial disparities in education, these constituencies depend on a quality CUNY education to begin to level the playing field of opportunity.

Click here for a list of member organizations.