CUNY and SUNY Urge Legislators to Invest in Education

Professional Staff Congress CUNY boasts signs urging educational investment. / Photo via Tiffany Brown

About 700 CUNY and SUNY faculty and students headed to the Capitol in Albany on Thursday to urge state legislators to invest in CUNY and SUNY.

Higher Education Action Day brought together students and educators from all over New York on March 2, where unions like the Professional Staff Congress CUNY (PSC) and the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT), organized students before they were to meet with legislators.

Barbara Bowen, PSC president, energized a room of students with chants and a speech. “You are the spectacular ones, the ones who got up early to ride the buses to be here,” Bowen was quoted in a NYSUT article. “We’ve never had so large a group here. We cannot waste this day!”

A Brooklyn College PSC tweet showed Brooklyn College professors James Davis and Alex Vitale “ready for a day of legislative meetings,” in Albany.

“In my 17 years of teaching at CUNY, I’ve seen the incredible power of a CUNY education to transform the lives of our students…” Vitale said in a NYSUT video. “…but I’ve also seen the struggles that they face. So I’m here in Albany today to ask our legislators to keep investing in CUNY.”

More than 100 legislators were urged to invest more than $100 million and to fund CUNY and SUNY to hire more full-time faculty, according to NYSUT.

The event was also organized by the CUNY University Student Senate and the New York Public Interest Group, which brought Brooklyn College students from the campus to the Capitol on an early-morning bus.

Higher Education Action Day came after a year of lobbying and protests by these unions and students, calling attention to issues like union contracts, tuition increases and maintenance funding.

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