Thousands of students across CUNY and SUNY have signed their names on a NYPIRG petition demanding Gov. Cuomo pass the Maintenance of Effort (MOE) bill that would increase CUNY and SUNY funding each year to cover inflationary increases to operating costs.
“We shouldn’t be paying for costs that the state should be providing money for,” said Ana Mateo, project leader for the Higher Education Campaign for Brooklyn College NYPIRG. “We are trying to urge him. We need this money. Education is super important and it’s getting harder to get every year.”
The MOE bill was passed earlier this year by the state’s Senate and Assembly. The bill has yet to be signed by Gov. Cuomo, who vetoed it back in 2015. The bill, part of the NY SUNY 2020 Challenge Grant Program that incentivizes SUNY development and investment, would require the state to cover cost increases caused by inflation, rising costs like rent, and other expenses.
The CUNY- and SUNY-wide petition campaign has the goal of obtaining 20,000 signatures statewide. Brooklyn College NYPIRG is working towards 1,600. They have gather 1,300 signatures since mid October. Mateo thinks they will be able to reach their goal by the November 15 deadline. With another tuition on the rise and infrastructural issues apparent, Mateo said it hasn’t been hard to get students on board.
“Because when they find out what it is going on, when they find out that tuition is increasing for things they shouldn’t have to pay for… [and] we say show him you care, show him you want this money for their education, they are ready to be engaged,” she said.
Mateo and the NYPIRG interns and volunteers have been clipboarding on campus and handing out their petitions in classes. Each participating student has a 60 signature goal. Members of PSC have also been helping spread the petition on their website and in their classrooms.
“I really hope that he sees that all these students from around the state really care about their education,” said Mateo. “I hope he is shocked. I think he will be shocked. I hope these numbers will shock him and make him sign this bill.”
Though the petition deadline is Nov. 15, release dates for the signatures have not been set, according to Mateo.