Paterson’s Proposed CUNY Cuts Prompt Protests

John Tarleton Oct 29, 2009

PHOTO: DAVE SANDERSMore than 400 CUNY and SUNY faculty, students and staff and their supporters rallied in the rain at Hunter College Oct. 27 to protest proposed mid-year budget cuts.

“CUNY (City University of New York) should be a sacred cow. You should never cut money for education,” said City Councilmember Charles Barron (D-Brooklyn). “If there is bailout money for Wall Street, there should be bailout money for CUNY.”

The cuts would lop $53 million from 11 senior colleges and $9.9 million from CUNY’s six community colleges. State University of New York (SUNY) colleges would lose $90 million. These cuts would come on top of a $64 million budget cut that was imposed last year on CUNY senior colleges. Tuition also rose 15 percent at CUNY’s senior colleges and 12.5 percent at its community colleges.

CUNY is the nation’s largest urban public university, with more than 250,000 degree-seeking students.

“We’re going to have to do more with less,” said Hostos Community College English professor Craig Bernardini, who teaches intensive writing classes for beginning students. “It’s really hard to give students individual attention when you have classes of 29 or 30.”

“Education is the foundation of any prosperous, successful society,” said Hunter College senior Sarah Newgaard. “The last thing they should be cutting is education.”

The New York State Legislature will meet in a special session Nov. 10 to address a projected $3 billion budget deficit.


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