City Council passes resolution supporting New Deal For CUNY

Amanda Salazar, Editor-in-Chief

The New York City Council passed a resolution on March 10, that supports the New Deal for CUNY and calls on the state legislature and governor to include the deal in the fiscal year 2023 state budget.

The New Deal for CUNY is a state bill that would eliminate in-state tuition for students, raise salaries for adjunct professors and lecturers, set minimum professor to student ratios for classrooms, increase the number of mental health counselors and fix broken and aging infrastructure across the university’s 25 campuses.

The resolution passed by the City Council urges New York State Gov. Kathy Hochul and the state legislature to enact the New Deal for CUNY as part of the proposed budget, which has to be reconciled between the governor’s office and both houses of the state legislature before it can be passed on April 1.

Before the City Council actually voted on the resolution, which was introduced by Brooklyn Council Member Justin Brannan, politicians who are spearheading the deal, along with CUNY students, faculty and staff, spoke at City Hall Park on the subject.

“For decades, CUNY has not only made higher education possible for New Yorkers of all backgrounds, but it has been a proven steppingstone to economic prosperity,” Brannan said. “Now is the time for us to double down on this success story. Albany must pass the New Deal For CUNY. Together we can prevent further cuts to CUNY, reverse decades of cavalier underfunding, restore a tuition-free university and increase the full-time faculty-to-students ratio.”

This sentiment was echoed by City Council Higher Education Chair Eric Dinowitz, who also spoke at the rally.

“As chair of the committee on higher education and a proud CUNY alum, I am proud to support S.4461A/A.5843A, also known as The New Deal for CUNY,” he said. “This legislation would transform our public college system here in New York City. When this bill becomes law, students regardless of their background will have access to a quality college education debt-free, adjunct professor can receive muchdeserved and overdue pay raises, and schools can hire more full-time staff, including mental health professionals.”

Stylized sometimes as the New Deal 4 CUNY, the legislation is sponsored by State Sen. Andrew Gounardes of Brooklyn and State Assembly Member Karines Reyes of the Bronx. The bill was first announced in February 2021 with the CUNY Professional Staff Congress, the union for all CUNY faculty and staff.

“Securing a New Deal for CUNY means we invest in fixing the crumbling infrastructure where ceilings are literally falling on students in classes; invest in supporting our staff and faculty members with living wages and the resources they need to help their students succeed; invest in ensuring that CUNY is tuition free and truly financially accessible to any and all New Yorkers who want to pursue higher education,” Gounardes said. “We have less than three weeks before the state budget is finalized.”

The resolution comes just days after PSC CUNY led a march across the Brooklyn Bridge on March 6, in support of the New Deal for CUNY and increased general funding to the public university system.

“We’re proud to join the City Council and a growing coalition of lawmakers, labor unions, community groups, students and alumni in calling on the Senate and the Assembly to make New Deal for CUNY investments their priority in the budget negotiations,” PSC President James Davis said. “This wealthy state can afford to end the shortages of full-time faculty and staff, the dependence on low-paid adjuncts and the degradation of our CUNY buildings and facilities. The time has come for a well-funded, tuitionfree CUNY education.”