Change is usually accomplished by a large group of people who seek to accomplish a common goal. In CUNY however, the unification of the administration, faculty and students to achieve a common goal often seems like a lost effort.
On Dec. 7, editors of The Ticker received a media advisory from the CUNY Rising Alliance. In it, the organization puts forward its goal to convince Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo to fully fund CUNY’s tuition.
The CUNY Rising Alliance is a coalition of students, faculty and other interested entities who try to solve issues that often go unaddressed by the CUNY administration. In the Spring 2016 semester, the CUNY Rising Alliance helped organize “March in March” and die-ins in front of Cuomo’s office.
As The Ticker reported last semester, these events helped bring light to the fact that a new contract with CUNY faculty had not been ratified in over six years. At the time, there seemed to be no unified front for students and faculty to fight for contracts for the faculty and against increasing tuition for the students. Administrative and faculty members leaned toward a tuition hike while legislators and students pushed for a tuition freeze. Because of this disagreement, the message of the fight became muddled and weakened the efforts of both sides.
Now, the CUNY Rising Alliance is trying to bring the interests of students and faculty members together to create a stronger force to present issues that concern CUNY.
The CUNY Rising Alliance recently proposed the creation of a CUNY Students’ Bill of Rights. The document’s points include a decrease of the workload of academic advisers, free public higher education, health counselors, high quality professors who get adequately compensated for their work and other relevant facility improvements.
When students fought for a tuition freeze, they did not seem to have full faculty support. Later, when the faculty was fighting for contracts, they did not seem to have full student support. While it seems like the two parties are now coming together to fight for their rights, it still does not seem like the front is fully unified.
The CUNY Rising Alliance’s most recent efforts are an admirable step forward. Before any changes are to be made, however, the organization must rally a larger number of students and faculty behind it. The CUNY Rising Alliance needs to continue to fight for some of the most pressing issues and address the fact that the faculty still did not receive the compensation that they were promised.