CUNY Union Demands 'No Cuts, No Layoffs' Amid Budget Crunch

Brendan Krisel

NEW YORK, NY — The union representing City University of New York faculty and staff is launching a new campaign demanding school administrators reverse course on planned course cuts and adjunct professor layoffs.

The Professional Staff Congress, which represents more than 30,000 CUNY employees, contends that cuts to the public university system will disproportionately affect New York City's black residents and other residents of color. Despite projected losses to city and state revenues amid the coronavirus crisis, officials should be looking to invest more in public higher education.

About 80 percent of CUNY's undergraduates are people of color and 60 percent of CUNY undergraduates come from families earning incomes below $30,000, according to the Professional Staff Congress.

"When millions of Americans are crying out for an end to systemic racism and investment into areas like education, the CUNY administration has the opportunity to heed that call and take a stand for justice" Barbara Bowen, the union's president, said in a statement. "Instead, CUNY is calling for course reductions and mass layoffs that will reinforce racist inequality in higher education. The message is simple: don’t fail New York in this decisive historical moment, CUNY."

CUNY is considering cutting hundreds of adjunct professors at campuses such as John Jay College of Criminal Justice and reducing course offerings by as much as one-third at Brooklyn College and the College of Staten Island, Gotham Gazette reported in May. Adjuncts teach more than half the classes offered through the university system, union officials said.

See the Professional Staff Congress' new ad below:


This article originally appeared on the Harlem Patch