Lawmakers, Students and Faculty Call on CUNY Administrator to Use Stimulus Funds to Increase Enrollment and Improve Security from COVID-19
People walk past a CUNY campus in the city. (Courtesy of CUNY)
A handful of New York City lawmakers and members of a coalition of CUNY organizations are asking for a voice on how the public university system is using its remaining federal stimulus funds.
Outside the Borough of Manhattan Community College on Tuesday, CUNY students, members of the Faculty Union, the Professional Staff Congress as well as members of the CUNY Rising Alliance, a group of students, communities and task forces, called on administrators to use the $ 386 million in federal funds to improve the public university’s ventilation system, rehire laid-off auxiliaries, and hire more full-time mental health counselors and counselors.
“Our federal stimulus funds should be used in the best interests of our institutions. Throughout this pandemic, CUNY has faced unprecedented challenges and now is the time for local campuses to implement innovative investments in our CUNY campuses. New York City’s return begins with a fair investment in our CUNY community, and we have a chance to do so and make a difference, ”said Juvanie Piquant, President of the CUNY University Student Senate.
Members of the rally pointed out that students are returning to face-to-face classes on CUNY campuses in worse conditions than before the COVID-19 pandemic hit New York City. “The existing socio-emotional facilities and programs on CUNY campuses do not meet the current standards necessary to provide students with a safe and adequate education,” said Karines Reyes, Assembly Member, sponsor of the New Deal for the CUNY.
The New Deal for CUNY refers to a set of bills intended to improve the quality of education and student life on all CUNY campuses by lowering the faculty-student ratio, increasing the number of caregivers programs available to students and making degree programs free for eligible students.
“I am proud to echo the call of the CUNY Rising Alliance for the remaining stimulus money for CUNY to be released in a timely and transparent manner. These emergency funds have been specifically allocated to staff and course offerings – and we need to make sure that the funds go exactly to that. But the conversation is about more than a one-time down payment. It is essential that we adopt the New Deal for CUNY in order to protect this essential resource for the working and middle class in the long term. By re-establishing CUNY as an engine of social and economic mobility, we will prepare our students for the workforce of the future and revitalize our economy, ”said State Senator Andrew Gounardes, another promoter of the New Deal for the CUNY.
CUNY has not yet responded to a request for comment on rally requests.