By Amaani Bhamla
Chancellor Matthew Goldstein, the head of CUNY’s 23 colleges, confronted many furious students and faculty on Wednesday February 2 at CCNY’s town hall meeting held in the Great Hall. No one—professors or students—agreed with Goldstein as he spoke with enthusiasm about the 5 percent increase in tuition that the CUNY board approved last November. This semester full-time undergrads students pay an additional $115.
Despite loud opposition from the CCNY community, the Chancellor was adamant and continued to insist that the increase was justified. CCNY is an “under resourced institution,” Goldstein said during his “State of the University” address. “The students will make an investment to secure their future; I always viewed tuition as an investment.”
In his opinion, because tuition is low at City College compared to other state universities, “CCNY lacks revenue which would come from the students’ contribution towards tuition.” Tuition increases, he explained, “should be done in a thoughtful and deliberate manner so that financial aid is secured.”
When critics have complained that tuition hikes prevent students from getting an education due to financial stress, which can ultimately increase drop-out rates, Goldstein insisted that, “the problems would not be as dire that there would be a need for retrenchment.”
Bill Crain, a long-time CCNY psychology professor was the first to object to the Chancellor. “I disagree with this incremental increase,” he said. With a little historical background about CCNY, Professor Crain reminded the audience that in the past, this institution was free. “I don’t think that tuition increase is a good idea; I’d rather have it decrease,” he said to applause from the audience. . “This increase will bring back the Depression,” he concluded
About 6 people, mainly faculty and staff along with some students, continued an intense back and forth debate with Goldstein for about an.hour Despite the contentious atmosphere, the Chancellor ended on a positive note: “We will get through the difficult times together…We’ll do the best we can to continue their education.”