How the CCNY financial crisis is affecting students and faculty this semester by Tiffany McKay
Tuition shoots up. Resources go down. This is the life of City College students Spring semester.
Last semester, CCNY students and faculty found out that the college would have to deal with a $14.6 million budget cut, thanks to a drop in enrollment and decreased funding from both the state and university. On top of that, Governor Andrew Cuomo has proposed a $485 million cut to all of CUNY senior colleges, asking the city to make up the difference.
With the million-dollar-budget cut in full swing, students and faculty alike feel the strain.
To save money, many departments have cut sections and adjusted by making packing more bodies into existing classes. Andrew Carter, a student new to City College, received a not so warm welcome to one of his courses. “One of my classes doesn’t even have enough chairs for students,” said the music major.
Gervoni Brockington, a psychology major, noticed that students have fewer options when deciding on courses. “My professor last semester said he was only teaching one class because of the budget cuts,” the senior commented.
The budget not only puts a strain on classrooms but also affects the facilities and maintenance. “The fact that there was a toilet paper shortage is simply embarrassing, and does have an incredibly negative impact on everyone’s education,” said Lucy Parks, a member of the advocacy group City College Students for Educational Rights (SER). “It’s also important to note that CCNY buildings are definitely not in compliance with accessibility laws because elevators and escalators are often out of service – meaning that students who can’t use stairs literally cannot get to class.”
Students aren’t the only ones feeling the sting of the cuts. Professors have a list of woes brought on by the lack of resources and funds. Salary is a hot topic. “ We haven’t gotten a raise in years and the union has been negotiating in good faith,” says James Juszczyk, a fine arts professor.
Juszczyk believes that the university needs to rethink how it’s allocating its funds. “The new chancellor makes $600,000, and we pay $19,000 a month for his apartment on the Upper East Side,” he adds.
William Behnken, who teaches studio art and art history, strongly believes the budget cuts are unfair. “They’re raising tuition and packing classes?! We now have 40 and 50 students per classes,” Behnken states. “You can get frustrated that you can’t do your job.”