Dear Commons Community,
Last night the CUNY Board of Trustees voted to increase tuition while students and faculty waged a peaceful demonstration outside of Baruch College. The vote by the Trustees raises tuition at the rate of $150. per semester for the next four years. The present tuition for full-time undergraduates is $5,130 per year and by 2015-16 , tuition will rise to $6,330 with about $500 a year in additional fees. The vote was 15 to 1 with the only dissenting vote coming from the student representative on the Board of Trustees.
Chancellor Goldstein said that the increase was intended, in part, for “the protection of our faculty and staff from the kinds of layoffs that other public higher education systems have experienced in recent years,” which he said would be unavoidable otherwise.
Below is University Faculty Senate representative Sandi Cooper’s account of the Trustees meeting.
To capture the full flavor of the board of Trustees meeting, you really need to watch the podcast, particularly the opening speeches by the Chair of the Board and the Chancellor. I really urge you to do that.
At the outset of the meeting, following Chair Schmidt’s reading of the standard statement regarding the Board’s interest in hearing the public at the prescribed fora (public hearings, borough hearing, letters) he read the statement against disruptive audience members, promising they would be removed.
Prof Bill Crain (CCNY) stood up, moved forward to break through the rope separating the huge rectangular table of trustees, chancellery and presidents from the audience. He yelled loudly that the Board syould take responsibility for the police violence against students on Monday, Nov 21 and was hustled out of the room by plain clothes security guards.
In his remarks the chancellor went to great lengths to defend the tuition policy and emphasized the amount of aid to be available to poor students for whom anything beyond the full TAP award would be covered by a designated $5 million fund. He reported that about 100,000 students attended CUNY for free at present (this via a combination of TAP, Pell, stafford loans, CUNY guaranteed loans, scholarships from private funds)
Vice Chancellor Allan Dobrin summarized the chronology of the confrontation between students and CUNY police on Monday 11/21, concluding that no major injuries or beatings by police were recorded on any video. The 15 arrests were for resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, refusing to leave the premises of the Baruch lobby.
The Chancellor added that CUNY will bring in an outside consultant group that specializes in dealing with situations such as last Mondays to suggest ways that CUNY might improve its handling of protests.
Trustee Beal who presided over the Monday hearing on Nov 21 (attended by Beal, Foster, di Martino from the appointed trustees as well at the student and faculty trustee) corrected the remarks made by some of the speakers who were “confused” about the tuition or health care issue. Trustee Pantaleo enthusiastically praised the Chancellor for managing to preserve CUNY, to grow the faculty and to serve so many students (including 100,000 who attend without paying tuition) amidst one of the gravest fiscal crises in recent memory. Unlike numerous other universities, there were no mass layoffs, departmental closings, firing of faculty or staff.
Several trustees avowed their commitment to providing access to excellence.
Trustee Wiesenfeld decided to introduce a hook — by stating that one of CUNY’s biggest problems was an individual who whipped up anger and rancor and who wanted to capitalize on the Occupy Wall St events — the head of the PSC, Barbara Bowen.
Ths opening session concluded with an encomium by Benno Schmidt on the brilliant success of Matthew Goldstein for over a decade in turning around a sinking ship, and for putting into place the kind of reforms that his owncommission has proposed in 1999 — including suggestions that led to the compact.
The rest of the meeting was the usual business — voting positively on everything on the calendar. The student trustee who votes voted no on the tuition increase and abstained on the increases for the professional doctoral programs. (There was a promise that the GC would degray the tuition overage for students who could not manage it)
Thus the asking budget for next year was approved — both operational and capital; the by law changes were approved; the retrenchment guidelines will move to the Manual of General Policy from the by laws; the academic proposals were approved including a Letter of Intent from CSI to create another Doctor of Nursing Practice despite anger from graduate school faculty leadership that its authority over doctoral programs is being sidelined again –an argument that carries no weight with the chancellor’s staff; an interesting possible change regarding child care facilities would allow non matric students and some faculty to enroll children IF the needs of matriculated students were met.
This is NOT meant to be a verbatim minute but rather a report of what seemed to be highlights to me.
DO WATCH THE PODCAST
Sandi E. Cooper, Chair
University Faculty Senate — CUNY