CUNY and SUNY students unite to deliver Governor Andrew Cuomo “2021 Higher Education Report Card”; rally against tuition hikes and for higher education funding
For Immediate Release: March 9, 2021
University Student Senate Contact: Jasper Diaz ()
Dozens of student leaders and elected officials united together today to rally against tuition increases and present the Governor with a report card on his Executive Budget Proposal. CUNY and SUNY Student Trustees Juvanie Piquant and Brad Hershenson presented the Governor with a “Higher Education Report Card” indicating the major investment needed in public higher education across the state.
Among the topics covered in the Report Card were Tuition Policy, TAP GAP, EOP Funding, Mental Health Services, and others. Many of the topics covered received grades of “F” and “I” for “fail” and “incomplete”. The students noted that the semester is not over yet and there is still time for the Governor to receive extra credit.
Student Assembly President and Student Trustee Brad Hershenson stated that, “We must remain true to the notions of affordability and accessibility in public higher education. Raising tuition during the middle of a pandemic is clearly not the right choice. Given the billions of dollars in federal aid coming to New York now is the time to lower tuition at both CUNY and SUNY. We can finally stop balancing the budgets on the backs of our own students.”
CUNY University Student Senate Chairperson and Student Trustee Juvanie Piquant stated that, “It is time to invest in CUNY, the time is now to do the right thing. There is time left to complete the semester, and time to do what’s right. We must put people over profits and invest in CUNY and SUNY so New York can thrive.”
Expressions of support were provided by legislators and their representatives including Senator Robert Jackson and Senator John Liu. Higher education advocate and CUNY Law Alumni Assembly Member Harvey Epstein stated that, “CUNY is a pathway to the future, we need to invest in CUNY and invest in SUNY now."
Champion for students Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon stated that, “I am here to support the students, we need a new deal for CUNY and we need to properly invest in SUNY and CUNY”.
The Governor’s Executive Budget proposal notes language indicating tuition increases, as opposed to state investment, at SUNY and CUNY campuses for hundreds of dollars over the next four years. Increase based expenses such as the TAP GAP and collective bargaining contracts still remain unaddressed. The legislature and the Governor have until the end of the month to finalize the executive budget for adoption.
About the SUNY Student Assembly
The Student Assembly of the State University of New York (SUNY SA) is the recognized student government organization representing the nearly 1.4 million students of the State University of New York. Comprised of student leaders elected by their peers from across SUNY’s 64 campuses, SUNY SA is committed to empowering students throughout the state, and ensuring the representation of its members on the state and national level, as well as throughout the SUNY system.
About the University Student Senate
The University Student Senate (USS) of the City University of New York (CUNY) was founded in 1972 with the mission of preserving the accessibility, affordability, and excellence of higher education within the City University of New York; the organization is charged with protecting the rights of the student body, furthering the cause of public higher education and promoting the general welfare of its student constituents and the University. The USS delegates are responsible for the representative governance of the 500,000 students of the 25 CUNY campuses.