As a CUNY adjunct starting this semester without a contract, I am filled with anger, terror, and excitement — a mix of reactions I’ll try to explain here. My anger predates our current contract struggle. Having taught at various CUNY campuses over the past six years, I’m furious about adjuncts’ working conditions and the resulting student learning conditions. As underpaid, expendable, and often invisible employees, adjuncts, who teach the majority of classes at the university, often find out our schedules mere days — or even hours — before the semester begins, and we are therefore forced to throw together syllabuses and assignments at the last minute.
Faculty and staff at the Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC) in New York City have issued a statement (posted below) decrying the proposed closure of the school’s newly established Social Justice and Equity Centers (SJEC). The SJEC, which was founded only last year with a mission to offer programs, events, workshops, and training for and about historically marginalized and oppressed groups at the college, is planned to be closed on June 30. Although the administration told the Centers’ workers that they were being shut down because of a lack of funding, it’s highly unusual for a college to found a new center like this only to close it less than a year later.
The Bronx, New York City, New York - The Bronx Antiwar Coalition successfully chased U.S. Army recruiters out of a student career fair June 11. The fair was hosted by U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat at the City University of New York in The Heights (BMCC), in the predominantly Dominican neighborhood of Washington Heights. The Coalition organized the anti-recruitment demonstration because BMCC is a popular college choice for Bronx high school students, given its close proximity. (Bronx Antiwar Coalition) As the military recruiters approached the fair’s entrance, the demonstrators forcefully chanted, “Military recruiters out of CUNY!” and “Money for college, not for war!”
New York City, New York - Mayor Adams was greeted with boos and turned backs during a CUNY Law School commencement address Friday — a day after City University students and professors protested against budget cuts laid out in the mayor’s most recent spending plan. Friday’s public demonstration, which was reminiscent of NYPD officers turning their backs on former Mayor Bill de Blasio, came as the current mayor was urging graduates to “get on the field and participate about improving the lives of the people of this city.” As he spoke, boos could be heard echoing throughout the auditorium, with dozens of graduates turning their backs.
CUNY Hunter College’s Brookdale Residence Hall is home to over 600 Hunter College students, where residents have a unique opportunity to foster community through social, educational, and cultural programs. It is organized by Resident Assistants, and a quick commute from New York City’s cultural hotspots and classes. Brookdale is unique in its affordability among CUNY housing, costing students less than $10,000 per academic year, but the dorm is currently in danger. On October 13, 2022, Governor Kathy Hochul and Mayer Eric Adams publicized the creation of an “Education Hub” at Brookdale Campus without mentioning that creating this Hub would require the ultimate destruction of the dorms located there.
Three years ago this month, the City University of New York (CUNY) pivoted to remote operations during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic. When the university began to gradually reopen in-person operations after vaccines were widely available, dining services on many campuses — which students rely on for affordable meals — remained closed. At the same time, wages have not kept up with inflation, and budget cuts from the city and the state are gutting many of CUNY’s other services. Not only are affordable campus dining options important, but students and workers are struggling more than ever to afford basic needs.
In a March 10 chapter meeting, union members from the CUNY Graduate Center and the CUNY professional schools unanimously passed a resolution in support of trans rights, pledging support to all workers fighting the nearly 400 anti-LGBTQ bills currently under consideration in the United States, and committing to fighting for trans co-workers and students at the City University of New York. The full text is published below. Statements of support are always nice, but can often feel hollow. But as the author of this resolution myself, let me be perfectly clear: We are already working on organizing for expanded name change procedures in our union chapter, with plans to expand our demands to the other issues discussed in the resolution.
Holding a huge, electrified banner reading “Resist austerity,” while chanting to the rhythm of a brass band, hundreds of members of the Professional Staff Congress marched from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York to a board of trustees’ meeting at Baruch College on Dec. 4. They were making it clear that they do not want to wait six years for a new contract to get significant pay raises. In particular, the PSC wants adjuncts — the part-time instructors who do over 50 percent of the instruction at CUNY — to get a pay increase to a minimum of $7,000 per class. Currently, the best-paid adjuncts get about $4,500 per class.
The trouble started this semester when the school enlisted Petraeus, the disgraced ex-commander of U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and former CIA chief, to teach a class, “The Coming North American Decades,” at its Macaulay Honors College. Course materials included literature espousing the virtues of hydraulic fracturing, aka fracking, but no mention of the general's ties to Kohlberg Kravis & Roberts, a private equity firm with millions invested in the controversial oil and gas extraction method. Yet demonstrations against Petraeus's presence mainly focused on his role as an architect of U.S. wars abroad—part of an ongoing challenge to what critics describe as the increasing militarization of the university. The protests quickly turned violent, with police beating students in the streets this September.