CUNY Chancellor Asks City Council for Support For Community College Funding

City University of New York Chancellor W. Ann Reynolds called on the City Council to add urgently needed funding to the proposed City Executive budget for new faculty, library books, expansion of the Language Immersion Program, and greater computer access.

Testifying on May 27 before the City Council Committees on Education and Finance, chaired by Council members Priscilla Wooten and Herbert Berman, Chancellor Reynolds said, “The University’s six community colleges are indispensable to the economic well-being of New York City. In the next few weeks, CUNY will award associate degrees to nearly 9,000 New Yorkers in a variety of fields including business, health services, engineering, public service, natural science technology and liberal arts and science. They represent the hope and future of New York and are the return on the City’s investment.”

The City’s 1997-98 Executive Budget recommends funding of $75.5 million for the community colleges, a $200,000 decrease from the current year, which does not address inflationary increases, collective bargaining obligations, or academic initiatives.

Requesting funds to expand the Language Immersion Program to all community colleges, Chancellor Reynolds said, “The preparation of students whose English speaking skills are limited is another of the University’s priorities. The presence of immigrants at CUNY has grown dramatically in the 1990s.”

The program currently operates at Kingsborough, LaGuardia and Bronx Community Colleges; New York City Technical College; and York College; and at another site in Harlem.

Recognizing the need to ensure that all CUNY students are computer literate and able to access the Internet, Chancellor Reynolds proposed the Computer Ownership Matching Program, a three-way partnership combining the resources of the City, private industry and the students themselves to make computer ownership feasible for the Fall 1997 incoming class.

Chancellor Reynolds also sought support for CUNY’s top capital budget priorities including:

  • Renovation of Hostos Community College’s 500 Grand Concourse Building to complete the college’s Master Plan.
  • A CUNY-wide Educational Technology Campus Wiring Initiative, a multi-year community college project to provide access to current technologies.
  • Design of the Medgar Evers College Academic Building I to alleviate a severe space shortage.
  • Design of Kingsborough Community College Academic Complex and Academic Village.
  • CUNY-wide building condition assessment.