In his speech at the Association for a Better New York, Governor Cuomo announced his priorities for the remainder of the legislative session in Albany. We commend the Governor’s leadership on combating sexual assault on college campuses in New York State, and we look forward to working with him and the legislature on this important matter. We were also encouraged by his commitment to work for passage of the New York State Dream Act, which would provide academically eligible students with access to much-needed financial aid for higher education. We join the Governor in his important efforts to extend access to educational opportunity in New York.
We appreciate the dedicated leadership of Governor Cuomo, New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, Assembly Higher Education Committee Chair Deborah Glick, Senate Higher Education Committee Chair Kenneth P. LaValle and the membership of the New York State Legislature and their staffs on the adoption of a State Budget with significant investments in The City University of New York and the over 500,000 degree credit and adult and continuing education students we serve.
We will continue to work with all parties during the remainder of the legislative session on critical outstanding issues, including support for collective bargaining on behalf of CUNY’s faculty and staff, as well as “ maintenance of effort “ to address mandatory costs and passage of the Dream Act.
We are most appreciative of the additional funding provided for the basic operating costs of the community colleges, the SEEK and College Discovery programs, the Joseph S. Murphy Institute for Worker Education and Labor Studies, CUNY Leads, and childcare and foster care student access. The increases in student financial aid, merit scholarships and loan forgiveness will further advance the State’s commitment to access and affordability. Important new investment in the CUNY Accelerated Studies in Associate Programs (ASAP), which has been hailed as a national model and has had dramatic impact on graduation rates, is much appreciated.
We are especially grateful to state leaders for their continued support of CUNY’s mandate to maintain and expand its commitment to academic excellence and to the provision of equal access and opportunity for students, faculty and staff from all ethnic and racial groups and from both sexes, and to remain responsive to the needs of its urban setting, as required in the New York State Education Law.
CUNY continues to be the pathway to the middle class for so many immigrant, first generation and low income New Yorkers, and we are grateful for the vital support the state provides to make this possible. In part as a result of this investment, CUNY’s student enrollment today is at record levels and its students and faculty are winning more major national competitive awards than ever. The return on the state’s investment in CUNY is more apparent than ever.
I am writing to share with you the status of the New York State Budget negotiations in Albany with respect to The City University of New York. The Governor and leaders of the Assembly and Senate are working to reconcile the Executive Budget and the “one house budget bills” adopted earlier this month. During my meetings in Albany this week, all indications were that the parties are working hard to meet the statutory March 31 deadline for State budget adoption. We expect final decisions to be made over the next few days, and we are working with our partners and supporters to urge the adoption of important CUNY priorities.
Our top priority continues to be the funding needed to help reach a successful resolution of collective bargaining with faculty and staff. As I have said many times at Trustee meetings, public appearances and in numerous meetings with state and city elected officials, if CUNY is to attract and retain talented faculty—both full-time and adjunct—and staff, we need an agreement with competitive salaries and benefits, including retroactive increases. Without significant support from the state, it’s hard to see how we can be in a position to fund this essential obligation, and certainly not without heavy reliance on tuition and deep reductions in the university’s budget. And to this point, in my testimony before the fiscal committees of the New York State Legislature in February, I reminded legislators that the portion of CUNY’s budget supported by tuition revenue has grown significantly over the last four years.
As I indicated in the Chancellor’s Budget Request presented to the Board of Trustees last November, CUNY also needs significant additional funding to cover other mandatory costs, such as fringe benefits, salary step increments, energy costs and building rentals. We have also asked for improved funding for full-time faculty positions, capital repair and construction, community college base aid and the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP).
When the rational tuition plan was passed in 2011, it was clear that the State Legislature intended that additional tuition dollars would help provide funding for increased full-time faculty, academic programs and student support services important to improve retention and graduation. While tuition dollars were not intended to pay for mandatory costs, the “maintenance of effort” called for in the 2011 legislation has not provided for support of basic, mandatory costs. We are urging the Governor and the Legislature to clarify this important issue.
In February and early March, all campus presidents and their government relations teams—as well as students, faculty, alumni and civic friends—lobbied in Albany or held meetings in legislators’ district offices to stress CUNY’s budget priorities. In addition, borough meetings were organized with assembly members, senators and city councilmembers in conjunction with the borough presidents, to advocate for a strong investment in CUNY. Thousands of emails and letters from students, faculty, staff, parents and alumni have reinforced these efforts.
The 1979 New York State Education Law, which established the organization and funding of the modern City University of New York, eloquently framed the mission of CUNY. “The legislature’s intent is that the City University be supported as an independent and integrated system of higher education on the assumption that the university will continue to maintain and expand its commitment to academic excellence and to the provision of equal access and opportunity for students, faculty and staff from all ethnic and racial groups and from both sexes… The university must remain responsive to the needs of its urban setting and maintain its close articulation between senior and community colleges units… Only the strongest commitment to the special needs of an urban constituency justifies the legislature’s support of an independent and unique structure for the University.” It would be hard to conceive of a university with a commitment to this mission stronger than that of CUNY, which has demonstrated over the years the wisdom of this legislation and the importance of its support by the state.
New York has enormously benefitted from the almost one million alumni, reflecting the great diversity of our city and state, who have graduated from CUNY colleges. After ten years, over 80 percent of CUNY alumni live and work in New York. They contribute to a stable tax base, an educated workforce and strong communities. CUNY’s ability to serve the next generation of New Yorkers with the same commitment and effectiveness as in the past is to a significant degree a function of the state’s investment.
We will continue to deliver these important messages during the next few days of budget discussions and throughout the session when additional decisions on compensation and maintenance of effort may be made. I deeply appreciate the support of our faculty and staff in this effort, and I am grateful for all you do every day for CUNY and New York. Thank you.
In his March report to the Board of Trustees, Chancellor James B. Milliken remarked on ASAP’s national recognition, new support for STEM programs, and the need to remain competitive in retaining talented faculty and staff. Chancellor Milliken reiterated that his top priority remains the resolution of collective bargaining agreements to recognize the commitment of faculty and staff. The Chancellor said: “If CUNY is to attract and retain top talent, we need an agreement with appropriate salary and benefits.” Chancellor Milliken added that the University’s dedicated adjunct faculty deserves recognition and long overdue raises for providing “a critical component to our ability to offer a high quality education to our students.”
To listen to podcast of the Chancellor’s Report, click here.
Full text of Chancellor’s remarks:
I am happy to welcome all of you to the March Board meeting.
I join Chairperson Schmidt in commending Senior University Dean John Mogulescu, University Dean Donna Linderman and their team for their tremendous success with ASAP, and their outstanding work. I also compliment the Community College Presidents for their work to make ASAP a great success. First Deputy Mayor Tony Shorris participated in MDRC’s announcement of the impressive ASAP results and clearly took pride in the city’s investment in our success.
ASAP now operates at seven CUNY Colleges and we are about to launch a pilot program for ASAP at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. ASAP’s stunning results in boosting graduation rates deserve the national attention the program has received. According to MDRC’s study, not only are more than half of ASAP’s students graduating within three years; more than forty percent graduate in 2½ years, compared to fifteen percent in the comparison group. Best of all, because the program generates so many more graduates, the cost per degree was actually lower, despite the substantial investment to operate the program. So ASAP produces more graduates in less time for less money.
There is good reason that ASAP and CUNY were singled out by President Obama as a program that others should emulate. Chairperson Schmidt noted Tennessee Governor Haslam’s interest as well. Today I sent the Governor a packet of material and hope we can work together to expand ASAP. If more community colleges develop ASAP-like programs, the community college expansion in this country could be significantly changed for the better.
We now have both the Governor’s Executive Budget for Fiscal 2015-2016, and the Mayor’s Fiscal Year 2015-16 City Preliminary Budget in hand. Both offer some positive developments, as I have outlined previously. The multi-year $150 million commitment from the Mayor to support STEM graduates and to expand ASAP will enter its second year as planned.
I am going to ask Vice Chancellor Sapienza to review a few key points regarding the state budget when I’m finished, including changes since the last meeting of the Board through the 30 day amendment process, but first I want to provide a few comments of my own.
Our top priority remains the resolution of collective bargaining with our faculty and staff. As you know, the University’s contract with our faculty expired in 2010. It is essential that we get the state’s support for the terms of an agreement that would be in the line with those of other unions, including retroactive increases that would recognize the commitment of our faculty and staff.
Years without across the board increases are, of course, creating a deepening problem. We are in a competition for talent, and our faculty salaries are well below other public universities in the region. With record enrollments and a universally recognized need to increase educational attainment levels, we cannot afford to lose qualified faculty or be unable to recruit new faculty. The imperative of reaching a resolution for our faculty and staff is clear. If CUNY is to attract and retain top talent, as we must, we need a collective bargaining agreement with appropriate salary and benefits. I have made this clear in every single conversation I have had with our state and city officials.
In that regard, it has been suggested to me that I could be more clear in making it known that I’m including CUNY’s dedicated and hard-working adjunct instructors when discussing the need for a new contract. I didn’t realize there was confusion, but let me be very clear: our adjunct faculty deserve recognition and long overdue raises. They provide a critical component to our ability to offer a high quality education for our students and we are grateful for their contributions.
Even without taking into account a contract with our faculty and staff, the proposed Executive Budget represents a significant cut to the senior colleges of $51 million, or a little over 4 percent of the senior college base aid budget. This includes unfunded mandatory needs of $25 million for fringe benefits, $10 million for energy costs, $8 million for building rentals and $8 million for salary steps. It’s clear from the 2011 State Higher Education Act that these amounts were not to be funded from tuition; however, that is in fact the only source of additional available incremental funding in the budget. So unless this shortfall is addressed by the Legislature, we are left in a difficult position.
In addition to the fiscal matters in the budget, there are a number of substantive policy changes that, we believe, require much discussion and review before adoption. These are matters that go to the heart of academic decision making and governance and I will ask Matt to review them with you when he discusses the budget.
I know you join me in urging the Legislature to address these matters, both fiscal and policy. As a first step in that process, on February 10th I appeared before the New York State Senate Finance and Assembly Ways and Means Committees joint committees, and have had the opportunity to meet several members of the leadership for further discussions.
I also want to mention the very good work that the presidents, their staff, the faculty and students have been doing in carrying the same message to our elected officials. We are very pleased to have so many delegations going to Albany on an ongoing basis. I had dinner with Trustee Awadjie last Thursday and he was having trouble keeping his eyes open. I assumed it was my company but he assured me that it was getting up at 4:30 that morning to join six busloads of students traveling for a lobby day in Albany. We could not have authentic and effective advocates on CUNY’s behalf and I want to thank Trustee Awadjie, his colleagues, and the USS for their enthusiasm and their efforts.
Within days of my testimony I made a second visit to Albany which was downright celebratory. As Chairperson Schmidt mentioned, we held the CUNY Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Caucus Luncheon Awards. I was delighted to join Trustees Berry, DiMartino, Foster and Awadjie, members of the central office leadership, many of our college presidents, staff and students. We had the honor of presenting The CUNY Educational Leadership Award to Ms. Arva R. Rice, President and CEO of the New York Urban League, an institution that for 90 years has helped underserved communities surmount educational and economic obstacles, and most recently published the Parents’ Guide to STEM. The second award went to David C. Banks, a CUNY alumnus and founder of The Eagle Academy Foundation, dedicated to providing young urban men quality education and supporting them to achieve their highest aspirations. We look forward to enrolling their graduates, and I know that CUNY will be in competition for them. I had the opportunity to meet one of these graduates at the 100 Black Men Benefit Gala two weeks ago; he had applied to and received 22 college offers!
We were also joined that day by many of our State legislators, including the newly elected Speaker, Carl Heastie, Secretary of State, Eric Schneiderman, State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli and City Controller Scott Stringer. We received great media coverage for the event and it was terrific to see the support CUNY had from so many of our state legislators. If you haven’t been to one of these events, I urge you do attend in the future. Not only is it a great showing of our students and friends in Albany, but you get to see why Jay Hershonson is a leading candidate to replace Jon Stewart on The Daily Show.
There are a number of developments relating to CUNY’s ongoing work in sustainability in many areas. I plan to report more fully on this in the future. But today I am pleased to report that CUNY will receive an $860,000 grant from the federal Department of Energy to help develop the market for resilient solar power in New York City and New York State so that solar installations can operate during power outages. This investment will be increased by the state to total 1.3 million. This project is conceived and managed by University Director for Sustainability, Tria Case.
The latest New York City Executive Budget includes three new positions for Solar Ombudsmen, to continue CUNY’s work in making the city and state make greater use of renewable energy. We are pleased to play a role in helping the city develop sustainable energy.
Our ongoing work in Jamaica Bay, to make the federal marshlands more resilient to storm damage is continuing to progress.
The New York City Department of Administrative Services announced that CUNY’s community colleges will receive an additional $2 million, for a total of $8 million to make our campuses more energy efficient.
A $500,000 grant from the New York State Energy Research & Development Authority) will fund a new project by Sanjoy Banerjee, Director of the CUNY Energy Institute, to develop a next generation battery for energy storage that is long lasting, high energy, low cost and safe for urban environments.
In sum, CUNY is deeply involved in efforts to find strategies in sustainability in many areas across the federal, state and local levels.
This year, CUNY has received an unprecedented eight regional Emmy award nominations. I want to commend CUNY TV and director Robert Isaacson for this impressive showing. Stay tuned for the announcement of the winners on May 2nd.
I’d like to now ask Vice Chancellor Matt Sapienza for his analysis of the state budget initiatives that have a significant academic impact.
I heartily commend Governor Andrew Cuomo’s exemplary “Enough is Enough” campaign to strengthen the reporting and investigation of sexual assaults at New York’s colleges, which The City University of New York has been actively addressing with new comprehensive policies as well as system-wide staff and student training and other measures.
CUNY’s policy for the reporting and adjudication of sexual assault and harassment crimes, defines consent, encourages reporting and eases repercussions when students report assaults that occur while they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
We greatly appreciate the efforts of the Governor to keep the issue of protecting our campus communities at the forefront, and for demanding clear, transparent procedures for reporting and confronting sexual assault complaints.
CUNY, which revised its sexual assault and harassment policy through a year of intensive review, revision and community input, and discussion with the Governor’s staff, stands ready to assist the Governor’s “Enough is Enough” initiative. We have much to share. The University would be pleased to lead efforts to coordinate and share information, best practices, and solutions on campus sexual violence by convening a New York City working group of higher education institutions. By working together, public and private colleges and universities can become even more effective in preventing and stopping campus sexual assault.
CUNY’s new policy, approved by the Board of Trustees on December 1, states, “Every member of the CUNY community, including students, employees and visitors, deserves the opportunity to live, learn and work free from sexual harassment, gender-based harassment and sexual violence.”
It clarifies the concept of consent, which is key to these cases, and details student rights in sexual assault matters. These rights include the right to file a criminal complaint and seek an order of protection with the college’s assistance, to make a formal on-campus complaint as the first step in a disciplinary process, and to report sexual harassment or violence experienced while under the influence of alcohol or drugs without being disciplined for the alcohol or drug use, subject to certain conditions.
CUNY’s policy defines consent as “an informed, voluntary and mutual decision to engage in agreed upon sexual activity,” and provides for the education of students and staff about sexual and gender-based harassment and sexual violence.
I am proud of our University’s initiatives to establish new, proactive policies to protect students and help end these unacceptable incidents. The strong campus protection initiatives put in place at CUNY, and requested by Governor Cuomo statewide, are critical to understanding and ending the scourge of campus sexual assault, and to sending the message that “Enough is Enough.”
In his budget testimony to the New York State Legislature, Chancellor James B. Milliken said CUNY’s core priorities remain: recruitment of more full-time faculty, increased academic support and broadening student services. The Chancellor said the University is requesting additional state funding for expansion of online programs, digitalization of libraries, and critical maintenance of aging classrooms and buildings. Chancellor Milliken said: “All of the requested investments … are important because of what they allow CUNY to do for over 500,000 students each year and for the city and state of New York.”
TEXT OF CHANCELLOR’S TESTIMONY ON NEW YORK STATE BUDGET:
Good morning. Chairman De Francisco, Chairman Farrell, Chairman LaValle, Chairperson Glick, members of the Finance and Ways and Means Committees, staff and guests. I am James B. Milliken and I have had the honor of serving as Chancellor of The City University of New York since June of 2014.
I went to school and began my career in New York, and while it took me 25 years to get back I like to think I have returned to my adopted home with some useful experience that helped prepare me for this exceptional opportunity. While I have had the opportunity to meet a number of you, this is the first time I have appeared before you formally, and I thank you for the opportunity.
I am fortunate to have joined an exceptional group of senior leaders at CUNY, some of whom are with me today and I’d like to introduce them. To my immediate left is Matthew Sapienza, Vice Chancellor for Budget and Finance. To Matt’s left is Frank Sanchez, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs. To my immediate right is Judith Bergtraum, Interim Vice Chancellor for Facilities Planning, Construction and Management. And finally, to Judy’s right is Jay Hershenson, Vice Chancellor for University Relations and Secretary to the Board of Trustees.
First and foremost, thank you for your longstanding support of CUNY and its students. Coming from the outside, I can assure you CUNY has held a revered place in public higher education. From its origins as The Free Academy in 1847 throughout the twentieth century and into the 21st, CUNY has been the place of first resort to so many talented New Yorkers, to successive waves of immigrants, to the first in their families to attend college and now to many of their children. A CUNY education has enabled those from every borough of the city and every rung on the economic ladder to reach their full potential. The Governor’s support for the Dream Act, which would extend state tuition assistance to New York college students whose parents are undocumented immigrants, would assist in continuing this long history and it continues to be a priority for us.
I chose a great year to join CUNY, although perhaps every year is like this. I was able to celebrate with a record number of student and faculty Fulbright award winners, who won these prestigious nationally competitive awards to work and study abroad. Washington Monthly magazine’s respected “Bang for the Buck” national ranking, which measures greatest value delivered by a college or university, ranked as its top three colleges in the nation Brooklyn College, Queens College and Baruch College. That is an amazing result and one New Yorkers should take great pride in. CUNY’s innovative ASAP program has been recognized nationally, including most recently as the one program singled out by the White House in connection with the President’s recently announced community college initiative and the subject of recent positive editorials in the New York Times, The Daily News and Bloomberg News.
When I first arrived at CUNY last summer, I visited students, faculty and staff at each of CUNY’s 24 campuses. The enormous breadth of the university truly comes into focus when you visit every campus, but its depth and breadth can be seen across the city every day.
One day in June, I delivered the commencement address at Hostos Community College, where 820 graduates received Associate degrees –68 percent were female, 32 percent were supporting children under 18, 60 percent spoke a native language other than English, and 79 percent had an average income under $30,000. Later that same day, I joined Nobel Laureate Harold Varmus to speak at the CUNY Graduate Center Commencement, where 545 students were granted masters and doctoral degrees in 34 fields, from anthropology to physics, poised to become thought leaders in their fields. Suzanne Tamang, the student speaker, was awarded her doctorate in Computer Science. She included in her remarks the following observation: “If an institution like CUNY did not exist, it is unlikely that I and many others would be here today.” In that single day, I saw the full range of possibility that CUNY offers New Yorkers.
Today, the university offers approximately 2,100 degree-granting programs: 70 at the doctoral level, 660 at the master’s level, 700 at the baccalaureate level, 260 associate degrees, and nearly 400 graduate and undergraduate certificate courses. Even those impressive numbers need to grow. We face new challenges and new demands to prepare the 21st century workforce.
It is critical that universities attract students and enable them to receive a degree. The share of jobs that require post-secondary education has doubled over the last forty years. Nationally, half of all people from high income families have a bachelor’s degree by age 25; today, just one in ten people from low income families do.
The good news: when children born into the bottom fifth of income distribution get a college degree, their chances of making it to the top fifth nearly quadruple. Their chances of making it out of the bottom increase by more than 50 percent.
Today, CUNY’s enrollment stands at an all-time high of 274,000. We serve an additional 260,000 adult and continuing students- a total of over half a million students. Fifty-eight percent of 2012 New York City public high school graduates who enrolled in college did so at CUNY and three quarters of CUNY freshmen come from New York high schools. The vast majority of our graduates tend to remain in New York; their education enables them to earn higher wages and this in turn increases the tax base of the state.
This past year, CUNY graduated 48,000 students – that is more students than Yankee Stadium has seats. Our students won more than 100 national awards, including 17 National Science Foundation Fellowships, 5 Jack Kent Cooke Scholarships, 2 Ford Foundation Pre-doctoral Fellowships, a record breaking 29 Fulbright Student Awards. Just this year, we had record-breaking numbers of students attending our winter session and more students transferring from community college to senior college than ever before. Each one of these students is forging a new career, either by continuing their education or by taking their place in the changing workforce.
I am mindful of the even more critical role higher education needs to play if our workforce is to remain competitive. We are deeply grateful to you and to the Governor for understanding the critical role education plays in the lives of New Yorkers and for the investment you make that secures its promise.
Let me now turn my attention to the operating budget.
CUNY’s core priorities remain: the retention of talented faculty and staff, the recruitment of more full time faculty, increased academic support and broadening our student services. Over the last decade, we have achieved a 23 percent net increase in full-time faculty. However, these gains have been countered by an unprecedented growth in enrollment during the same period, slowing our ability to increase the percentage of classes taught by full-time faculty. This year we are working to hire 325 new faculty members. And through our FY2016 budget request, we hope to hire 500 more. While this may seem at first blush ambitious, let me offer some historical perspective. In 1974, CUNY had over 11,000 full time faculty and 249,000 students; we now have 7,500 full-time faculty and 274,000 students.
We must compete for talent in a national and in some cases international marketplace and nothing is more important than our ability to attract and retain the best faculty. This fall, we have already hired 250 new, full-time faculty across our colleges, many of them scholars of international renown. Each of them brings a wealth of scholarly and pedagogic experience to our classrooms.
The University’s collective bargaining agreement with our faculty expired in 2010 and the faculty and staff covered under this agreement have not had a raise since October 2009. The University is seeking support of the State and the City for an agreement that would be in the line with those of other State unions.
In 2011, the Governor and the Legislature reached agreement on a new funding model for public higher education in New York. The state agreement has brought much-needed fiscal stability to our colleges and has enabled us to develop and to execute effective strategies. For our students and their families, predictable tuition costs have eliminated the unanticipated spikes that, in the past, undid budgets and derailed prospects. Fiscal Year 2015-2016 is the final year of this five-year model; its impact has been positive, its benefits measurable. CUNY continues to have among the lowest tuition levels in the country and our colleges are hailed nationally on the value they offer.
While the Governor’s executive budget proposal provides a relatively stable budget for CUNY in fiscal year 2015-2016, there remain many areas that we hope you will address in order to provide our students with the higher education experience they deserve, and to ensure that employers are being served with skilled graduates that are ready to enter the workforce.
The executive budget recommends a flat rate in community college base aid funding. That recommendation—$2,497 per FTE—is significantly below the Fiscal Year 2009 level of $2,675. Both CUNY and SUNY are seeking an increase of $250 per year over the next three years. That increase will enable the community colleges to perform the multi-year planning that enables us to meet the varied needs of their students and to advance their critical mission.
In addition, the Governor’s budget does not fund the $1.7 million legislative appropriation for the Accelerated Study in Associate Programs. As you may know, in recent weeks ASAP has garnered a great deal of national attention, especially when The White House, as part of President Obama’s proposal for free tuition at community colleges across the nation, singled out CUNY’s ASAP. They noted the impressive gains that ASAP has made in college persistence and degree completion.
The most recent independent studies show that 63 out of every 100 students who began ASAP three years ago have either graduated or transferred to a bachelor’s degree program. The national average graduation rate at urban institutions is 16 percent. Students in ASAP graduate at more than three times the national average for urban community colleges. The program has been held out as a model to be emulated, and the state of Ohio has already made plans to replicate it at several of their community colleges.
Based on the program’s truly impressive results, we are planning a major expansion, extending the program to more of our community college students. In Fall 2014, we enrolled 4,000 students and are working towards an enrollment goal of at least 13,000 students by Fall 2017. The program actually saves money by shortening the time it takes for students to receive a degree. But to extend its impact we need restoration of state support. I am hard pressed to think of an investment more likely to yield high returns.
The executive budget also reduces child care funding at the community colleges by $544,000. Twenty percent of CUNY’s community college undergraduates support children. Quality and affordable child care is essential to the retention and the long-term success of these students. Research demonstrates that not only their career prospects but those of their children are considerably enhanced by the completion of associates’ degrees. Flexible, licensed, on-campus care will meaningfully advance that much-to-be desired end.
We are pleased that the Governor’s proposal includes support for the state Dream Act, which would extend state tuition assistance to New York college students whose parents are undocumented immigrants. This is the very first time that the Dream Act has been included in the Executive Budget and if the legislation is adopted, it will have great impact for our students.
Over $1.1 million in legislative support for the SEEK and College Discovery programs was also eliminated in the executive budget. These are two higher education opportunity programs designed to assist high-potential, low-income students who otherwise might not be able to pursue a college degree because they are not academically well prepared for college-level work.
We also seek operational support for a number of other needs critical to our students and to the State of New York.
The University is requesting additional funding to expand its online programs, which offer many benefits. With CUNY students often times juggling multiple roles as student, worker, and family caretaker, additional online education can provide them with more flexibility while increasing time to completion rates. Online degree programs offer our students significant additional opportunities. Because there are no geographic barriers or schedules to online learning, students can find a diversity of course material that may not be available to them where they live or work, or at a time convenient to them. Online education prepares students for a competitive future, since many of them will need to refresh their skills through online learning and we want them to have that opportunity with CUNY programs.
Globalization of markets and information technology have made global education increasingly important to graduation. CUNY requests funding for an international education initiative aimed at instilling in students an awareness of both opportunities and obligation as 21st global citizens. Funding will enable students to study abroad and provide CUNY faculty with opportunities to work collaboratively with international colleagues. To compete and thrive in the transnational environment, it is no longer a luxury, but a necessity, to bring CUNY to the world and the world to CUNY.
We are truly concerned about the impact of unfunded mandatory expenses. First, the Executive Budget does not include any growth in spending in CUNY’s fringe benefits costs for senior colleges. The overall State financial plan, however, includes a 6.8% increase in pension contributions and a 4.2% increase for health insurance for non-CUNY employees. The University’s fringe benefits’ budget should be funded consistent with similar cost increases contained in the State’s financial plan. This inequitable treatment of the same expense at CUNY will cost senior colleges an additional $25 million that will have to be reallocated from existing college priorities. This impacts students.
Second, almost all of CUNY’s instructional staff are on a salary schedule that provides for annual step increments. This benefit is built into the state and city approved collective bargaining agreement with the Professional Staff Congress. Historically, the annual costs associated with salary step increments at the senior colleges have been covered by the state. In the FY 2015-2016 Executive Budget, however, there is no appropriation for these mandatory costs, as has been the case for the prior three fiscal years. Each year the gap widens $7.9 million at the senior colleges, and each year our capacity to close it without reducing the services we offer our students diminishes.
A final, significant mandatory cost item relates to the new Advanced Science Research Center (ASRC), a facility that will be formally opened in 2015 and is poised to become one of the region’s major centers for advancing scientific knowledge. We have internationally known researchers to spearhead ASRC’s work. The Center’s importance to the university and to the region, both through the employment opportunities it provides and the venture capital its discoveries will attract, make this project a crucial investment. The state provided the funding to build ASRC; we now need corresponding funds to staff and maintain it.
Let me note, in broad strokes, a few other areas of operational need before I turn to our capital concerns.
Currently, more than 4,000 student veterans and reservists are enrolled at CUNY. As you can understand, veterans experience considerable challenges in their transition from military to college and civilian life; those circumstances place them at high risk for attrition. In order to support this important segment of our population, CUNY hopes to appoint a specially-trained student affairs professional on each campus whose sole responsibility is to coordinate services for veterans. We want to ensure that we are among the most veteran-friendly institutions in the country.
Also of critical importance, CUNY’s libraries are straddling the digital age: many of our most important resources are textbooks and books that are not digitized. But the new generation of learning and scholarly materials are being produced online. Our libraries must be redesigned to support a variety of instructional modes. We must also install tools that allow our digital materials to be easily accessed. However, our libraries continue to be challenged by the price increases that outpace inflation and students continue to struggle to purchase necessary textbooks and course materials. CUNY’s libraries have the capacity to help students in this regard, and sufficient funding would enable us to invest in costly textbooks for use by students and to purchase electronic texts, together with the means to display and catalogue them.
The exposure of students to a wide range of career possibilities is an important aspect of the education process. Campus Career Development Centers provide students with a comprehensive set of services and resources that enable them to discover their strengths and skill areas and connect them to potential careers. As a result, New York State and City are better able to retain our graduates’ brainpower. Additional funds would enable the University to expand and enhance services, including fostering and promoting internship experiences, providing certificate and licensure opportunities, and building public-private partnerships with companies and city agencies to create pipelines for employment.
The CUNY Linking Employment, Academics, and Disability Services (CUNY LEADS) program is a unique partnership with the New York State Education Department, established to facilitate successful academic and career outcomes for these students. CUNY LEADS provides students with disabilities academic support, career-readiness training and job placement services. Participants have an 84 percent retention rate; those who are job-ready have a 70 percent employment rate after graduation, compared to the 56 percent national employment rate for people with disabilities. This program has demonstrated extraordinary efficacy, and it merits your support.
The Black Male Initiative (BMI) was instituted by the University, based upon an innovative model at Medgar Evers College, to address education, retention, graduation and underrepresentation of African American men nine years ago. The CUNY Black Male Initiative aims to increase the inclusion of underrepresented groups, particularly Black males, in higher education and to improve their prospects for employment. In the decade since its founding, BMI has amassed an impressive record of mentoring, outreach, placement and related activities, aimed at maximizing academic success for underrepresented minorities. During this same period, only the City of New York, through the New York City Council, has provided funding. We are hopeful that the state will initiate an Urban Male Initiative modeled after the BMI, to match the city’s allocation.
In 2009, CUNY partnered with Single Stop USA, a national program which offers one-stop assistance to students for benefits screening, tax preparation, legal services and health care assistance. The goal is to increase student retention by connecting low-income students with government benefits and services that they and their families are entitled to, but not receiving. Between 2009 and 2012, CUNY’s community college students accessed benefits, including tax refunds, legal services, and food stamps valued at $133 million. Single Stop should be expanded to CUNY’s senior college population, where so many students are of low income and would greatly benefit by Single Stop’s interventions.
The Governor’s executive budget also included several major new higher education initiatives, including the creation of college performance plans. We currently have a Performance Management Process designed to ensure clarity about University and college priorities and expectations for the year, to recognize and acknowledge progress on important goals at all levels and to ensure that the Master Plan guides the plans and priorities of the colleges. I am happy to share more about that process.
Turning to our capital program, we are grateful for your continued attention to our facility needs, which remain urgent. We are thankful for the more than $3.8 billion that the state has provided CUNY since 2008 in support of our academic mission. This funding has allowed us to open new facilities as well as maintain our 24 campuses. Despite this strong support, much more needs to be done.
In the last decade, because of rising enrollment, an additional 56,600 students are using our facilities. Our campuses are open seven days a week, with classes scheduled throughout the day and most evenings. Not surprisingly, our classrooms and common areas are experiencing significant wear and tear. The average CUNY building is more than 50 years old, and some are more than 100 years old. Our aging building stock and a history of deferred maintenance are the most significant issues affecting our capital program. We have 28 million square feet of space, and we need more. In addition, many of our labs and classrooms are dated and need to be modernized with the latest teaching tools so our students are prepared. In 2007, in partnership with SUNY, CUNY completed a study of its needs to bring the campuses to a state of good repair. In 2012 we updated the critical maintenance study of the state of good repair of our campuses; the study identified a $3.2 billion dollar backlog of critical maintenance needs, which will grow to nearly $6 billion if not addressed over the next 10 years.
CUNY has several projects that are in design, each of which will alleviate serious space deficits and support important academic progress at our colleges. We are asking for additional funding for key programmatic projects, including:
the Roosevelt Hall Science Complex at Brooklyn College.
the Academic Village and Conference Center at York College;
The College of Staten Island’s High Performance Computational Center; and
Hostos Community College’s new Allied Health and Sciences Building.
Projects like these are critical to our academic growth, helping to improve classroom instruction and research capacity and create good paying jobs. With your support, we hope to continue this important work.
The executive budget recommends $103 million in new critical maintenance funding for the senior colleges. We sought $181 million to allow CUNY to continue work on hundreds of ongoing projects that will address electrical, heating, cooling, roof and other maintenance issues we need to provide a safe learning and working environment. The executive budget also recommends $21 million in state matching funds for CUNY community colleges for projects that have received funding from the City of New York during the city’s adopted budget last summer. Most of this will address important critical maintenance issues with the exception of a matching allocation for the new Allied Health building at Hostos Community college.
Colleges and universities are, as you know, catalysts for development. I am gratified to see the Governor’s recognition that universities are economic drivers, as evidenced by his additional funding for CUNY 2020. We will soon have the opportunity to demonstrate that those investment dollars yield rewards.
The executive budget also recommends a third allocation of $55 million for the CUNY 2020 Challenge Grant Program. We are working with the Governor’s office as we advance the first round of CUNY 2020 funding to create innovative projects that provide significant economic impact through job creation, advance academic research and student success, encourage collaborations, and leverage other funding sources. We look forward to implementing round two and are excited about its potential benefits.
I want to take a moment as well to update you on the current status of major projects you have funded in prior budgets.
As noted, CUNY’s Advanced Science Research Center and the City College Center for Discovery and Innovation have just completed construction. The complex will be the jewel in the crown of scientific research at CUNY. The two buildings offer 400,000 total feet of space where faculty will work across disciplines to engage some of global science’s vital challenges. State-of-the-art laboratories are provided for CUNY’s top research faculty in fields such as nanoscience, photonics and environmental remote sensing.
We recently completed construction of a wonderful library renovation and expansion project for Medgar Evers College. This project modernized and reorganized the library and added 12,000 feet of student study space.
At Brooklyn College, construction continues on the new performing arts center, scheduled for completion later this year, which was funded with state and city funding and a sizable donation from the Tow family.
Also part of Brooklyn College, the new Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema is under construction at Steiner Studios in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The Feirstein School will be the first film school in the U.S. located on a working studio lot. This facility will simulate a working film studio, and include a sound stage, production classrooms, screening room, and labs for scoring, motion capture and editing, among other functions. We expect to complete the project this fall as well.
We broke ground in 2013 on the new academic building at New York City College of Technology—the new facility will be in construction for two more years. City Tech is CUNY’s only technical college and it has some of the oldest facilities in the system. The new facility will add 350,000 square feet of premiere instructional and lab space, in addition to allied health education facilities, a large auditorium and physical education facilities. Considering New York City’s efforts to cultivate its tech industries, this new modern facility could not be better timed.
The first phase of infrastructure renovations has begun at Baruch College’s Field Building at 17 Lexington Avenue. This 16-story building has not had significant upgrades since it opened in the 1920s.
And at Bronx Community College, the third phase of construction of major utility upgrades for the campus is underway. This is the third of six phases that will completely replace the campus central plant, including all heating, cooling, and electrical distribution infrastructure on campus.
We are also initiating construction on several important projects, thanks to your support.
At LaGuardia Community College, the façade of the massive Center 3 Building is being replaced. Center 3 is a 100-year old, 9-story facility whose terra cotta façade is failing and must be completely replaced to ensure the safety of the community and the integrity of the building. This is the highest priority of all of our community college projects.
A major upgrade of Lehman College’s central plant is underway.
And system-wide, hundreds of infrastructure projects are underway, funded by over $1 billion in critical maintenance appropriations that CUNY was generously provided over the last five fiscal years.
All of these projects were years, even decades, in the making, and we are completing them at a critical time: when New York City needs good paying jobs. There is no doubt that New York City profits from our capital program. For every $10 million spent in construction, 60 jobs are created at the job site and 30 paying jobs are created offsite in materials fabrication. A multi-billion dollar construction program is therefore generating an estimated 14,000 jobs.
Projects like these are critical to our academic growth, helping to improve classroom instruction and research capacity and create good paying jobs. With your support, we hope to continue this important work.
In the end, all of the requested investments, whether in faculty and staff and other operating needs or in critical maintenance or new facilities, are important because of what they allow CUNY to do for over 500,000 students each year and for the city and state of New York. CUNY is a public university in every sense of the word and one in which I hope you will continue to make wise investments.
I want to thank you for the attention you have shown me. I am happy to address any questions you may have.
Governor Cuomo has delivered an ambitious and thoughtful State of the State message, and I want to commend him for his strong leadership and support in recognizing high-quality education — the key driver of economic opportunity — as the critical investment in New York’s people and future.
We welcome the governor’s announcement that the state will pay full CUNY and SUNY tuition for high-achieving high school graduates who commit to teach for five years after graduation. This move underscores the essential role of New York’s public institutions in producing highly qualified, dedicated teachers to provide a strong educational foundation to future generations.
CUNY is eager to build upon its strengths in teacher training to help our city and state place greater emphasis on effective early childhood education. The governor’s support is reflected in his budget allocation for early childhood education programs administered by the New York Early Childhood Development Institute.
His pledge to further invest in NYCUNY 2020 challenge grants, and to expand funding for his successful Start-Up NY program, fostering economic partnerships between new businesses and our college campuses, reflect the critical connection between education and economic development in this state.
Finally, we applaud his support for the New York State Dream Act, which would extend state tuition assistance to New York college students whose parents are undocumented immigrants. This issue is close to CUNY’s heart and mission as an American Dream Machine for generations of immigrants.
Through our Citizenship Now! initiative, our University for almost two decades has provided free, quality advice and legal services to the CUNY community and other New Yorkers navigating the nation’s immigration system or seeking immigration and citizenship information.
In the weeks to come, we look forward to working with the Governor and the Legislature on the details of the budget, as partners in providing the high-quality, effective educational opportunities and preparation necessary to build a strong and productive New York future.
The national holiday recognizing Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. provides an important time to stop and reflect on the life of this great American.
In 1963, Dr. King gave the commencement address to the graduates of The City College of New York. Much has changed since that June day half a century ago, but some of the issues Dr. King spoke of are still too familiar. He addressed the racial disparities that troubled the nation and the great economic gap between rich and poor. He reminded his audience that, despite these divisions, we are all tied together in “a single garment of destiny.” Dr. King spoke powerfully about the centrality of education, the importance of non-violence and his hope for a more equitable and just world.
While we have made much progress since Dr. King’s CCNY commencement speech, we have not completed the journey. This day should be a time of rededication to the principles Dr. King so effectively advanced.
President Obama’s plan for free tuition at community colleges sends a powerful signal of the importance of access to a quality education and of these vital front-line higher education institutions to America’s future. We look forward to reviewing the details of the plan and working closely with the White House, United States Congress and leaders in New York in order to assess the likely impact on CUNY’s 100,000 degree-seeking students in attendance at our seven community colleges and prospective applicants.
We are particularly encouraged by the President’s recognition of CUNY’s Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) as a national model of effectiveness and successful student outcomes. In 2014, ASAP produced a three year graduation rate of 57%, over triple the rate of urban community colleges nation-wide. Overall the graduation rate since the program’s inception has been over 50%.
We join with President Obama in offering ASAP as a national model to be expanded both here in New York and throughout the nation. Here at CUNY, more than seven out of ten full-time community college students attend tuition-free due to federal and state financial aid. We will be looking closely at the remaining costs in order to determine how the President’s plan might assist greater numbers of students to achieve student success.
The issues of sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, and sexual violence on college campuses have commanded national attention this past year. We at CUNY recognize that these issues, including rape, sexual assault, stalking and intimate partner/domestic violence, can affect anyone, of any age, gender or background. We are deeply committed to preventing sexual misconduct and providing a safe and respectful learning and working environment for all students, employees and visitors.
On December 1, 2014, the Board of Trustees adopted a new University-wide CUNY Policy on Sexual Misconduct. The policy applies to all members of the CUNY community, including visitors, and is a comprehensive document that details the rights of accusers and accused, clarifies procedures for reporting and investigation of complaints, and specifies training procedures for employees across all campuses and offices. College Title IX coordinators will train employees who are required to report sexual or gender-based harassment or sexual violence, and ensure that appropriate educational programming be provided to students. Student complainants have the right to receive appropriate support for their medical, emotional and academic needs.
The concept of consent, central to many sexual misconduct complaints, is defined by the policy as “an informed voluntary and mutual decision to engage in agreed upon sexual activity.” Consent can be given by words or actions as long as they create clear permission regarding willingness to engage in (and the conditions of) the sexual activity. Silence or failure to resist does not, in and of itself, demonstrate consent.
Revised student disciplinary procedures are sensitive to accusers while safeguarding the rights of the accused. Students have the right to file a criminal complaint and seek an Order of Protection with college assistance; and to make a formal complaint on campus, and have it investigated promptly, impartially and thoroughly by appropriately trained individuals. A complainant also has the same opportunity as the accused to participate in a disciplinary hearing before a faculty-student disciplinary committee. Both complainant and accused have the right to receive notice of charges, be represented by a person of their choice including an attorney; present evidence; call and cross-examine witnesses, receive notice of the hearing’s outcome, and appeal.
Student complainants also have the right to report sexual harassment or violence they experienced while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, without being disciplined for the alcohol or drug use, subject to certain conditions. Student Complainants’ Bill of Rights.
I would like to commend the working group, which included members of three CUNY departments—the Office of the General Counsel, the Office of Student Affairs and Office of Human Resources Management—for their diligence and teamwork in revising CUNY’s policy. Thank you also to the CUNY community members who commented on the revisions, suggesting valuable improvements. As the policy states, “Every member of the CUNY community, including students, employees and visitors, deserves the opportunity to live, learn and work free from sexual harassment, gender-based harassment and sexual violence.”