Members of the New York City Committee on Higher Education voted on March 9 to support the passage of the New Deal for CUNY by New York State Legislature.
Senator Andrew Gounardes of the 22nd Senate district is the main sponsor of the bill and is responsible for introducing it, with co-sponsors state Senators Jamaal T. Bailey (D-36), Alessandra Biaggi (D-34), Jabari Brisport (D-25) and Cordell Cleare (D-30) also signing on.
The New Deal for CUNY legislation asks that New York State increase the ratio of faculty and mental health counselors to full-time students and requires that certain amounts of tuition be replaced by federal, state and city funds.
The vote led by Council Member Eric Dinowitz, the chair of the committee, passed four in the affirmative and one in the negative signifies a significant victory for advocates of the New Deal for CUNY. The state legislature is now considering the bill.
“I want to commend the former chair, council member Inez Barron, who really pushed for free tuition for eight years,” said Brooklyn City Council Member Charles Barron during the hearing as he explained his vote in the affirmative (Charles and Inez Barron are married). “When I was chair I also pushed for it for eight years, so for this to be coming forward, I want to commend the chair and all the committee members for finally doing this. As you know CUNY used to be a free academy when whites were predominantly in CUNY. But as soon as we got in – people of color, Black and Brown – in the 70s they decided to impose tuition. This is long overdue and I vote in the affirmative.”
The fight for a New Deal for CUNY has been years in the making with educators and students advocating for the implementation of a free higher education institution to make learning more accessible as well as open up opportunities for success in careers that would otherwise be unavailable to many disenfranchised and under-served students.
A representative from CUNY declined to comment.
For more information regarding the New Deal for CUNY visit PSC CUNY.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect that the City Council passed a resolution to support the bill’s passage, not that the bill itself was passed by the City Council. We apologize for the error and any confusion which may have resulted.
Last updated 3/10/2022 1:48 pm