December 17, 2015
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Albany NY—Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Dec. 11 vetoed a bill that would have required the state to cover annual increases in public universities’ routine operating costs.
A spokesperson for the governor said the “maintenance of effort” measure would have cost the state an extra $600 million a year for costs such as utility bills at the City University of New York and State University of New York. “Cuomo’s decision to veto the bill will damage the quality of education CUNY can offer and reduce students’ access to the top-quality faculty and staff they deserve,” responded Barbara Bowen, president of the Professional Staff Congress, which represents CUNY faculty and professional staff and lobbied for the bill.
If the state won’t pay for those routine cost increases, the union contends, the money has to come out of students’ tuition—and professors’ salaries: The about 25,000 CUNY faculty and professional staff members have been working without a contract since 2010. The PSC has won the support of Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Bernard Sanders, who on Dec. 11 sent Cuomo a letter saying he was “troubled by New York State’s refusal so far to invest in a fair contract for the university’s faculty and staff. Read more