As April Fool’s Day approached, the threat to CUNY became real. As is commonly known, the first day of April is the deadline for the state budget. After April 1, some institutions will lose funding while others will get more. Andrew Cuomo, Democratic Governor of New York, promised his followers that he would make sure to raise the minimum wage in New York State to fifteen dollars an hour. At first thought, New York citizens were pleased with the idea and could not wait. Things were looking bright and all seemed right; that was until our beloved Governor Cuomo decided to cut funding from a project that is of critical importance to many people.
Well, New Yorkers discovered that the institution from which Cuomo has decided to take funding is a city institution. The City University of New York was founded in 1847, and was funded by the federal government until 1976. When New York suffered from a financial crisis, the federal government had “stopped paying the bills” and the state government decided to take over the role of funding CUNY’s senior colleges. On April 1, Governor Cuomo was going to attempt to finish what almost happened in 1976 — or at least finish part of it. He announced that he would be reducing the state budget for CUNY by $485 million.
As it is in their nature, New Yorkers are not taking the news gently. All of a sudden, the good news that these Manhattanites had gotten about minimum wage rising became bittersweet; most people who are getting their wages raised are going to have an arduous time getting the money to pay for school.
But, let’s not forget the attitude which belongs to most New York inhabitants. The more astounded people are, the more uneasy it is for them take the news; the more unacceptable the news is, the more they will fight to make sure it never transpires. They have already commenced the fight; hundreds of people have gone on rallies, strikes, and protests in the city. Other students got together to buy ads in various newspapers to publicize their discontent. It is a full on war, and the CUNY students and faculty are adamantly standing for what they believe in. Some people believe that this is an attack on the ideals of America.
The battle tactics have seemingly worked as Governor Cuomo amended his opinion on the matter and announced that he was going to hire a financial committee to oversee the expenditures of CUNY and make sure that the City of New York wouldn’t pay a dime more than it usually does.
Interestingly, his Director of Operations, Jim Malatras, announced that the whole situation was a negotiating strategy they played in order to get CUNY more serious about financial reforms. Apparently, CUNY had been ignoring Cuomo’s requests to reform financially. Even with this promise, nothing is set in stone yet. The war is not over yet…