Students United for a Free CUNY is having a rally on Monday, November 28 at 4pm. We are meeting at Baruch College (East 24th Street and Lexington).
This rally is in response to a couple of things. First, the vicious attack of CUNY students by CUNY public safety officers at the Baruch campus on Monday, November 22, 2011. We demand the immediate resignation of both Chancellor Goldstein, as well as, the Head of Public Safety. Second, addressing the reason students were at Baruch on the 22nd in the first place, which was the outrageous way the Board of Trustees continues to run CUNY like a financial institution rather than an educational institution. They make tuition increases over the summer knowing many students are not on campus, they continue to increase tuition, while cutting, resources (closing libraries, writing centers, etc), they have public meetings where students and faculty are denied admittance, then are beaten for attempting to peacefully assemble and have a voice.
Students United Mission Statement is as follows: CUNY was an institution originally founded on the principle that every person has a right to excellent and accessible free higher- education. Unfortunately this came to a halt in the late 70’s when New York State instituted tuition on a public service that before was considered a right. Moreover, it was no coincidence that tuition was instituted in the same year that the incoming freshmen students where a majority people of color. Ever since then, the opportunity that was allowed to underprivileged people of the working class has been carefully, slowly, subject to cuts by those who have assumed control over our education. In our lifetimes, quality higher education continues to diminish as more classrooms become overcrowded, less services are offered to students, the deterioration of our campuses becomes more and more evident, and those who educate us and maintain and run our campuses’ day to day activities, (Faculty and Workers) face attacks on their union benefits and layoffs. This concerted attack on the working class and underprivileged by those who own and run the show will continue at a rapid rate unless we organize, educate and empower ourselves to fight and take back those opportunities won for us by former CUNY students. It has been done before and can still be done today! Students United for a Free CUNY is a Student led, Student organized, multi-campus collective of those who struggle to see a Free and Excellent CUNY once again.
We often hear about the gentrification of neighborhoods, but that is what is going on at CUNY: the gentrification of our education. Mark Torres (City College Alumnus) wrote this about the gentrification of CUNY: “…part of this gentrification plan has included imposing tuition (CUNY was free from 1847 until the 1970s when People of Color became the majority) and constantly raising tuition, underfunding CUNY, eliminating open admissions, using waiting lists to dissuade people from entering CUNY, making the application process more difficult, segregating primarily Black and Latino students into Community Colleges, underfunding and disbanding Black, Latino, Asian and Women Studies Departments and downgrading them to programs, recruiting European-American students to the Senior Colleges with scholarships and building dorms for them, and by creating a police state on campus that on a daily basis harasses and attempts to deny students their rights to free speech and assembly..”
We are not going to give up our right to higher education. Follow our progress and please visit our blog at: studentsunitedforafreecuny.wordpress.com.
We hope you will circulate this to your networks, and help support us in our continued struggle demanding access to excellent FREE higher education for every CUNY student.
Peace and Solidarity,
Students United for a Free CUNY