Emergency Aid for CUNY Graduate Students!
Dear GC students,
Now more than ever, Graduate Center students need support from the institution to which they give so much. The coronavirus pandemic has halted our research and impacted our health and that of our loved ones. The impending economic recession leaves us facing a catastrophic job market. It is imperative we access funding and health insurance to complete the research we came to CUNY to do. On April 21, student leaders delivered an open letter signed by 1300 students, faculty, and staff demanding emergency funding and health insurance access for all doctoral students to the current GC president, Jim Muyskens, and other members of the dean's office.
President Muyskens declined to support the demands, telling us the Graduate Center does not have the money to support its graduate students during the pandemic.
We are dismayed by this response. CUNY is set to receive approximately $230 million from the CARES act, the federal economic assistance legislation passed by Congress last month, a portion of which will go to the Graduate Center. We received no guarantee from President Muyskens that this influx of federal money would go directly to graduate students, and he offered no concrete commitment to find the $8 to 10 million dollars he says it will take to fund this demand.
According to President Muyskens, the Graduate Center does not have the money to pay doctoral students a living wage. Yet ten members of the executive staff are paid more than $200,000 per year. In fact, the GC spends upward of $4.5 million a year on executive compensation.
We are not taking the President's response as the final word on this issue. We believe that it is the administration's basic responsibility to provide funding and health insurance to doctoral students during a pandemic. Please send a letter directly to the interim President, the incoming President, and the Chancellor of CUNY to let them know graduate students won't take no for an answer.