INSANE! Cuts to Higher Ed are a Death Spiral

The Backward Logic of Austerity Threatens America’s Most Vibrant Campus

CUNY must be saved from needless cuts.

By Mr. Lerner is a writer and a professor of English at Brooklyn College.  May 26, 2020
Students at the Brooklyn College campus on the first day classes, last February..
Students at the Brooklyn College campus on the first day classes, last February..Credit…Sarah Blesener for The New York Times
Last month the administration at Brooklyn College, part of the City University of New York, announced that — in anticipation of a coming budget crisis — departments must reduce their course offerings by 25 percent. This will mean firing large numbers of adjunct professors, some of whom will lose their health insurance, in the middle of a pandemic. (Mass firings have already started at other CUNY campuses, 450 to date at John Jay alone; they could happen at Brooklyn any day.) Remaining classes will then swell, which is bad for in-person education, but worse if classes remain online, as anybody who has tried to teach on Zoom can attest. The administration has said the projected savings from terminating adjuncts and ballooning classes at Brooklyn College would be $1.4 million. On the scale of New York State’s budget, the system’s main funding source, that’s a rounding error; for our adjuncts and our students, it’s a disaster. After years of being brutalized by Albany, CUNY has apparently so thoroughly internalized the backward logic of austerity that it responds to crisis by attacking itself……

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