CUNY students appeal to Hochul to fund building repairs

Jen Gaboury says years of neglect can be seen on every CUNY campus like Hunter College.

“We’re short on money for just about everything,” Gaboury said, standing outside the west entrance to Hunter’s building at 68th Street and Lexington Avenue.

From broken elevators to missing ceiling tiles due to water damage, the list of building complaints at Hunter is long.

What do you want to know

  • Faculty and student advocates at CUNY campuses across the city appeal to Governor Hochul for additional funding to address ongoing maintenance and staffing issues

  • Complaints range from rodent problems, broken elevators and falling ceiling tiles due to water damage, students say

  • In a Twitter hashtag #crumblingcuny campaign, students posted examples of broken pipes and doors on campuses

“I saw a big mouse running around in my English class, a month later I saw a bunch of cockroaches in the same lecture hall,” Amy Warren, a junior at Hunter, said.

In a Twitter hashtag #crumblingcuny campaign, students posted examples of broken pipes in toilets and doors. Gaboury says these are just the tip of the iceberg.

“We don’t have enough full-time teachers, part-time teachers are underpaid,” Gaboury said. “Sometimes students come to me after being sexually assaulted and we can’t guarantee they’ll be seeing a mental health counselor for weeks on end,” she added.

A statement from Hunter College addressed maintenance repairs saying, like many CUNY campuses, Hunter has endured years of underfunded and deferred maintenance. With the largest number of students in the CUNY system, they are constantly tackling attrition. The school was also hit hard by Hurricane Ida six months ago, and they say they have worked non-stop throughout the pandemic, even when students returned to class.

As the state budget deadline approaches, advocates have rallied to secure an additional $500 million to help with repairs, but also to hire more teachers and make tuition free for college students. ‘State.

“We view this 500 million as a down payment to enter into a new deal with CUNY. CUNY needs recurring funding to do this work and we used to have this funding,” Gaboury said.

A spokesperson for Governor Kathy Hochul said in a statement, “Governor Hochul’s Executive Budget includes bold initiatives to seize this unique opportunity to invest in our future, and we look forward to continuing to work with the Legislature to finalize a budget that serves all New Yorkers.

Gaboury said despite these issues, she never gives up on CUNY, but admits it’s a critical moment that she feels desperately needs attention.

“When we don’t get the money we need, it means people don’t graduate from college, their lives are blocked and the city suffers,” Gaboury said.