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SUNY, CUNY protesters block Brooklyn Bridge traffic to demand additional $500 million

The $500 million demand is on top of an earmarked $1.5 billion increase in funding for SUNY and CUNY that New York’s Gov. Kathy Hochul has reportedly proposed

Hundreds of students, faculty and staff from City University of New York and State University of New York recently marched across Brooklyn Bridge and blocked traffic to call for an additional $500 million in funding.

Participants that marched in the Sunday protest included the Democratic Socialists of America and James Davis, president of a union representing 30,000 CUNY faculty and professional staff.

“We don’t need a strong budget this year, we need a transformative investment in public higher education,” Davis said, according to The Villager.

“When you march across the Brooklyn Bridge, you march for a university that is as historic as that bridge, and as iconic as that bridge. The vision for CUNY was a people’s university, a university for the whole people of New York, not just for the elite.”

Various videos and pictures posted on Twitter show the different groups and organizations attending the protest and marching on the bridge and throughout New York City.

NYPD and SUNY have not provided The College Fix a response to its media requests regarding potential safety and traffic issues regarding the protest.

The Brooklyn Paper reports that the university systems’ members want an additional $500 million in the upcoming annual budget – $250 million for each CUNY and SUNY – to pay for more faculty and mental health counselors, as well as infrastructure repairs and money for understaffed teaching hospitals.

SUNY, a 64-campus public university system, was funded at $11.9 billion for fiscal year 2021. CUNY, with its 24 New York City-based campuses, came in at $5.3 billion.

The protesters’ $500 million demand is on top of an earmarked $1.5 billion increase in funding for SUNY and CUNY that New York’s Gov. Kathy Hochul has reportedly already proposed in her executive budget for the next fiscal year.

Critics argue it’s not enough.

Assemblymember Karines Reyes attended Sunday’s protest to call for more funding.

“Here at Brooklyn Borough Hall to rally w/ students, faculty, activists and New Yorkers from various walks of life to demand that the NYS Legislature + @GovKathyHochul pass a budget that funds the #NewDeal4CUNY,” she tweeted.

Participants in Sunday’s protest marched across Brooklyn Bridge and went from Brooklyn Boro Hall to Foley Square, social media pictures show.

Among their reported chants were “Tax the rich not the poor,” and “We are CUNY.”

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IMAGE: Twitter screenshot

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About the Author
Charlotte Hazard -- Liberty University