Community Meeting: 10-4-12

President Bill Kelly opened the first of four community meetings scheduled for the academic year with remarks on the GC’s budget. Now in its second year, New York State’s commitment to withhold from making additional cuts to CUNY’s operating budget for a period of five years is holding “firm,” said Kelly. Moreover, despite the $9.3 million cut to the GC’s budget since 2008—a cut that has not been restored—the center’s mission and its operations “continue in very strong ways,” even though necessary and proactive austerity measures remain in place to ensure the GC’s fiscal future. Having a stable budget is “uncharacteristic” for an institution of public higher education in the United States, Kelly acknowledged, as “most of our sister universities are wrestling with budget problems and cuts.” 

Still, the president noted the economic worries and the forthcoming presidential election: “Even the most cursory attention to political discourse suggests that attention to federal deficits and budget cutting have emerged as primary concerns for the fall. After the election I suspect those things will be at the center of legislative action at the federal level, regardless of who wins this election.” As for public financing at the state level, Kelly added, “To what extent New York State will be able to sustain its pledge of no further budget cuts remains to be seen.”

Turning to community matters, the president commented on the GC’s new fellowship packages, which will be made available to incoming students as of Fall 2013. These fellowships, which are competitive with the best-endowed institutions of higher learning, are valued at $25,000 each, will reduce by half the teaching loads of doctoral fellows, cover tuition, and include health insurance.

Additionally, the GC is continuing to “rebalance” enrollment in both its doctoral and master’s programs. “We’re working with the programs,” said Kelly, emphasizing that this effort “will enable us to support all of our students.”

Looking to capital projects, Kelly announced that the Skylight Room has been updated with acoustical padding and a speaker system; other venues, such as the rooftop area, will be renovated and expanded in the coming months to make more space for events; plus, subsequent to the great success of the residence hall at 118th Street which opened in October 2011, the GC is planning to build additional resident facilities to help house students “in a city that is becoming more and more expensive.”

The GC, the president concluded, is boldly pushing ahead and, with a currently stable budget, will continue to expand in a variety of ways.

Future community meetings of the academic year are scheduled for December 5, February 25, and May 7, from 4:00–5:00 p.m. in the Skylight Room (9100). All members of the community are welcome.

—Rachel Ramirez

Submitted on: OCT 22, 2012

Category: President's Office - Community Meeting