We, the undersigned, demand that you end CUNY’s exclusion of working-class Black and Latino students from the senior colleges, especially those in the “top-tier,” as well as the graduate and professional schools. It is clear based on the numbers below that CUNY has a racist tiered structure. The numbers of Black and Latino students drop drastically as you go up CUNY’s tier system. The Graduate Center at the top of the pyramid is overwhelmingly white.
Things are getting worse. The percentage of Black students in the freshmen classes of Baruch, Brooklyn, City, Hunter and Queens dropped from 17% in 2001 to 10% today. The percentage of Latino students in the freshmen classes of these schools dropped from 22% in 2008 to 19% today. CUNY claims that this is a result of its rising “academic standards,” but Baruch College was recently caught fixing the grades of graduate students who work for Wall Street firms. This is blatant hypocrisy.
1. Guaranteed admissions. Everyone who graduates from a NYC public high school, or has a GED, must be guaranteed a spot at any CUNY senior college. Every CUNY college must reflect the racial composition of the students in NYC public schools (majority Black and Latino). There must be full remedial courses in CUNY to counter the educational genocide against working-class Black and Latino students in the public schools. Tuition must be abolished again.
2. Transform all community colleges into senior colleges. Every CUNY college must grant bachelor’s degrees. Under the current system, Black and Latino students are disproportionately tracked into the community colleges, which only grant associate degrees. There are also huge obstacles preventing transfer to the senior colleges. In addition to any vocational programs, every student in CUNY must have the option to get a bachelor’s degree and go on to graduate school, law school, medical school, and other professional schools.
3. More funding for SEEK & College Discovery. Search for Education, Elevation, and Knowledge (SEEK) and College Discovery (CD) are important programs in CUNY that provide academic support to students from working-class and oppressed communities. The exclusionary Honors College should be abolished and all of its resources transferred to SEEK and CD.
4. Maintain & expand Ethnic Studies, Women’s Studies, and Gender Studies. There should be various Ethnic Studies, Women’s Studies, and Gender Studies departments at every college. Students must have a comprehensive understanding of the basic problems in the community and how to solve them.
5. Community control. The people must have control over the various Ethnic Studies departments, Women’s Studies and Gender Studies departments, SEEK, and CD. The people will determine how these institutions and CUNY as a whole can serve the community.
Sources for statistics:
Revolutionary Student Coordinating Committee (RSCC), NYC
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