Lara Beaty, LaGuardia Community College
by Benjamin Fang
Jun 15, 2016 | 5403 views | 0 0 comments | 224 224 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The ongoing battle between the Professional Staff Congress (PSC), the union representing CUNY faculty and staff, and elected officials in Albany has affected many people.

Perhaps none are hurt more than the professors who have worked under an expired contract and without pay raises for nearly seven years.

“I’m having a difficult time continuing to live in this city,” said Lara Beaty, an associate professor of psychology at LaGuardia Community College. “I live in Astoria and the rent just keeps going up and up. That’s the biggest problem.

“I’m living it,” she added about the union’s fight for a fair contract. “It’s my life.”

She believes it’s also affecting the many low-income and minority students who are enrolled at CUNY schools. According to a union official, more than 50 percent of CUNY students live in households making under $30,000, and more than three-quarters are students of color.

“We’re seeing students who can’t afford to go to the four-year colleges coming here to try to stem the financial costs,” Beaty said. “We’re just making access to higher education more and more difficult.

“There are a lot of students who can’t take it,” she said about the increasing costs of CUNY colleges. “Those who are working full time, they often do poorly in their classes because they can’t make that commitment.”

Beaty said there’s a subtle racism involved in this struggle to fund CUNY. It’s also tied to an increasing support for the elite and decreasing support for those who are struggling the most.

“It feels like Cuomo hates the city,” she said. “It really does because of all the actions that’s been taken, really not funding the working class here in the city, who happen to be people of color much more than the people upstate.

“Whether you’re looking at K-12 education and the way funding works for that, or at higher education, it’s the same story,” she added.
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