The Importance of the Budget at John Jay

By: Yarubi Espinal

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced at the beginning of the year at the State of the State address the budget cut that he was proposing for the City University of New York. However, on April 1st he set back on the 485 million cut he had mentioned but other changes that would impact John Jay were made in the place of it.

Governor Cuomo had stated not to fund CUNY or Medicaid and leave these for the city to take care of. Late last month the governor’s administration saw themselves in the spotlight for this issue, they sought to not pursue this any longer because of the pressure of CUNY and different types of protesting groups.

CUNY and SUNY tuition won’t be increased. Nevertheless, a tuition increase was proposed by Cuomo but he realized it was “politically difficult” to make it happen because of student’s feedback.

Although the cut didn’t happen generally as it was proposed, an immense chunk of the money requested wasn’t granted. CUNY was given $21 million, and $16.6 million was to make sure all the fringe benefits are covered. They asked for $29 million which is a $12.4 million difference, with 4.7 million for SEEK.

“I believe the government isn’t giving education the importance that it needs” said Miguel Leon, a student at John Jay. “it’s outrageous that other things of less importance get funded without a doubt.”

According to the budget list a billion dollars is spent on “Miscellaneous” things. What is worse? The fact that these “Miscellaneous” things are not classified to the public, or that it is being unnecessarily spent?

“I’m a student that receives financial aid, including TAP and I’m also a part of the SEEK program” said Emely Rodriguez, nearly in tears.”If I wasn’t a SEEK student I probably wouldn’t even be here speaking to you. To know that they could be getting more money than what they receive means that they could help more students like me and it’s sad nobody is seeing it from that perspective.”

The Percy Ellis Sutton SEEK Department, which stands for Search for Education, Elevation and Knowledge is located in the Haaren Hall building, fouth floor. The purpose of SEEK is to help students who are considered to be financially or academically disadvantaged to have a higher education at John Jay College. SEEK at John Jay is a small community with a little more than 500 students on campus. At the beginning of each semester the program gifts the students $500 dollars for books. These students are provided with many resources like the SEEK computer lab, Academic Support center for tutoring, and many activities all year round. They are each assigned a counselor for their 4 years in the program. In a nutshell SEEK offers students the attention and the focus on their academic development that regular students don’t get. Therefore, they tend to be more successful than the non-SEEK students at the college. This is a program that has earned acknowledgement and are still not rewarded for the work they do with the proper amount of funding.

“It is more than simply money!” said Professor Martha Hernandez. “Politicians fail to realize that these are the future of this city, of the state and the nation overall. We won’t give our students the proper education without the proper resources. Also, having the right amount of portion from the budget ensures students that we won’t have another tuition hike.”

Regardless of the tuition staying the same and the new changes in funding, Cuomo said these adjustments and the budget for CUNY does not include labor costs. This impacts the probabilities of a new contract for CUNY professors and staff. The amount for back pay is $210 million.

“I don’t think increasing the tuition is the correct way to go nor do I think leaving it the way it is is right” said Julia Palesco, a senior student at the college. “To put a burden that strong on a young adult who just came out of High School. Colleges are basically urging us to get a job while we’re in school, I’m not saying this is a bad thing but it’s obvious that you won’t have the same development as if you were only dedicated to school”

According to the Association of Institutional Research working 20 or more hours a week on or off campus negatively affects student’s grades. Therefore, if the tuition were to be raised more student’s would be working which may cause a negative distraction to their academics.