Dear President Lisa Staiano-Coico and the Administration of City College,

The people of New York founded City College as the Free Academy because its mission is to be free. It must be free of tuition, freely available to all New Yorkers, and providing an education that makes students more free.

We, the undersigned, members of the City College community, demand that City College return to its mission, and become again a truly Free Academy.

First and foremost, you must not raise tuition. Tuition should be free, but as a step towards that goal, it should certainly not be increased. The current NYSUNY2020 tuition increases must not be implemented, and tuition should immediately begin being lowered.

City College must be open to all, freely available to any New Yorker who has completed high school or a GED program.

City College needs to offer a curriculum that serves the current student body. We demand that CCNY return the Black Studies program to its historic position as a full academic department, its proper role in this, the greatest university in the heart of Harlem, the capital of Black America. We further demand the creation of a Muslim Studies program to reflect, celebrate, and explore the culture of the world’s fastest growing religion and one of most important strands of our city’s culture. Furthermore, because ethnic studies are so important to a well-rounded education in the modern world, at least one ethnic studies course should be a graduation requirement for every student. We also need a curriculum whose purpose is educating us, not extracting tuition out of us or inflating the reputation of a department–policies, written or unwritten, that mandate certain fail/pass rates for certain classes must end.

Our professors in all departments must be awarded tenure at higher rates than they are now. Many of our adjunct professors do an excellent job, but keeping them perpetually in the position of adjunct leaves them insecure and harms our education. Even those who do remain adjuncts, however, must have full health benefits.

City College’s facilities must be freely available to all the members of our community, 24 hours a day. We live all over the city, we have children, we work completely different schedules–we need to be able to study in the library or use computers at all times, as we can during finals.

Finally, City College needs to become more of a community. Clubs and students need to have more space, and need to have control over the space allocated to them. We do not want to be forced to deal with the Office of Student Life and the dictates of the administration as far as the use of space created for, and paid for by, us and our predecessors.

Many of these issues are not new ones; indeed, students have been fighting for these rights for decades. However, we can wait no longer. We cannot pay more. We cannot keep on with a curriculum that does not fully educate us. We cannot accept the loss of control over spaces that are ours. Therefore, we demand a response from you, President Staiano-Coico, by the end of this month, February 2012, explaining how and when these changes will be implemented. Thank you, and we look forward to building the college we need with you.


City College Students for Educational Rights