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CUNY faces layoffs amid budget cuts under mayor Eric Adams

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In a challenging turn of events for the academic community, the ramifications of Mayor Eric Adams’ budget cuts have reached nine City University of New York (CUNY) colleges, with Queens College notably affected. The repercussions include the dismissal of several full-time faculty members and the cancellation of classes.

Among those impacted is Malcolm MacDougall, a dedicated educator and artist, who found himself among the 26 full-time substitute faculty members laid off from Queens College just two weeks before the spring semester commenced. Expressing the personal toll of this decision, MacDougall highlighted the financial strain on his family, including the loss of health insurance benefits.

Despite the setback, MacDougall, like many of his peers, has returned to CUNY as a part-time professor, albeit with significantly reduced compensation. Reflecting on this transition, he underscored the enduring commitment of faculty members to their students and academic programs, even amidst adversity.

The budget reduction, totaling $23 million in Mayor Adams’ revised municipal budget last November, prompted CUNY to implement cost-saving measures across its campuses. Part-time faculty, who constitute more than half of CUNY’s instructional staff, have been particularly affected by these changes.

David Gerwin, Chair of the Secondary Education Department at Queens College, emphasized the adverse impact on students, noting disruptions to course offerings and registration processes. The resultant delays in graduation further compound the challenges faced by CUNY’s diverse student body.

Despite the hardships, MacDougall remains dedicated to his role as a mentor and educator, finding fulfillment in guiding students through their academic journeys. However, he laments the precariousness of his family’s livelihood, now reliant on both his teaching and artistic endeavors.

As CUNY navigates these financial constraints, the collective resilience and commitment of its faculty and staff continue to serve as pillars of support for the university community. Yet, the enduring uncertainty underscores the need for sustained advocacy and support for higher education institutions grappling with fiscal challenges.

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