DSC Resolution in Support of Full and Fair Funding for CUNY Graduate Center PhD students


Submitted by Adjunct Project working group for full and fair funding – Adopted by the DSC during Plenary on April 27, 2018



WHEREAS, CUNY was founded as a public academy “to educate the whole people” and the Graduate Center represents CUNY’s important endeavor to offer doctoral education to “the whole people”;

WHEREAS, many current and incoming doctoral students at the CUNY Graduate Center, as much as 50% of some new cohorts, receive no funding at all beyond five-year tuition waivers;

WHEREAS, this lack of financial support forces underfunded students to:

Expend time and energy cobbling together a living each semester through highly contingent fellowships, temporary graduate assistantships, and adjunct positions;

Take on multiple adjunct positions paying less than $3,500 per course in order to qualify for NYSHIP health insurance and survive economically;

Scramble to teach whatever courses are available, requiring more preparation time and making it more difficult to specialize in certain courses;

WHEREAS, underfunded doctoral students are virtually excluded from some fellowships – like the Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) fellowship – and this exclusion makes underfunded students less desirable candidates for highly competitive fellowships and academic positions;

WHEREAS, underfunded students, being forced to rely on less stable employment, are not guaranteed consistent union representation by the Professional Staff Congress (PSC);

WHEREAS, these obstacles make it disproportionately difficult for underfunded students to achieve program goals, to dedicate time to publishing and other requirements for future success, and to generally prioritize on- time program completion and successful outcomes;

WHEREAS, the Graduate Center, its academic departments, and all of its students benefit from the presence of students who are currently underfunded, since larger cohorts result in expanded choice and number of classes and greater prospects for state funding;

WHEREAS, academic departments are currently told that they cannot transfer vacated Graduate Center Fellowships to underfunded doctoral students in their departments; and

WHEREAS, the Graduate Center administration has denied requests for demographic and completion data in relation to student funding, and provides no clear indication of the process by which fellowships and other funding sources are distributed;

Be it RESOLVED that the DSC supports and advocates:

Full and fair funding, including access to quality health insurance, for all current and incoming Graduate Center students;

Transparency in the allocation of fellowships across departments through the release of relevant information, including about the demographics of underfunded students and the impact of underfunding on students’ trajectories through their programs; and Vigorous efforts by the Graduate Center administration, department chairs and academic advisors to obtain the full and fair funding necessary to ensure the success of all students, especially those from underrepresented and socially and economically disadvantaged groups, while maintaining or expanding cohort size in all departments.

Be it STILL FURTHER RESOLVED that while these issues pertain specifically to unfunded and underfunded doctoral students at the GC, we are also in solidarity with master’s students here, so be it resolved that we do not support any fee hikes on master’s students at the Graduate Center to fund their programs nor as a way tofund the doctoral programs.

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 Supported by the CUNY Doctoral Students Council.