City University of New York
The City University of New York
) is the public university system
of New York City
. It is the largest urban university system in the United States, comprising 25 campuses: eleven senior colleges, seven community colleges, one undergraduate honors college, and seven post-graduate institutions. While its constituent colleges date back as far as 1847, the City University was established in 1961. The university enrolls more than 275,000 students, and counts thirteen Nobel Prize winners and twenty-four MacArthur Fellows
among its alumni.
The City University of New York
In 1960 John R. Everett
became the first Chancellor of the Municipal College System of the City of New York, to be renamed CUNY, for a salary of $25,000 ($219,000 in current dollar terms).
CUNY was created in 1961, by New York State
legislation, signed into law by Governor Nelson Rockefeller
. The legislation integrated existing institutions and a new graduate school into a coordinated system of higher education for the city, under the control of the "Board of Higher Education of the City of New York", which had been created by New York State legislation in 1926. By 1979, the Board of Higher Education had become the "Board of Trustees of the CUNY".
The institutions that were merged to create CUNY were:
- The Free Academy – Founded in 1847 by Townsend Harris, it was fashioned as "a Free Academy for the purpose of extending the benefits of education gratuitously to persons who have been pupils in the common schools of the city and county of New York." The Free Academy later became the City College of New York.
- The Female Normal and High School – Founded in 1870, and later renamed the Normal College. It would be renamed again in 1914 to Hunter College. During the early 20th century, Hunter College expanded into the Bronx, with what became Herbert Lehman College.
- Brooklyn College – Founded in 1930.
- Queens College – Founded in 1937.
CUNY has served a diverse student body, especially those excluded from or unable to afford private universities. Its four-year colleges offered a high quality, tuition-free education to the poor, the working class and the immigrants of New York City who met the grade requirements for matriculated status. During the post-World War I
era, when some Ivy League
universities, such as Yale University
, discriminated against Jews, many Jewish academics and intellectuals studied and taught at CUNY.
The City College of New York developed a reputation of being "the Harvard
of the proletariat."
As New York City's population—and public college enrollment—grew during the early 20th century and the city struggled for resources, the municipal colleges slowly began adopting selective tuition, also known as instructional fees, for a handful of courses and programs. During the Great Depression
, with funding for the public colleges severely constrained, limits were imposed on the size of the colleges' free Day Session, and tuition was imposed upon students deemed "competent" but not academically qualified for the day program. Most of these "limited matriculation" students enrolled in the Evening Session, and paid tuition.
Additionally, as the population of New York grew, CUNY was not able to accommodate the demand for higher education. Higher and higher requirements for admission were imposed; in 1965, a student seeking admission to CUNY needed an average of 92, or A-.
This helped to ensure that the student population of CUNY remained largely white and middle-class.
Demand in the United States for higher education rapidly grew after World War II
, and during the mid-1940s a movement began to create community colleges
to provide accessible education and training. In New York City, however, the community-college movement was constrained by many factors including "financial problems, narrow perceptions of responsibility, organizational weaknesses, adverse political factors, and other competing priorities."
Community colleges would have drawn from the same city coffers that were funding the senior colleges, and city higher education officials were of the view that the state should finance them. It was not until 1955, under a shared-funding arrangement with New York State, that New York City established its first community college, on Staten Island. Unlike the day college students attending the city's public baccalaureate colleges for free, the community college students had to pay tuition fees under the state-city funding formula. Community college students paid tuition fees for approximately 10 years.
Over time, tuition fees for limited-matriculated students became an important source of system revenues. In fall 1957, for example, nearly 36,000 attended Hunter, Brooklyn, Queens and City Colleges for free, but another 24,000 paid tuition fees of up to $300 a year ($2,800 in current dollar terms).
Undergraduate tuition and other student fees in 1957 comprised 17 percent of the colleges' $46.8 million in revenues, about $7.74 million ($71,320,000 in current dollar terms).
Three community colleges had been established by early 1961, when New York City's public colleges were codified by the state as a single university with a chancellor at the helm and an infusion of state funds. But the city's slowness in creating the community colleges as demand for college seats was intensifying and had resulted in mounting frustration, particularly on the part of minorities, that college opportunities were not available to them.
In 1964, as New York City's Board of Higher Education moved to take full responsibility for the community colleges, city officials extended the senior colleges' free tuition policy to them, a change that was included by Mayor Robert F. Wagner Jr.
in his budget plans and took effect with the 1964–65 academic year.
Calls for greater access to public higher education from the Black and Puerto Rican communities in New York, especially in Brooklyn, led to the founding of "Community College Number 7," later Medgar Evers College, in 1966–1967.
In 1969, a group of Black
and Puerto Rican
students occupied City College and demanded the racial integration
of CUNY, which at the time had an overwhelmingly white
Students at some campuses became increasingly frustrated with the university's and Board of Higher Education's handling of university administration. At Baruch College
in 1967, over a thousand students protested the plan to make the college an upper-division school limited to junior, senior, and graduate students.
At Brooklyn College
in 1968, students attempted a sit-in to demand the admission of more black
and Puerto Rican
students and additional black studies curriculum.
Students at Hunter College
also demanded a Black studies
Members of the SEEK program, which provided academic support for underprepared and underprivileged students, staged a building takeover at Queens College
in 1969 to protest the decisions of the program's director, who would later be replaced by a black professor. Puerto Rican
students at Bronx Community College
filed a report with the New York State Division of Human Rights
in 1970, contending that the intellectual level of the college was inferior and discriminatory. Hunter College
was crippled for several days by a protest of 2,000 students who had a list of demands focusing on more student representation in college administration.
Across CUNY, students boycotted their campuses in 1970 to protest a rise in student fees and other issues, including the proposed (and later implemented) open admissions plan.
Under pressure from community activists and CUNY Chancellor Albert Bowker
, the Board of Higher Education (BHE) approved an Open Admissions plan in 1966, but it was not scheduled to be fully implemented until 1975.
However, in 1969, students and faculty across CUNY participated in rallies, student strikes, and class boycotts demanding an end to CUNY's restrictive admissions policies. CUNY administrators and Mayor John Lindsay
expressed support for these demands, and the BHE voted to implement the plan immediately in the fall of 1970.
The doors to CUNY were opened wide to all those demanding entrance, assuring all high school graduates entrance to the university without having to fulfill traditional requirements such as exams or grades. This policy was known as open admissions
and nearly doubled the number of students enrolling in the CUNY system to 35,000 (compared to 20,000 the year before). With greater numbers came more diversity: Black and Hispanic student enrollment increased threefold. Remedial education
, to supplement the training of under-prepared students, became a significant part of CUNY's offerings.
Additionally, ethnic and Black Studies programs and centers were instituted on many CUNY campuses, contributing to the growth of similar programs nationwide.
However, retention of students in CUNY during this period was low, with two-thirds of students enrolled in the early 1970s leaving within four years without graduating. Robert Kibbee
was Chancellor of the City University of New York, the third-largest university in the United States, from 1971 to 1982.
Financial crisis of 1976
In fall 1976, during New York City's fiscal crisis
, the free tuition policy was discontinued under pressure from the federal government, the financial community that had a role in rescuing the city from bankruptcy, and New York State, which would take over the funding of CUNY's senior colleges.
Tuition, which had been in place in the State University of New York system since 1963, was instituted at all CUNY colleges.
Meanwhile, CUNY students were added to the state's need-based Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), which had been created to help private colleges.
Full-time students who met the income eligibility criteria were permitted to receive TAP, ensuring for the first time that financial hardship would deprive no CUNY student of a college education.
Within a few years, the federal government would create its own need-based program, known as Pell Grants
, providing the neediest students with a tuition-free college education. Joseph S. Murphy
was Chancellor of the City University of New York from 1982 to 1990, when he resigned.
CUNY at the time was the third-largest university in the United States, with over 180,000 students.
By 2011, nearly six of ten full- time undergraduates qualified for a tuition-free education at CUNY due in large measure to state, federal and CUNY financial aid programs.
CUNY's enrollment dipped after tuition was re-established, and there were further enrollment declines through the 1980s and into the 1990s.
Financial crisis of 1995
In 1995, CUNY suffered another fiscal crisis when Governor George Pataki
proposed a drastic cut in state financing.
Faculty cancelled classes and students staged protests. By May, CUNY adopted deep cuts to college budgets and class offerings.
By June, to save money spent on remedial programs, CUNY adopted a stricter admissions policy for its senior colleges: students deemed unprepared for college would not be admitted, this a departure from the 1970 Open Admissions
That year's final state budget cut funding by $102 million, which CUNY absorbed by increasing tuition by $750 and offering a retirement incentive plan for faculty.
In 1999, a task force appointed by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani
issued a report that described CUNY as "an institution adrift" and called for an improved, more cohesive university structure and management, as well as more consistent academic standards. Following the report, Matthew Goldstein
, a mathematician and City College graduate who had led CUNY's Baruch College and briefly, Adelphi University
, was appointed chancellor. CUNY ended its policy of open admissions to its four-year colleges, raised its admissions standards at its most selective four-year colleges (Baruch, Brooklyn, City, Hunter and Queens), and required new enrollees who needed remediation, to begin their studies at a CUNY open-admissions community college.
CUNY's enrollment of degree-credit students reached 220,727 in 2005 and 262,321 in 2010 as the university broadened its academic offerings.
The university added more than 2,000 full-time faculty positions, opened new schools and programs, and expanded the university's fundraising efforts to help pay for them.
Fundraising increased from $35 million in 2000 to more than $200 million in 2012.
As of Autumn 2013, all CUNY undergraduates are required to take an administration-dictated common core of courses which have been claimed to meet specific "learning outcomes" or standards. Since the courses are accepted university-wide, the administration claims it will be easier for students to transfer course credits between CUNY colleges. It also reduced the number of core courses some CUNY colleges had required, to a level below national norms, particularly in the sciences.
The program is the target of several lawsuits by students and faculty, and was the subject of a "no confidence" vote by the faculty, who rejected it by an overwhelming 92% margin.
On February 13, 2019, the Board of Trustees voted to appoint Queens College President Felix V. Matos Rodriguez
as the chancellor of the City University of New York.
Matos became both the first Latino and minority educator to head the University. He assumed the post May 1.
Enrollment and demographics
The university has one of the most diverse student bodies in the United States, with students hailing from around the world, but mostly from New York City. The black, white and Hispanic undergraduate populations each comprise more than a quarter of the student body, and Asian undergraduates make up 18 percent. Fifty-eight percent are female, and 28 percent are 25 or older.
In the 2017–2018 award year, 144,380 CUNY students received the Federal Pell Grant.
This section needs expansion
with: (see articles for similar U.S. schools). You can help by adding to it
. (June 2020)
Location of CUNY campuses within New York City.
Black: Senior Colleges; Red: Graduate and Professional Schools; Yellow: Community Colleges.
CUNY Component Institutions
Seal of the CUNY Board of Trustees
The forerunner of today's City University of New York was governed by the Board of Education of New York City. Members of the Board of Education, chaired by the President of the board, served as ex officio trustees. For the next four decades, the board members continued to serve as ex officio trustees of the College of the City of New York and the city's other municipal college, the Normal College of the City of New York.
In 1900, the New York State Legislature created separate boards of trustees for the College of the City of New York and the Normal College, which became Hunter College in 1914. In 1926, the Legislature established the Board of Higher Education of the City of New York, which assumed supervision of both municipal colleges.
In 1961, the New York State Legislature established the City University of New York, uniting what had become seven municipal colleges at the time: the City College of New York, Hunter College, Brooklyn College, Queens College, Staten Island Community College, Bronx Community College and Queensborough Community College. In 1979, the CUNY Financing and Governance Act was adopted by the State and the Board of Higher Education became the City University of New York Board of Trustees.
Today, the City University is governed by the Board of Trustees composed of 17 members, ten of whom are appointed by the Governor of New York
"with the advice and consent of the senate," and five by the Mayor of New York City
"with the advice and consent of the senate." The final two trustees are ex officio
members. One is the chair of the university's student senate, and the other is non-voting and is the chair of the university's faculty senate. Both the mayoral and gubernatorial appointments to the CUNY Board are required to include at least one resident of each of New York City's five boroughs. Trustees serve seven-year terms, which are renewable for another seven years. The Chancellor is elected by the Board of Trustees, and is the "chief educational and administrative officer" of the City University.
Chairs of the board
- 1847 Townsend Harris
- 1848 Robert Kelly
- 1850 Erastus C. Benedict
- 1855 William H. Neilson
- 1856 Andrew H. Green
- 1858 William H. Neilson
- 1859 Richard Warren
- 1860 William E. Curtis
- 1864 James M. McLean
- 1868 Richard L. Larremore
- 1870 Bernard Smyth
- 1873 Josiah Gilbert Holland
- 1874 William H. Neilson
- 1876 William Wood
- 1880 Stephen A. Walker
- 1886 J. Edward Simmons
- 1890 John L.N. Hunt
- 1893 Adolph Sanger
- 1894 Charles H. Knox
- 1895 Robert Maclay (merchant)
- 1897 Charles Bulkley Hubbell
- 1899 J. Edward Swanstrom / Joseph J. Little
- 1901 Miles M. O'Brien
- 1902 Edward Lauterback / Charles C. Burlingham
- 1903 Henry A. Rogers
- 1904 Edward M. Shepard
- 1905 Henry N. Tifft
- 1906 Egerton L. Winthrop Jr.
- 1911 Theodore F. Miller
- 1913 Frederick P. Bellamy / Thomas Winston Churchill
- 1914 Charles Edward Lydecker
- 1915 Paul Fuller
- 1916 George McAneny / Edward J. McGuire
- 1919 William G. Willcox
- 1921 Thomas Winston Churchill
- 1923 Edward Swann / Edward C. McParlan
- 1924 Harry P. Swift
- 1926 Moses J. Strook
- 1931 Charles H. Tuttle
- 1932 Mark Eisner
- 1938 Ordway Tead
- 1953 Joseph Cavallaro
- 1957 Gustave G. Rosenberg
- 1966 Porter R. Chandler
- 1971 Luis Quero-Chiesa
- 1974 Alfred A. Giardino
- 1976 Harold M. Jacobs
- 1980 James Murphy
- 1997 Ann Paolucci
- 1999 Herman Badillo
- 2001 Benno C. Schmidt Jr.
- 2016 Bill Thompson
- André Aciman, writer[where?]
- Ali Jimale Ahmed, poet and professor of Comparative Literature, Queens College and Graduate Center
- F. Murray Abraham, actor of stage and screen; professor of theater, winner of the Academy Award for Best Actor, Brooklyn College
- Chantal Akerman, film director, City College of New York
- Meena Alexander, poet and writer, Graduate Center and Hunter College
- Hannah Arendt, philosopher and political theorist; author of The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951) and The Human Condition (1958), Brooklyn College
- Talal Asad, anthropologist, Graduate Center
- John Ashbery, poet, Pulitzer Prize for Poetry winner, Brooklyn College
- William Bialek, biophysicist, Graduate Center
- Edwin G. Burrows, historian and writer, Pulitzer Prize for History winner for co-writing Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898 with Mike Wallace, Brooklyn College
- Dee L. Clayman, classicist, Graduate Center
- Margaret Clapp, scholar, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography, President of Wellesley College, Brooklyn College
- Ta-Nehisi Coates, writer, journalist, and activist, CUNY Graduate School of Journalism
- Billy Collins, poet, U.S. Poet Laureate, Lehman College (retired)
- Blanche Wiesen Cook, historian, John Jay College of Criminal Justice and Graduate Center
- John Corigliano, composer, Graduate Center
- Michael Cunningham, writer, winner of Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and PEN/Faulkner Award for The Hours, Brooklyn College
- Roy DeCarava, artist and photographer, Hunter College
- Carolyn Eisele, mathematician, Hunter College
- Ruth Wilson Gilmore, geographer, Graduate Center
- Allen Ginsberg, beat poet, Brooklyn College
- Aaron Goodelman, sculptor
- Joel Glucksman, Olympic saber fencer, Brooklyn College
- Ralph Goldstein, Olympic épée fencer, Brooklyn College
- Michael Grossman, economist, Graduate Center
- Kimiko Hahn, poet, winner of PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry, Queens College
- David Harvey, geographer, Graduate Center
- bell hooks, educator, writer and critic, City College of New York
- Karen Brooks Hopkins, President of the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn College
- John Hospers, first presidential candidate of the US Libertarian Party, Brooklyn College
- Tyehimba Jess, poet, winner of Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, College of Staten Island
- KC Johnson born (1967),[where?]
- Michio Kaku, physicist, City College
- Jane Katz, Olympian swimmer, John Jay College of Criminal Justice
- Alfred Kazin, writer and critic, Hunter College and Graduate Center
- Saul Kripke, philosopher, Graduate Center
- Irving Kristol, journalist, City College
- Paul Krugman, economist, Graduate Center
- Peter Kwong, journalist, filmmaker, activist, Hunter College and Graduate Center
- Nathan H. Lents, scientist, author, and science communicator, John Jay College of Criminal Justice
- Ben Lerner, writer, MacArthur Fellow, Brooklyn College
- Audre Lorde, poet and activist, City College, John Jay College of Criminal Justice
- Cate Marvin, poet, Guggenheim Fellowship winner, College of Staten Island
- Abraham Maslow, psychologist in the school of humanistic psychology, best known for his theory of human motivation which led to a therapeutic technique known as self-actualization, Brooklyn College
- John Matteson, historian and writer, Pulitzer Prize winner, John Jay College of Criminal Justice
- Maeve Kennedy McKean, attorney and public health official
- Stanley Milgram, social psychologist, Graduate Center
- June Nash, anthropologist, Graduate Center
- Denise O'Connor, Olympic foil fencer, Brooklyn College
- Itzhak Perlman, violinist, Brooklyn College
- Frances Fox Piven, political scientist, activist, and educator, Graduate Center
- Roman Popadiuk, US Ambassador to Ukraine, Brooklyn College
- Graham Priest, philosopher, Graduate Center
- Inez Smith Reid, Senior Judge of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, Brooklyn College
- Adrienne Rich, poet and activist, City College of New York
- David M. Rosenthal, philosopher, Graduate Center
- Mark Rothko (born Markus Yakovlevich Rothkowitz), influential abstract expressionist painter, Brooklyn College
- Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., historian and social critic, Graduate Center
- Flora Rheta Schreiber, journalist, John Jay College of Criminal Justice
- Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, literary critic, Graduate Center
- Betty Shabazz, educator and activist, Medgar Evers College
- Mark Strand, United States Poet Laureate, Pulitzer Prize for Poetry-winning poet, essayist, and translator, Brooklyn College
- Dennis Sullivan, mathematician, Graduate Center
- Harold Syrett (1913–1984), President of Brooklyn College
- Katherine Verdery, anthropologist, Graduate Center
- Michele Wallace, women's studies and film studies, City College and Graduate Center
- Mike Wallace, historian and writer, John Jay College of Criminal Justice and Graduate Center
- Ruth Westheimer (better known as Dr. Ruth; born Karola Ruth Siegel), sex therapist, media personality, author, radio, television talk show host, and Holocaust survivor, Brooklyn College
- Elie Wiesel, novelist, political activist, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, Presidential Medal of Freedom, and Congressional Gold Medal, City College
- C. K. Williams, poet, won Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, Brooklyn College
- Andrea Alu, engineer and physicist, Graduate Center
- Robert Alfano, physicist, discovered the supercontinuum, City College
- Branko Milanović, economist most known for his work on income distribution and inequality; a visiting presidential professor at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, an affiliated senior scholar at the Luxembourg Income Study and former lead economist in the World Bank's research department.
Public Safety Department
CUNY has its own public safety Department whose duties are to protect and serve all students and faculty members, and to enforce all state and city laws at the 26 CUNY campuses.
The Public Safety Department came under heavy criticism from student groups, after several students protesting tuition increases tried to occupy the lobby of the Baruch College. The occupiers were forcibly removed from the area and several were arrested on November 21, 2011.
City University Television (CUNY TV)
CUNY also has a broadcast TV service, CUNY TV
(channel 75 on Spectrum
, digital HD broadcast channel 25.3), which airs telecourses
, classic and foreign films, magazine shows and panel discussions in foreign languages.
City University Film Festival (CUNYFF)
See also sections in each college's article
CUNY graduates include 13 Nobel laureates
, 2 Fields Medalists, a U.S. Secretary of State, a Supreme Court Justice, several New York City mayors, members of Congress, state legislators, scientists, artists, and Olympians.
CUNY notable alumni
The following table is 'sortable'; click on a column heading to re-sort the table by values of that column.
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