Solidarity statements and resolutions


March 4, 2024

Members of the Graduate Student Organizing Committee-UAW Local 2110, the union for graduate employees at New York University, are proud to stand with our colleagues at the City University of New York in support of the REPAIR campaign to tax the properties of New York State’s largest private universities and fund CUNY.

Along with Columbia University, NYU is among the wealthiest private universities in New York State, and one of the largest private landowners in New York City. Yet even as it has dramatically expanded its real estate holdings in recent decades–gentrifying and displacing communities in the process—NYU has not had to pay a single cent in taxes. Together NYU and Columbia receive tax exemptions totaling $321 million, reaping the benefits of New York’s real estate boom without contributing to the city services that help make this wealth possible. NYU’s $1.3-billion Paulson Center, opened in 2023, is the latest and largest symbol of this inequity.

Meanwhile, CUNY, the nation’s largest urban public university system, faced city funding cuts of $60 million in 2023–24, with more cuts proposed this year. These cuts have threatened students’ financial aid, mental health counseling, and academic and career advising, and have led to the elimination of 300 unfilled faculty and staff lines, depriving students of support and compromising their education. CUNY also fails to adequately pay adjunct faculty, and only 8 percent of its buildings are in good repair. CUNY is a vital engine of social mobility for tens of thousands of students, who are predominantly working-class young people of color—but without desperately needed funds, this may no longer be possible.

The solution is to REPAIRRepeal Egregious Property Accumulation and Invest it Right!—and ensure NYU and Columbia pay their taxes. This legislation would repeal the state constitutional exemption given to private universities in New York for schools with property tax values of over $100 million, and earmark the $321 million in returned revenue for CUNY. As New York City slashes essential services, private university landlords like NYU can’t continue to enjoy a free pass on their responsibilities to our city. All students in New York deserve a quality education; it’s long past time to restore funding to CUNY.

In Solidarity,

GSOC-UAW Local 2110

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