Since 2015, the City College of New York has been the only CUNY not to offer
on-campus child care. In 2014, college administrators announced the Center would undergo renovations and reopen in the fall of 2017, which was later pushed for the fall of 2018. Still, as the fall of 2019 comes to an end, parents at CUNY’s flagship college speak of no child care center in sight.Without on-campus child care, the average City College student-parent spends more than one-third of their income on child care for one infant. Indeed, student-parents face formidable obstacles in the way of obtaining a college degree. For many of them, higher education represents the only path to a better life for themselves and their families.
These students are left with little recourse but to bring their children along with them to class. Yet doing so poses a variety of risks for these young New Yorkers, as much as it adversely impacts the quality of the education in classrooms. This way, City College has become inhospitable to the student-parents of our community, who, along with every other student at City College, have been paying for a child care center for the last five years. In total, City College students have paid more than $250,000 in fees for a service that does not exist.
On November 11th of this year, at a meeting between USG and City College President Vince Boudreau, USG Vice President of Public Affairs Seba Uchida Chávez pressed President Bourdeau for an update.
According to Boudreau, he had been working under the assumption that the project would be finished by the fall of 2019. However, he added, because the Center renovation was a capital project, it had to go through the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY), which contracts the project through a bidding process known to be, as the President described it, “long and cumbersome.” “About this time last year,” the President went on to say, “when we thought [the Center] was going to be done by May of last year, all of a sudden we noticed there was no work going on.” According to the President, the contractor had “run out of money to pay his subcontractor…so per New York State law, werebid the contract and guess who got it?”That’s right, as President Boudreau pointed out, the State hired a contractor who failed to deliver theproject, not once but twice, only for the contractor to lose his license shortly after the State rehired him. As a result, renovations are now expected to be completed by January of 2020. While the Undergraduate Student Government (USG) does not find the City College administration to be at fault for this situation, we are alarmed by the gross mismanagement and lack of transparency that have underpinned this State process.
Ultimately, if students cannot rely on CUNY administrators to hold theState accountable for such negligence, to whom then, can they turn?