THE ISSUES

Campus Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is a complex issue and the subject of much national discourse over the past year since the U.S. Department of Education released a list of higher education institutions with open Title IX sexual violence investigations. Sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, and sexual violence are a significant public health problem worldwide, as well as existing as an epidemic on college campuses in the United States. Without intervention, the problem will more than likely continue to persist to the detriment of individual, community and societal well-being.

Divestment from Fossil Fuel

The University Student Senate has adopted three resolution supporting the divestment of CUNY holdings in fossil fuel companies and the reinvestment of those funds into renewable and sustainable-minded energy companies.  The resolutions were the result of a working partnership between the USS and CUNY Divest, an all-volunteer grassroots campaign led by students and alumni of the City University of New York (CUNY).

 

CUNY Divest and the University Student Senate are working on urging the CUNY Board of Trustees to develop a Socially Responsible Investments (SRI) policy through the appropriate board committees.

Council Merit Scholarship

In 2014, the New York City Council restored the previously defunct NYC Council Merit Scholarship allocating $11.1 million for the 2014-15 academic year and enhanced the allocation to $17 million for the 2015-16 academic year. However, funding is not guaranteed for the subsequent academic years. 

Health Insurance

Young adults (ages 18-34), represent the highest uninsured rate of any age group in the overall adult population. Enrolling college students in health insurance provides them with access to consistent, quality healthcare and as well as safeguarding their health and wellbeing.

 

The University Student Senate and the CUNY School of Public Health collaborated on a pilot program called “Healthy CUNY: Cover CUNY”, a campus-based, outreach, education and health insurance enrollment project. 

Student Rights

Since Fall 2014, USS has been worked closely with the University's Office of General Counsel to revise outdated university-wide policies. Consequently, the advocacy of the USS has helped strengthen students' rights and has produced an on-going review by the USS of other policies that may need revisions. 

NYS DREAM Act

The NY DREAM Act, a legislative bill that would extend New York State’s Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) to undocumented students, has failed to overcome the political impasse. Consequently, thousands of CUNY students who have demonstrated academic achievement continue to lack access to state financial assistance and an affordable higher education.

Voter Registration

New York needs to enact the Voter Empowerment Act in order to modernize the voter registration system. The Act will increase the efficiency of voter registration for the State and its constituent governmental units, save hundreds of thousands of dollars each year, increase the completeness and accuracy of the statewide voter registration list, prevent erroneous disenfranchisement of eligible citizens, promote greater participation of eligible voters in elections, and reduce the incidence of voter registration fraud and voting fraud.​

Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) Reform

In the last 40 years, TAP has helped four million New Yorkers afford college. But a lot has changed since the program's founding in 1974, and TAP is behind the times. Updating it would have significant social and economic benefits, like shared prosperity, and a more fulfilled, more engaged citizenry less burdened by student loan debt.

 

TAP grants haven't kept pace with rising tuition, and student loan debt is reaching a crisis level: over 2.7 million New Yorkers now hold outstanding student loans.

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University Student Senate

Phone: 646.664.8844 Fax: 666.664.8863

The University Student Senate (USS) of the City University of New York (CUNY) was founded in 1972 with the mission of preserving the accessibility, affordability, and excellence of higher education within the City University of New York; the organization is charged with protecting the rights of the student body, furthering the cause of public higher education and promoting the general welfare of its student constituents and the University. The USS delegates are responsible for the representative governance of the 500,000 students of the 24 CUNY campuses.