Open letter for full & fair doctoral funding
To Interim Graduate Center Presidents Joy Connolly and James Muyskens, Interim Graduate Center Provost Julia Wrigley, CUNY Chancellor Félix Matos Rodríguez, and the CUNY Board of Trustees:
One third of current and incoming doctoral students at the CUNY Graduate Center – as much as 50% in some departments – receive only five-year tuition waivers or else no funding at all. This statistic is not shocking to anyone who has experienced the two-tiered funding of doctoral students. This unequal system harms our classrooms, our progress, and our learning communities.
Students without full funding face out-sized obstacles to the completion of their programs, including scrambling to piece together a living, limited access to health insurance, exclusion from some fellowships, and having to compete for a limited number of adjunct positions – any of which may be revoked at the last minute. These unfunded students are forced to rely on unstable employment and thus are not guaranteed consistent union representation by the Professional Staff Congress (PSC).
We need full and fair funding now.
An important first step to achieving this is to secure access to quality health insurance and Graduate Assistantship positions for all current and incoming doctoral students.
Within the two-tiered system at the Graduate Center, many students are forced to take on extremely low-paying adjunct jobs to qualify for the New York State Health Insurance Program. Without access to stable, guaranteed Graduate Assistantships, students work multiple jobs just to survive. The Graduate Center and SUNY Stony Brook are the only schools in the Inter-doctoral Consortium that do not offer health insurance to all doctoral students.
Healthcare is a human right, and the Graduate Center has the responsibility to provide it to students. Interim Chancellor Vita Rabinowitz has stated the importance of this issue to her. We agree, and it's time to act.
Therefore, we the undersigned demand immediate access to quality health insurance and graduate assistantships for all current and incoming doctoral students as a first step to full and fair funding.
For more information on the Full & Fair campaign, visit
The list of signatories will be updated regularly here:
Graduate Center student
Graduate Center faculty
Graduate Center professional staff
Other CUNY student
Other CUNY faculty
Other CUNY professional staff
Program (if applicable)
Email address (for follow-up information from the Adjunct Project only – will not be included in the letter)
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