The flyer announced NYU’s “In and Of the City Financial Aid Plan,” in which students who were unable to fork out 50k/year were told their families could save more than $43k annually if they instead attended CUNY.
Turns out the thing was a fake, produced by a group that calls itself “Students Creating Radical Change,” who “made up the flyer to encourage discussion about NYU’s treatment of its students, and to encourage students to question their university’s priorities.” Essentially, the group protests that NYU does not provide sufficient financial support for its students, and focuses instead on expansionist behavior in the real estate market.
The letter to The Gothamist in which the students claim responsibility ends: “Oh, one other thing: we have nothing against CUNY. We just thought a ‘go to CUNY’ plan would make a neat flier. In fact, CUNY is facing its own financial problems these days – check out http://www.cunysocialforum.com/ for info on the student resistance to budget cuts and tuition hikes in the state higher-ed system.”
I might rant about the fetishization of protest embodied by this episode, which is more performative Yippie distractionism than the purposeful speaking of truth to power. I might compare the postscript about CUNY to the utterances of folks who use phrases like “I have lots of black friends” or “I don’t mean to cast aspersions” when saying objectionable things. I might snark about grammatical errors contained within the group’s statement, or attack the snobby implication that to go to CUNY is to slum it.
The fact of the matter is, especially in this economy, the group has a point (even if it isn’t really their point). The cost of NYU is ridiculous, and is an education there really 8-10 times better than what one could get at CUNY? From anecdotal evidence, applications for early admission to the Macaulay Honors College are up more than 30% from last year. I think it’s pretty safe to say we’ll see an increase in CUNY and SUNY enrollments over the next couple of years.
So, give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses. I’m not sure there’s that big a difference between an underpaid adjunct teaching a course with 40 students and and an underpaid adjunct teaching a course with 55 students. Bring it on.