Finance executive Art Chang is among several mayoral candidates who responded to The Envoy’s survey on CUNY policy. The following are Chang’s raw answers to the survey. To read the article summarizing and explaining the mayoral candidates’ survey responses, click here.
1. What role do you believe the city and state should play in funding community colleges? Should such colleges be tuition-free?
CUNY should be the vehicle to unlock human potential for every New Yorker. Jobs that, 50 years ago, could have been obtained with a high school diploma now require college degrees. Without an accessible college education, we continue to perpetuate cycles of inequality. Therefore, all community colleges should be tuition-free.
2. What role do you believe the state should play in funding senior colleges? Should such colleges be tuition-free?
Community Colleges should be free. How we get to that reality is a complicated conversation, which would involve city and state budgets and negotiations with the Governor. I can’t say how those negotiations would shake out; I can say that I would fight to make community colleges free for all. That being said, there also needs to be greater integration with workforce development (and this should be included in said city funding). Why do we expect working students to have a finite graduation date in 4 years? Why don’t we prioritize lifelong learning? CUNY can also be utilized to help with that.
3. How would you expand job opportunities for CUNY students and graduates?
I would establish an additional scholarship fund for members of marginalized communities to enroll in post-college professional education (e.g., social work, medical school, law school, nursing school, teacher’s college) with a preference going to people who have experienced incarceration. In addition, I would create a much tighter relationship between curriculum, students, and employers, as I did with the pilot program, CUNY TAP (Technology Apprenticeship Program) from 2012 – 2014. During that time we selected 20 students from the 500,000 students in the City University of New York for a competitive, one-year program that bridged traditional computer science education with the needs of the NYC tech community. TAP is taught and advised by senior technologists drawn from NYC startups, who then provide apprenticeship and employment opportunities.
4. Would you expand mental health and wellness funding and services for CUNY students? If so, how?
Every student should graduate with knowledge about how to take care of themselves as individuals, with a focus on mental and physical health. Investing in the CUNY ASAP program, and building on its successes would be a great first step in achieving this.
5. How would you support CUNY students experiencing food and/or housing insecurity?
The campuses of CUNY should be a central hub in the communities of care, connecting students to needed resources, like food and affordable housing. No student should have to choose between a home and tuition, so our first priority is making tuition free. Then, for students still struggling with housing insecurity, we can invest in affordable housing solutions.
6. How would you decide who to appoint to the CUNY board of trustees?
First, we would have to develop a set of guiding principles in conjunction with a broad array of stakeholders. What does success mean, how do we measure it, and how do we achieve it? I would appoint trustees who have a proven track record of solving problems in the education sector and who have a commitment to answering those questions (and implementing the solutions).