Small business owner Joycelyn Taylor is among several mayoral candidates who responded to The Envoy’s survey on CUNY policy. The following are Taylor’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?
I believe the city and state play an integral role in ensuring that everyone has a quality education through college. It is my belief that college on the city and state level should be tuition-free. We should not want young adults to come out of school and start life in debt.
2. What role do you believe the state should play in funding senior colleges? Should such colleges be tuition-free?
All education should be free for full-time students. I do believe that the students should have to main a certain grade point average in their area of expertise in order to continue to receive the tuition free option. However, if we want to address the disparities that exist you address it by providing people equal access to education, job opportunities and housing. The lack of a free or affordable education is what creates the disparity that we consistently say we want to address. Providing these opportunities is an opportunity for us to stop talking about it and actually put our money where our mouth is.
3. How would you expand job opportunities for CUNY students and graduates?
We need to establish a partnership with CUNY to discuss the new job opportunities I am considering creating on the city level as well as where we currently have a need for additional employees and work to ensure their programs are in line with the opportunities the city will have available. We should ensure that their students would be qualified for these opportunities.
An example, one of the areas where will need additional resources after the pandemic is mental health resources. We need to encourage more students to become mental health specialist to address the need of those who are experiencing mental health challenges as I imagine there will be long term trauma to deal with post the COVID-19 pandemic.
My vision is to ensure that we do not have students going to school to obtain degrees in areas where they cannot obtain successful employment once their studies are completed.
4. Would you expand mental health and wellness funding and services for CUNY students? If so, how?
Given the pandemic, additional support in the area of mental health and wellness is needed. As Mayor, my vision is to look at the budget, look at projects that scheduled, determine which are critical and which can be postponed and re-allocate those funds to areas where they will have a positive impact on people’s lives, such as mental health and wellness.
We must shift to a society where we put people and their well-being first. As my cousin who started an International Day of Purpose said, “None of us are our best selves by ourselves.” We all are interconnected. We must remember that and work towards creating a society that remembers that and operates in that manner by investing in creating positive outcomes.
5. How would you support CUNY students experiencing food and/or housing insecurity?
We have a ton of data analysis as to what the challenges are and we know why they exist. They exist because monetarily we do not invest in the outcomes we want to obtain. We invest in policing and new jails but we do not invest in higher education. Even on the lower level we are investing but do not have proper goals set and are not seeing a return on that investment. My vision as Mayor is to invest with clear measureable outcomes.
For students who are experiencing food insecurity I want to provide free food programs. Many communities are currently putting refrigerators in neighborhoods and stocking them with food for those who are in need. We can do the same on CUNY campuses. Also, we must address the stigma around food insecurity. Students should not feel bad because they do not have food or money for food. We don’t need to judge we need to fix the problem. They are young; they are in school working towards making their lives better we need to support them in those efforts.
As it relates to housing I want to create affordable student housing which can be free or based upon what we know students can afford. I want to do this in conjunction with internship opportunities for students to supplement or allow them to have some type of income while in school. My vision is to provide this in conjunction with some type of program that allows the students to do some type of community service upon graduation to provide support to students who are coming behind them.
We must be creative about how we address these needs with a mindset to include long term positive impacts. Students should not have to choose between food, housing and their education.
6. How would you decide who to appoint to the CUNY board of trustees? The decision as to who to appoint to the CUNY board of trustees will be determined with input from the students and faculty. It should be individuals whose goals are aligned with the vision of the establishment and our vision for CUNY to move forward in a positive manner. Preferably it should be a CUNY graduate as no one knows better the experience, challenges and solutions of a learning institution than someone who has attended the institution.