After speculation about the future status of Fiterman Hall, New York City Council member Charles Barron, Chair of the Council’s Higher Education Committee, and President Pérez spoke to an audience of members of the BMCC community, postponing today’s planned march to City Hall and presidential testimony on behalf of Fiterman.
As initially planned, faculty and students were to walk to City Hall at 9:30 AM today, but instead Councilman Barron supplied the audience with details about the ongoing negotiations concerning Fiterman, which was irreparably damaged on 9/11.
On June 1, 2008, David W. Dunlap, a reporter for The New York Times wrote, “The Bloomberg administration says it has committed $80 million. University officials and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, however, said the city has committed only $20 million.”
“That is a big discrepancy and more than an accounting exercise. The state’s Dormitory Authority, which would build the new Fiterman Hall for the City University, cannot issue a construction contract without a consensus between the university and the city on a budget and financing…”
Barron and Gerson Agree to Postponement of The Hearing
According to The Times, Councilman Barron and Councilman Alan J. Gerson, who represents Lower Manhattan, agreed to postpone the hearing because they believe an agreement will be reached to allow the process to go forward with full funding.
“This is the first time we’ve been involved in a postponement. That’s an actual victory,” said Barron to the audience of BMCC faculty, staff, and students on Monday, June 2. “CUNY and City Hall are engaged in good faith negotiations to put every penny back into Fiterman Hall.”
A Commitment from Councilman Barron
According to Barron, “We are going to get Fiterman Hall back—that’s our commitment. We’re using this hearing as leverage. We’re going to come back with full-force at City Hall.”
Barron added that he felt positive about the outcome of the negotiations, and was confident that $80 million would go towards the rebuilding of Fiterman Hall.
Prior to Councilman Barron’s announcement, BMCC President Antonio Pérez said, “We at BMCC will soon have close to 20 thousand students. We are looking for ways to accommodate these students as best as we can.”
Visit www.supportcuny.org Today and E-mail Your Council Members
Barron said this is the perfect time to “put pressure” on the administration. Supporters of Fiterman Hall are encouraged to visit www.supportcuny.org