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The liberation of CUNY
The long fight for a free and open university
CUNY was a tuition-free public university through most of its history. It was also an overwhelmingly white system that excluded most Black and brown people. In 1969 Black and Puerto Rican students at City College led a strike that ultimately forced CUNY to adopt a policy of open admissions. Since then, militant student movements based in communities of color have repeatedly fought back with massive student strikes and demonstrations against state policies that have aimed to once again close off openness and accessibility in CUNY. No advances for the people are gained without struggle under the white supremacist US state. After the most recent round of budget cuts and tuition hikes, we need more than ever to build a powerful movement for a free and open CUNY. We must fight the various exclusionary measures that bar working class students of color in particular from accessing higher education. This forum will look at how we can build such a movement by examining the history of past student upsurges in CUNY and learning about what we can apply to the present-day battles.


Esperanza Martell
human rights educator, organizer, trainer, life-skills transformative coach, mother, and poet/artist

Ajagbe Adewole
a leader of the student strikes in ’89 and ’91 at BMCC, parent, educator, veteran

sponsored by: IGNITE (Hunter College), Black Legacy (Lehman College), Freedom Road Socialist Organization

Hank Williams
member of FRSO; former member of the Student Liberation Action Movement (SLAM) at CCNY; Ph.D. student at the Grad center

Sunday Feb 20 4:30PM

105 East 22nd St
conference room 4A on 4th floor take the 6 train to 23rd street in Manhattan
for further information email


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