A resolution for the state legislature to pass an act providing funding for public colleges and universities was voted on unanimously during a city council meeting on Wednesday, as well as an act supporting veterans in Mass.
The Cherish Act follows a petition presented by state Sen. Joanne M. Comerford in September 2023, who introduced the petition to call for state resources to “ensure a strong and healthy public higher education system.”
The Cherish Act aims to provide funding for public colleges and universities, securing fair pay for faculty and staff, enabling students to graduate debt-free, and improving the health and sustainability of campus buildings. A decline in state funding for community colleges and state universities has led to increased tuition and fees as well as reduced faculty and staff, according to Progressive Mass.
City Councilor Tania Fernandes Anderson voiced her support of this resolution.
“These funds could help our students graduate debt-free,” Councilor Anderson said. “[They] could also help us properly invest in academic staff, allowing us to pay them the competitive salaries they deserve in order to hire and retain first rate professors and other professionals in our universities.”
City Councilor Gabriela Coletta also shared her support of the resolution, emphasizing its ability to help those “who do not qualify for financial aid.”
Councilor Coletta also believes the Cherish Act can benefit the greater Boston area.
“Passing the Cherish Act means properly investing in the Commonwealth’s most important engine of democracy, opportunity and economic prosperity,” Councilor Coletta said.
City Council President Ruthzee Louijeune concluded the discussion with her support of the resolution.
“Public education is a public good,” Louijeune said. “I am just happy and thrilled to support the Cherish Act.”
City Councilor Edward M. Flynn spoke about a resolution in support of the HERO Act. Originally filed by Governor Maura Healey, the HERO act includes 17 spending, policy and tax initiatives to support veterans in Massachusetts.
“This would modernize and bring substantial updates to the benefits and care requirements that would meet the needs of our veterans today,” Councilor Flynn said. “I think it’s critical that we learn as much as we can about the importance of veterans benefits.”
City Councilor Erin J. Murphy said she’s learned from Flynn, the only veteran on the council.
“One of the things I’ve learned is that we don’t have enough support for our veterans, but many of our veterans don’t know how to connect to the service we do have,” Councilor Murphy said. “[I] look forward to advocating for more in the veteran budget so that our veterans have what they deserve.”
Anderson said she is in “full support” of the resolution.
“Whether or not we agree here, it’s really not about us,” Councilor Anderson said. “It’s about looking at people as human beings that are sacrificing their lives for our freedom here in this country.”
The next city council meeting will be held at Council Chambers on Wednesday, Feb. 7 at 12 p.m.