With Baruch in particular kicking butt. It's not that there aren't enormous, systemic headaches here. Lord knows I could shake my fist at the red tape and idiocy all day. But something worth caring about is social mobility. And CUNY has 7 of the top 10 colleges for social mobility. And Baruch is #1. In contrast, Berkeley--a cool place and perhaps the paradigm of an excellent public school--is #26. If you are in higher education you should care about this.
There's no need to kick the Ivy's--they get a lot of people's ire. From my experience, Yale and Harvard had a ton of people who really cared about social justice and moving people up the economic ladder. But if one really wants to be a part of that, come to CUNY. It's not just for the social justice angle--our students are just super interesting. Every student who comes to my office hours has some fascinating backstory about having moved from some from away place to another far away place. They've already endured hardships and broader experiences than most people in America, never mind American college students. They are the antidote to the hang-wringing about the coddling of the American mind (this hand-wringing is overblown). Anyway, if Jonathan Haidt would like to escape the confines of the closing mind of the American college student, I welcome him to leave NYU (which has the worst social mobility index by the way) and come to CUNY. Working here can be frustrating at times, but teaching here is always refreshing.