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January 9, 2008

Union leaders hopeful Exec budget will fund new full-time positions - UUP commends Gov’s State of State call for more higher ed faculty

Gov. Eliot Spitzer is on the right track in linking state investment in public higher education to the future of the state’s economy. That is the view of Fred Floss, president of United University Professions, the union that represents academic and professional faculty of the State University of New York, in reaction to the governor’s State of the State address today.

“The governor today reaffirmed his commitment to higher education and to a strong state economy by calling for 2,000 more full-time faculty for the state’s public university systems,” Floss said. “Rebuilding the ranks of our full-time faculty at SUNY and the City University of New York is absolutely critical to rebuilding New York’s financial future, and we applaud the governor for seeing that connection.”

Floss noted that UUP has led the fight for additional full-time faculty to counter more than a decade of under funding of SUNY. He said SUNY needs 1,600 more full-time faculty just to restore the student to faculty ratio that existed 15 years ago, and more to achieve the governor’s goals.

Floss said UUP leaders are eagerly awaiting the release of the governor’s proposed budget later this month to see if state funds for the new faculty are included.

“The full funding for these new faculty lines in the budget would be a major investment in SUNY’s future,” Floss said. “SUNY needs a reliable funding stream to be certain the funds are there to move the University and our economy forward.”

Floss added additional faculty is also critical to achieving the governor’s goal of helping community college students transfer into four-year public universities.

“Without additional full-time faculty SUNY will be unable to accommodate thousands of community college students who wish to transfer,” Floss warned.

“Over the past several years, SUNY has reported that it turned away 7,500 qualified community college students because of the shortage of full-time faculty. The state must provide public funds for enrollment growth, including the growth we expect to see from community college transfers.”

UUP is the nation's largest higher education union, with more than 37,000 academic and professional faculty and retirees. UUP members work at 29 New York state-operated campuses, including SUNY’s public teaching hospitals and health science centers in Brooklyn, Long Island and Syracuse. It is an affiliate of NYSUT, the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association, and the AFL-CIO.


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