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CONTACT: Mike Lisi (518) 640-6600
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January 22, 2008

UUP: Governor’s budget proposal missing “fuel”

The governor’s State of the State message rightly portrayed New York’s public university system as an engine of economic growth. But the lack of state budget funding for more full-time faculty and for enrollment growth would stall the state’s economic progress, according to Frederick G. Floss, acting president of United University Professions, the union representing academic and professional faculty at SUNY.

“We applaud the governor for recognizing the need to invest in SUNY and CUNY over the long term, but it must also do so over the short term,” Floss said. ”The lack of state budget funding for more full-time faculty leaves New York’s economic engine with no fuel.”

While the governor is proposing creation of a $4 billion higher education endowment funded by privatizing the New York State Lottery, Floss said that plan–if enacted –could take years to bear fruit.

“SUNY cannot withstand the continuation of 15 years of chronic underfunding,” Floss said. “The state needs to fund more SUNY faculty now, and it needs to cover enrollment growth in this year’s budget. Without those funds, SUNY could be closed to thousands of qualified students simply because there will not be enough faculty to teach them. SUNY’s graduates are critical to New York’s continued economic growth.”

Floss said UUP will press the state Legislature to amend the governor’s budget to get SUNY moving in the right direction.

“Working together with lawmakers, we hope to achieve the governor’s goal of making New York’s public higher education system the best in the nation.”

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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