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CONTACT: Mike Lisi (518) 640-6600
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August 5, 2008

UUP to state: Budget cuts threaten SUNY’s ‘core mission’

The move by Gov. David Paterson to cut another $96 million in state aid for the State University of New York will irrevocably damage the University’s ability to fulfill its core mission, the president of United University Professions warned today.

“Providing the people of New York with educational services of the highest quality, with the broadest possible access to all segments of the population is SUNY’s core mission under the state Education Law,” said UUP President Phillip H. Smith. “This reduction – on top of the earlier $52 million cut from the general fund – will make it impossible to fulfill that mission and could result in tens of thousands of students being turned away, or closed out of courses needed for graduation. An education delayed is an education denied.”

“It is inconceivable that SUNY is being directed to absorb an overall cut of $148 million in anticipated state aid, just weeks before classes are scheduled to resume,” Smith added. “This massive cut is, for example, equivalent to the entire operating budget of at least one of its University Centers, or the combined operating budgets of three University Colleges.

Smith also noted the State University is already under orders to reduce its non-general fund spending by $109 million, affecting operations such as residence halls and food service.

Smith called on the governor, the state Legislature and SUNY management to take whatever steps are necessary to protect SUNY’s core mission and avoid the need to curb access for an expanding number of students who are looking to enroll in SUNY, especially in these difficult economic times.

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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