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CONTACT: Mike Lisi (518) 640-6600
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October 6, 2009

Cuts endanger future for thousands
UUP: SUNY slashed by budget cut

The $90 million budget cut unilaterally imposed on the State University of New York by the governor will irreparably harm a public university system that has already endured massive reductions. That warning today from Phillip H. Smith, president of United University Professions, the union that represents academic and professional faculty at SUNY.

“The latest reduction goes beyond draconian,” Smith said. “It means SUNY will likely be forced to deny access to thousands of students by scaling back on its student admissions and enrollments. That would leave thousands of New Yorkers with no place to go for an affordable, public college education.”

Smith said the impact goes far beyond individual students and their families. He said the repercussions extend to the entire state’s economy.

“SUNY is one of the state’s major economic engines,” Smith said. “It makes no sense to disinvest in SUNY at a time when the economy is already reeling.”

Smith said SUNY had already endured its share of budget reductions, beginning with midyear cuts in 2008 of $148 million, representing 25 percent of the cuts taken against state agencies. The University lost $172 million in state support in the 2009-10 state budget, bringing the overall cut to SUNY – including today’s cuts – to an astounding $410 million. That figure amounts to a 25-30 percent reduction in the amount of state support that would have been otherwise available to SUNY.

“We strongly urge the governor to reconsider this latest round of cuts to SUNY and reverse course to eliminate the spending reduction,” Smith said. “The future of thousands of New Yorkers and the future of the state’s economy may well rest with his decision.”

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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