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CONTACT: Mike Lisi (518) 640-6600
Lisi’s cell number: (518) 944-9528


March 2, 2011

UUP takes budget battle to airwaves

United University Professions has launched a statewide advertising campaign calling on state lawmakers to stop state budget cuts to SUNY and to “think ahead and invest in higher ed.”

A 30-second television ad began airing in major cities across New York today. The month-long effort urges parents, students and the public to tell legislators to reject proposed cuts to SUNY.

“State budget cuts to SUNY have and will continue to impact real families,” said UUP President Phillip H. Smith. “We must preserve funding for SUNY to keep the University affordable and accessible so students can have real opportunities to obtain a college education.”

The ad opens with a young man packing up his room, seemingly to head off to college. It soon becomes clear that the student is packing his dorm room to leave college—without his degree. The ad explains that millions in state budget cuts to SUNY have caused canceled courses, crowded classes and left fewer professors to teach more students. Now it will take the student five years, not four, to graduate—an added cost his family cannot afford.

“That’s a big problem,” the student says in the ad. “My folks didn’t count on paying for an extra year of college. And I didn’t count on leaving SUNY without a degree.”

The spot ends with the words “Tell state lawmakers: Stop SUNY budget cuts” and to “Think ahead, invest in higher ed.” Viewers are directed to (, a website created by UUP where the public can petition legislators to stop state cuts to SUNY.

The ads are appearing on broadcast and cable outlets in Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo, New York City, and Syracuse, as well as on Long Island; it will air during morning and evening news hours and in prime time. The spot can also be viewed on You Tube ( and UUP’s website at

Print ads that mirror the television spot will run in newspapers around the state in March. In mid-February, UUP began running a print ad in weekly papers statewide featuring a shocked-looking college student with the headline, “What? Another year of college? I can’t afford that!” The ad ends with a message urging readers to visit the website to stop the proposed state budget cuts to SUNY. Op-ed articles written by Smith have echoed that message.

In addition, UUP is mounting a public information campaign in reaction to proposed state budget cuts to New York’s three teaching hospitals at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, Stony Brook University Medical Center in Stony Brook, and Syracuse’s Upstate University Hospital. The campaign will also warn of the dangers of planned state Medicaid funding reductions that could impact medical schools at the hospitals and at the University at Buffalo. If approved, those cuts would leave hospitals without the means to serve large populations of Medicaid and uninsured patients. Medical schools would be forced to cut staff to teach at the school, creating a shortage of doctors, nurses and medical staff.

Newspaper ads about the hospitals will appear in the Syracuse newspapers this week and will also be published during the week of March 7 in Brooklyn, Stony Brook and Buffalo. Billboards and transit posters in those regions are also part of the campaign.

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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