March 22, 2010
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Chancellor’s proposal will hurt SUNY students


The column by SUNY’s chancellor touting the so-called Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act proposal doesn’t tell the real story about how this legislation would affect the university and its students.

She claims it would produce new revenue to support SUNY and the ability to create 2,000 faculty positions. But where would this newfound revenue come from? It would come from students and parents in the form of higher tuition.

The act would allow SUNY to hike tuition by as much as 10 percent, and permit individual campuses to set their own “differential” tuition rates above that percentage. That costly combination would put a higher education out of reach for thousands of families.

The chancellor claims the act would facilitate private-sector partnerships with individual SUNY campuses that would raise new revenue, but history shows most such partnerships have not proven to be lucrative. Some have lost money. Why should we believe such partnerships are going to be gold mines now? Besides, campus property belongs to New York taxpayers, not to individual campus presidents.

The chancellor portrays those who oppose the act as critics who defend the status quo when change is necessary. But the kind of change being proposed would be dangerously counterproductive.

Phillip H. Smith

President United University Professions



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