The State University of New York belongs to the people. Its mission is all about access to an affordable quality education.
I would never have gone to college had it not been for SUNY. I left home at 16, moved in with a friend's family, and saved up for college while working part time at a grocery store. I was accepted at several SUNY schools, but only one, Oswego, gave me enough loans and grants.
It was the best thing that ever happened to me. I later transferred to Syracuse University and graduated in 1976. I earned a master's degree from UAlbany in 2001.
Have we forgotten how many students struggle to pay their way through school? Have we forgotten the families of three and four children who don't have the option of sending their children to a $40,000 a year school? Will we create a two-tiered system so that if you are well-off enough you can go to Stony Brook, Buffalo, and Albany, and if not, we just don't care.
Never forget that SUNY was expanded by Gov. Nelson Rockefeller with the specific purpose of opening the doors of education to more women, veterans, people of color, and those who were not wealthy.
The soul of SUNY does not belong to the highest bidder who threatens to take back the gift if his legislative demands are not met. It belongs to the people of New York, who pay for it with their taxes. Reject future attempts to privatize SUNY, and fund it at reasonable levels.
The writer is an employee of SUNY.