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Mar 24, 2010

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UUPers, students stand up for EOP, EOC


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Farmingdale UUPer Darleyne Mayers, center, boarded a bus before the sun was up for a four-hour ride to Albany for a simple but very important reason: to fight for funding for SUNY’s Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) and its Educational Opportunity Centers (EOC). Mayers explains the programs’ importance to Sen. Carl L. Marcellino (R-Long Island), right, as two EOP students listen.

Mayers, along with Farmingdale EOP student Patrice Glenn, joined nearly 140 students and UUPers at the state Capitol on March 23 to urge legislators to fight for funding for EOP and the EOC program.

“We’ve got to send the message that these programs are critical,” said Mayers. “We can’t allow state cuts to kill the academic and economic dreams of these students.”

Glenn, a single mom, said she wouldn’t be studying to become a licensed practical nurse at Farmingdale without the EOP.

The EOP provides academic support and financial aid to low-income students who want to attend college. EOCs help prepare students for college or vocational training programs. But funding may be reduced as part of $152 million in proposed state cuts to SUNY.

Mayers was one of nearly 30 UUPers who led groups of EOP and EOC students to the offices of 54 assemblymen and senators. Students like UAlbany’s Sheryl Berkow shared their success stories.

“It’s sad to think that something like education, our dream, may be taken from us,” Berkow told an aide for Republican Assemblyman George Amedore Jr.

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Earlier in the day, UUP President Phillip Smith, at podium, spoke at a press conference by Citizen Action of New York to publicize its “Race Matters” report. The study said more than $2.5 billion in state cuts will increase racial and ethnic inequalities in New York.

Smith said EOC and EOP funding must be protected. “We can’t let them take away the dreams of the students and members of the community who are most vulnerable,” he said.


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