February 15, 2011

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UUP rally cry: ‘Think ahead. Invest in higher ed’


Nearly 400 UUP and NYSUT members along with students and other SUNY supporters rallied outside the state Capitol in Albany on Feb. 4 to deliver a strong message, just days after the governor proposed cutting $100 million from SUNY.

The message: “Think ahead. Invest in higher ed,” a message reflected in chants and signs appealing to state lawmakers to reject any further reductions to SUNY’s operating budget.

“We say it is time for the state to think ahead and invest in higher ed. It’s time to invest in SUNY,” UUP President Phil Smith told the demonstrators. “It’s time to invest in the future stability of New York and the financial well-being of future generations of New Yorkers.”

Smith urged lawmakers to not only reject the $100 million SUNY budget slash, but also to turn back the Executive Budget’s plan to eliminate the $154 million state subsidy to SUNY’s three teaching hospitals in Brooklyn, Long Island and Syracuse and reduce their Medicaid funding.

Two NYSUT officers – Executive VP Andy Pallotta and Secretary-Treasurer Lee Cutler – also addressed the unionists.

Smith closed the rally with a call to the crowd to spread the word to achieve a more favorable budget.

“Can we do it?” Smith asked, as the crowd enthusiastically responded, “Yes we can.”

“Then let’s go do it,” Smith urged.

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