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March 15, 2011

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Speaking out for public higher ed


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Waving signs and chanting “Fight! Fight! Fight! Education is a right!,” UUPers, including a group from SUNY Purchase (below), joined hundreds of SUNY and CUNY students and NYSUT and Professional Staff Congress (PSC) members in a clamorous march to the state Capitol calling for more state funding for public higher education.

The march kicked off the Student/Faculty Higher Education Action Day. The March 15 event brought together nearly 500 unionists, student leaders from SUNY’s Student Assembly and CUNY’s University Senate, and representatives from the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) with a common goal: to urge lawmakers to invest in higher education.

“The legislators need to see a face when they think of SUNY, not some amorphous mass,” said Mecke Nagel, a SUNY Cortland chapter member. “We will bring them the real story about how budget cuts impact students, faculty and campuses.”

UUPers from campuses across the state took part in the event.

Marchers spent the afternoon meeting with legislators to urge them to reject Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposal to slash funding to SUNY, CUNY and community colleges.

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Afterward, they gathered at the Capitol for a joint news conference with speakers from the six organizations involved in the event. UUP President Phil Smith spoke last, telling the energetic crowd to keep up the good fight.

“Will we stand strong and demand a stop to state cuts?,” Smith shouted. “Will we demand that public higher education be a priority in New York? “Let’s make it clear to lawmakers that state public higher education cuts must end.”


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