March 12, 2013

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UUP president mounts drive for more SUNY funding

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UUP President Phil Smith appears on YNN’s Capital Tonight urging lawmakers to add more funding for SUNY in the new state budget

“SUNY is the largest public university system in the country,” Smith told Capital Tonight host Liz Benjamin. “My question to legislators is we’re the biggest. Why can’t we be the best?”

Smith appeared on the program with Jessica Johnnes, a SUNY Purchase student as part of Higher Ed Action Day on March 12. Organized by UUP, NYSUT, the Professional Staff Congress representing CUNY faculty and CUNY’s University Student Senate,

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Higher Ed Action brought more than 400 students to Albany. Smith welcomed them and roused them to action by asking, “Are you fired up?” The students loudly responded, “Ready to go.”

About 20 UUPers joined with students for Higher Ed Action Day. Another group of 20 UUP members participated in NYSUT Higher Ed Action Day earlier in the day. Meeting with lawmakers nine days before the Legislature hopes to complete passage of a new state budget, the UUPers pressed for the elimination of a budget provision that could lead to the privatization of SUNY’s Downstate Medical Center and an increase in the state hospital subsidy. They also urged lawmakers to add $25 million in state support for SUNY.

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