December 13, 2013

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Kowal talks public hospitals, Open SUNY on ‘Capital Tonight’

uupdate 12-13-13

UUP President Fred Kowal converses with “Capital Tonight” host Liz Benjamin on the cable television news show, which aired Dec. 13.

The program, produced by Time Warner Cable’s YNN, aired Dec. 13. The program is available to Time Warner Cable subscribers across upstate New York, including Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo, Poughkeepsie, Rochester, Syracuse and Watertown. Time Warner subscribers can view on-demand video of Kowal's remarks; a username and password are required to see the video.

In the 10-minute segment, Kowal discussed UUP’s battle to save jobs and health care services at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn. He also touched on Open SUNY, the union’s support for SUNY adjuncts and its new contract with the state.

Kowal also spoke out against the state Education Department’s refusal of NYSUT's request to delay implementation of its new student performance assessment - the edTPA.

Kowal mentioned the “Brooklyn Hospitals Safety Net Plan,” the UUP-supported proposal to save SUNY Downstate Medical Center and preserve public health care and medical education in Brooklyn. Unions including NYSUT, AFT, CSEA and the Public Employees Federation (PEF) have backed the plan.

“It will preserve Downstate Medical Center and it will preserve the other hospitals in Brooklyn,” he said.

He also addressed some of UUP’s problems with Open SUNY, which SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher claims will make SUNY the nation’s largest online learning network once it’s implemented. UUP’s concerns include access, educational quality and the role of private, profit-seeking companies in the delivery of SUNY courses.

“What we are afraid of is the creation of a two-class system in higher ed,” he said.

This was Kowal’s second media appearance in a week; on Dec. 9, Kowal was a guest on “The Capitol Pressroom,” a radio program produced by Syracuse public radio station WCNY-FM and aired across upstate New York.

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