March 19, 2014

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Kowal urges caution with SUNYIT merger

uupdate 3-19-14

UUP President Fred Kowal raises concerns about the merger and START UP-NY at a March 19 meeting of the SUNY Board of Trustees.

In his testimony, Kowal said the trustees should "proceed with caution” regarding the merger of SUNYIT at Utica/Rome with Albany’s College of Nanoscale Science. The trustees approved the merger earlier in the day.

“We are concerned about making sure these institutions do not lose their academic focus or academic missions,” Kowal said. “Under no circumstances should SUNYIT be absorbed by CNSE and subsequently cease to exist."

He said UUP, as a key stakeholder, must be involved in decisions regarding the merger. He emphasized that SUNYIT must remain as a degree-granting institution.

“For this merger to work, SUNYIT must continue as a degree-bearing entity that provides a comprehensive range of high-quality undergraduate and graduate programs, as stated in the college’s mission statement," Kowal said.”

Kowal also told the trustees that SUNY must notify the union about its START-UP NY plans on SUNY campuses. UUP is not being notified of many START-UP NY plans in advance, as required by law. START-UP NY allows private companies to locate on and around SUNY campuses and exempts the companies from paying state taxes for 10 years.

“We have heard that a number of plans have been submitted, but we received very few copies of such plans,” Kowal testified. He said UUP must be informed to make sure that the businesses do not diminish the academic mission of the campuses.

“START-UP NY may rob valuable space and resources from future academic needs, at a time when support for SUNY’s state-operated campuses continues to decline and enrollments increase,” he said.

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