For Immediate Release
December 12, 2019
Today, United University Professions released NY25, a bold, wide-ranging proposal for the State University of New York with attainable goals to keep SUNY accessible and promote the health of all New Yorkers, while positioning SUNY to lead the state’s transition to a sustainable future, by 2025.
“NY25 is a comprehensive, long-term vision with new roles for SUNY,” said UUP President Frederick E. Kowal, Ph.D. “The plan is based on what we in UUP must advocate for to make our university system a national leader in the 21st century, and for it to bring transformational change in New York.
“SUNY should and can lead as the state works to find answers to pressing challenges such as achieving social justice while fighting climate change,” said Kowal. “SUNY’s ability to marshal the dynamic and diverse strengths of our state makes it uniquely qualified for these tasks.”
UUP represents more than 37,000 academics and professional staff at 29 SUNY comprehensive, technical, specialized and university centers. UUP is the largest higher education union in the U.S.
NY25 is UUP’s response to a decade of almost consistently flat funding throughout SUNY—or minimal funding increases that barely counted when factored against inflation. UUP members at the University at Albany held a Dec. 9 protest to publicize an $11 million budget shortfall there.
Many SUNY campuses have wrestled with budget deficits, including SUNY Buffalo State, SUNY’s College of Environmental Science and Forestry, SUNY Fredonia, and Stony Brook and Binghamton universities, among others.
“We can no longer sit by and hope for a better future,” Kowal said. “We need to be working toward substantive goals. We have a plan, and it is NY25.”
Highlights of NY25 include:
- Achieving a carbon-neutral SUNY by 2025 by enacting several NY25 initiatives, including the creation of energy microgrids at SUNY campuses to serve local communities; establishing a college at SUNY ESF dedicated to climate change; and expanding programs focused on sustainability across SUNY.
- Expanding SUNY’s medical schools and making them more affordable and accessible to future doctors and medical professionals, as New York deals with an ever-growing shortage of health care professionals, especially in rural areas.
- Building on the programs and services provided by SUNY’s public hospitals in Brooklyn, Stony Brook and Syracuse to address pressing statewide health care issues, including maternal mortality, the opioid crisis and gaps in primary care.
- Making SUNY the “people’s university” by reducing the student share of the cost of a SUNY education from 64 percent to 25 percent by 2025; doubling funding to the highly successful Educational Opportunity Program (EOP); and providing easy access to programs and courses to the public.
“At times aspirational and at times very practical, NY25 takes the idea of SUNY 2020 and turns our university away from its present, limited role in New York—with diminishing public and political support—and steers it to becoming the beacon for positive change that must take place,” Kowal said.
Proposals such as creating energy microgrids on SUNY campuses and allowing New Yorkers to take a free, credit-bearing course every two years are goals that can be accomplished quickly and with little cost. They also bring real value to people who live in or near communities with SUNY campuses.
“We see SUNY as the people’s university,” said Kowal. “As such, it must be a driving force in bringing real, necessary change that can translate into a more just, humane and sustainable future for all New Yorkers.”