For Immediate Release
March 24, 2023
Advocates, Lawmakers Join UUP to Call for Increased Operating Aid for SUNY Campuses
BINGHAMTON, NY – United University Professions (UUP), the nation’s largest higher education union, rallied today at Binghamton University to advocate for crucial funding for SUNY.
Southern Tier elected officials, including state Senator Lea Webb and New York State Assemblymember Donna Lupardo, joined UUP leadership and members of UUP and the Graduate Student Employees Union (GSEU) at Binghamton to reiterate the need for increased state funding for SUNY campuses.
Direct state support to SUNY campuses has remained flat for more than a decade. Many campuses are unable to fully meet operational needs, leading to the erosion of academic programs, student access, support services, and facilities. The state’s failure to adequately fund SUNY threatens the future viability of public higher education in New York. As such, UUP is calling for $160 million in direct operating support and $53 million to hire new full-time faculty in this year’s state budget.
“It is a moral and material imperative that our state leaders secure the funding necessary to close the budget deficits so many of our SUNY campuses are facing. SUNY has kept its doors open on the backs of students, faculty, and staff for far too long. As a public university system, we need to stay true to our promise of providing quality higher education at an affordable cost,” said UUP President Fred Kowal. “Without adequate funding, the SUNY system as we know it will cease to exist. The SUNY system is one of the most impactful, accessible public higher education systems in the nation – and it is high time that the state fulfills its obligation to protect this system for all New Yorkers.”
Currently, 19 of 29 state-operated campuses are facing budget deficits totaling more than $160 million. UUP is asking that lawmakers fulfill SUNY’s funding requests and finally fully close these funding gaps, which will provide for faculty and staff retention and student support.
“I have a long-standing relationship with SUNY as a graduate and Assembly representative for many years. I was also a proud member of UUP, for ten years, while a Lecturer at BU. I am pleased that both the Assembly and Senate direct significant resources to SUNY in our one house budget proposals,” said Assemblywoman Lupardo. “We are committed to increased operating aid, restoration of EOP funding, and expanded tuition assistance, among other important initiatives. During these final budget negotiations, we are committed to addressing the chronic underfunding of SUNY by providing substantial support.”
“SUNY campuses across the state are economic engines and cultural hubs for their communities. This chronic underfunding does damage that runs far beyond denying opportunities to our students; it threatens the economic wellbeing of dozens of Upstate communities,” said Brendan McGovern, UUP Binghamton Chapter’s Vice President for Professionals. “It is not the responsibility of faculty, staff, and students to bear the financial burden of keeping SUNY running. Our campuses should be improving the educational experience for our students year over year, not struggling to keep their doors open and their lights on. The state must act now and meet our funding needs.”
In its 2023 legislative agenda, UUP has called on the state to boost operating aid for state-operated campuses, a pivotal first step to protect affordable public education and jobs and reverse the state’s decades-long disinvestment in SUNY. For more information on UUP’s 2023 legislative agenda, visit:https://uupinfo.org/legislation/pdf/UUP23StateLegAgenda.pdf.