press release banner
For Immediate Release
April 29, 2024

UUP, students, community rally for fair funding for SUNY Fredonia, 18 other SUNY campuses

More than 200 supporters urge SUNY to erase deficits totalling $146 million caused by years of state cuts, underfunding

Click Here to download video from the rally

United University Professions, America’s largest higher education union, rallied today with SUNY Fredonia students, faculty and staff, and community leaders to loudly call for fair funding for the college and 18 other SUNY campuses with multimillion-dollar deficits.

More than 200 people attended the noontime event, held at Dods Grove on the SUNY Fredonia campus. Speakers included UUP President Fred Kowal, Fredonia Mayor Michael Ferguson, Chautauqua County Executive Paul M. Wendel, Jr., Chautauqua County Legislator Susan Parker, and Students for Fredonia leader Rebekah Gerace.

Kowal and statewide Vice President for Academics Alissa Karl joined students and community leaders in urging the SUNY Board of Trustees to distribute more than $277 million in direct state aid in the enacted 2024-2025 state budget to campuses based on need—and steer away from a plan by SUNY Chancellor John King Jr. to cut programs and faculty at financially distressed campuses, such as Fredonia and SUNY Potsdam.

“We thank the governor and the Legislature for setting aside nearly $300 million in the newly approved state budget for SUNY campuses,” said Kowal. “Let’s use these funds to erase deficits at Fredonia and our other cash-strapped campuses, which were caused by nearly two decades of severe state funding cuts and flat budget for SUNY.

“Let’s use these dollars to build up our financially stressed campuses instead of following the chancellor's destructive plan to shrink them by cutting majors and putting people out of work—which at Fredonia will weaken the campus, negatively affect students and severely impact a local economy that depends on SUNY Fredonia as an economic engine,” he said.

Allocating aid based on campus need would eradicate Fredonia's $17 million deficit and a combined $146 million deficit at Fredonia and the other cash-strapped campuses. At Fredonia, 13 majors, including Spanish, French, Philosophy and Art History, will be deactivated June 5; nearly 100 students will be impacted by the cuts.

"It doesn’t have to be this way and it shouldn’t be this way," said Karl. "We will not allow this to happen at Fredonia and our campuses across the state."

SUNY Fredonia’s economic impact on Fredonia and the nearby towns of Dunkirk and Sheridan is formidable; the campus—the largest employer in Chautauqua County—generated more than $157 million in spending and revenue, according to a 2015 economic study by the University at Buffalo's Regional Institute.

Wendel said, "We cannot afford to see dorms not occupied, we can not afford to see small businesses not thriving. SUNY Fredonia has been here since the 1800s and it needs to stay well in to the 2000s and beyond."

Ferguson said, "Everybody who works at Fredonia is a resident and taxpayer who wants nothing more than what is best for their families and the studetns of Fredonia. As Fredonia State goes so does the village."

Gerace said, "Chancellor King and Board of Trustees have the opportunity to divide funding between the big four and leave SUNY Fredonia in the dust. A system should support all of its parts.

Parker said, "This county cannot afford to lose this university and its massive meaning in the lives and fortunes of so many who have come here and so many who have yet to come here."

“Every day, our members at Potsdam, Fredonia and campuses across New York state, provide our students with a world-class educational experience that will serve them throughout their lives,” Kowal said. “The work our members do positively impacts our students, our communities and our state both educationally and economically.”

UUP is the nation's largest higher education union, with more than 42,000 academic and professional faculty and retirees. UUP members work at 29 New York state-operated campuses, including SUNY’s public teaching hospitals and health science centers in Brooklyn, Long Island and Syracuse. It is an affiliate of NYSUT, the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association, and the AFL-CIO.


Follow us on Social Media!

Not a UUP Member Yet?

Join your co-workers in the nation's largest higher education union