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For Immediate Release
May 2, 2024

UUP disappointed by SUNY campus allocation funding plan

SUNY leadership fails to fairly fund 19 financially distressed campuses

United University Professions President Frederick E. Kowal today said that he was disappointed by the SUNY Board of Trustees’ decision to underfund 19 financially distressed campuses in its state aid allocation to the system’s state-operated colleges and universities.

For the second year in a row, the Trustees approved an allocation plan that sends the lion’s share of funding to the financially secure university centers and doles out what’s left to the rest of the campuses—including those dealing with multimillion-dollar deficits.

Some of those campuses, like SUNY Potsdam and SUNY Fredonia, have announced program and staff cuts to reduce deficits of $9 million and $17 million, respectively.

“Once again, SUNY leadership has been taken down the wrong road again by Chancellor John King Jr.,” said Kowal, who leads the nation’s largest higher education union. “By doing so, they continue to undermine the system they are supposed to lead.

“The chancellor and the Trustees have again refused to do the right thing by not allocating state funding to our campuses based on need,” Kowal continued. “It’s unconscionable and it ignores nearly two decades of SUNY underfunding under the Cuomo administration.”

While Kowal said the Trustees’ allocation plan will help the university centers, they could have used those funds to wipe out a combined $146 million deficit at the 19 campuses, many of them located upstate.

“Nearly $300 million in direct state aid to SUNY is in the enacted budget and can be used to make our financially strapped campuses whole,” said Kowal. But the Trustees—following the chancellor’s plan—chose not to do that.

“The deficits our 19 campuses are dealing with are huge, and once again they aren’t getting enough,” he said.

Most SUNY campuses have never recovered from massive Great Recession-era cuts to SUNY and more than a decade of austerity budgets under former Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Smaller campuses, such as Fredonia, Potsdam and Buffalo State, have been particularly impacted.

On April 29, Kowal joined more than 200 Fredonia students, faculty and community leaders at a rally to call on the Trustees to distribute direct state aid based on campus need.

Last December, Fredonia administrators—pressured by King—announced the termination of 13 majors in an attempt to reduce a $17 million deficit. In October 2023, Potsdam administrators announced plans to cut as many as 10 degree programs to help close a $9 million shortfall.

Kowal again urged the Trustees to reject King’s allocation plan and fairly fund campuses in need.

“It was disheartening to see the Trustees choose to rubber-stamp the chancellor’s plan,” said Kowal. “That’s why we call on the governor and the Legislature to press SUNY leadership to do right by our campuses and fund them based on need.”

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.


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