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For Immediate Release
May 24, 2024

UUP President Kowal: Program cuts at SUNY Buffalo State University will harm students, faculty and local community, weaken SUNY

Frederick E. Kowal, president of United University Professions, the nation’s largest higher education union, attacked plans to cut 37 programs at SUNY Buffalo State University to reduce a $16 million structural deficit caused in large part by state underfunding to SUNY for more than a decade.

His comments are below:

“The announcement of program cuts at SUNY Buffalo State University is yet more proof that SUNY Chancellor John King Jr. is attempting to systematically shrink SUNY by cutting important academic programs and associated faculty and staff at campuses across the state.

The educational integrity of the system matters little to the chancellor, which is obvious in the program cuts he’s ordered at SUNY Potsdam, SUNY Fredonia and the public teaching hospital at SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University in Brooklyn, which he unsuccessfully attempted to shut down over the winter after facing fierce community opposition. Now, he’s ordered cuts at an urban campus that serves a diverse range of students.

“There is more than enough state funding in the 2024-2025 enacted state budget to avoid making these cuts—and to wipe out Buffalo State’s structural deficit. But the SUNY Board of Trustees chose to rubber stamp the chancellor’s allocation of funds to campuses, which sent the lion’s share of those dollars to SUNY’s university centers while ignoring 19 financially distressed campuses—which include Buffalo State, Potsdam and Fredonia.

It's clear that the chancellor is cutting programs, faculty and staff at campuses. What isn’t clear—and has never been spoken about—is how much money SUNY is saving—or will save—by ordering these cuts. We demand that the chancellor be forthcoming and transparent about his plans for the SUNY system.

“It is an absolute certainty that the announcement of these cuts was timed a day after the chancellor provided a bright and rosy review of SUNY’s status in his 2024 State of the University Address on May 22. Not surprisingly, the chancellor didn’t say a word about SUNY’s financially distressed campuses in his speech, a disingenuous and irresponsible decision.

“UUP will never allow this to happen. We will do everything in our power to protect our campuses, our students and our members.”

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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