ALBANY, N.Y. February 8, 2007 - New York State United Teachers today urged the Legislature to build on "the best start in years" and put SUNY, CUNY and the state's community colleges back on the road to becoming the best public higher education system in the nation.
In addition, the 575,000-member union called on the Legislature to reject the Berger Commission's recommendations to privatize SUNY's three teaching hospitals.
"We have a unique opportunity to deliver excellence, accessibility and opportunity to all students," said NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi. "By building on what is the best start to a budget in years, we can move closer to our goal of making our public higher education system the best anywhere, while fostering the economic growth that is so badly needed in many parts of our state."
In testimony before the Senate Finance and Assembly Ways and Means committees, NYSUT Executive Vice President Alan B. Lubin urged legislators to increase operating aid to SUNY, CUNY and community colleges; to add full-time faculty lines to help students; and encourage enrollment growth.
"The Legislature has been a great friend to our public higher education institutions. Now, we call on legislators to take advantage of this opportunity, build on past achievements and unlock the full potential of public higher education," Lubin said.
In testimony, Lubin also strongly urged the Legislature to reject the Berger Commission's recommendations on SUNY hospitals, saying privatization would be a "policy mistake."
"If the Berger Commission recommendations are implemented, unique, life-saving critical health care services not readily available at other hospitals will be jeopardized; first-rate medical care to all citizens of New York - regardless of their ability to pay - will be compromised, and graduate medical education and cutting edge research will be diminished," Lubin testified.
NYSUT is the state's largest union and only statewide teachers union. Its 575,000 members include teachers, paraprofessionals and academic and professional faculty in higher education. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers; National Education Association and AFL-CIO.