ALBANY, N.Y. January 30, 2009 - New York State United Teachers today called on the governor and Legislature to dramatically increase state support for SUNY, saying that keeping the state university system strong is essential to revitalizing New York's economy.
At a noon-time rally sponsored by United University Professions, the NYSUT-affiliated union representing SUNY's academic and professional faculty, NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi noted that SUNY campuses hold the key to restarting the state's economic engine.
"A greater state investment in SUNY is essential. Even in these recessionary times, SUNY must be well-positioned to help New York lead the way in developing innovative technologies in emerging fields," Iannuzzi said. "For New York to take the lead in transforming to an economy with an emphasis on cutting-edge technology and energy, SUNY campuses must be positioned to play an important role in preparing students for careers in these fields."
NYSUT Executive Vice President Alan B. Lubin said the proposed state budget, which cuts state support to SUNY, would deny students access to higher education, damage academic programs and hurt local economies.
"We are already seeing an increased demand for education and job training among workers who have received pink slips," Lubin said, adding, "We also must maintain SUNY programs for those middle-class students whose parents can no longer afford the tuition expenses at four-year private colleges."
Lubin said, "Now is the time New York should be putting money into SUNY, CUNY and community college programs, which will help New Yorkers hone their skills and become more employable."
Lubin also noted that some 80 percent of SUNY and CUNY graduates remain in New York after graduation. "We are urging the governor and Legislature to make a concerted effort to keep students in this state and not force our youth to leave simply to have an opportunity for a college education."
NYSUT, the state's largest union, represents more than 600,000 classroom teachers and other school employees; faculty and other professionals at the state's community colleges, State University of New York and City University of New York, and other education and health professionals. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association and AFL-CIO.