March 23, 2010

Higher ed advocates stick up for high-needs students

Source: NYSUT News Wire

On the day after the state Senate sent the wrong message to New Yorkers, NYSUT's higher education constituencies - hospitals; opportunity programs for students; and the New York State Theatre Institute, to name a few - made an impassioned plea to lawmakers to restore funding to public higher education.

More than 100 members of United University Professions - which represents more than 36,000 academic and professional faculty at SUNY - told lawmakers they demand action to reverse Gov. Paterson's proposed $152 million budget cut and restore funding to SUNY. Dozens of students, many of them in the Educational Opportunity Program or from Educational Opportunity Centers – two programs that serve high-need students – joined UUP members.

The advocacy effort came one day after the state Senate passed a Budget Resolution that embraces many of the governor's proposed cuts to public education - an action that NYSUT has denounced. The Senate resolution includes the governor's $152.4 million cut to SUNY.

UUP President Phil Smith told members that "we are very disturbed by what the Senate's wish list entails. We have to turn this funding situation around; we can no longer tolerate cuts to these programs, especially where students are so vulnerable."