December 09, 2014

UUP plan would bolster SUNY finances, academics

Author: Darryl McGrath
Source: NYSUT Communications
Caption: Left to right: Josh Sprague, a 2014 SUNY Oneonta graduate; Cory Loomis, a graduate student at the University at Albany's Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy; UUP President Fred Kowal; and NYSUT Executive Vice President Andy Pallotta. Photo by Michael Lisi.

United University Professions, a NYSUT higher education affiliate, unveiled a three-part legislative initiative that would restore financial stability to the State University of New York and strengthen SUNY’s academic prowess.

“As the largest higher education union in the country, it is the duty of UUP to develop and articulate plans that will strengthen SUNY,” said UUP President Fred Kowal, who announced the initiative at a news conference in the Legislative Office Building. He was joined by NYSUT Executive Vice President Andy Pallotta, UUP leaders and members and SUNY students. “Actions speak louder than words, and the time for this plan is now.”

The initiative includes:

  • A financial incentive program called “Bringing Opportunities for Student Success,” which would award additional funding to campuses that work to hire more full-time faculty; that promote adjunct and contingent faculty to full-time positions; that develop greater diversify in their faculty, staff and student bodies; and that significantly support the Educational Opportunity Program’s summer program for high-needs entering freshman students.
  • A student loan refinancing program for recent SUNY graduates, and a loan forgiveness program for adjuncts.
  • A permanent publicly funded endowment for SUNY that would be used to rebuild a faculty that has lost more than 2,000 professors in the last 10 years due to attrition and budget cuts. The loss of full-time faculty leads to an overreliance on adjunct faculty, larger class sizes, fewer sections of courses required for majors and delays for students in completing college.

“There’s a lot to like here,” NYSUT Executive Vice President Andy Pallotta said, as he challenged lawmakers to back the UUP plan. “The SUNY system was created so we can have an affordable public university for all New Yorkers. Let’s fund this program and give our students the opportunities they deserve.”

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