February 24, 2014

Students, faculty, staff to advocate for public higher ed

Source: NYSUT Media Relations

ALBANY, N.Y. Feb. 24, 2014 — Hundreds of students, faculty and professional staff from New York's public university systems and community colleges will be in Albany this week to speak up on behalf of public higher education.

The volunteer advocates, students and members of New York State United Teachers' higher education affiliates will begin arriving in Albany on Tuesday for briefings on legislative issues by NYSUT officers and staff. On Wednesday, they will meet with lawmakers at the Capitol.

Their message: Enact the Public Higher Education Quality Initiative that calls on the state to:

  • increase funding for SUNY and CUNY four-year campuses, SUNY teaching hospitals and community colleges;
  • create an endowment to hire more full-time faculty and professional staff; and
  • invest in student financial aid and opportunity programs as well as to strengthen New York's Tuition Assistance Program.

"For too many years, CUNY, SUNY and our community colleges have been treated as an afterthought when it came to state support and investment," said NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi. "This week's advocacy by students and faculty will put the spotlight on the need to ensure that New Yorkers have access to a quality, affordable public higher education."

Supporting NYSUT's advocacy efforts is a new radio ad, running in the Capital District market, encouraging lawmakers and the public to support the Public Higher Education Quality Initiative. The ad is part of NYSUT's "Keep New York a State of Mind" pro-public higher ed campaign that was launched earlier this year.

The radio ad says, in part: "New York state is at a crossroads. SUNY and CUNY's budgets have been slashed by nearly $2 billion, driving up tuition and putting quality, affordable public education at risk for all New Yorkers. That's why teachers, professors and other education professionals are taking action." Go to to hear the ad.

"Like our ad says, we are at a crossroads," said NYSUT Executive Vice President Andrew Pallotta. "And public higher education is the essential path to New York's economic future and to providing opportunity for all of our students."

Assignment editors' advisory: NYSUT members and students will leave the Desmond Hotel for the Capitol at 8 and 8:30 a.m. Wednesday. Buses will drop off participants on the Madison Avenue entrance of the Concourse.

New York State United Teachers is a statewide union with more than 600,000 members in education, human services and health care. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.

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