|RELEASE: UUP announces events advocating more state funding for SUNY in budget2022.
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 28, 2022
Media Contact: Jess D’Amelia, firstname.lastname@example.org
RESTORE OPPORTUNITY, RESTORE SUNY: UUP PRESSURES STATE LEADERS TO FULLY FUND NEW YORK’S PUBLIC COLLEGES & UNIVERSITIES
UUP Announces Statewide Week of Action to Urge the Governor and the Legislature to Commit More Than $250M for SUNY Campuses and Public Teaching Hospitals After Decades of Underfunding
Union Members, Local Leaders, Students, and Advocates Will Hold Advocacy Events March 1-7 at Campuses Across the State
ALBANY, NY – United University Professions (UUP), the nation’s largest higher education union, today announced a statewide Week of Action to urge Gov. Kathy Hochul and the state Legislature to commit more than $250 million in additional funding to SUNY campuses and public teaching hospitals before the state’s April 1 budget deadline. UUP leaders will join union members, labor leaders, local elected officials, SUNY students, and higher education advocates at rallies at the University at Albany, SUNY Buffalo State, SUNY New Paltz, SUNY Plattsburgh, and in New York City March 1 through March 7 for UUP’s Week of Action events.
Since 2007, SUNY has lost more than $7 billion in direct state funding – dollars that could have been used to hire more full-time faculty, for research, and for counseling and other services to benefit students. Those funds would have allowed SUNY’s public teaching hospitals to better prepare for the pandemic and make needed upgrades to continue to provide state-of-the-art, quality care that the state depends on and desperately needs.
This year, UUP is requesting support from the state in the following areas:
$100 million in additional new direct operating aid to SUNY state-operated campuses;
$68.8 million in debt relief for SUNY public teaching hospitals;
At least $87 million for public teaching hospitals to fulfill their critical mission of saving lives and stemming the pandemic;
Expanded eligibility for essential health care worker bonuses so that every front-line health care worker is compensated for their service; and
An increase in the number of sustainability staff on campuses to better meet the climate crisis threat.
This funding increase would restore critical resources and operational funds to SUNY campuses and provide a financial shot in the arm to SUNY public teaching hospitals, which have protected New Yorkers throughout the pandemic. A significant investment in SUNY will help build stronger communities and benefit local economies throughout the state.
“While we applaud the governor for allocating funds to close the TAP Gap and providing additional aid for the Excelsior Scholarship, these steps are insufficient to meet the needs of our state university system. After more than a decade of disinvestment, SUNY needs a greater commitment from state lawmakers to reestablish the SUNY system as a cornerstone of New York’s communities,” said UUP President Dr. Frederick E. Kowal, Ph.D. “At such a crucial time for our state, we must ensure that our public higher education systems have the funding needed to build up local economies and provide a path to the middle class for all New Yorkers. A mission of this magnitude deserves nothing less than bold investment from our legislators.”
UUP continues to lead the charge in calling for the restoration of funding for SUNY public teaching hospitals and hazard pay for SUNY health care workers, who worked tirelessly to protect New Yorkers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Failing to fully fund SUNY hospitals would not only hurt the 1.3 million patients who receive care each year at SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University in Brooklyn, Stony Brook University Hospital in Stony Brook, and Upstate Medical University in Syracuse; it would also exacerbate the state’s health care staffing shortage, contribute to reductions in available services, and make it harder to train the next generation of health care professionals.
UUP’s Week of Action kicks off with a March 1 rally at SUNY Buffalo State, followed by various advocacy events across the state, including a March 3 rally at the University at Albany and March 4 rallies at SUNY New Paltz and SUNY Plattsburgh.
The Week of Action culminates March 6 with a Fund New York Public Higher Education rally in Brooklyn. UUP will join labor and student groups at the event, which begins at Brooklyn’s Borough Hall and ends with a march over the Brooklyn Bridge to Foley Square.
The full list of Week of Action events can be found below:
March 1: Morrisville UUP Chapter Petition Drive
March 1: Fund SUNY Rally at SUNY Buffalo State, 12pm
March 1: Empire State College UUP Chapter Social Media Day of Action, 8am to 5pm
March 1: Stony Brook HSC UUP Chapter Advocacy Tabling, 10am to 2pm
March 2: Cortland UUP Chapter Advocacy Tabling, 11am to 1pm
March 2: Binghamton UUP Chapter Advocacy Tabling, 11am to 1pm
March 2: Stony Brook UUP Chapter Advocacy Tabling, 10am to 1pm
March 3: Fund SUNY Rally at SUNY Albany, 12pm
March 4: Fund SUNY Rally at SUNY Plattsburgh, 12pm
March 4: Fund SUNY Rally at SUNY New Paltz, 12pm
March 6: Fund New York Public Higher Education Rally & March, Brooklyn to Manhattan 12pm kick-off
March 7: Upstate Medical UUP Chapter Advocacy Tabling, 8am to 4pm
These statewide rallies build on the recent momentum of UUP’s NY HEALS campaign and a new statewide TV ad and social media campaign that delivers the message of SUNY’s funding gaps directly to New Yorkers. For more information about UUP’s effort to restore funding and opportunity to New York public higher education, visit: https://uupinfo.org/legislation/pdf/AdvocacyDay021122.pdf.