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FEBRUARY 1, 2023

Statement from UUP President Frederick E. Kowal on Gov. Kathy Hochul’s 2023-2024 Budget Presentation

ALBANY, NY – Today, Dr. Frederick E. Kowal, Ph.D., president of United University Professions (UUP), the nation’s largest higher education union, issued this statement regarding Gov. Kathy Hochul’s 2023-2024 budget presentation:

“Over the last year, Gov. Hochul has called for a reimagining of SUNY as the preeminent institution of higher education in the country, a goal UUP strongly supports. To achieve it, SUNY must be made a priority in the 2023-2024 state budget. Unfortunately, the investments outlined in today’s Executive Budget proposal fall well short of the needs of our campuses and public teaching hospitals.

“The state has a budget surplus—and the means to properly fund SUNY and SUNY’s three teaching hospitals. Now is the time to reinvest in all our SUNY campuses and our hospitals, not just a handful of university centers. We cannot force our campuses to return to relying on tuition increases as their main revenue source.

“SUNY has 19 state-operated campuses which are in fiscal crisis, with projected or structural multimillion-dollar deficits. The Executive Budget provides no funding to stabilize them. UUP has called for a $160 million distressed campus fund to help these campuses recover from decades of state underfunding and the impact of the pandemic. Without this, SUNY campuses—an integral part of our New York communities—will continue to shrink, along with the economic opportunity they create.

“The Executive Budget, if enacted, would be a flat budget for our comprehensive and technical campuses. A fully funded SUNY provides access to an affordable, high-quality education in every region of the state.

UUP will continue its dialogue with the governor and her team in hopes of bringing amendments to this Executive Budget, and we will aggressively advocate with the state Legislature to bring real investment to SUNY.”UUP is the nation’s largest higher education union, with more than 42,000 academic and professional faculty and retirees. UUP members work at 29 New York state-operated campuses, including SUNY’s public teaching hospitals and health science centers in Brooklyn, Long Island and Syracuse. It is an affiliate of NYSUT, the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association, and the AFL-CIO.