The United University Professions Dec. 12 announced NY25, a proposal to make the State University of New York more affordable and increase faculty diversity by 2025.
“At times aspirational and at times very practical, NY25…turns our university away from its present, limited role in New York—with diminishing public and political support—and steers it to becoming the beacon for positive change that must take place,” said union President Fred E. Kowal, who represents 42,000 faculty members.
Tired of ‘Minimal Funding’
Three days before the proposal was launched, union members at the University at Albany protested an $11-million shortfall in funding in the SUNY Board of Trustees’ budget proposal. The initiative aims to counter a decade of what the union called “minimal funding increases” for the public-university system. About 64 percent of SUNY’s funding comes from students, the proposal noted—and by 2025, the union wants to see that number go down to 25 percent.
“If we continue to reach into the pockets of our students instead of investing public dollars into higher education, we will not be setting our students up for success, but for years of student-loan payments,” the initiative reads.
The union is also seeking the expansion of SUNY’s Educational Opportunity Program, which provides spots and financial aid to students who may not have otherwise been offered admission but show promise. More than 70,000 graduates have participated in the program.
The proposal also includes a number of ideas to bolster SUNY-operated public hospitals, including creating a Medical Educational Opportunity Program to counter a looming physician shortage, and reducing the total cost of SUNY medical school tuition to $25,000 by 2025. Currently, the total cost to attend the SUNY Downstate College of Medicine, including room and board, is about $78,000.
‘Zip for Teaching Hospitals’
Mr. Kowal noted that the budget proposal included “zero investment” in SUNY’s three public teaching hospitals. “The plan is based on what we in UUP must advocate for to make our university system a national leader in the 21st century, and for it to bring transformational change in New York,” he said.
The document also includes goals to make the public-university system carbon-neutral, and to boost non-white faculty from 9 percent to 25 percent. About 29 percent of SUNY students were Asian, black or Latino.
A spokeswoman for SUNY did not return a request for comment as of press time.
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