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New York News

UUP & SUNY Students Send Lawmakers a Message

By Dave Lucas

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wamc/local-wamc-950874.mp3

Albany, NY – Teachers Unions and Students joined forces Friday at an Albany rally calling on state lawmakers to invest in the state's future by investing in SUNY.

Hundreds of members of the union that represents SUNY academic and professional faculty gathered at high noon at the west steps of the state Capitol. United University Professions members were joined by members of NYSUT -- UUP's statewide affiliate -- and an organized body of student protestors. They urged the Legislature to reject any of Governor Andrew Cuomo's proposed cuts to SUNY's operating budget, which already has been slashed by nearly 30 percent in the past two and a half years.

One of the student organizers, Steve Pampinella of UAlbany, explained that education is paramount to rightsizing New York State's economy - he is concerned the proposed budget would discourage students form attending college. NYSUT's second-highest ranking official Andy Pallotta, called on education aid to be restored by re-enacting an income tax surcharge on New Yorkers earning over $200,000.

UUP represents 35,000 academic and professional faculty at SUNY's 29 state-operated campuses: the union also wants lawmakers to restore the 154-million dollar state subsidy for SUNY's three teaching hospitals in Syracuse, Stony Brook and Brooklyn that the Executive Budget proposes to eliminate. As it is every year, April first is the deadline for legislative passage of the state budget.