Invest in the Future, Invest in SUNY
I am a SUNY student and I represent all 464,981 of us when I say that we cannot afford any more cuts to our colleges and universities. Before you is the proposed state budget for New York, which finds itself in dire economic conditions. As the State and the nation are still reeling from the effects of the great recession, budget deficits are growing and budget cuts are increasing. We as students understand the need for the State to find its legs and become the economic engine it has the ability to be once again. Though our state faces a great financial crisis, higher education must not, and cannot, fall victim to the politics of scaling back. Access to higher education is the key to economic revitalization and the only way New Yorkers can pull themselves up by their bootstraps and get back to work. This has been stated many times, but without a chance to prove ourselves we will be unable to give back to the state the way it desperately needs. Members of the Legislature, if SUNY continues to be cut, programs will continue to disappear. The rising costs of higher education cannot be met if we are not supported by the state. Our class sizes will increase, and our graduation rates will decline. The “brain drain” will continue to cripple New York as future leaders and accomplished researchers flee our borders for more welcoming states who place a higher value on education and the bounties it provides. Members of the Legislature, SUNY's budget has already been cut by $1.1 billion in recent years, this latest proposed cut of $362 million would bring the sum to $1.5 billion. Each campus has had to decide where to cut back, whether it was a teaching position, funding for research or services provided to students, or basic services such as cleaning. What will happen if we are cut again? Would you want members of your family to attend a public college or university where they are denied basic support services to ensure they not only have an amazing experience, but develop into the productive members of society they have the potential to be? Members of the Legislature, I ask that you invest in the future by investing in SUNY.