Grisanti’s pride in UB 2020 is dishonest to the public
Published: Sunday, September 30, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 20:11
Topping State Senator Mark Grisanti’s résumé is UB 2020, the university’s expansion plan to bring in jobs and boost the economy. In the eyes of the government, the plan is the pinnacle for the crown jewel in the SUNY system. UB 2020: the best for the best.
Grisanti paints the plan up for his campaign like a fine portrait, but UB 2020 is only a caricature.
What a great idea in theory. Economic development, campus expansion, a better reputation … after all, who doesn’t want a big, impressive public school that can compete at the same levels as some of the top-ranked universities in the nation?
But it’s been made into nothing more than a cash cow while ignoring the internal complications of it. With all the expansion plans and hiring of new faculty, someone is going to have to pay for it. If UB students haven’t been paying attention yet, they can take a look at their ledgers and see their tuition is on the rise.
UB might end up as the private school of former UB President John Simpson’s dreams. When he first proposed the plan to the state, it was shot down for obvious reasons: clearly Simpson missed the memo on the term “public university” and wanted complete control over student tuition. After an amended version, students will face an eight percent tuition increase every year for five years.
How counterproductive. One of several reasons students lean towards UB when they make their admission decisions is that relatively low number on their bills (doesn’t $5,570 sound much nicer than, say, $60,000?), and despite that growing number, there’s been no change to the caliber of education being pushed out.
It might be a different story if Grisanti was just taking credit for the idea, but he’s taking credit for something that’s failing and building it up to be everything this city needs.
Grisanti succeeded in delivering UB 2020, his first goal – at least according to his campaign ads, which proudly conclude that UB 2020 is “just one example of what happens when a state senator puts people first, not politics.”
The senator has quite the imagination. Everyone in the state knows that Grisanti has a history of running on false campaigning (whatever your side, the dishonesty in campaigning and his “last minute” decision on New York’s monumental same sex marriage bill last year), and he is playing the game of politics hard right now clearly to keep that tradition alive.
But Grisanti can pull out whatever tricks he wants, UB students are not deceived or entertained; in fact, they’re well aware he’s lying. They’re watching their tuition rise and won’t be around to see the final product. Not only that, but what are the students not studying sciences or medicine getting out of this? Will their departments see improvements or will they get left behind?
Sometimes the outside view looking in is the best view. The casual Buffalo citizen won’t have a clue tuition is lining the pockets of those not only already financially invested in UB but also those who aren’t exactly starving on the streets. Many of the Queen City’s wealthiest residents sit on the UB council (Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs, just to name one), and they can only gain from the massive projects that are under development.
It’s their gain, but the students’ loss. And it’s all happening because these millionaire players want to “revive” Buffalo, or in other words fill their wallet with whosever money the city wants to pay them with.
Don’t worry about everyone else; Grisanti isn’t.