In Governor Cuomo's proposed budget, $20 to $22 million is projected to be cut from the University at Buffalo this upcoming academic year. This is in addition to the $60 million that has already been cut from UB since 2008, which amounted to 30 percent of the total funding to the university.
"It is imperative that students understand the implication of the budget cuts that could take effect. The University at Buffalo has, thus far, been able to absorb the $60 million cuts since 2008 without students feeling the ramifications due to the shifting and streamlining of resources," said Shervin Stoney, Student Association vice president and a senior political science major. "Students, however, will unfortunately feel the effects of these most recent cuts more so than in the past because the university has already done what it can to offset the reductions in funding."
Such drastic changes have already occurred at other SUNY campuses. SUNY Albany was forced to close many of its language departments and SUNY Stony Brook had to shut down an entire campus in reaction to the over $1 billion that SUNY has cut over the past three years.
In response, SA has planned a rally against these proposed cuts. A bus will be going to Albany on Tuesday, March 8 to support legislation that directly benefits UB and its students. The bus will leave from the bus loop in front of the Student Union at 5 a.m. Tuesday morning and will arrive in Albany around 11 a.m. While in Albany, the students will be able to explain UB's position on the budget cuts with a number of New York State legislatures who have agreed to meet, per the SUNY delegates' requests.
The bus will leave Albany around 4 p.m. and return to UB around 10 p.m. There is no cost to students, and all that are available and vocal about this issue are encouraged to attend. Approximately 50 students may sign up to attend the rally at the receptionist's desk at the SA office, located at 350 SU. If there is additional interest, SA will try to secure more transportation.
In the past, the state legislature has raised tuition unpredictably. Ninety percent of the increase was redirected into the state budget rather than sending it back to UB. However, due to the fact that the UB 2020 bill (S3143A-2011) was recently passed (55-1) by the NYS Senate, there is a chance that discussions in Albany with the Assembly will be favorable.
"It is very important for UB students to participate in the rally… students need to understand that what happens in Albany doesn't just stay in Albany. Decisions made by the governor to cut SUNY funding will cause lasting and obvious impacts on all 64 campuses across the state," said Amanda Jonas, one of UB's SUNY delegates, a senior English major, and an investigative reporter for The Spectrum. "Students at UB cannot sit idly while our funding is being taken away to patch holes in New York State's deficit. We are the future of New York. This is our state, our school system, and our education. If New York mistreats its students today, they won't contribute to a greater tomorrow."