Read this letter from Stony Brook students to SUNY Chancellor Zimpher about the hypocrisy of this bill and how it may lead to 100% tuition increases in the next 10 years in New York State.

From Some Stony Brook business blog:

Senate endorses SUNY setting tuitions
by Claude Solnik

The New York State Senate on Monday approved a budget that would give the State University of New York system the power to set its own tuition and the right to keep that money at the schools rather than having it sent to the general fund.

The Senate approved many elements of the Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act that Gov. David Paterson had included in his budget.

The actions collectively would create a more independent SUNY system that educators said would let it raise tuition, possibly more frequently but by smaller increments, and rely on that money to fund the schools.

“This puts tuition in the hands of the SUNY board of trustees,” said Stony Brook University President Dr. Samuel L. Stanley Jr. “It’s good because in the past the legislature has tended to not have a consistent policy. Years would go by when they didn’t raise tuition even though the costs on campus went up.”

The budget also would allow the state’s research universities, including Stony Brook, to charge a different rate than other SUNY schools, potentially leading to higher costs at those institutions.

“It reflects the fact that our infrastructure is more expensive to maintain,” Stanley said of schools with a research component. “We would be able to charge a slightly higher amount.”

Stanley said in the past that the legislature has used tuition as a way of raising funds for the state, rather than simply for the schools, resulting in hikes when the economy is most difficult.

“When the state got in a financial situation and things were toughest for students and their parents, they would raise tuition and put it in their coffers,” Stanley said.

The most recent SUNY tuition raise, a 14 percent hike, in the first year included 90 percent for the state and 10 percent for schools followed by 80 percent to the state and 20 percent to the schools in the second year.

The New York State Assembly hasn’t weighed in on the issue of the system’s right to set tuition, although there has been some resistance there out of concerns that raising tuition might minimize access. The state legislature currently sets tuition rates.

But Stanley said the system would plough back some of the increased revenue into scholarships, so tuition would remain accessible even to the most needy.

At about $5,000 a year, SUNY universities have among the lowest tuition of all schools included among the American Association of Universities.

SUNY began March 4

March 10, 2010

With State University of New York administrators openly planning to centralize and overhaul the tuition processes throughout the system, New York faces a crisis in higher public education as devastating as California’s. In fact, some administrative proposals argue for an incremental 100% increase in SUNY tuition over the next 10 years. Here's a rundown on how NY campuses began to fight last week:

Stony Brook University:
Around 75 students rally and plan to storm a press conference between University President Stanley and SUNY Chancellor Zimpher. The action was thwarted when security somehow were informed of the action, and were able to pen students in barricades. The students were able to deliver a version of this note to President Stanley as he exited.

During a follow-up demonstration outside a closed press conference about SUNY cuts on March 8th, students were threatened with citation and harassed by police. More information here.

Video from rally.

University of Albany: Banner drop from Lecture Center:

SUNY Purchase– A massive rally and brief occupation of the Student Services building ended after police invasion. Detailed report-back hopefully to come. More is likely to be planned at this weekend’s Active Resistance conference.

From: SUNY Purchase:

March 4th is coming and a “University Strike” is in the air. Around 3:30 this morning we climbed the roof of the library and dropped a banner. Budget cuts, increased tuition, layoffs, and the privatization/corporatization of our schools are happening all across the country. Public education is being attacked on all levels from k-12 to higher education and we will not be quiet. At 1pm this Thursday (March 4th) walk out of your class and congregate outside the library for the national day of action to defend public education. Bring pots and pans, noise-makers and your friends.

This is bigger than our school and bigger than students, our entire system is fucked. Thursday is just the beginning of what will hopefully spread through all sectors of society. The priorities of the government are clear; banks and business are more important than people and the earth is a resource to be exploited.

We must fight!

Thursday is just the beginning!

We stand in solidarity with students, faculty and workers everywhere!

Anonymous friend

SUNY Stony Brook is answering the call for a national protest in defense of education. With the pending Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act which will lead to higher tuition, less public accountability and a step towards the privatization of the public school system, students at Stony Brook and in the SUNY system at large have a huge stake in this struggle.

We Are The Crisis NY is currently organizing with student groups and other interested parties on campus in preparation for March 4th. Interest has been piqued across disparate groups and students are uniting in the run-up to nationwide protests which will signal the discontent we have with the state of public education in both New York and across the United States.

Budget cut after budget cut; tuition hike after tuition hike; the cost of education is being shoved off onto students and their families while the private sector thrives. We are tired of paying more for education that decreases in quality and importance in the face of profit and investment. We will not stand for emptier pockets! We stand for student power. We stand for education. We stand for freedom from the private sector.

SUNY Purchase Call to Action

February 25, 2010

Students, Faculty and Staff,

We are in a dire state.

We are currently in the throes of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. New York’s unemployment rate is at its highest level in almost seventeen years and is showing no sign of improvement. Yet in the midst of this, we’ve managed to neglect the greatest possible hope our country and our community has to offer: our institutions of public higher education.

Nationwide, tuition continues to skyrocket as federal aid stagnates under ever increasing financial pressure from public universities. Students are being priced out of higher education and privatization threatens the very existence of public education as know it. College has become out of reach for all but the most economically elite and tuition differentiation threatens to exacerbate the divide between the poor and the privileged.

We bailed out the banks. We bailed out the motor industry. Where is higher education’s reprieve? Now is not the time to abandon higher education. Now, more than ever, we need Albany to invest in SUNY and invest in our futures.

What began as an action in California to take a stand against tuition hikes of almost 32 percent has become a nationwide movement to defend public education against the risk of rising tuition, increased class size and delayed graduation time. Our colleagues at campuses across the country have put out a national appeal to protect higher education from the instabilities of unregulated tuition increases, and we, as concerned students of SUNY Purchase, have heeded the call.

This March 4, we must show Governor Patterson and President Schwarz that we will not acquiesce to the whims of shortsighted budget cuts and a privatization that goes against the character of our school and the integrity of the educational system. This March 4, we must join forces with students from across the country to protect and defend higher education. Read the rest of this entry »

New School Walkout March 4th

February 24, 2010

March Forth Tour Dates:
Thursday Feb 18th– SUNY Purchase
Wednesday Feb 24th– SUNY Stony Brook
Friday Feb 26th– SUNY Albany
Saturday Feb 27th– SUNY New Paltz

Get in touch if you can help out with any of these dates!

A response to the University’s Capital Planning Seminar taking place earlier in the same building.