Members of United University Professions (UUP) and students alike gathered in Sojourner Truth Library to discuss and examine the truth behind New York State’s fiscal policy toward SUNY, on Wednesday, Nov. 2.
Every year, students are being expected to pay more towards tuition and every year, state aid towards SUNY education decreases or plateaus.
Last week, Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Relations Stephen Pampinella led a group discussion explaining the guise that Gov. Cuomo has pulled over the eyes of the public.
With the lack of money that each school is provided with, there is major “compensation.” The discussion raised an issue that administration is shifting teaching pressures to adjunct professors rather than full-time professors due to a lack of funding, according to Pampinella.
Pampinella said that while the quality of work performed between the two types of educators is arguably the same, adjunct professors typically pick up more classes to just pay the bills and their time is more divided, leaving less time for each individual student.
Pampinella made a point to remind the audience that “we shouldn’t blame administration, we should blame Cuomo— he is wasting their time. Adjunct professors face greater stresses which impacts their ability to help students.”
Later on, the discussion shifted to the well-being of each individual student. As of 2015-16, student revenue, including tuition and fees, was marked at 64 percent whereas state aid was left at 36 percent. Out of context, these numbers are just numbers but back in 2007, state aid was just below 1.4 billion dollars. As of last year, it has decreased to a little over 900 million dollars. In contrast, student revenue increased from over 900 million to above 1.6 billion dollars.
When glossing over the numbers, exclamations from the audience ranged from laughter to outbursts like “how are they expected to live?” The audience, compiled largely of professors employed at SUNY New Paltz and a few community members, was in incredibly concerned over the future economic stability of students.
Pampinella joked, “no wonder students are all so tired; most of them are working 30 hours a week on top of taking five classes.”
First-year psychology major Rebecca Walsh commented on how much the entire discussion had opened her eyes.
“It was always obvious that prices were getting steep, but this is foreboding,” Walsh said. “It’s important for all students to understand what is going on.”
The discussion was the first installment of three discussions all revolving around SUNY policies. Future discussions will continue throughout the month of November.
For more information, Pampinella can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, and SUNY fiscal policies can be found at governor.ny.gov.