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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman



Nancy Zimpher, Chancellor of SUNY, spent Thursday afternoon answering questions from SUNY students about budget cuts, generation SUNY and strategic plans for the deficit in a press conference streamed live over the web.

Before Zimpher began the conference, she stressed the importance of generation SUNY, the social media initiative to connect SUNY students, prospective and enrolled, throughout the state.

‘The fact that you go to our website and you see an easy connection to Facebook and Twitter is our way to reach out and serve the student body,’ Zimpher said.

Zimpher spent 45 minutes answering questions from students enrolled at Binghamton, University at Buffalo, University of Cincinnati and other SUNY schools.

‘You don’t get to do a strategic plan every so often,’ Zimpher said. ‘Almost once every decade.’

Zimpher said some of the important parts of the strategic plan were enhancing the student experience, connecting SUNY’s libraries, building more residence halls and making the campus more livable.

The strategic plan for SUNY, though filled with many opportunities, has also left many unanswered questions.

‘There has been a significant under investment in education,’ Zimpher said. ‘It’s not that states don’t value us, but they have massive demands.’

Zimpher spent some of the press conference answering questions about the Education pipeline, the key link to increasing NY’s educational capital and the theory that education starts at birth and never stops.

Zimpher talked about the leak in the pipeline and said students are not being prepared for the years ahead of them. Many are put in remedial classes because they don’t get proper education or attention in the classroom.

‘It is our job to make sure that SUNY campuses provide educators,’ Zimpher said, ‘and that those educators educate professors to teach at that college.’

After Governor David A. Paterson’s budget cuts, SUNY was faced with a $90 million mid year budget cut, making increasing the quality of education difficult.

Zimpher said every school will be facing cuts, however, each will be different. ‘Each president got to chose which way he or she wanted to take the cuts,’ Zimpher said. ‘Taking the path that most favored the campus.’

With an under investment in education, SUNY has faced drastic budget cuts and a two percent increase in tuition for students enrolled in the 2010- 2011 year.

The $21 million SUNY collects from the two percent hike will go directly to the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), a financial aid program that has fallen short of funds this past year.

‘When tuition increased, those dollars must go back to the campus to benefit the student,’ Zimpher said. ‘It is 100 percent our business to ensure that.’

Zimpher’s plan, according to her press conference, is to improve the quality of education at SUNY, so that the state wants to invest.

‘If we can convince the state in these tough economic times that we are a growth industry, then they will invest,’ Zimpher said.

For now, Zimpher said, SUNY’s struggle with state investments will make the strategic plan difficult.

‘We’ve got a challenge,’ Zimpher said. ‘We’ve got a tiger by the tale.’

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