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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


    Students Protest Over Budget Concerns

    The bitter cold air on Nov. 19 did not stop a crowd of over 60 students from protesting the SUNY tuition increase with a rally outside the Student Activities Center.

    Protestors chanted “He-ho, he-ho, SUNY cuts have got to go.” The rallying cries centered on the new proposal of a $310 increase in next semester’s tuition. The hike comes after an almost $20 million cut in Stony Brook University funds this semester alone — a direct result of the growing New York State deficit.

    “I think it will make a statement and [the legislators] will pay attention to the younger generation,” freshman Jennifer Stanley said about the protest.

    Stony Brook University operates on $1.8 billion and has an economical impact of between $4 billion to $5 billion for Long Island annually, according to Stony Brook University’s Budget Director, Mark Maciulaitis.

    Investing money in SUNY will generate more money in the long run. That money will maintain research, education and jobs which are all necessary for the recovery of Long Island’s economy.

    “The state is in terrible shape,” Maciulaitis said. “SUNY can help get the state out of this.”

    The Undergraduate Student Government, which organized the protest, has created a link on its web page,, to a letter that can be filled out by students, parents and anyone concened with the budget to send to the Gov. David Paterson, their local assemblyman, or even a senator.

    “Hopefully all the letters we write will make a change,” said freshman Rebecca Dunn. “I’m really scared my family will not be able to afford it. I know other families won’t be able to, either.”

    Undergraduate Student Government President Jeffrey Akita is encouraging everyone to fill out a letter and send it in.

    “These budget cuts will affect the future of SUNY,” he said.

    If the tuition increase does occur, it is not guaranteed to be allocated to departments facing budget cuts.

    “I believe the tuition increase should build the university budget rather than plug a hole made by the decrease of the state budget,” University President Shirley Strum Kenny said.

    It is currently unknown how Stony Brook students are going to handle the tuition increase or how Stony Brook itself will deal with decreasing state funding.

    Kenny has already used half of the school’s Central University Fund — also known as Stony Brook’s emergency fund — trying to soften the blow.

    Though it is feared that courses will be cut in the upcoming semesters to deal with the budget cuts, it has not yet occurred. Instead, some departments are losing adjunct professors.

    Stephen Spector, chairman of the English Department, said the English department is trying everything they can to not cut classes.

    On Mar. 3, 2009, Stony Brook University will send busloads of students, faculty and staff to Albany for Albany Day, where all attendees are given an opportunity to discuss their concerns with state legislators.

    Many departments on campus will use this opportunity to further hammer home to legislatures the message that higher education should not be forced to suffer.

    “They count the most,” said Akita.

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