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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


PHEEIA: The Students Dilemma

PHEEIA is a very interesting subject at this moment.  It is interesting to see passionate people on both sides for and against it.  The people visibly acting out against PHEEIA can be described as radical in one way, or as a passionate student advocates in another.

The people for PHEEIA can appear to be either “with” the administration, as if they are on the Dark Side, or concerned about the declining quality of their education and the integrity of the school.  There are both good reasons for and against this complicated piece of legislation.

I have read through PHEEIA, absorbed many articles ranging from UUP’s stance to Stony Brook University’s own  administrative position, listened to the many different presentations held during the University Senate meetings and Undergraduate Student Government meetings.

I have sat in on conversations between prominent Stony Brook officials, spoken to protestors from GSEU, lent an ear to any student that has an opinion on the matter and been Vice Chair of the USG Ad-hoc Committee to Examine Potential Tuition Changes.

Because of this, I have noticed that each side must first make some sort of assumption to justify their stance.

A very good method of describing these assumptions would be to use the fundamental problem within game theory known as the prisoner’s dilemma.

Stony Brook University students have a dilemma before them.  Stony Brook is facing the chance of a $30 million cut in funding this year.  There are predictions of additional cuts of $15 million for the next four years as well.

These budget cuts could be considered our first variable.  We can either take a $30 million cut or somehow be lucky enough to defeat it.

The second dilemma is that PHEEIA could pass or fail.  If PHEEIA passes then revenue could increase.  Even though the increased revenue would not cover all the budget cuts, it would produce a consistent income that would allow for loans and other opportunities to cover that rest of the gap.

If PHEEIA fails then there would be no safety net.  Major cuts would have to be made to Stony Brook University.

The figure provided summarizes the student’s dilemma.  If budget cuts pass and PHEEIA passes then Stony Brook may have the ability to maintain the status quo.  If the quality and integrity of your education is important to you then you should be trying to avoid the section labeled “Lose Funding.”

If budget cuts pass and PHEEIA fails then Stony Brook will lose funding.  That could mean that faculty and staff will have to be let go, numbers of available classes cut, and supplies for classes reduced.

The good situation would be if the budget cuts failed.  If both budget cuts and PHEEIA failed then the school may be able to maintain the status quo.  If, on the other hand, the budget cuts fail and PHEEIA is passed, then Stony Brook University would have an increase in funding.  This increase in funding may go towards hiring more faculties, increasing the number of classes, and upgrading hardware and supplies.

In order to avoid the potential of Stony Brook University losing funding, you can see why the administration would support PHEEIA and hold a stance against budget cuts.

Yes there are other factors at play here as well.  I understand that trust issues arise with who should have the power to raise tuition as well as subjects such as differential tuition.

I can only hope that you make logical assumptions and come to educated conclusions on your own.  Please do not jump onto the bandwagon because your friends did.

Do you really think that the Stony Brook University administration would allow tuition to increase to upwards of $80,000 a year?  Use your mind; that is the reason we are in college anyway.

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