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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


Budget Cuts And Real Priorities

The main reason we all come to Stony Brook is to receive an education, but many students are finding out that classes they need for next semester are not being offered due to a lack of funds.

Personally, I have had to deal with an absurd shortage of upper-level biology classes next semester. A lot of juniors and seniors who need various classes to apply to graduate school are also getting stifled.

Why is it that when the economy goes south our schools are the first ones to get cuts?

Stony Brook has been ravaged by $55 million in budget cuts, and, according to President Samuel L. Stanley, the university faces a budget shortfall of over $30 million this coming year.

Many students have received emails warning that a lot of the classes that they need will not be available and are recommending that they enroll in a summer session. This forces students to pay extra to spend a summer away from friends and family, because of something that is not their fault.

Another obvious way that our university is dealing with these budget cuts is by enrolling far more students than the school can handle. Every year brings more and more freshmen, and every year classes get tighter and tighter.

Stony Brook is also a premier science and research school. Much of the positive reputation that our university enjoys comes from the great research done here. However, the humanities are also very good.

If the budget woes continue, the administration might make the decision to cut the humanities even more, in order to maintain the science and math reputation of the school.

Take sociology, for example.According to some students, there is a shortage of variety in the major. Friends of mine have even dropped from the major because of this. It is a very bad sign when university policies and budget cuts starts forcing students to make career decisions that hurt their careers.

Why is education seen as a disposable commodity by our state legislature? Why is it that any time funds are short, public schools are cut first?

Do the people who run our state and country not realize that education is the key for our country remaining competitive in this global economy. America is losing ground to India and China, and politicians are left scratching their heads as to why this is happening.

Every year our country falters in test scores in math and science, and every year school funding gets cut more deeply. The logic behind this is not immediately clear to me. Any way you look at it, it’s not going to get clearer.

Ultimately, what universities like ours are forced to do is turn to programs like PHEEIA.

According to President Stanley, PHEEIA, which allows tuition increases on the student body, is our best bet for dealing with these losses in the short term. While not a very palatable idea, it most likely is the only way to save any semblance of a functioning school that we have left.

My only hope is that lower income students do not get completely squeezed out and get forced to attend lower quality colleges.

PHEEIA is something that is akin to a blood transfusion after a terrible car accident. While the blood may be life saving, there is no point if the bleeding cannot be stopped first. This is why the leaders of our school need to be firm and extremely aggressive in demanding that our budgets not be cut.

They need to take pay cuts themselves, go to Albany, be loud and make the university’s plight known to mass media.

The one thing we need to see from them is that they won’t let Stony Brook go down without a fight.

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