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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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Cuomo’s Proposed Budget Calls for More Cuts to SUNY

Gov. Andrew Cuomo caused a great tremor on Tuesday when he announced a proposal to cut aid to the State University system by more than $130 million and withhold state subsidies to the three teaching hospitals in the SUNY system, one of which is at Stony Brook University.

According to Cuomo,  the cuts were a necessary dose of medicine to an ailing New York state economy. But like most medicines, this doesn’t taste good to most people.

“Our current level of spending is unsustainable,” Cuomo said in a statement. “As families  throughout Buffalo, Amherst and surrounding communities have had to do, New York state must face and accept this economic reality.”

Cuomo also said that he would prefer cuts in aid to the state university system to tuition increases, to which Julie Gondar, president of the SUNY student assembly responded with criticism.

“The latest cut compounded by a lack of tuition revenue goes against New York’s pledge to provide access to quality education,” Gondar said in a statement.

The massive cuts in state aid that Cuomo is proposing may prove to be the ruin of many programs in the state university system, most notably the teaching hospitals.

President Samuel L. Stanley, Jr. made a big point of developing the Stony Brook’s research sector in his inaugural address last year, most notably concerning the hospital

“So, at this point we cannot simply cut our budget and maintain excellence,” Stanley said in a statement.

However, nothing is final yet; this massive cut is still in its proposal stage, and the group of state senators referred to as the “Long Island Nine” says that they will block it from being put into effect. The Long Island Nine is a group of nine Republican state senators from Long Island, including Senator Kenneth P. LaValle, who the Stony Brook stadium is named after.

LaValle spoke with The Statesman on Friday, saying that Cuomo’s proposed cut in state aid takes too much away from SUNY as compared to CUNY.

“I will be looking at and comparing the cuts to the city university to what the governor did to the state university,” LaValle said. “There has to be symmetry.”

This line of thinking is shared by others in the Long Island Nine. Sen. John Flanagan, who represents the East Northport district, says that the cuts to Long Island schools are unreasonably greater than cuts for schools elsewhere.

“I look at that [percentage cuts in district] and I scratch my head and ask: Where is the fairness and equity?” Flanagan said in a recent Newsday article.

The Long Island Nine has firmly stated that they will not allow Cuomo’s new proposal to pass and, as LaValle put it, “Make more bad news for [Stony Brook]” and the rest of the island’s schools.

“SUNY has lacked a cheerleader, an advocate. That will be my role,” LaValle said. “When we get through this legislative session, there will be greater hope, greater promise and hopefully tangibly something that will help Stony Brook fiscally.”

In his interview, LaValle reached out to students, saying that he will fight for their education and future.

“At the end of the day, it’s about students,” he firmly stated. “If we didn’t have students, we wouldn’t have a higher education system. We want to make sure that all of the students have access to higher education, but if when they graduate there are no jobs, then we have failed as a government to complete the job.”

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