SUNY Geneseo President Christopher C. Dahl is applauding reforms to the state's system of public higher education that Governor Paterson is proposing in his 2010-11 budget. The governor said the state must provide its institutions of higher education with freedom and flexibility to drive development both on and off campus, preparing students for the jobs in the new economy to propel New York forward.
"This act is the most significant legislative event for SUNY in a generation and calls for almost all of the things Geneseo has been asking for in recent years," said Dahl. "Control over tuition, efficiencies in procurement, the ability to do public/private partnerships, and additional flexibilities would be a tremendous boon for New York."
The official name of the act in the governor's budget is the Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act, which affects both SUNY and CUNY. More information on the legislation can be found at SUNY Advocates.
The president cautioned that the New York state budget is still in serious trouble with Geneseo facing a $3.2 million shortfall in the 2010-11 budget, but was optimistic that the proposed empowerment legislation would advance SUNY in a positive direction.
"Our budget situation brings into sharp focus the need for the kind of flexibility specified in this act, especially as state support for higher education continues to dwindle," said Dahl. "I will be strongly and actively encouraging legislators to support it as part of the budget."
Geneseo Provost Carol S. Long emphasized the campus cannot depend entirely on the act for solutions to budget problems.
"We must continue to identify areas of cost savings, new income and quality improvement so we may thrive," she said.
The legislation also is getting widespread support within SUNY administration, including praise from Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher, who commended the governor for his leadership in bringing the act forward.
The deadline for the state legislature to pass the 2010-11 budget is April 1.
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