Staff Editorial: Paterson sets SUNY up for a billion dollar fall

Gov. David Paterson and the New York State Legislature have recently handed down a series of devastating budget cuts to the SUNY system. As a result, one of two things is likely to happen: either a tuition increase, or several vital programs at each SUNY school could be cut.

Although the state is in a dire financial situation, it should not be cutting excessive funds from the SUNY system. What if Geneseo had to cut your major from its curriculum to appease the new budget? What if your sports team or club lost its funding? If you're not on financial aid, what if tuition increased and you couldn't afford to go to school here anymore?

Higher education is vital not only for SUNY students but for the state itself. If a student grows up in New York State and goes to a SUNY school, chances are they will work in New York State and help bring its economy up. If the SUNY system is weakened, incoming college students will start looking at schools in other states and will be more likely to live outside of New York after they graduate.

Additionally, the state has allocated $3 billion additional funds to K-12 in New York in the past three years. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but when over $1 billion is cut from the SUNY budget, it brings up questions. Is it really that vital for K-12 programs to receive more funds while SUNY is hung up to dry? It's great for K-12 students to have extra perks in their education, but what is the point if the higher education system in the state starts falling behind?

President Dahl hopes to motivate students and their families to pressure the state legislature and Gov. Paterson to stop cutting SUNY funds. Students should heed Dahl's call and fight these budget cuts. If voters start calling the offices of state legislators and writing them letters, they will listen.

SUNY is currently one of the best state higher education systems in the country. If drastic cuts similar to the ones currently being implemented continue, that may change. Let's do what we can to make sure that doesn't happen.