In response to the recent program deactivations announced by President Christopher Dahl, Student Association has started planning future actions on behalf of student interests in Albany.
Shortly after Dahl's Nov. 25 announcement, SA began a campaign encouraging students to sign letters to Albany demanding that cuts to SUNY schools cease immediately. Thus far, 2,100 letters have been signed, with 700 each being mailed to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Assembly Chairperson for Higher Education Deborah Glick.
"The administration is as much victims of the budget cuts as the students," said senior Will Labate, SA director for student affairs. "It is regrettable that the departments were cut, but the ultimate culprit is Albany."
On Dec. 1, SA unanimously passed a resolution responding to budget cuts by the state of New York. "After the cuts were made, SA wanted to release a statement to Albany about how the budget cuts undermine the state's interests," Labate said.
The resolution calls for "an immediate cessation by the State of New York on future cuts to SUNY, restoration of the hundreds of millions of dollars cut from SUNY over the past few years, imposition of a rational tuition policy and an end to the raising of SUNY tuition as a tradeoff for lowering state support, the passage of legislation including a ‘Maintenance of Effort' provision in order to ensure consistent state funding for SUNY and the suspension of Bundy Aid with those funds being diverted to SUNY instead of the budgets of private universities."
According to Labate, SA is planning multiple advocacy events for the coming semester including a bus trip to SUNY Palooza, tentatively scheduled for March 1, 2011. The bus would be free to Geneseo students; any necessary deposits will be fully refunded by SA.
Other events which SA is working on include "A Day without SUNY," at which SA would compile and publicize sketches about what the community would look like without SUNY Geneseo. Other ideas include a "funeral" that would be held for the three deactivated departments where syllabi could be shredded in the College Union lobby, and a "giant protest" similar to the televised protest on Sturges Quad last semester.