UAlbany Budget Updates
Message from President Philip on Wed, Apr 7, 2010
Dear Members of the Campus Community:
With just over a month remaining in the spring semester, I want to congratulate you on yet another outstanding academic year, as well as to provide an update on the difficult and uncertain budgetary environment confronting our University.
First, I am once again enormously proud of your collective efforts to engage our students in the pursuit of higher learning, to advance new knowledge and discovery, and to serve our University and the community at-large. This year has been marked by a number of special and meaningful opportunities that have enabled us to reflect upon both our past and future. Through the Middle States self-study and reaccreditation process, along with the launch of the University-wide strategic planning process, our campus community has been able to think about and assess where we are today, and envision where we will be going in the years ahead.
In looking toward the future, I know you are aware of the economic hardship and massive multi-year budget deficits facing the State of New York. Already, the University at Albany has absorbed over $21 million in state tax reductions since the beginning of FY 2008-09. As the Governor and the State Legislature try to close a $9 billion budget gap in adopting the FY 2010-11 State budget, the University at Albany is again threatened by the prospect of sustaining still another reduction of State support - potentially one of the largest in its history.
As you well know, SUNY Chancellor Zimpher and all SUNY campuses are not only pursuing full budget restorations, but are strongly advocating for the adoption of the Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act (for more information go to: www.albany.edu/empowerment ). If enacted, this landmark legislation will afford the University at Albany and SUNY campuses with the flexibility and autonomy necessary to chart a new future - even in times of fiscal decline.
However, without long-overdue flexibility/autonomy and critically important funding restorations, I remain deeply troubled and concerned about the University's ability to maintain the size of our faculty and staff, the breadth of our academic programs, and student enrollment. In light of these budgetary uncertainties and the real possibility of additional significant cuts to our core operating budget, it is imperative for the University to take the proactive steps required to appropriately shape and protect our future. Accordingly, I am establishing a broad-based Budget Advisory Group to help me build a financial plan for the campus that takes into account a substantially lower resource base over the next two years. This group will seek to bring together our best efforts in designing an effective and timely response - one that will support and advance the University's emerging strategic planning efforts, address anticipated transitional issues, and ensure our students remain our top priority. The Budget Advisory Group will be composed of members of the University Senate's University Planning and Policy Council, as well as others experienced in University budgetary matters and priorities. Once fully empanelled, the group will work over the next two months to provide me with the advice and consultation needed to develop a responsive and appropriate campus financial plan to move the University forward.
While the weeks and months ahead may be difficult absent fiscal and regulatory relief from the State of New York, I am confident our campus community will pull together to overcome these dire budgetary challenges and continue our trajectory as a preeminent public research university.
Thank you for your continued dedication and support of the University at Albany.
George M. Philip