University at Albany

Statement from SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher on Future of the Empowerment Act

August  4, 2010

"Through the Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act, SUNY brought forward positive, zero-cost solutions during a time of serious fiscal problems. This legislation would strengthen the entire SUNY system while improving our economy and the quality of life for New Yorkers. Unfortunately, the final budget contains none of the Empowerment Act's provisions while enacting over $210 million in additional cuts to SUNY – bringing the three-year total to a 30 percent reduction of our operating budget.

"Not passing the Empowerment Act this budget cycle is a missed opportunity for the State of New York. Above all, we are concerned for SUNY’s students and the state’s economy. The combination of severe cuts now exceeding more than $634 million and no regulatory relief nor enhanced entrepreneurial flexibility will seriously compromise New York’s ability to harness SUNY’s 64 campuses as its greatest educational and economic asset.

"We want to thank SUNY's many supporters who have stood with us during this critical time, including students, faculty, campus presidents, administrators and staff, alumni, trustees and system and campus governance leaders, building trades unions, economic development organizations, business leaders, local, county and federal officials, state legislators, the Governor, and the majority of New Yorkers.

"With this strong support, we remain optimistic that the legislature and its leaders will stay true to its promise and come to a three-way agreement on the Empowerment Act in the very near future.

"Meanwhile, we will continue to advocate for reforms that are essential for fullest access to a quality public higher education and essential for our state’s economic revitalization, and move forward on SUNY's strategic plan, The Power of SUNY. Our students – and all New Yorkers – deserve nothing less."

About the State University of New York
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