BUFFALO, N.Y. -- University at Buffalo President John B. Simpson
stood with Gov. David Paterson at a rally in Albany today to
support the Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act
The proposed act represents the greatest reform to New York
State's system of public higher education in a generation, Paterson
"The Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act will
provide SUNY and CUNY with the freedom and flexibility they need to
prepare students for the future, create jobs and promote economic
development," he said. "My proposal would help SUNY and CUNY reach
their full potential and drive development both on campus and off.
This reform is supported by students, the faculty, labor and
university administrators alike, and we urge the legislature to
take swift action to pass this important bill."
Also joining Paterson and Lt. Gov. Richard Ravitch were SUNY
Chancellor Nancy Zimpher and SUNY Board of Trustees Chair Carl
Hayden, as well as leaders from SUNY and CUNY institutions,
students, business and labor leaders.
Proposed in Paterson's 2010 Executive Budget and approved in a
state Senate budget resolution in March, PHEEIA would give SUNY
institutions the financial flexibility to play a major role in the
state's economic resurgence.
Simpson told the assembled crowd that a strong public higher
education system for New York State, anchored by excellent research
universities, is the best hope for creating the knowledge-based
economy New York State needs to prosper in the 21st century.
"That's why the University at Buffalo and our SUNY partners have
put forth a responsible, and responsive, policy proposal that will
empower us to help our state weather the current economic storm,
and help us all move forward toward a brighter future," he said.
"The passage of Gov. Paterson's PHEEIA proposal is essential to
realizing this vision -- and to ensuring equitable access to the
opportunities created by this new economy."
PHEEIA reforms are based on groundwork laid by UB and by SUNY's
Board of Trustees. They include changes to key areas of public
higher education governance: tuition, public-private partnerships
and procurement, similar to those proposed last year in the UB 2020
Flexibility and Economic Growth Act introduced by Western New
York's legislative delegation and passed by the Senate.
The proposal takes tuition-setting out of the state budget
process and allows for the SUNY and CUNY systems to implement
rational and differential tuition policies, making tuition more
equitable and predictable for students and families; allows for
campuses to more efficiently enter into public-private partnerships
to pursue collaborative research and development partnerships that
will drive New York's future prosperity; and eliminates burdensome
and unnecessary regulation and micromanagement and streamlines the
procurement process. Additional information on the proposal can be
found at http://bit.ly/8YDwuE.
Over the past two years, UB has generated widespread support in
Western New York for the reforms because they are critical to the
economic goals of the UB 2020 strategic plan. Achievement of UB
2020 would increase UB's local and regional economic impact from
$1.7 billion to $3.6 billion and create thousands of jobs,
according to UB officials.
More than 30 business, labor, community and university groups
have expressed their public support of PHEEIA and UB 2020. They
include the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, Buffalo Niagara Medical
Campus, Amherst Chamber of Commerce and the Community Foundation
for Greater Buffalo; the City of Buffalo, Erie County, Niagara
County and Town of Amherst; Building Trades and United Autoworkers;
Kaleida Health, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Greatbatch Inc., the
Buffalo News editorial board, Business First editorial board, the
Board of Block Clubs, the Jeremiah Partnership and the Oishei
Foundation; the UB Undergraduate Student Association, UB Faculty
Senate, UB Alumni Association, UB Council, UB Parent Council and
UB 2020 calls for expanding the university's Downtown Campus by
relocating to Buffalo's urban core the five health-science schools
of UB's Academic Health Center. Such expansion would create an
estimated 6,700 jobs at UB, as well as 20,000 construction jobs. It
would bring an additional 13,000 faculty, staff and students to the
Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus on a daily basis -- sparking further
economic development of Buffalo's East Side, which has been beset
for decades by poverty, joblessness and inadequate housing.
UB 2020 was launched by Simpson and the UB faculty in 2004. It
is the university's strategic plan for becoming a model 21st
century research university through focused research, growth and
transformation of UB's three campuses. For more information about
UB 2020, go to http://www.buffalo.edu/president.
The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive
public university, a flagship institution in the State University
of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus.
UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests
through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional
degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a
member of the Association of American Universities.