The Latest SUNY Hoax
by Buck Quigley - posted 7:08 pm, February 3, 2011
Today the Buffalo News ran a story with the improbable headline, “SUNY Students Support Tuition Increases.”
Here’s the lede: A student delegation representing the state’s 465,000 public college students is attacking Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s proposed budget, not because he’s raising tuition, but because he isn’t.
And later in the story: Members of the SUNY Assembly, which represents all 64 SUNY campuses, used an online survey to gather feedback from students across the state, then went on record recently in favor of what they call a rational tuition policy, proposed as recently as two weeks ago by Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher.
Unfortunately, our daily paper appears to be the victim of a hoax.
According to Kyle J. Hill, Interim Director of Communications for the SUNY Student Assembly, here’s how this comprehensive statewide survey went down: “It’s pretty basic. We don’t have a lot of resources. We just used Survey Monkey. We sent it out to all the student government presidents, and from there they sent it to their students.”
How many replies did they get back, total? 489, according to Hill. And they weren’t all in favor of jacking up tuition—but let’s just say they were. That would represent one-tenth of one percent of the 465,000 public college students in New York.
“We were hoping more people would take the survey, but the timing when we sent it out wasn’t most convenient for most students. But we’re in regular contact with student government presidents,” Hill said.
“We also had a lengthy discussion at our conference in Binghamton—which included all the schools. Or, at least all the schools were invited. But it was most of the schools. And there we discussed the rational tuition plan. Our organization has been in favor of the rational tuition plan since October, 2008. And we re-endorsed that plan three weeks ago in Rochester at our executive committee meeting. So it wasn’t just the survey.”
In the News article, Julie Gondar, president of the SUNY Student Assembly, says this: “We feel keeping tuition at the current level is simply not sustainable, and does not support access and affordability in the long term.”
Gondar’s presidential post also makes her the sole student representative on the SUNY Board of Trustees. She was elected to her position in a process that involves a couple hundred voting members of the various student governments from the 64 campuses in the system.