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Defend Our Education Coalition to Hold Town Hall Meeting on Higher Ed in Buffalo

5PM Tomorrow

WHO: The Defend Our Education Coalition and members of the university and Buffalo communities.

WHAT: A townhall meeting to share thoughts and ideas about public higher education in Buffalo.

WHERE: 105 Harriman Hall, UB South Campus, 5 PM on April 6, 2011.

WHY: To address pressing issues facing students, staff, faculty, and members of the community around public higher education in the region.

Buffalo, NY — April 5, 2011 — The Defend Our Education Coalition, a group of student, faculty, and staff organizations at the State University of New York at Buffalo and Buffalo State College, will host a townhall meeting, open to all members of the public, on April 6, 2011 at 5 pm in 105 Harriman Hall on UB’s South Campus. The agenda of the meeting will cover current issues in higher education in Buffalo, as well as the potential impact on the broader community. Public figures, university leadership, student groups, faculty, and the general public have been iinvited to attend and share their thoughts, experiences, and ideas about the future of higher education in Buffalo.

We will discuss Governor Cuomo’s 2011 executive budget, which proposes massive cuts to SUNY amounting to $362 million and UB2020. In addition to the cuts, the SUNY administration, and the UB administration, have proposed the UB2020 plan to expand the University at Buffalo’s physical campus, enrollment numbers, and involvement with private firms. The proposal promises expansion, yet runs the risk of creating a model of privatization for the public university system that has made New York an academic model for the entire country. It ignores the needs of communities surrounding the university’s campus, undermines the rights of university workers to collectively bargain, and threatens important state oversight of state property.

SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher has said that our public universities are important as economic engines; their power comes from our communities. It is critical that the voices of students, faculty, and staff, and the voices of community members are not shut out of the conversation. As a public institution, SUNY has the potential to offer high-quality, affordable education to children of all New York’s families; provide sustainable, well-paying jobs to our community; and enrich the local culture. SUNY is our system: it represents our future, one we must shape together.

The Defend Our Education Coalition is a coalition of graduate and undergraduate student groups, faculty groups, staff groups, and community groups affiliated with and affected by decisions made by the State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo State College, and the State University of New York generally. We believe that education is a human right and we share the responsibility to ensure that all people have access to it. We propose the four basic tenets as alternatives to the State University of New York’s attempts to privatize and co-opt the system in the name of “progress.” Accountability, accessibility, affordability, and quality. Please visit our website, for more up-to-date information.