SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher speaks with members of the media in the Mandela Room before the March 22 Board of Trustees meeting.
Photo by Jonathan Cohen
SUNY Board of Trustees meets at BinghamtonTweet
The State University of New York Board of Trustees held its regular business meeting at Binghamton University March 22, approving a resolution in support of a 5-year, rational tuition policy. Chancellor Nancy Zimpher also reiterated her desire for C. Peter Magrath to remain as interim president of Binghamton University until a permanent appointment can be made. Both Zimpher and Magrath spoke during the public meeting of their plans to discuss extension of his interim appointment in the very near future.
The tuition policy resolution, approved by the Finance Committee before coming before the entire board, was “guided by the Student Assembly and University Faculty Senate resolutions” Zimpher said, and is necessary to help the SUNY system and families plan appropriately. “We are dealing with the cumulative effects of $1.1 billion in cuts over the past three years, and we face a four-year operating budget deficit of $1.5 billion,” she said. “Without a significant restoration, our only option is to increase revenue through tuition. The Student Assembly and University Faculty Senate are pushing for this and we believe it is needed to maintain quality and protect access.”
Zimpher also provided an update on the SUNY Strategic Plan and advocacy efforts. She outlined the timeline for establishing the system’s “report card”, noting that there will be a third system-wide conversation in April to reach consensus on the metrics for assessment, with an announcement of the final metrics in mid-May.
Magrath also spoke at the meeting about two things that distinguish Binghamton University. “First, we are a place of quality undergraduate education and instruction,” he said, “and second, we are a research intensive University with strong graduate programs.”
Magrath spoke of the incredible diversity of Binghamton University and it’s students, calling our internationalism one of our greatest strengths. “It’s absolutely critical to us,” he said. “A university that is not international is not a university.”
Magrath also underscored Binghamton’s commitment to economic development, graduate research and collaborations with business and industry. “We’re passionate about being entrepreneurial,” he said. “It’s critical for the Southern Tier and the entire state of New York that we be entrepreneurial.”
He noted his concern that if the state and SUNY “max out their credit cards” that Binghamton University’s ability to contribute to economic development will falter, but commended the faculty and staff at Binghamton who care about the University for making it the quality place it is.
The board of trustees held a public hearing on SUNY-wide issues following its open formal meeting. Ten speakers in all voiced their concerns on topics ranging from a tuition increase or policy to program cuts at the University of Albany to the search for the next permanent president for Binghamton.
Rosmarie Morewedge, associate professor of German and Russian Studies, addressed the board with her concerns about general education requirements that would reduce the required gen ed categories from 0 to two and allow campuses to choose five optional categories from eight academic areas, including foreign language. “Each (SUNY) institution will still uphold its own identity in this streamlined system,” she said, “but I fear foreign languages will be reduced or eliminated at many feeder organizations. I believe this is a dangerous reductionist policy and I urge you to maintain foreign language as a mandated category.”