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SUNY Chief Asks State Legislature for More Funding

By Mark Scott

Albany, NY – SUNY Chancellor Robert King told state legislators at a hearing Tuesday that if they're able to find new sources of revenues, he'd like a share of it to protect programs and avoid staff layoffs.

Governor Pataki is holding state spending on the state university system in 2002-2003 at current year levels. King testified at a Legislature budget hearing on higher education.

He was questioned by Deputy Assembly Speaker Arthur Eve of Buffalo about if full-time faculty positions would have to be cut because of the spending freeze. King responded that he hopes not. But he did acknowledge it would probably be difficult to fill vacancies.

King said SUNY will also have to find about $65 million for contracted pay raises for faculty and staff. He said such expenses as travel and professional development may have to be cut.

"A flat operating budget will test us in many ways," King said. "Already strapped spending plans will have to be stretched even further. Purchases will be deferred. Hirings anticipated for next year will have to be re-evaluated and often suspended."

Also in Albany Tuesday, a delegation from the University at Buffalo met with state legislators, asking for their support of Governor Pataki's plan to earmark $50 million in the coming year for a Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics.

In a related development, it was announced Tuesday that George Pape, an undergraduate student at UB, is the new student trustee on the SUNY Board.