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Governor joined by higher education officials to push for SUNY reforms

UB President John Simpson
UB President John Simpson

By Mark Scott


Albany, NY – Governor David Paterson was joined by public higher education leaders in Albany Tuesday to push for passage of a bill that would give the State University of New York more flexibility.

The Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act has languished in the State Legislature since its was first introduced a few months ago. The reforms would give SUNY more authority over setting tuition, allow for more public-private partnerships and relieve some of the obstacles in procurements.

"The best way to connect education with economic development is to have all kinds of links between the two," Paterson said. "We can't do this under the current system. We need reform"

University at Buffalo President John Simpson says he needs the flexibility this bill would provide to fully implement his UB 2020 plan. Simpson was among the education leaders who spoke in support of the bill yesterday. He says Western New Yorkers are fully behind the proposed reforms.

"They recognize how important the university is," Simpson said. "They recognize the research and innovation that comes from a successful research university is the bet they want to make on their future."

The State Senate is largely behind the SUNY legislation. But the Governor acknowledges Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has some reservations, particularly over the state giving up its control over tuition.