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SUNY students, faculty, staff rally for access with Opportunity Advocacy Day

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Posted at 1:44 PM, Mar 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-11 13:45:02-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Hundreds of SUNY students, faculty and staff advocated for funding and support from state legislators as they work to finalize a budget. It's part of "Opportunity virtual advocacy day".

Students are taking on more debt each year and are taking longer to graduate because of the rising cost of higher education, according to United University Professions. Thousands apply to SUNY's educational opportunity program, but can't get in because there's not enough funding.

So students and staff are asking state legislators to pass a budget with more support for public higher education.

"That would benefit Buffalo State, Fredonia and to a certain extent, the University of Buffalo at UB," said Fred Kowal, UUP President.

They also are calling for more diversity, aiming to ensure at least a quarter of the SUNY faculty and staff positions are filled by people of color by 2025.

"We're also calling for a new program, the medical EOP, we would like to see EOP modeled as an approach to expand medical education," said Kowal.

Find a full list of UUP initiatives here: New York HEALS [click.icptrack.com].

Activists also called for fully funding the TAP program, crucial mission funding for SUNY’s public academic medical centers and aggressive tax reforms to ensure that the ultra-rich pay their fair share. After the plenary, students and activists will met virtually with lawmakers.