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Union for higher ed responds to allegations against Cuomo

“This is intolerable — it should simply not exist"
Posted at 4:34 PM, Mar 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-08 18:22:20-05

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — The nation's largest higher education union is speaking out about the sexual harassment allegations against Governor Andrew Cuomo.

The United University Professions (UUP) has been working hard, for years, to fight sexual harassment.

Fred Kowal, president, United University Professions (UUP), in Zoom interview.

“He has behaved totally inappropriately with women who have been on his staff who have worked closely with him — it's totally unacceptable,” replied Fred Kowal, president, United University Professions (UUP). “This is intolerable — it should simply not exist.”

UUP is the union that represents more than 37,000 members at SUNY campuses and public teaching hospitals statewide.

A week ago the union issued a statement calling sexual harassment allegations from two women about the governor as “deeply disturbing”.

But since then, three more women have stepped forward with similar allegations.

“I cannot put into words how brave I feel that these women are to come forward and make these accusations against the governor of the State of New York,” declared Kowal.

Fred Kowal, president, United University Professions (UUP), in Zoom interview.

“How effective can he be as a leader?”, asked Buckley. “That’s an excellent question,” responded Kowal.

“He has got to exhibit the leadership New Yorkers need right now and if he can't exhibit that leadership then I believe that the speaker is on target and I believe the governor needs to reappraise whether or not he wants to continue as governor of New York,” responded Kowal.

SUNY campuses have equity and diversity divisions and provide mandatory sexual harassment training to all its employees.

“We have gone through extensive training and we do so every year so that we are in compliance with New York State and federal law,” Kowal explained. “To ensure that the workplace is safe and always imaginable and what the governor has exhibited is behavior that strikes at the heart of that.”

Dr. Philip Glick, surgeon, University at Buffalo, president , UUP Buffalo chapter, in Zoom interview.

“For every board I stood on, for every state job that I have — we have to through sexual harassment training on a yearly basis — just got through two courses this fall,” noted Dr. Philip Glick, surgeon, University at Buffalo, president , UUP Buffalo chapter.

Dr. Glick telling 7 Eyewitness News he and his union are “intolerant” of alleged abuse or harassment of anyone.

“I think we've all learned that people in authority tend to abuse their power sometimes and men in authority have a long history of abusing their power over subordinates who are women,” Glick remarked.

Glick said in his work as a surgeon it has been so important to lead with “good behavior” and serve as role models in the workplace.

“This is something that we all learned in the operating room,” Glick said. “I really believe that it starts at the top.”

The union is calling for a full investigation into the allegations, as well as the under reported nursing home deaths by the Cuomo administration from the COVID pandemic and is awaiting the outcome of an independent investigation by the state Attorney General’s office.