New trustee offers student perspective to SUNY board

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SUNY Student Assembly President and newly minted SUNY board member Marc J. Cohen joined trustees in the big apple to map out the road ahead for the nation’s largest public university system.

“It’s clear after participating in my first full Board meeting that the student voice is being heard loud and clear,” said Cohen. “Important discussions were had regarding critical issues like gender inclusive policies, shared governance, and social media responsibility. But there is much to be done by way of continuing to push the state for adequate funding and working to cut administrative overhead costs on campuses. Overall I’m optimistic that this year will be one of continued progress for both SUNY and the Student Assembly.”

Cohen was one of four new board members welcomed at the meeting including former Lt. Governor Robert Duffy, Albany Med executive Courtney Eagles Burke, and attorney Edward M. Spiro. The three new trustees were appointed by the governor and confirmed by the state senate late last week.

“Our newest members are strong choices by Governor Cuomo and by our students from across the state,” said SUNY Board Chairman H. Carl McCall. “Trustees Burke, Cohen, Duffy, and Spiro will bring a unique mix of experience and perspective to our discussions as well as the policy decisions we make on behalf of SUNY students, faculty, and staff. I look forward to working with each of them as SUNY continues to deliver a quality public higher education that is accessible and affordable for all New Yorkers.”

Eleven resolutions were put forward throughout the board meetings. Issues discussed during the meetings touched on higher education along with primary and secondary education across the state.

“SUNY has set an ambitious agenda for the coming year as we continue our work toward increasing degree completion as well as expanding our collaboration with K-12 and with the state’s businesses and employers to serve our students from cradle to career while also supporting New York’s economy,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. “Our new trustees are certain to help us build upon SUNY’s promises of educational quality and affordability, and I look forward to our work together.”

Points of interest

  • Inline image 2
    Cohen and Zimpher.

    During the meeting, Cohen advocated for and made recommendations on social media usage for students put forth by a task force on social media responsibility. The suggestions included policy changes for campuses statewide, educating students and faculty on proper usage, and encouraging positive use of social media for students.

  • For the first time in about four decades, the board changed its patent policy. The new patent policy allows intellectual property to stay more within student hands. Cohen voted in favor of the change.

  • As SUNY 2020 reaches its expiration, looking to make up for loses, the board voted to raise the ticket price of state-operated campuses for out-of-state undergraduate students. Cohen voted against the tuition increase citing the need for additional state support rather than a continued financial burden on students and families.

  • Cohen abstained from a vote to raise the ticket price of tuition for out-of-state residents in community colleges across the system.

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