SUNY students rally for maintenance of effort

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Pictured: [L-R]: (back row) Assemblymember Phil Steck, SUNY Student Assembly President Marc J. Cohen, UAlbany Graduate Student Association President Dylan Card, UAlbany Student Association President Jerlisa Fontaine, Assemblymember John T. McDonald III; (front row) Assemblymember Angelo Santabarbara, UAlbany Student Association Chief of Staff Langie Cadesca.


Last night in coordination with the University at Albany Student Association, the SUNY Student Assembly kicked off its statewide Maintenance of Effort campaign with legislative leaders from the Capital Region.

The SUNY Student Assembly continues to urge Governor Cuomo to sign Senate Bill S1596A, which provides a guarantee of the State’s Maintenance of Effort to the State University and City University systems when accounting for natural inflationary rises in expenses on campuses. This bill would prevent the burden of those expenses from being leveled on already over-burdened students.

At the event, Albany students engaged in a dialogue with Angelo Santabarbara, John T. McDonald III, and Phil Steck, members of the State Assembly from the Capital Region, each of whom discussed their support for Maintenance of Effort and how student leaders could best advocate for the signing into law of S1596A.

“When the Governor sets his priorities, [higher education] should be one of his priorities,” said Santabarbara, who represents parts of three counties and the campus of Schenectady County Community College in the Assembly.

Students also heard from SUNY Student Assembly President and SUNY Trustee Marc J. Cohen, UAlbany Student Association President Jerlisa Fontaine, and UAlbany Graduate Student Association President Dylan Card about each organization’s respective and coordinated efforts to fight for Maintenance of Effort.

“The one factor that either permits you or stops you from going to college – it’s money,” said Fontaine in her opening remarks. Cohen also made clear how grateful students should be towards the legislative representatives present. “We’re looking to ensure that the Governor and his staff know that this is a critical piece of legislation for students.”