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Focusing In On 2020

UB on hold for now

While making some phone calls to various representatives of the State University of New York at Buffalo, State Senators and Assemblymembers, I arrived at the bottom line this morning in a conversation with Deborah Glick, the Manhattan Democrat who serves as the chairwoman of the Assembly’s Higher Education Committee. Glick says the bill won’t be going anywhere before the fall, at the earliest.

Among the concerns, according to Glick: “Well, the various provisions, and there are numerous ones, some aspects of those have been under discussion. It’s been referred to as SUNY-Flex, they want more flexibility and all of the university centers have asked to be able to do certain things…UB2020 went well beyond what had been under discussion, and what had been under discussion had certain problems of oversight elimination that were of concern to the legislature. The UB 2020 provisions were dramatically more extreme, going so far as to eliminate any role for either the SUNY trustees or the Chancellor in oversight and decision-making. It also would’ve eliminated the review by the State Attorney General or the State Comptroller over contract reviews. And those are things that I think are pretty untenable if you are continuing to expect significant state support.”

Among other things, the bill, as it was passed in the Senate, would allow the president of UB to form private entities like not-for-profits and LLCs without state approval, which would then be able to operate beyond the reach of the Freedom of Information and Open Meetings Laws.

“In essence the bill created a private university that was still part of the state university,” Glick said. “Some of the issues that have come up repeatedly over time have been the desire of university centers to lease or sell their land without any legislative input, so they could move quickly. Well, some of those restrictions are there because of misdeeds in the past that pointed out the potential problems that that might create.”

buck quigley

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