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Governor’s budget to cut an additional $20 million

Governor’s budget to cut an additional $20 million in support for Cornell statutory schools over next two yearsUniversity would take hit of more than 8 percent, compared to 3 percent for SUNYITHACA, N.Y. — Cornell University’s statutory schools would sustain an 8.5 percent cut in state support under the budget presented by New York Governor David Paterson Jan. 20—while support for other schools in the SUNY system will be reduced by 3 percent. For Cornell, the reductions would add up to a $20 million shortfall that administrators say couldn’t be entirely covered by increasing tuition.“We understand the gravity of the state’s fiscal situation,” said Ronald Seeber, Cornell’s vice provost for Land Grant Affairs. “However, our initial examination of the executive budget raises some serious questions about the statutory colleges at Cornell and Alfred University, which appear to be slated for proportionately larger budget reductions than the rest of the SUNY college system.”Seeber noted that in the last round of budget cuts, in December 2009, the statutory colleges at Cornell took a 5 percent cut—comparable to what other SUNY schools sustained—and questioned why Cornell and Alfred are being singled out for much larger reductions now.Nor can Cornell make up for the resulting shortfall by raising tuition. Almost half the state’s allocation to Cornell supports research and extension. Cuts in these areas are not recoverable from tuition increases.Seeber said the university was pleased to see that the Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory, which Cornell operates for the State Department of Agriculture and Markets and which protects the state’s milk supply, is slated for full funding in the 2010-11 Executive Budget.“We also agree with the governor’s judgment that higher education needs to be a centerpiece of New York’s long-term economic recovery, and on the importance of investing in the state’s research base and the development of new companies – both goals of the governor’s 2010-11 fiscal plan,” said Seeber.But he questioned whether the state could successfully pursue those goals while making it harder for the land grant colleges to provide services to key economic sectors. For example, agriculture is a $3.9 billion industry in New York, and the statutory College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell is a vital resource for the state’s dairy, wine, and vegetable and fruit producers. Alfred University is an equally valuable resource for New York’s equine industry. Cornell’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations and College of Human Ecology provide important services for the business sector, particularly New York’s textiles and health care industries, as well as to local and state government. Research conducted at Cornell makes important contributions to state economic development.“We will work closely with the state in the days ahead to more fully understand the impact of the budget proposals on the statutory colleges at Cornell,” said Seeber. “Our hope is to arrive at an agreement that acknowledges the fiscal realities facing New York while positioning its land grant schools to play a forceful role in returning the state to good economic health.”About Cornell:s New York’s land grant university, Cornell directs its education, applied research, and outreach activities to benefit the citizens of this state. There are four statutory colleges at Cornell: the College of Veterinary Medicine, which is consistently ranked number one in the country; the top-ranked College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; the School of Industrial and Labor Relations; and the College of Human Ecology. Faculty, students and staff at these colleges dedicate their efforts to applying knowledge in five focus areas: agriculture and food systems; economic and workforce development; energy conservation and development; local and regional government; and schools and youth. Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE), the largest outreach system at Cornell, has offices in 55 counties and New York City. CCE draws on the expertise of Cornell faculty and the results of their research assist individuals and communities on matters ranging from childhood development to farmland management.

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