Public Hearing - February 04, 2021

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 2  ----------------------------------------------------


 4             In the Matter of the
          2021-2022 EXECUTIVE BUDGET ON
 5               HIGHER EDUCATION
 6  ----------------------------------------------------

 7                           Virtual Hearing
                             Conducted Online via Zoom
                             February 4, 2021
 9                           9:32 a.m.
             Senator Liz Krueger
12           Chair, Senate Finance Committee
13           Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein
             Chair, Assembly Ways & Means Committee
             Senator Thomas F. O'Mara
16           Senate Finance Committee (RM)
17           Assemblyman Edward P. Ra 
             Assembly Ways & Means Committee (RM)
             Assemblywoman Deborah J. Glick
19           Chair, Assembly Higher Education Committee
20           Senator Toby Stavisky
             Chair, Senate Higher Education Committee
             Assemblyman Erik M. Dilan
             Senator John C. Liu
             Assemblywoman Karen McMahon


 1  2021-2022 Executive Budget
    Higher Education 
 2  2-4-21
 3  PRESENT:  (Continued)
 4           Assemblyman William Conrad
 5           Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon 
 6           Senator Diane J. Savino
 7           Assemblyman Steve Englebright
 8           Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy
 9           Assemblywoman Rebecca A. Seawright
10           Assemblyman Al Stirpe
11           Senator Pete Harckham
12           Assemblywoman Alicia Hyndman 
13           Assemblyman Harvey Epstein
14           Assemblyman Doug Smith
15           Senator Andrew Gounardes
16           Assemblywoman Diana C. Richardson
17           Senator James Gaughran
18           Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn
19           Senator Shelley B. Mayer
20           Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon
21           Assemblyman Jake Ashby
22           Senator Gustavo Rivera
23           Assemblywoman Judy Griffin
24           Assemblyman Victor M. Pichardo


 1  2021-2022 Executive Budget
    Higher Education 
 2  2-4-21
 3  PRESENT:  (Continued)
 4           Assemblywoman Vivian E. Cook
 5           Assemblyman Mark Walczyk
 6           Senator Robert Jackson
 7           Assemblywoman Sarah Clark
 8           Assemblyman Kevin M. Byrne
 9           Assemblywoman Phara Souffrant Forrest
10           Assemblyman Garett Gandolfo
11           Senator Jeremy A. Cooney 
12           Assemblyman Robert Smullen
13           Assemblyman Steven Otis
14           Senator Peter Oberacker
15           Assemblyman John Salka
16           Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski
17           Assemblywoman Latoya Joyner
18           Senator James Tedisco
19           Assemblyman Mike Lawler
20           Assemblywoman Inez E. Dickens
21           Assemblyman Michael Reilly
22           Senator Phil Boyle
23           Assemblyman Philip A. Palmesano
24           Senator Joseph A. Griffo


 1  2021-2022 Executive Budget
    Higher Education 
 2  2-4-21
 3  PRESENT:  (Continued)
 4           Assemblywoman Marcela Mitaynes
 5           Senator Elijah Reichlin-Melnick
 6           Assemblyman Jeffrion L. Aubry
 8                   LIST OF SPEAKERS
 9                                     STATEMENT  QUESTIONS
10  Jim Malatras
    Chancellor                             12       22
    Félix V. Matos Rodríguez
12  Chancellor 
    City University of New York           173      183
    Betty A. Rosa
14  Interim Commissioner
    NYS Education Department              274      282
    Dr. Guillermo Linares
16  President 
    Elsa Magee
17  Executive Vice President 
    NYS Higher Education
18   Services Corporation                 328      332
19  Andrew Pallotta
20  New York State United Teachers                                
21  Barbara Bowen
22  Professional Staff Congress 
23  Frederick Kowal 
24  United University Professions         371      381


 1  2021-2022 Executive Budget
    Higher Education
 2  2-4-21
 3                   LIST OF SPEAKERS, Cont. 
 4                                    STATEMENT  QUESTIONS
 5  Juvanie Piquant
 6  CUNY University Student Senate       
 7  Brad Hershenson
 8  SUNY Student Assembly                 408      416
 9  Drew Bogner
    Interim President
10  Commission on Independent 
     Colleges and Universities 
11   (CICU)                              
12  Donna Stelling-Gurnett
13  Association of Proprietary 
     Colleges (APC)                       443      450
    Samuel Rowser
15  Executive Director
    On Point for College                 
16      -and-
    Diana E. Cruz
17  Director of Education
18  Hispanic Federation                   479      487
19  Ryan Law
    University Police Officers
20   Director
    PBA President
21  Police Benevolent Association 
     of New York State                    495      497



 1  2021-2022 Executive Budget
    Higher Education
 2  2-4-21
 3                   LIST OF SPEAKERS, Cont. 
 4                                    STATEMENT  QUESTIONS
 5  Lennyn A. Jacob
 6  CUNY Coalition for Students
     with Disabilities (CCSD)
 7      -and-
    Shawn Denise Landry
 8  President
    Friends of Liberty
 9      -and-
    Michael A. Molina
10  President
    Association of Program 
11   Administrators for CSTEP and
     STEP, Inc. (APACS)
12      -and-
    Ahmat Adam Djouma
13  Student
    SUNY Albany
14      -and-
    Jean Halloran
15  Policy Advisor
    Center for Food Safety                506      519









 1                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Good morning.  

 2          I am Helene Weinstein, chair of the New York 

 3          State Assembly Ways and Means Committee and 

 4          the cochair of today's hearing.

 5                 Today we will begin the sixth in a 

 6          series of hearings conducted by the joint 

 7          fiscal committees of the Legislature 

 8          regarding the Governor's proposed budget for 

 9          fiscal year 2021-2022.  And the hearings are 

10          conducted pursuant to New York State 

11          Constitution and the Legislative Law.

12                 Today our committees will hear 

13          testimony concerning the Governor's budget 

14          proposal for higher education.

15                 Let me acknowledge the members of -- 

16          the Democratic members of the Assembly who 

17          are here.  Senator Krueger, chair of the 

18          Senate Finance Committee, will introduce her 

19          members from the Senate.  And then our 

20          ranking members, respectively, will introduce 

21          their members.

22                 So we have with us the chair of the 

23          Assembly's Higher Education Committee, 

24          Assemblywoman Deborah Glick.  We have 


 1          Assemblyman Conrad, Assemblyman Dilan, 

 2          Assemblyman Englebright, Assemblyman Epstein, 

 3          Assemblywoman Hyndman, Assemblywoman 

 4          Richardson, and Assemblyman Stirpe.  I'm sure 

 5          other members will join us as we continue.

 6                 Senator Krueger, if you want to 

 7          introduce your Senate colleagues.

 8                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you so 

 9          much, Assemblywoman.  

10                 Of course we're joined by the chair of 

11          the Higher Ed Committee, Senator Toby 

12          Stavisky.  We're also joined this morning by 

13          Senator Diane Savino, Senator Gustavo Rivera, 

14          Senator Pete Harckham, Senator Robert 

15          Jackson, Senator Shelley Mayer, chair of 

16          Education.  Those things seem to go together 

17          all the time, higher ed and education.  

18          Sorry.  

19                 Senator -- no, that's it for 

20          Democratic Senators.

21                 I would, if you don't mind, pass it to 

22          Senator Tom O'Mara, my ranker on Finance, to 

23          introduce his members.

24                 SENATOR O'MARA:  Good morning, 


 1          Chairwoman Krueger.  Thank you.

 2                 We have been joined thus far on our 

 3          side of the aisle by Senator Peter Oberacker.

 4                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  And before I go 

 5          to our ranker, we've also been joined by 

 6          Assemblywoman Cook, Assemblywoman Clark, 

 7          Assemblyman Pichardo.  

 8                 And now I'd like to introduce the 

 9          ranker on Ways and Means, Assemblyman Ed Ra, 

10          for introduction of his conference members.

11                 ASSEMBLYMAN RA:  Thank you, 

12          Chairwoman.  Good morning.

13                 We are joined by the ranking member on 

14          the Higher Education Committee, Mark Walczyk, 

15          as well as Assemblymembers Byrne, Smullen and 

16          Gandolfo.

17                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Just before I 

18          introduce the first witness, I just want to 

19          remind the witnesses and the members that -- 

20          to keep your eye on the clock.  It's 

21          particularly important with the virtual 

22          hearings; we've been having more 

23          participation, which is good, but it also 

24          extends the hearings.  And we want to make 


 1          sure that everybody has a chance to both 

 2          speak as a witness and be able to have the 

 3          opportunity to ask questions as a member.

 4                 So just to go over the -- sort of the 

 5          ground rules, governmental entities -- and we 

 6          have four today -- will get 10 minutes to 

 7          make an oral presentation.  And we're going 

 8          to be starting just in a few moments with a 

 9          presentation from our SUNY Chancellor, 

10          Dr. Jim Malatras.  

11                 Then we'll hear testimony from other 

12          witnesses after the four -- typically, 

13          nongovernmental witnesses who have asked to 

14          testify here today.  These witnesses each 

15          have three minutes to make an oral 

16          presentation.

17                 In terms of members, the chairs of the 

18          Higher Ed Committees will each have -- and 

19          Ways and Means and Finance Committee -- will 

20          each have 10 minutes to ask questions.  

21          That's for both questions and answers.  The 

22          ranking members of the respective committees 

23          will have five minutes.  

24                 All other members have three minutes 


 1          to ask a question, and the three minutes is 

 2          for the witness to respond.  So it's three 

 3          minutes total for both question and answer.  

 4          So don't use your three minutes to ask a 

 5          question and then say what do you think, 

 6          because we will not have time to hear the 

 7          answer.  

 8                 And if people adhere to the 

 9          guidelines, I think we'll be able to have a 

10          really lively discussion today.  

11                 And with that, let me just -- I think 

12          we've been joined by a few more members.  So 

13          I see Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon is here, 

14          Assemblywoman Buttenschon, Assemblywoman 

15          Fahy, Assemblywoman Forrest, Assemblyman 

16          Otis, and Assemblywoman Seawright.

17                 So with that -- and I'm sure as -- 

18          yes.

19                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you, one 

20          more Senator, Senator Jeremy Cooney.  Thank 

21          you.  And Senator Gaughran.  

22                 SENATOR O'MARA:  And we've been joined 

23          by Senator Jim Tedisco as well, on our side.  

24          Thank you.


 1                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.  

 2          Sorry, Helene.  

 3                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  No problem.  

 4                 And just for the members, we want you 

 5          to know that if you want to get on a list to 

 6          ask a question, you can use the raised hand 

 7          function on Zoom.  

 8                 We also have enabled the chat room -- 

 9          not to make comments, but if you have a 

10          question about the order of the members or a 

11          question about a contact information, please 

12          feel free to use the chat.  Or if you need to 

13          explain why you need to take a little break 

14          and to come back, we will -- I monitor that 

15          as well.

16                 So with that, we're very anxious to 

17          hear from our new chancellor, Chancellor Jim 

18          Malatras, someone known to many of us for 

19          quite a while.

20                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  Thank you.  

21          Good morning, Chairpersons Krueger, 

22          Weinstein, Stavisky and Glick, and all the 

23          members of the Senate and the Assembly, as 

24          well as their staff.  That clock of course is 


 1          intimidating as it ticks down, so I will go 

 2          quickly.  

 3                 As a former legislative staffer, I 

 4          appreciate all that you do to put together 

 5          these hearings.  

 6                 I am Jim Malatras.  I'm the 

 7          14th chancellor of the State University of 

 8          New York.  I'm honored to be the first SUNY 

 9          graduate to ever serve as chancellor.  On 

10          behalf of the Board of Trustees, I'd like to 

11          thank you for the opportunity to discuss the 

12          2021-2022 Executive Budget.

13                 We have provided our full budget 

14          submission to the members for consideration, 

15          but today I would like to briefly address 

16          several of those important issues.

17                 Students are the lifeblood of SUNY.  

18          Even in tough economic times as a result of 

19          the pandemic, it is critical to protect key 

20          access programs such as TAP, EOP and EOC.  We 

21          have made this our top priority and are happy 

22          that the Governor has held these critical 

23          programs harmless in the Executive Budget.  

24          We are heartened by the Legislature's strong 


 1          and unwavering support for these programs as 

 2          well.

 3                 The pandemic has greatly strained our 

 4          students, and every dollar matters.  That's 

 5          why we did not raise tuition this year, 

 6          though we would like to continue to have the 

 7          authority to make reasonable increases in the 

 8          future, and support the Executive's extension 

 9          of the Predictable Tuition program.  

10                 Our research and doctoral universities 

11          are second to none and have done amazing 

12          work, from developing the world's 

13          number-one-ranked COVID-19 saliva test to 

14          developing the next generation of lithium-ion 

15          batteries to help combat climate change.  We 

16          support the Executive's budget proposal to 

17          provide flexible tuition for these 

18          institutions to continue to invest in 

19          world-leading research while ensuring access 

20          for not just disadvantaged students, but for 

21          all SUNY students.  

22                 Because of your investment in SUNY, 

23          resident tuition is significantly lower than 

24          most other states, and with the extension of 


 1          predictable tuition we will keep it that way 

 2          and avoid the unforeseen staggering increases 

 3          of the past.  

 4                 Because of the global health crisis, 

 5          students are struggling with social and 

 6          physical isolation, economic anxiety, and 

 7          academic normalcy.  In September, SUNY rolled 

 8          out a comprehensive mental health and 

 9          wellness program called ReachOutSUNY, 

10          expanding mental health and wellness services 

11          for every student.  But to ensure students 

12          have access, we'd like to invest more in the 

13          program, including additional telehealth and 

14          peer-to-peer counseling.  

15                 Students are also struggling with 

16          everyday expenses.  Thanks to Governor Cuomo, 

17          New York State is combating food insecurity 

18          by expanding SNAP benefits to 75,000 SUNY and 

19          CUNY income-eligible college students.  But 

20          only 23 percent of our eligible students take 

21          advantage of this important program.  To 

22          increase use of the program, we now are 

23          automatically helping enroll our EOC students 

24          into SNAP.  That's nearly 10,000 students, 


 1          and something we're very proud of.  

 2                 Although this is an important step 

 3          forward, we're always looking for additional 

 4          investment to help meet the nutritional 

 5          demands of our students.  

 6                 We must continue to rise to the 

 7          challenge of defeating COVID.  

 8                 First, SUNY has produced tests and PPE 

 9          that are helping to defeat this virus.  We 

10          want to continue our work and welcome your 

11          support of a new "SUNY COVID Response Fund" 

12          to help expand critical healthcare capacity, 

13          increase testing capacity, and to expand 

14          much-needed PPE manufacturing in the State of 

15          New York.  

16                 Second, we must support the critical 

17          demand for additional healthcare staff.  

18          We've seen a 21 percent increase in 

19          applications this year at our four medical 

20          schools.  

21                 New York State needs over 250,000 

22          additional nurses by 2028, and we at SUNY can 

23          meet that demand, but we lack the necessary 

24          space, especially at our community colleges. 


 1          Therefore, we respectfully request 

 2          $20 million to expand our clinical spaces to 

 3          meet that growing demand.  

 4                 In addition, we are facing urgent 

 5          staffing challenges at our SUNY hospitals.  

 6          We are requesting authorization to 

 7          temporarily provide additional financial 

 8          incentives to retain our healthcare staff at 

 9          our SUNY hospitals.  

10                 Now more than ever, new jobs require 

11          some type of post-secondary credentialing, 

12          yet millions of New Yorkers, many who are 

13          struggling for the next job or career 

14          opportunity, have not completed college.  

15          It's projected that 70 percent of all new 

16          jobs in the United States will require 

17          post-secondary education by 2027.  Currently, 

18          more than 2.2 million New Yorkers between the 

19          ages of 25 and 44 have no degree.  

20                 The pandemic has caused real harm to 

21          our institutions. Our enrollment overall is 

22          down 5.3 percent year-over-year.  However, 

23          while the pandemic may have exacerbated our 

24          challenges, it did not create them.  Overall, 


 1          our enrollment has declined 16 percent over 

 2          the past decade.  

 3                 We must adapt to the changing economic 

 4          landscape.  This has only been accelerated by 

 5          the pandemic.  This challenge presents an 

 6          opportunity, but we need your help.  We've 

 7          announced a new campaign called SUNY For All, 

 8          where we focus on every segment of New York. 

 9                 We recently launched a SUNY Online 

10          Training Center that offers 20 free college 

11          preparation and certifications in high-demand 

12          industries, like healthcare and advanced 

13          manufacturing, to those underemployed or 

14          unemployed.  Graduates are automatically 

15          accepted with no application fee into any of 

16          our 30 community colleges and two of our 

17          four-year institutions.  

18                 The Governor in his State of the State 

19          called for the expansion of this program, and 

20          we'd welcome the Legislature's support as 

21          well.  

22                 Second, we want to focus on emerging 

23          industries that provide well-paying jobs.  

24          One area is green jobs.  Thanks to 


 1          Governor Cuomo and the Legislature, the state 

 2          has created ambitious goals to reduce our 

 3          carbon footprint -- and SUNY can fuel the 

 4          needed workforce for the state.  

 5                 The state's $20 million investment in 

 6          the Offshore Wind Training Institute is a 

 7          huge step forward, and we'd like to build on 

 8          that momentum by creating the SUNY Clean 

 9          Energy Workforce Academy, mobilizing colleges 

10          from all corners of the state to create 

11          academic, apprenticeship, and training 

12          programs that focus on sustainability and 

13          clean energy workforce areas in their direct 

14          locations, and fast-tracking prospective 

15          students to provide them with the credentials 

16          necessary to meet the emerging workforce 

17          needs in that area.  

18                 Finally, we must keep up with our 

19          competitors if we are to thrive.  For 

20          instance, more than 50,000 New Yorkers are 

21          enrolled in online programs outside of 

22          New York, in many cases because SUNY cannot 

23          offer the modern programs that they want.  

24          Getting those students back will help with 


 1          our enrollment challenges.  

 2                 Yet program approvals for high-demand 

 3          areas are met with a lengthy process.  On 

 4          average, it takes 221 days before receiving 

 5          final approval for a new program.  

 6                 In comparison, 35 other states have no 

 7          state-level approval.  And in states that are 

 8          similar in composition to New York State, the 

 9          approval process ranges from approximately 

10          40 days (Massachusetts) to 60 days 

11          (Maryland).  

12                 We are already accredited by 

13          independent bodies and have a robust internal 

14          review.  But we would like to work to 

15          modernize the process in New York to reverse 

16          our significant disadvantage, which results 

17          in lost revenue for SUNY programs that 

18          benefit students, and for New York.  

19                 But we're not just confronting COVID 

20          and its many effects.  The stress of cultural 

21          and political division has frayed the social 

22          fabric of this nation, and SUNY isn't immune 

23          to the impact of it.  We have a lot of work 

24          to do to make SUNY more diverse, equitable, 


 1          and inclusive.  Recently, we've appointed 

 2          several phenomenal diverse college presidents 

 3          at Old Westbury, Monroe Community College, 

 4          and Upstate Medical University.  

 5                 But we must strengthen our career 

 6          ladders for our diverse faculty members.  We 

 7          need to do more.  With your help, we will 

 8          continue to invest in other areas as well, 

 9          like the recently created Hispanic Leadership 

10          Institute.  And we're finalizing an action 

11          plan that will focus on things such as 

12          developing curricula towards racial equity 

13          and strengthening the role of the chief 

14          diversity officer on every campus.  

15                 We're happy that the Executive Budget 

16          includes substantial restoration of offsets 

17          caused by the collapse of revenue, as well as 

18          capital investments.  Your continued 

19          investment in SUNY has paid dividends for 

20          millions of New Yorkers.  According to the 

21          Opportunity Study, 13 SUNY institutions rank 

22          among the best in advancing economic and 

23          social mobility.  

24                 While many things today are uncertain, 


 1          SUNY is not.  We thank you for your support, 

 2          and I would be happy to answer any of your 

 3          questions.  

 4                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  And 

 5          thank you for keeping mind of the clock.

 6                 Now we go to our Higher Education 

 7          chair, Deborah Glick, for 10 minutes.

 8                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN GLICK:  Thank you very 

 9          much, Chancellor.  Very happy to have you 

10          here.  I'm unmuted?  

11                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  You are 

12          unmuted.

13                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN GLICK:  Okay, great.  

14          What I'm going to do is cut off my video to 

15          ensure that my bandwidth stays solid, or at 

16          least not completely unstable.

17                 The -- over the years, the TAP gap has 

18          grown with each successive increase in 

19          tuition.  The predictable tuition that grows 

20          at $200 a year adds to the TAP gap.  How 

21          large is the TAP gap currently?  And have you 

22          and the board discussed with the Governor 

23          changes that would help reduce that strain on 

24          campuses?


 1                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  Right 

 2          now -- Chair, thank you for that question.  

 3          And thank you for having me today.  

 4                 I believe currently the TAP gap is 

 5          about $69 million, roughly.  This year we've 

 6          talked long-term about the future stability 

 7          of the system.  This is one of those areas.  

 8          We are also mindful of the economic 

 9          considerations, given COVID and the 

10          challenges there.  So this is a project that 

11          we will focus on long-term.  

12                 In many cases our campuses, of course, 

13          through the SUNY 2020 program of 2011 make up 

14          the difference to make sure our students have 

15          access.  And this year in particular, we were 

16          most concerned that the critical access 

17          programs -- EOP, EOC, TAP program -- were 

18          held harmless.  But this is something that 

19          our campuses would like to work on.  This is 

20          a concern to them long-term, and this is 

21          something we will have to continue to work on 

22          in the future.

23                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN GLICK:  In that same 

24          vein, the issue of fees -- because, over 


 1          time, there were frozen years without tuition 

 2          increases, campuses have resorted to using 

 3          fees.  Now, as we've discussed privately, I'm 

 4          not concerned about a parking fee, but fees 

 5          for things that are integral to a student's 

 6          academic work -- a technology fee or the 

 7          like.  

 8                 Do you have plans to work on reducing 

 9          fees and making them part of the tuition?  As 

10          we increase tuition $200 a year, which is of 

11          course the request of the Governor, is there 

12          some plan to fold in those essential 

13          fees that students can't avoid but need for 

14          their academic work?

15                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  Thank you, 

16          Chair.

17                 The fees are something that I have 

18          spent a lot of time on.  Just on the 

19          predictable tuition point, we're just asking 

20          for authorization -- not that we would 

21          increase tuition every year.  The Board of 

22          Trustees and I were very mindful of the 

23          economic considerations of our students this 

24          year, and we forwent our ability to raise the 


 1          tuition $200.  We convened with our 

 2          presidents and other leaders on campus to 

 3          have that discussion.  

 4                 With respect to fees, the pandemic of 

 5          course has given life to a lot of these 

 6          issues.  In many cases we worked with our 

 7          University Centers, they reduced some of 

 8          their fees upwards of 25 percent this year, 

 9          mindful of the students' needs.  

10                 I do think we would like to work on 

11          rationalizing the fees.  I think we've 

12          discussed this in the past.  

13                 The issue of our research centers is 

14          something that needs attention.  If they are 

15          going to be the sort of research innovation 

16          juggernauts in the country -- and I think 

17          they are already, but we can take it a step 

18          further.  Whether it's Stony Brook University 

19          or Albany, Buffalo and Binghamton -- 

20          Binghamton is doing some fantastic work -- 

21          they have in many cases a higher fee 

22          structure to support that research, but it's 

23          not aidable.  So that's something we'd like 

24          to consider as well.


 1                 But we have taken great care, at least 

 2          over my short tenure as chancellor -- I began 

 3          at the end of August -- on reducing some of 

 4          the fees over the course of the pandemic, 

 5          especially when those services were not being 

 6          offered to students -- athletic fees being 

 7          some of those fees, transportation fees -- 

 8          and then rationalizing the process overall.

 9                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN GLICK:  Let me go to a 

10          couple of other areas.  

11                 Obviously, with the pandemic, we are 

12          concerned about the increase in mental health 

13          concerns and the strain and stress that this 

14          has put on everyone, especially students.  

15          And the -- there is a rather modest part of 

16          the budget, the telehealth part, that is 

17          actually cut in the Governor's budget.  I 

18          think you said you would hope to increase 

19          that.  

20                 Again, have there been any discussions 

21          in making that more available across the 

22          system?

23                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  It's an 

24          important point.


 1                 I -- one of the things I've done as 

 2          chancellor, I've met with I think about 50 of 

 3          the 64 student groups in the individual 

 4          campuses.  And the issue that comes up time 

 5          and time again are mental health services and 

 6          wellness services.  

 7                 It has been a difficult time for our 

 8          students, like it has been for all of us.  We 

 9          are all convened on Zoom; I've never had a 

10          budget hearing in my long career in 

11          government in Albany via Zoom.  It's an 

12          interesting way of dealing with this.  But 

13          we're all adapting.  

14                 But if you think about what students 

15          are going through, living on campus -- we had 

16          to reduce density.  They're largely living by 

17          themselves.  They don't have many of those 

18          activities in person to connect them as part 

19          of the college experience, and they're 

20          struggling.  

21                 So we did come up with a really 

22          comprehensive program in September and 

23          October called ReachOutSUNY.  This was 

24          undertaken by the Board of Trustees, and the 


 1          Board of Trustees should be thanked for their 

 2          leadership on this issue.  And it was 

 3          tasked -- it's headed by President Stanley of 

 4          Oswego and President Riley of SUNY Downstate.  

 5          But we came up with a comprehensive plan.  

 6                 Telehealth hubs, using Downstate 

 7          Medical and Upstate Medical psychiatric and 

 8          other services -- an important step for our 

 9          students.  They've many inquiries, I think 

10          upwards of 500 or so inquiries and use of 

11          those telehealth services.  

12                 We expanded the peer-to-peer network 

13          services used by the University at Albany.  

14          They're a wonderful peer-to-peer service, but 

15          we want to expand those things.  

16                 We're doing training and we want to 

17          expand our training, something students have 

18          asked us for, especially training our RDs and 

19          RAs in crisis management.  Because we've had 

20          situations, crisis situations on our campuses 

21          that we've had to deal with.  We would like 

22          to have more investment in that.  We think 

23          the small investment that we've asked for is 

24          money well spent.  We have shown a tremendous 


 1          return on investment.  

 2                 We're not asking for a lot of money on 

 3          this, but this is really important, the 

 4          overall well-being of our student body.  And 

 5          without students, we're not really a college 

 6          system.  So we're doing everything in our 

 7          power to expand those services.  And any help 

 8          you would provide, we would absolutely take, 

 9          because our students really need it.

10                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN GLICK:  Let me ask you 

11          two more questions, as time is -- it's like 

12          watching sand through an hourglass.  Two 

13          different areas.  

14                 One has to do with the withholding of 

15          either transcripts or the preventing of 

16          registration for small amounts of money.  At 

17          what -- you know, we'd like to understand 

18          what the dynamics of that are and how much, 

19          essentially, your receivables are in that 

20          area.

21                 And then the other thing I'd like you 

22          to address is we're very happy that there is 

23          some focus on green jobs.  I think the 

24          community colleges do a great job in 


 1          responding to what's happening in the world.  

 2          But how much would the Workforce Academy -- 

 3          you know, how much money do you need to get 

 4          that going?  And is there a plan for SUNY to 

 5          move forward with all of its capital 

 6          investments going forward in actually 

 7          employing green technologies?

 8                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  So we'll 

 9          try to answer this, because I see the clock 

10          ticking too.  

11                 On the green jobs side, I think this 

12          is one of our most exciting areas, because 

13          the future job growth is significant.  I 

14          think that is the future.  I think they're 

15          well-paying jobs.  I think the Green Academy, 

16          which brings together many of the important 

17          programs that we have across the state 

18          system, from our community colleges to our 

19          four-year schools, could be between 

20          $2 million and $5 million to stand it up in a 

21          real and meaningful way.  

22                 The return on investment on that would 

23          be huge, though.  I mean, you're thinking of 

24          tens of thousands of jobs being created in 


 1          the State of New York.  

 2                 On the side of the capital investment, 

 3          I think you required, under the CLCPA -- 

 4          which was a big step forward for the State of 

 5          New York on addressing climate change -- the 

 6          SUNY system had to reduce their carbon 

 7          footprint, the greenhouse gas emissions, by 

 8          37 percent, I believe by 2030.  

 9                 We've already achieved a 40 percent 

10          reduction in our system, so we take this very 

11          seriously.  I was president of Empire State 

12          College, one of our new facilities that was 

13          built in Saratoga, which used geothermal 

14          power.  So we're taking this seriously.  We 

15          want to decarbonize our electric system.  

16                 And we want to do something different 

17          we haven't always done, which are use the 

18          students that we're training in our various 

19          programs to participate in the jobs that 

20          we're creating because of the green energy 

21          revolution on our campuses.  I want to do 

22          more as chancellor to connect those things.

23                 And the final point on the fees, that 

24          is something that is a concern to me.  We 


 1          will get you the specific details.  I think 

 2          it's in the realm of $64 million of unpaid 

 3          fees, things that are impacting about 

 4          18,000 students.  But many of our campuses 

 5          have been really mindful of not putting holds 

 6          on transcripts, not letting people suffer 

 7          economically because of the economic 

 8          considerations.  

 9                 I did this at Empire State College 

10          when I was still president in March, April 

11          and May as well, of last year.  So we've been 

12          mindful of that.  

13                 But I will get you all the exact 

14          details on it.  But it's about $64 million 

15          and about 18,000 students.

16                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN GLICK:  Thank you very 

17          much.  I appreciate that.  And I'm very sorry 

18          for you being a Jets fan.

19                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  I -- 

20          well ...

21                 (Laughter.)

22                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  

23                 And since we started, we've been 

24          joined by a number of members:  Assemblywoman 


 1          McMahon, Assemblywoman Griffin, Assemblyman 

 2          Zebrowski.  

 3                 And in the Republican Conference, our 

 4          colleagues Assemblyman Smith, Assemblyman 

 5          Lawler, Assemblyman Reilly, Assemblyman Ashby 

 6          and Assemblyman Palmesano.

 7                 And now we go to the Senate.

 8                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you very 

 9          much.  

10                 We have been joined by 

11          Senator Gounardes, Senator Savino, Senator 

12          Boyle, the ranker on Higher Ed, and 

13          Senator Griffo.  

14                 And I confess I don't really follow 

15          football, but I follow New York State, and I 

16          think you just alienated everyone north of 

17          Poughkeepsie.  I'm not sure, but I think you 

18          did that, Chancellor.  So you'll have to make 

19          up for that.

20                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  To my 

21          defense, though, I am originally from the 

22          great State of New Jersey, although I moved 

23          to New York when I was just a wee lad of 

24          6 years of age.  But still, I feel like a 


 1          certain kindred spirit to my suffering 

 2          New York Jets in New Jersey.

 3                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Okay, since we're 

 4          outing each other, I moved out of New Jersey 

 5          at age 17.  I still don't follow the Jets.

 6                 (Laughter.)

 7                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  But with that, 

 8          our chair --

 9                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  You're a 

10          happier person for it.

11                 (Laughter.)

12                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  There you go.  

13                 Toby Stavisky, chair of our Higher 

14          Ed Committee, to get us back on track.  Come 

15          off mute, Toby.

16                 SENATOR STAVISKY:  Okay.  Am I 

17          unmuted?  

18                 THE MODERATOR:  Yes, we can hear you.

19                 SENATOR STAVISKY:  Okay, good.  

20                 I'm agnostic on the Jets and the 

21          Giants.  But Buffalo is the only team in 

22          New York.

23                 (Laughter.)

24                 SENATOR STAVISKY:  Chancellor, thank 


 1          you very much for joining us.  

 2                 Let me ask you, as a first question, 

 3          10 years the state support for both CUNY and 

 4          SUNY combined was 46 percent.  Tuition was 

 5          54 percent of the operating side of the 

 6          budget.  Now, it's 32 percent.  It went 

 7          from -- the state support went from 46 down 

 8          to 32, and the tuition increased from 

 9          54 percent to 68 percent, which to me is 

10          trending in the wrong direction.

11                 Can you discuss this?

12                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  Thank you, 

13          Chair.  And --

14                 SENATOR STAVISKY:  And perhaps even 

15          more, the solutions?

16                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  The numbers 

17          have trended in that direction.  I do think 

18          we -- as you're going to hear from many 

19          people today, that they would want more 

20          investment.  I am not alone in that, 

21          probably, of course, of folks.

22                 I do believe, though, that we have an 

23          ability to change our financial situation 

24          where other sectors do not, through 


 1          enrollment and others things.  And for 

 2          instance, so when you see 50,000 New Yorkers, 

 3          those are folks that should be at a SUNY 

 4          institution or a CUNY institution, for 

 5          instance.  Chancellor Matos Rodriguez and I 

 6          work very closely.  Many of his residents 

 7          from New York come to my schools; many of our 

 8          residents from upstate go to his schools.  

 9          We're losing those students.  So we have an 

10          ability to turn that around, I believe, 

11          through enrollment.

12                 I do believe that targeted investment 

13          to show, to demonstrate to you return on 

14          investment is important.  I do think in this 

15          current environment, where there are economic 

16          challenges, as long as we're providing access 

17          to our students -- that's the key piece for 

18          us.  That's why we asked for this first, 

19          direct access and support to our students.  

20          If we have students enrolled, we will thrive.  

21          We can thrive on that basis.  But when 

22          students struggle and they can't maintain 

23          their college activities because of economic 

24          conditions or lost tuition assistance or lost 


 1          tuition support or scholarships, then we are 

 2          more harmed than ever.  

 3                 So we're focusing on those areas where 

 4          we can really show value to our students, 

 5          reverse the enrollment trend.  

 6                 The pandemic, as I mentioned, 

 7          exacerbated and accelerated some of our 

 8          decline, but our enrollment has been 

 9          declining for more than a decade.  So we're 

10          always looking for investment.  

11                 We would like targeted investment.  We 

12          mentioned some areas where we think we can be 

13          a net benefit for the State of New York.  I 

14          think the clean energy space is a really 

15          important area for us.  I think the online 

16          training, some of those high-demand 

17          certificates, I think are really important 

18          and will help.  I think the healthcare 

19          sector, that's one area of significant 

20          growth.  We've seen our applications actually 

21          increase on healthcare enrollment.  But we 

22          need help with building out our clinical and 

23          other space to meet that demand.  

24                 I think sort of -- certain targeted 


 1          investment is the way we'd like to go to show 

 2          you, as legislators, that what you're giving 

 3          to us is actual money well spent, and that 

 4          we'll do in a meaningful way.  But we do want 

 5          to protect key access programs for our 

 6          students because we don't want them falling 

 7          further behind.  EOP is an absolutely 

 8          important program, for instance.

 9                 SENATOR STAVISKY:  Thank you.  You 

10          mentioned the healthcare aspect of higher ed, 

11          which I know is growing -- the SUNY 

12          hospitals, in particular.  For a number of 

13          years we've tried to get the state to absorb 

14          the debt service; it's about 46 or so million 

15          dollars.  All of the other agencies -- and 

16          I -- their debt service is paid by the state, 

17          I understand.  

18                 What can we do to get the state to pay 

19          that debt service for the SUNY hospitals and 

20          relieve them of that expenditure?  

21                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  I think the 

22          state has taken on some of that debt.  I'll 

23          have to confer with my budget folks.  

24                 But we are proud -- and this is 


 1          because of the work of the Legislature as 

 2          well as the Governor.  We're one of the few 

 3          systems where you pay for our fringe 

 4          benefits, you pay for a lot of our other 

 5          services that many campuses and public 

 6          systems do not have.  And that is a 

 7          significant investment by the state, so we 

 8          appreciate that.

 9                 On the hospital side, especially on 

10          the debt side, our hospitals have been 

11          working very closely with the state as well 

12          as with the federal government through this 

13          pandemic, and through the stimulus actions, 

14          to try to get some more federal money as 

15          well.  So we're going to be focusing on both 

16          of those areas.  

17                 I think, Senator, you raised a good 

18          point.  Our hospitals have stood up and met 

19          the challenges of COVID in a major way.  Our 

20          SUNY Upstate Medical University was not only 

21          the folks who came up with the world-leading 

22          saliva test, they're currently dealing with 

23          COVID-positive patients and they actually 

24          sent many of their staff to other hospitals 


 1          in the spring to deal with the challenges.  

 2          They didn't have to, but they did it.  

 3                 SUNY Downstate took on being a 

 4          COVID-only hospital in the spring.  Giving 

 5          back to the communities?  That's a big thing.  

 6          And even the vaccine, which we're all hoping 

 7          that we get more of.  The Pfizer vaccine, who 

 8          was the principal investigator of the Pfizer 

 9          vaccine?  That was Upstate Medical 

10          University.

11                 So I think we've demonstrated time and 

12          time again through our hospitals that public 

13          SUNY hospitals can make a meaningful 

14          difference, provide real support and care.  

15          But any way we can get more resources to them 

16          to keep doing all these phenomenal things, we 

17          will work with you on.

18                 SENATOR STAVISKY:  Yeah, they are 

19          producing.  And I think we've got to 

20          recognize our obligation toward those SUNY 

21          hospitals and certainly the people who work 

22          at them.

23                 Let me get into a couple of other 

24          areas.  You mentioned in your testimony the 


 1          7 1/2 months it takes for new programs.  And 

 2          we discussed this at some length not long 

 3          ago, how long it takes to get approval.  What 

 4          do you think is causing that 7 1/2 -- I mean, 

 5          obviously it's a rhetorical question, but 

 6          what would you do in terms of speeding up the 

 7          process?

 8                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  I do think 

 9          we have different layers of review that other 

10          states don't.  And this is not being critical 

11          of any other agency that has regulatory 

12          authority, but I think we've modernized.  

13          When we were created in 1948, in many ways 

14          they built many guardrails around SUNY 

15          because they didn't want SUNY to grow at the 

16          time.  But now we're in a different place.

17                 What we do is we have an internal 

18          process.  We have a shared governance model.  

19          Any program that's developed on any campus 

20          goes through a really significant review 

21          process of our faculty and staff on campus.  

22          It gets approved through their academic 

23          approval committees.  

24                 Then it gets approved through our 


 1          state -- our SUNY system administration 

 2          process.  That could take upwards of a year 

 3          as it is.  Then it goes to the State 

 4          Education Department for an additional layer 

 5          of review.  That is something that now 

 6          35 other states do not have.  That slows down 

 7          the time.  

 8                 But let me give you a real-world 

 9          example of like major areas of need that 

10          we're trying to meet.  For instance, 

11          Downstate Medical is trying to get a nursing 

12          education MS currently approved.  It went 

13          through the sort of year-plus review at SUNY.  

14          It's now been waiting for 326 days at the 

15          State Education Department.  Still not moved.  

16          That is now 400 days of waiting for a 

17          dramatic need in nursing that we need to 

18          provide.

19                 Medical assistants at Sullivan 

20          Community College.  They need an AAS.  That's 

21          one area, medical assistants, we need more 

22          medical personnel.  That has been waiting for 

23          241 days.  

24                 Disaster management's one of those 


 1          areas that we've been focused on because of 

 2          the pandemic.  Buffalo State has had a 

 3          proposal at State Education Department for 

 4          263 days.  That's on top of the year-plus 

 5          program.

 6                 What ends up happening is we lose out 

 7          to other programs.  They're enrolling in 

 8          other schools outside of the state that don't 

 9          have these reviews.  

10                 We're accredited through an 

11          independent body called Middle States.  So we 

12          have an independent accrediting body that 

13          looks at us constantly, we have an internal 

14          campus review process, we then have a system 

15          administration process and then a 

16          State Education Department process.  

17                 We need to just speed it up, or we're 

18          going to keep that enrollment decline piece.  

19          In growing areas we're not going to be able 

20          to meet the nursing demand because of 

21          clinical space challenges but also just 

22          program expansion challenges.  

23                 I'll give you one more example of it, 

24          Child --


 1                 (Overtalk.)

 2                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  One minute 

 3          left.

 4                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  Sorry.  

 5          Child Advocacy Studies.  One area where we 

 6          have a great teaching shortage right now is 

 7          in the pre-K space.  Fredonia has an advanced 

 8          certificate program that's been waiting 

 9          250 days.  We can't wait that long, because 

10          we're not going to be able to meet the 

11          workforce demands.  

12                 So that's what we're looking to 

13          modernize and speed up a little bit.

14                 SENATOR STAVISKY:  Because I know 

15          about the understaffing at the State 

16          Education Department.  They don't have the 

17          folks to process these applications.  

18                 And you mentioned Fredonia, which is a 

19          school which I visited many years ago for a 

20          committee hearing.  

21                 And the process I think has to be 

22          improved, but I'm not sure the Governor's 

23          solution is the best.

24                 One quick question.  What is the 


 1          full-time-faculty ratio?  

 2                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  That 

 3          depends, Senator, on the campus.  And many of 

 4          our -- so if you take our University Centers, 

 5          it's about 80/20.  But if you take our 

 6          community colleges, it's a little bit of the 

 7          reverse of that.  So it depends on the 

 8          sector.  We can provide you that full 

 9          breakdown.  

10                 And I do like to caution, sometimes we 

11          do use folks, part-time or adjuncts that have 

12          a real value.  By the way, I teach; I'm 

13          considered an adjunct.  But I think it's 

14          important to still teach.  I taught in the 

15          fall.  So it's a balance.  It depends on the 

16          sector, though.  It's -- at the 

17          University Centers, for instance, it's much 

18          higher full-time --

19                 (Inaudible overtalk.)

20                 SENATOR STAVISKY:  You'll get it -- 

21          thank you.  

22                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  We've been -- 

23          in the Assembly now, we've been joined by 

24          Assemblywoman Dickens and 


 1          Assemblywoman Mitaynes.  

 2                 And we go to the Higher Ed ranker, 

 3          Assemblyman Walczyk for five minutes.  Five 

 4          minutes.

 5                 ASSEMBLYMAN WALCZYK:  Chancellor, good 

 6          morning.  

 7                 First, I just want to thank you.  You 

 8          have a reputation as a smart guy, but you 

 9          also have a reputation as a really hard 

10          worker.  And I know you and your staff over 

11          the last year have been in overdrive, not 

12          just in higher education but in a lot of ways 

13          helping New York get through this thing.  

14                 So from the bottom of my heart, and of 

15          on behalf of the residents of Northern 

16          New York, thank you for all of your efforts.

17                 How are the testing sites coming 

18          along?    

19                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  I think -- 

20          I am just -- first, I'm honored to be the 

21          chancellor of SUNY.  Being a graduate, I love 

22          this system.  And the way we've stepped up 

23          has been remarkable.  Every one of our 

24          campuses are testing every one of the 


 1          students, faculty and staff because I've 

 2          required it.  But it's important.  

 3                 We have volunteered more than half of 

 4          our campuses to be vaccine distribution 

 5          sites, and they're going extraordinarily 

 6          well.  We've had students step up and say, 

 7          We're going to volunteer on the healthcare 

 8          side.  We had 2500 students in healthcare 

 9          programs that said, We'll volunteer to help 

10          with vaccines or testing.  No money, no 

11          credit, they just want to give back.  

12                 We've had this time and time again, 

13          and it's been impressive.  And I think a 

14          system like ours, which is so large -- we 

15          have the largest system of public higher 

16          education.  We're one of the few systems to 

17          bring back some of our students to in-person 

18          learning.  And we've done more than 

19          8,000 tests since September, which is more 

20          than some states have done since the 

21          beginning of the pandemic, and our positivity 

22          rate is 0.5 percent.  

23                 That shows you that our students are 

24          doing the right things.  They deserve to be 


 1          applauded for this.  They want to be back in 

 2          learning.  It's just amazing to see.  We --

 3                 (Overtalk.)

 4                 ASSEMBLYMAN WALCZYK:  You're doing a 

 5          great job.  I appreciate it.

 6                 Your faculty and staff, how are they 

 7          handling it?  And do you think if there was a 

 8          retirement incentive you would have a huge 

 9          drop?  

10                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  You know, 

11          I'm not exactly sure about that.  I think 

12          there's been great strain on everyone.  I 

13          think you see strain all across society, 

14          right?  This is not specific to SUNY.  

15                 But our faculty and staff have 

16          struggled.  Many of our support staffers have 

17          been on campuses since the beginning, 

18          exposing themselves in ways that we can't 

19          even comprehend, in food service and other 

20          areas.  Our academic staff had to transition 

21          really quickly, and I think they've done that 

22          well.  

23                 It's a little like Sisyphus.  That 

24          rock gets pushed up the hill and then the 


 1          rock slips back down and we push that rock up 

 2          the hill -- because that's the choice we 

 3          have, because we both have a moral obligation 

 4          and an ethical obligation to supporting our 

 5          students.  And that's what this is all about.  

 6                 ASSEMBLYMAN WALCZYK:  We appreciate 

 7          you doing it.  You mentioned that enrollees 

 8          are down this year.  I know that was 

 9          certainly true in talking anecdotally with 

10          local students, many of them taking a gap 

11          year.  

12                 Do you expect that that will rebound?  

13          And it seems like there's a real focus on the 

14          flagship or the research institutions and 

15          supporting them with future enrollment.  What 

16          about, you know, your run-of-the-mill SUNY 

17          schools?

18                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  I -- first 

19          of all, I think the research institutions 

20          have actually done fairly well on enrollment.  

21          They've been basically flat or a little bit 

22          up, net.

23                 Our community colleges have had some 

24          difficulties.  Most of our enrollment decline 


 1          has largely come from our community colleges.  

 2          I think it's about 10 percent year over year, 

 3          about 9.9 percent.  But over the last 

 4          10 years our enrollment in our community 

 5          colleges has declined nearly a third.  

 6                 We want to focus our attention there.  

 7          That's why I focus so much of my attention on 

 8          community colleges.  They provide 

 9          fundamentally important access programs and 

10          the EOC programs that feed into our community 

11          colleges.  

12                 I was just at the Capital City EOC 

13          program, the welding program, the cosmetology 

14          program, the health services program.  We 

15          need to support those programs, because those 

16          are going to be the access points for so many 

17          New Yorkers.  As we're transitioning into the 

18          modern economy, I think we need to pay more 

19          of our attention and care there.  

20                 And I've spent a lot of time on the 

21          community colleges as well as the 

22          comprehensives.  I think we have a lot of 

23          different opportunity points for people.  We 

24          have to support all of those different 


 1          sectors because they all play a vitally 

 2          important role.

 3                 ASSEMBLYMAN WALCZYK:  Thanks, 

 4          Chancellor.  I appreciate it.  And I know we 

 5          don't have a lot of time here.  

 6                 You know, I can respect you as a 

 7          Jets fan, I guess, as a lifelong 

 8          Buffalo Bills fan.  But I want to tell you a 

 9          quick story about hockey in the 

10          North Country.  So in HECap, New York State 

11          invested $3.45 million in Clarkson, and that 

12          turned into a $25.7 million investment in 

13          Shell Arena and Campus Center, which is now, 

14          as I understand it, world-renowned ice as far 

15          as hockey goes, to skate on.  It's an 

16          incredible thing.  

17                 We had a cut of $30 million in this 

18          budget to HECap.  So this is -- this is with 

19          your platform, and I would just urge the 

20          legislative leaders to restore that in our 

21          one-house budgets and hopefully negotiate 

22          that at the table with the Governor.

23                 I also wanted to bring up flexible 

24          tuition changes.  Your Article VII language 


 1          will allow schools that have doctoral 

 2          programs to increase tuition by 1.5 times.  

 3          What institutions do you anticipate will see 

 4          that large of an increase in tuition?  

 5                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  We're 

 6          not -- we would not want to do that actual 

 7          increase every year.  We would just want the 

 8          authority to consider that and go through a 

 9          transparent process.  We look at our 

10          University Centers, the four University 

11          Centers, and our medical institutions 

12          especially for those services.

13                 It's more about transparency for us.  

14          Already the differential exists between many 

15          of those University Centers and our other 

16          colleges, but they're done, as the chair of 

17          the Higher Education Committee in the 

18          Assembly said, through fees and other things.  

19          That's not aidable.  There's lots of problems 

20          associated with that.  This is a way to 

21          rationalize the program across the system.

22                 We wouldn't do the 1.5 every year, we 

23          would just want the ability to consider that 

24          going forward.


 1                 ASSEMBLYMAN WALCZYK:  I appreciate the 

 2          time and conversation.  Thank you, 

 3          Chancellor.

 4                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  Thank you.  

 5                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  

 6                 We go to the Senate.

 7                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Sorry, guys, I 

 8          had a little trouble catching the mute.

 9                 Our next questioner is Senator Phil 

10          Boyle, ranker on Higher Ed, five-minute 

11          clock.

12                 SENATOR BOYLE:  Thank you, 

13          Madam Chairman.  And you forgot to mention 

14          lifelong Jets fan.

15                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Three-minute 

16          clock.  Oh, no, just kidding.

17                 (Laughter.)

18                 SENATOR BOYLE:  Thank you, Chancellor, 

19          for being here.  Thank you for the great work 

20          you're doing, and your staff.  

21                 Just two quick questions.  One 

22          pertains to the offshore wind.  I know during 

23          the Governor's State of the State he 

24          mentioned a $20 million investment in 


 1          Offshore Wind Training Institute, which would 

 2          be funded by NYSERDA.  My question is, how is 

 3          that -- where is that money coming from, 

 4          basically, through NYSERDA, and what's the 

 5          time frame for operational capability on 

 6          that?  Any ideas?

 7                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  We're 

 8          really excited by that.  

 9                 So there's two sources of funding that 

10          I know about.  One is NYSERDA funding.  One 

11          is we have some clean energy money that you 

12          appropriated to us that we want to access as 

13          well.  It's about, I think $7 million or so, 

14          but we want to use a portion of it.  It is 

15          for SUNY Farmingdale as well as Stony Brook 

16          University.  Stony Brook University is going 

17          to put together much of the curriculum, 

18          working with President Nader, who's done a 

19          phenomenal job on the green energy side at 

20          Farmingdale State College.  

21                 We would like to have our pieces in 

22          place to start training people by this 

23          summer.  We don't want to wait.  I think 

24          we've been putting the pieces in place.  So 


 1          by this summer we'd like to start enrolling 

 2          students; we're thinking in the range of 

 3          about 500 people to start, but then ramp that 

 4          up to at least 2500 people.  

 5                 But I think it could be bigger than 

 6          that.  I think the project alone will produce 

 7          many jobs, including the manufacturing 

 8          capability that we're building in the State 

 9          of New York.  

10                 So that's the two sources, and that's 

11          sort of where we are timewise.

12                 SENATOR BOYLE:  Great.  Thank you.  

13          Those of us, obviously, on Long Island are 

14          very excited about that project.

15                 A question about the -- you mentioned 

16          about the flagship schools.  This is kind of 

17          a pet peeve of mine.  I've talked to some of 

18          your predecessors over the years.  I went to 

19          Geneseo, and I have a master's from Albany, 

20          but I also graduated from the University of 

21          North Carolina.  And it always killed me that 

22          all of our greatest athletes from New York 

23          State are going to other -- Kentucky, 

24          Florida, North Carolina.  


 1                 I believe if we had some kind of 

 2          flagship -- not academic flagship but 

 3          athletic flagship university, we would make 

 4          millions and millions and millions of dollars 

 5          in New York State, keep it here just for our 

 6          purposes.  Just a thought.

 7                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  Well, I'm 

 8          not going to get into who should be the 

 9          flagship, because this is where I get myself 

10          in trouble.

11                 SENATOR BOYLE:  I know.  I know.  

12                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  But I will 

13          just note, not -- irrespective of picking it, 

14          the UB football team, if you haven't seen 

15          them play, you should watch that team play.  

16          They could probably beat the Jets by 

17          40 points, that's how good they are.  The 

18          gentleman ran for like 800 yards and eight 

19          touchdowns one game for UB.  They are a 

20          phenomenal team.

21                 SENATOR BOYLE:  Well, thank you.  

22                 And my last is a comment -- you can 

23          answer if you want to -- regarding a concern 

24          of mine, and that involves cancel culture and 


 1          free speech on our campus.  I believe a great 

 2          threat to the future of our country is when 

 3          students are protesting, left or right, and 

 4          not allowing the other side to speak on our 

 5          campuses.  

 6                 It kills me when, for example, a 

 7          conservative wants to come speak at a college 

 8          campus -- and I tell them, when I speak to 

 9          students, you want to protest across the 

10          street?  Great.  Wave a flag, whatever you 

11          want to do, yell at them.  But you can't 

12          start burning things, breaking windows.  

13                 And then the head of the college -- 

14          which has happened at other schools, not too 

15          much at SUNY that I've seen -- suddenly 

16          cancels the speaker from even coming on 

17          campus.  That's a bad sign for our future.

18                 And I'd like to know if you guys have 

19          any plans about doing something about that.

20                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  Well, I 

21          think in the academy, now more than ever, I 

22          think what we're trying to do is engage in a 

23          civil discussion.  I think what we've lost in 

24          this country a little bit is the ability to 


 1          interact with one another with differences, 

 2          work those things through.  Sometimes you 

 3          will never agree; sometimes you will agree.  

 4                 I think our students have been leaders 

 5          on that front at SUNY, quite frankly.  We've 

 6          had protests on both sides.  But how do you 

 7          engage people more in this society, which is 

 8          highly divided, you feel the cultural divide.  

 9          I think our students can drive the change 

10          there, and I think SUNY has been a good 

11          example overall of allowing the free 

12          expression of ideas, as long as it doesn't 

13          cross the boundaries, as you said, into other 

14          activities.  

15                 I think we should have all voices.  

16          That's the point of college.  All voices 

17          should be heard.  You should work these 

18          things through, you should think and focus on 

19          those issues and then see where you go.

20                 SENATOR BOYLE:  Thank you, Jim.  Thank 

21          you, Chairwoman.  

22                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  We go now to -- 

23          well, let me just announce who -- we've been 

24          joined by a few Assemblymembers.  Assemblyman 


 1          Aubry, Assemblywoman Joyner, Assemblywoman 

 2          Bichotte Hermelyn.

 3                 And we go to Assemblyman Epstein for 

 4          three minutes.

 5                 ASSEMBLYMAN EPSTEIN:  Thank you, 

 6          Madam Chair.  And it's good to see you, 

 7          Chancellor.  

 8                 You know, so many questions I had were 

 9          already asked.  But I don't understand why at 

10          this point we would support cuts at all to 

11          the SUNY system.  We know there's a reduction 

12          in enrollment, but the reality is we need to 

13          improve our public education.  Would you 

14          support additional revenue if additional 

15          revenue became available?

16                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  Absolutely.  

17          One million -- one million percent 

18          absolutely.  If you want to offer, we'll take 

19          it.

20                 ASSEMBLYMAN EPSTEIN:  Yeah, we're 

21          looking for money for you.  We need to raise 

22          revenues to make sure that our public 

23          education schools have more revenue.

24                 Excelsior.  You know, you know, we've 


 1          heard some real success in Excelsior on the 

 2          tuition, but we've heard a lot of concerns 

 3          about people being left out because they've 

 4          had a grade that has hasn't gone well or, you 

 5          know, they had to go part-time because of 

 6          family issues.  

 7                 Would you support expanding Excelsior 

 8          to include either part-timers or people who 

 9          had reasonable reasons that they needed 

10          support outside of, you know, the existing 

11          model that we have today?  

12                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  I think 

13          certain scholarships have different end 

14          goals, and I think the Excelsior scholarship 

15          had a completion end goal, which was 

16          something I helped write, and a retention end 

17          goal.  And we've seen the retention rates 

18          actually up a little bit in the Excelsior 

19          programs.  Upwards of three-quarters of the 

20          students are maintaining their academic 

21          status when it's lower in other areas.

22                 I do think you raise a very solid 

23          point.  Our system and model has changed.  

24          People come in later in life.  They need to 


 1          go to college over a longer period of time.  

 2          Our incentive structure does not actually 

 3          work around those types of students quite 

 4          well.  Those are the types of students I 

 5          dealt with at Empire State College, the 

 6          post-traditional student.  I hate the 

 7          terminology because a student is a student, 

 8          it doesn't matter when you come to college.  

 9                 I do think we should look at other 

10          ways and other avenues financially to allow 

11          students who need a longer runway to complete 

12          college successfully because of life issues 

13          and other things, to have the same type of 

14          access.

15                 ASSEMBLYMAN EPSTEIN:  Great.  I 

16          appreciate it.  I'd love to collaborate with 

17          you on that.

18                 I know the chair mentioned the 

19          withhold on transcripts and the risks that it 

20          has.  The Housing chairmen mentioned that.  I 

21          would love to support any follow-up around 

22          that.

23                 So students with disabilities play a 

24          really important role in our student body, 


 1          they are really active, but we've heard time 

 2          and time from students with disabilities 

 3          saying they don't have enough support in 

 4          schools.  Would you support additional 

 5          resources to go to those students who may 

 6          need help?  And some of them have physical 

 7          accessibility issues, but a lot of them have 

 8          other special needs that the schools aren't 

 9          able to provide.

10                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  Two issues.  

11          Yes, they need more support.  We have tried 

12          across the board as -- when I became 

13          chancellor, we just created something called 

14          the Center for Autism Inclusivity, which is 

15          one area.  And I -- 

16                 ASSEMBLYMAN EPSTEIN:  Chancellor, I've 

17          got like 10 seconds.  I'd love to talk to you 

18          more about that also --

19                 (Overtalk.)

20                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  Talk to 

21          Collin Lacki from Niagara County Community 

22          College, a visually impaired student.  He's 

23          phenomenal on this space.  Collin Lacki from 

24          Niagara County Community College.  


 1                 ASSEMBLYMAN EPSTEIN:  Great.  And the 

 2          last thing is we talked about money for 

 3          student organizing.  Love to follow up with 

 4          you at a different time about that, resources 

 5          for student organizing on campuses.

 6                 Thank you, Chair. 

 7                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  

 8                 We go to the Senate.

 9                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.  

10                 Senator Peter Harckham for three 

11          minutes.

12                 SENATOR HARCKHAM:  Thank you, 

13          Madam Chair.

14                 Chancellor, good to see you.  Thanks 

15          for being here.

16                 As chair of the Committee on 

17          Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, I'm glad to 

18          hear about your enhanced efforts on 

19          behavioral health outreach.  I want to drill 

20          down a little bit on some of those issues.  

21                 Do any of our campuses have dedicated 

22          support residences for students in early 

23          recovery?

24                 Number two, how much are we spending 


 1          on substance use disorder services, and what 

 2          more could you do with additional funding?

 3                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  Assemblyman 

 4          {sic} you have been a phenomenal advocate, 

 5          Assemblyman, in this area, and I don't want 

 6          to misspeak.  Let me get you the actual facts 

 7          on recovery services for our students.  That 

 8          is something we did a lot of research 

 9          analysis on at the Rockefeller Institute, 

10          because the opioid crisis has really not 

11          abated as much as we would have liked it to, 

12          especially in our student population.  So let 

13          me get you more of those facts and then what 

14          the specific needs of our colleges would be.

15                 But I think there is a -- I think the 

16          pandemic has created more challenges for our 

17          students, where they are turning to substance 

18          misuse, and we want to deal with that.  But 

19          let me -- we would love to even convene 

20          something with you on that, because it's an 

21          important thing.  But I want to get you the 

22          right facts and numbers.  I don't have them 

23          as a recall right now, so I don't want to 

24          misspeak.


 1                 SENATOR HARCKHAM:  Okay, yeah, I'd 

 2          love to work with you on that.

 3                 The reason I asked the question is 

 4          some of the private colleges and universities 

 5          are now setting up specific dedicated dorms 

 6          and residences with supportive services for 

 7          students reentering their academic careers in 

 8          early recovery.

 9                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  Yeah, it's 

10          a great idea.  It's something that we worked 

11          on when I was in the government still on the 

12          recovery high schools and things like that.  

13          I think we need more of those types of 

14          supports.  Because if you provide the 

15          support, the students can be highly 

16          successful.  We just need to give them that 

17          opportunity for recovery.

18                 SENATOR HARCKHAM:  All right.  

19          Terrific.  Look forward to working with you 

20          on that.

21                 And Madam Chair, I yield the rest of 

22          my time. 

23                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you very 

24          much, Senator.


 1                 Assembly, it's your turn.

 2                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Yes.  We've 

 3          been joined by Assemblyman Salka.  

 4                 And we go to Assemblywoman Sarah 

 5          Clark, three minutes.

 6                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN CLARK:  Hello.  Thank 

 7          you, Chancellor, so very much for taking time 

 8          and spending it with us, all about SUNY.  It 

 9          is a huge priority.  I am a SUNY Stony Brook 

10          graduate and currently serving in the 

11          Rochester region in the Assembly.

12                 I have two very quick questions.  My 

13          first has to do -- I wrote a letter with a 

14          bunch of my colleagues regarding on-campus 

15          staff and faculty.  Currently we know 

16          professors are part of the 1b eligibility, 

17          but not the food workers and other folks who 

18          are on campus, whether it's in-person 

19          learning.  

20                 So I just wanted your thought as to 

21          whether that would really help to build some 

22          equity on campuses, to make sure that where 

23          there is in-person instruction, that the 

24          entire campus, particularly those who are 


 1          most around other people, are getting the 

 2          vaccine as well.  

 3                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  That we -- 

 4          so we did advocate to include our in-person 

 5          instructors in the 1b.  We've also advocated 

 6          for our support staff and our administrative 

 7          and professional staff on campuses.  That is 

 8          something that UUP, President Kowal from UUP, 

 9          the president of the United University 

10          Professions and I have advocated together on.  

11          We understand that there is of course 

12          limitation of the supply, so we're mindful of 

13          that.  We're happy that about -- I think 

14          about 40 or 50 percent of our folks on campus 

15          now qualify, so that's a good thing.  

16                 And that's why we're also requiring 

17          testing every week of all of our faculty, 

18          students and staff, because that also allows 

19          us to monitor the situation.  Right now our 

20          staff positivity rate on our campuses is 

21          0.32 percent.  It's very manageable.  But we 

22          have been advocating for the inclusion of 

23          those folks as well.  They are heroes in this 

24          pandemic.


 1                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN CLARK:  Great.  Thank 

 2          you.  And we'll keep working on that.

 3                 My second piece is in some 

 4          conversations that we've had with our 

 5          community college here -- MCC is just a gem 

 6          for us, both regionally and nationally as a 

 7          model for community colleges.  When the CARES 

 8          funding was passed and money went to support 

 9          student services, they have expressed that 

10          the support they were able to give students 

11          who were struggling made such a difference in 

12          terms of them coming back this fall.  

13                 So now that there's another round of 

14          federal money passed, one of the things we 

15          talk about a lot is you guys -- if the SUNY 

16          system can't spend that again on the student 

17          services because it's being held back until 

18          we figure out the budget, that could be 

19          harmful.  So I would just love to hear your 

20          thoughts about how important it was to 

21          support students in need during COVID and how 

22          much that allowed them to come back in the 

23          fall and enroll again.  And if we aren't 

24          allowed to let SUNY use this next round of 


 1          federal funding to do it, instead, the 

 2          horrible idea of offsetting budget cuts 

 3          instead with the federal dollars.  

 4                 So I just wanted to hear what you 

 5          thought about how important that money was to 

 6          helping students who were struggling and 

 7          staying on campus and staying enrolled.

 8                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  Thank you.  

 9          It's absolutely essential.  It has been a 

10          life-changing experience for students to have 

11          access to that.

12                 And thankfully the Governor in the 

13          Executive Budget did not offset our costs.  

14          They have allowed us to spend that money on 

15          student services, which was really key for 

16          us.  So we're hopeful in future stimulus 

17          discussions that we would have the same 

18          access.

19                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN CLARK:  I did hear that 

20          this round they are being asked not to spend 

21          it quite yet.  Is that true?  

22                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  Not that I 

23          have heard of.  We've put out, I think, about 

24          $220 million or so on student services, and 


 1          will continue to do so.

 2                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN CLARK:  Perfect.

 3                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  We go to the 

 4          Senate now.

 5                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.  

 6                 Our next questioner is the ranker 

 7          {sic} on education, Shelley Mayer, 

 8          five-minute clock.

 9                 SENATOR O'MARA:  The chair.

10                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Shelley?

11                 SENATOR MAYER:  Can't open my video, 

12          but --

13                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Okay.  We can 

14          hear you.

15                 SENATOR MAYER:  Okay, very good.  

16                 Hello, Chancellor.  Nice to see you.  

17          Congratulations.

18                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  Thank you.

19                 SENATOR MAYER:  The first is, as you 

20          may know, I have a bill that I sponsored 

21          early into COVID that creates additional 

22          revenue targeted at K-12, and 15 percent for 

23          SUNY and CUNY.  I wonder whether as -- I 

24          don't think you were chancellor at the time.  


 1          Now, as chancellor, would you support an 

 2          additional tax on high-income earners with 

 3          the money to go to K-12 and SUNY and CUNY?  

 4                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  Well, thank 

 5          you, Chair, for that question.  I don't opine 

 6          on how you raise revenue.  We would always -- 

 7          as I said to other members of the committees, 

 8          we would always welcome more revenue.  But I 

 9          don't feel it's my place to opine on how you 

10          do that piece.

11                 SENATOR MAYER:  Okay --

12                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  But we 

13          won't look away if you give it us to us.

14                 SENATOR MAYER:  Well, we would love 

15          your more active support than that passive 

16          statement, but I understand that.

17                 Okay, second thing is on the issue of 

18          these -- lowering the cost of certificate 

19          programs that are deemed in high demand.  Are 

20          you doing a regional analysis?  My question 

21          is, for example, for -- what's a certificate 

22          in high demand?  In WCC, for me, it might be 

23          different than in upstate community colleges' 

24          regional demand.  And how connected are you 


 1          to the employers in determining which 

 2          certificate programs are deemed in high 

 3          demand?  

 4                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  Thank you 

 5          for that question.  This is a really 

 6          important thing for us.  

 7                 We have begun working with employers.  

 8          We just recently had a conversation with the 

 9          Business Council, we're working with MACNY, 

10          for instance, and other employers.  What 

11          we're running into are the Courseras of the 

12          world, who come in and can underwrite 

13          certificate processes because they have a 

14          different business -- for-profit business 

15          model, which then undercuts our community 

16          colleges in other sectors, which provide 

17          higher-quality certifications.  

18                 So what we're asking for is 

19          flexibility, because we can deal with the 

20          volume.  And volume helps us, right?  Even if 

21          you lower the cost a little bit.  Right now 

22          we're locked into certain cost structures in 

23          the state.  This is one area where we want to 

24          reduce the cost of our certifications because 


 1          we're actually losing out to some for-profit 

 2          models where we don't think they're as high 

 3          quality.  

 4                 We would do it as a regional thing, 

 5          because I do think every region has a 

 6          different cost structure.  And we would want 

 7          to link it with the high-demand job areas 

 8          that are needed, not just willy-nilly.  

 9                 And our community colleges, to their 

10          credit, have done a pretty remarkable job on 

11          this front.  You mentioned Westchester 

12          Community College.  They have done a really 

13          good job on that.  I've heard about Monroe; 

14          Monroe is like a star when it comes to 

15          workforce development, and other of our 

16          community colleges.  So that's what we're 

17          looking for on that front.

18                 SENATOR MAYER:  I appreciate that.  I 

19          think there is a real competitive 

20          disadvantage to the community colleges now.  

21          With the for-profit sector getting ahead, I 

22          think we have make-up to do.

23                 The other is, what is the 

24          institutional relationship between SUNY and 


 1          the community colleges and the public high 

 2          schools?  Is there -- have you made a 

 3          concerted effort to build relationships and 

 4          ensure there's communications?  

 5                 I'm thinking of again, in our 

 6          experience, WCC being the school of first 

 7          choice for so many graduates of high schools, 

 8          and yet the relationships are not always 

 9          strong enough.

10                 Have you built any kind of structure 

11          to enhance that?

12                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  We have to 

13          do more there, frankly.  I think there's 

14          always an ability to break down barriers 

15          between different institutions.  Because our 

16          students, by the way, don't get the 

17          difference between their high school and then 

18          community college or a four-year school.  

19          Right?  It's artifices that we create, not 

20          that they understand.  

21                 We do have board members who have been 

22          really helpful.  Trustee Stan Litow, who has 

23          done a lot of work on the P-TECH and early 

24          college high school front, I think has helped 


 1          break down those things.  Our provost office 

 2          has been really focused on that.  

 3                 But we want to build more of those 

 4          relationships, so however we can partner, we 

 5          absolutely will.

 6                 SENATOR MAYER:  You may have answered 

 7          this earlier on the proposed increase in 

 8          tuition for some of the schools.  Have you 

 9          given any consideration of the fact that for 

10          most of our communities that have been 

11          disproportionately hit by the economic impact 

12          of COVID, this could result in decreased 

13          enrollment?  

14                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  I'm trying 

15          to rationalize and make more transparent the 

16          process, Chair.

17                 The issue really is if you take one of 

18          our University Centers now, the overall cost 

19          is about $28,000, $29,000 -- compared to one 

20          of our four-year traditional comprehensive 

21          colleges, which is in the realm of 22,000 or 

22          23,000.  The issue is it's not -- a lot of 

23          those differential dollars aren't aidable in 

24          any case.  


 1                 But we want to try to rationalize the 

 2          system while giving our University Centers 

 3          the ability to invest in research.  If we 

 4          want to build research juggernauts, they do 

 5          need additional investment.  

 6                 We have created a pretty good cost 

 7          price even for our University Centers, but 

 8          this is part of our transparency piece of 

 9          reducing some of those other fees and 

10          associated things in a more transparent way.

11                 SENATOR MAYER:  Thank you.  Thank you 

12          very much.

13                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.  

14                 Assembly.

15                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Yes, we go to 

16          Assemblyman Smullen, three minutes.

17                 ASSEMBLYMAN SMULLEN:  Thank you very 

18          much.  

19                 Can you hear me?

20                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Three 

21          minutes --

22                 ASSEMBLYMAN SMULLEN:  Jim, it's good 

23          to see you.  It's been a long time since my 

24          Executive Chamber days.  


 1                 I've got five questions for you.  I'll 

 2          read them all so they're on the record, and 

 3          appreciate your response either here or your 

 4          staff replying in writing.  

 5                 I'll get going here.  So the first 

 6          question is, regarding SNAP enrollment, did 

 7          you seek a federal waiver to substitute 

 8          school enrollment for work, or do you need us 

 9          to legislate that authority for you?  

10                 The second question is, can our 

11          economically countercyclical community 

12          colleges be supported on 10-year per capita 

13          enrollment formula, which would help their 

14          year-to-year budget issues?  

15                 Third question, SUNY medical personnel 

16          are highly credentialed, they're outstanding, 

17          and they receive some of the highest public 

18          salaries in New York.  Can the actual sources 

19          of their compensation be broken down by 

20          funding source?  

21                 Fourth question, what's the status of 

22          the conversation on renaming SUNY the, quote, 

23          University of New York at Such-and-such, to 

24          better brand the system?  


 1                 And then the fifth question is, do you 

 2          consider private colleges in New York State 

 3          to be competitors in the education 

 4          marketplace in New York State?  

 5                 So if we could roll back up to SNAP 

 6          enrollment, what are the requirements that 

 7          the feds have for that program?

 8                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  I will try 

 9          my best to answer all of these.  If not, we 

10          will have a follow-up conversation with you.

11                 The SNAP was a waiver that was 

12          approved.  The Governor and the Office of 

13          Temporary and Disability Assistance got that 

14          approval, which allows us now to substitute 

15          that work requirement, which is a 

16          game-changer.  

17                 On the community college, we could 

18          spend probably 25 hours on community college 

19          funding formulas itself.  We would like to 

20          have that discussion about how do we come up 

21          with a stronger model for our community 

22          colleges.

23                 ASSEMBLYMAN SMULLEN:  I really 

24          would -- I really would, because I have 


 1          community colleges in my district and they're 

 2          very important to workforce development, a 

 3          host of issues.  So thank you on that.

 4                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  

 5          Compensation, yes, we've been try -- we've 

 6          been more transparent, at least as I've been 

 7          chancellor, on compensation.  In fact, just 

 8          so you all know, we understand the economic 

 9          challenges.  I've required our senior staff 

10          here to take reductions.  We've had new staff 

11          come in at significantly reduced cost as 

12          well, because we know that's important.

13                 University of New York, we're always 

14          looking for new ways of branding the system.  

15          I have not had a discussion about the 

16          University of New York, but I do think we 

17          have to move sometimes beyond the 

18          location-based name to what the college is 

19          known for, because I think that has more 

20          cachet and value.

21                 And then on the last piece -- I 

22          forgot.  You had one more piece.

23                 ASSEMBLYMAN SMULLEN:  Private colleges 

24          and SUNY.  How do you work the relationship 


 1          here within our state between, you know, 

 2          publicly supported public benefit 

 3          institutions and other institutions of 

 4          private learning that are also in the same 

 5          space?

 6                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  We have 

 7          great collaboration often among our private 

 8          institutions and our public institutions.  

 9                 I'm a public guy.  I've always been a 

10          public guy.  I'm a SUNY guy.  I'm always 

11          going to advocate for more SUNY, because I 

12          think we're the best, so I always want to put 

13          us front and center.  But I do think there's 

14          often an important relationship between our 

15          private institutions and our SUNY schools.  

16          They're often collaborating on all sorts of 

17          things that improve the academic experience 

18          for all New Yorkers.

19                 ASSEMBLYMAN SMULLEN:  Thank you very 

20          much for your time today.  I appreciate it 

21          very much.  Thank you.

22                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.

23                 We go back to the Senate.  

24                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.  Our 


 1          Finance ranker, Tom O'Mara, for five minutes.

 2                 SENATOR O'MARA:  Thank you, 

 3          Chairwoman.  And thank you, Chancellor, for 

 4          your time this morning in answering our 

 5          questions.  Appreciate it.

 6                 In the budget a lot of capital 

 7          projects with matching funds involved are 

 8          being put on hold.  And I certainly 

 9          understand that in light of the fiscal issues 

10          we have.

11                 What is your sense of when we'll be 

12          moving forward on these projects that are 

13          going to be put on hold in this coming fiscal 

14          year?

15                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  Thank you, 

16          Senator.

17                 With respect to the private match one, 

18          that sector, I know that's something that was 

19          adopted in the budget a year or two ago.  We 

20          do have a couple of projects that are 

21          potentially in the pipeline.  I do think we 

22          can move forward with those as we're moving 

23          out of the pandemic issue, hopefully into 

24          next year.  I will give you a better briefing 


 1          when we have a better sense of when those can 

 2          move forward.  But there are a couple in the 

 3          pipeline that could potentially move forward 

 4          right now.

 5                 SENATOR O'MARA:  Can you highlight 

 6          what those are at this point?  

 7                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  Well, I 

 8          don't want to blow the deals for the 

 9          respective colleges, because then they'll get 

10          mad at me, because then the private folks 

11          will pull out.  

12                 But I will be happy, as it becomes 

13          more soup, to bring that to the Legislature 

14          and brief you fully on where those are.

15                 SENATOR O'MARA:  Okay.  What is the 

16          state doing and SUNY doing in relation to aid 

17          for non-credit programs, whether they're 

18          certificate programs, non-degree programs for 

19          local workforce development, which we've 

20          certainly seen great efforts at our community 

21          colleges in recent years.  Are we looking at 

22          receiving any federal funding or seeking any 

23          of that for these types of programs?  

24                 You know, I know a lot of the aid 


 1          through the SUNY system is kind of 

 2          degree-centric, focused on degrees being 

 3          issued, as opposed to certificates and those 

 4          types of workforce development programs.  So 

 5          what is the stress that you're putting on -- 

 6          or the highlights on those types of programs 

 7          for our local workforce developments?  

 8                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  We have 

 9          been advocating for some incentive-type 

10          program or scholarship.  I know the Governor, 

11          in his State of the State, has put forth some 

12          ideas on scholarship for that type of 

13          workforce certification area.  We would like 

14          federal dollars invested in that.  

15                 President Duffy, who is the president 

16          of the Adirondack Community College, who 

17          serves as sort of the unofficial chair of all 

18          of our community colleges, has been a leader 

19          in this space, and will continue.  That's one 

20          area.  

21                 The second area, in talking to 

22          Chairman Mayer, is lowering the cost of some 

23          of -- giving us flexibility to lower some of 

24          the costs of our certification high-demand 


 1          programs, which helps us enroll more people.  

 2          We're kind of locked into costs.  

 3                 The third piece is sometimes we are 

 4          doing it for free.  Our new SUNY Online 

 5          Workforce Training Center provides those 

 6          certifications for underemployed and 

 7          unemployed New Yorkers for free.  You give us 

 8          significant investment, we want to get them 

 9          involved, we want to get them either matched 

10          to a job -- our self-interest is sometimes 

11          they'll move on to our community college 

12          after the certification, or a four-year 

13          school, because they're now interested in 

14          additional educational opportunities.  

15                 So we're willing to do some of that to 

16          meet the traditional workforce -- the 

17          immediate workforce demands and provide -- 

18          and demystify what education is to so many 

19          people who just feel like they can't have 

20          access in a way that is affordable.

21                 So we're working on those three 

22          planes.  But we would, we should look at the 

23          structures of how we underwrite tuition 

24          support or financial support for some of 


 1          those core programs for workforce 

 2          development.

 3                 SENATOR O'MARA:  Great.  Great.  

 4          Because I think those are vitally important 

 5          to our local workforce development issues.

 6                 Finally, on the side of community 

 7          colleges and the FTE funding -- which is, to 

 8          my understanding, held flat this year.  

 9          However, our community colleges, you know, in 

10          recent years have seen wide fluctuations in 

11          the enrollment.  I know a couple of years ago 

12          we tried instituting a kind of a floor, where 

13          if your enrollment went down, your aid didn't 

14          necessarily go down, you know, one for one 

15          with that.  

16                 But with the FTEs being held flat, I 

17          don't see any floor of that type in this 

18          year's budget.  Where are we on that as far 

19          as some colleges taking a big hit because of 

20          a significant drop in enrollment?  

21                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  I think 

22          some of those colleges have real challenges 

23          because of the enrollment decline.  

24                 I think what we're trying to focus on, 


 1          Senator, which is where you kind of came in, 

 2          where I think the strength of the community 

 3          colleges are.  The non-credentialing piece, 

 4          the micro-credentialing is one of those areas 

 5          that we're trying to get federal support.  

 6          The stacking of credentials over time I think 

 7          is really important.  That's a sort of shift 

 8          in how we approach education.  Right?  That's 

 9          a longer process, not necessarily a degree 

10          process.  

11                 We've pushed on the part-time -- 

12          expansion of financial support for part-time 

13          students, as well as expanded Pell 

14          eligibility, which I think will help improve 

15          our community college enrollment, which will 

16          increase their funding.  I do think we need, 

17          as some of the other members have called for, 

18          a longer discussion about how we fund 

19          community colleges, what the right 

20          methodology is.  

21                 We haven't quite figured it out over 

22          all this time, Senator.  Chargebacks and 

23          other things, I think we have to have that 

24          discussion, because you are seeing many 


 1          inequities within the system right now 

 2          because of it.

 3                 SENATOR O'MARA:  Chancellor, my time 

 4          is up.  Thank you for your responsiveness.

 5                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  Thank you.

 6                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.

 7                 Assembly.  

 8                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Yes, we go to 

 9          Assemblywoman Buttenschon for three minutes.

10                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN BUTTENSCHON:  Good 

11          morning, Chancellor.  It's great to see you 

12          again, as I appreciate meeting you at SUNY 

13          Poly as you were touring the state, and I 

14          appreciate you recognizing the needed funding 

15          and staff and research there as they have so 

16          many innovative and great programs.  

17                 Thank you again for all you're doing 

18          to support the challenges to keep faculty and 

19          students safe.  And now I know you're working 

20          diligently on the staff.

21                 I am a community college graduate, a 

22          graduate of the SUNY system as well as a 

23          Middle State reviewer.  I want to reconfirm 

24          the importance of community colleges and the 


 1          role they can play in the recovery of this 

 2          devastating pandemic, as well as the need, as 

 3          so many have talked about, for a new funding 

 4          formula as we work with our non-credit 

 5          programs, the micro-credentialing that you 

 6          discussed.

 7                 My questions are, can you advise me if 

 8          you're working on formal plans with community 

 9          colleges and SUNY institutions for the state 

10          recovery plan, as I know you have a key role 

11          in it.

12                 Also, you address the concerns of the 

13          slow approval process for the much-needed 

14          academic certificate programs and 

15          certificates.  This is a concern that I hear 

16          quite frequently.  And do you have a plan 

17          that you could put forward so that we could 

18          expedite it during this recovery time?  

19                 And finally, do all your capital 

20          projects include a green component and, more 

21          importantly, antimicrobial high-touch surface 

22          areas?  So thank you.  

23                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  So thank 

24          you.  It was great to visit SUNY Poly and 


 1          those labs; those students are phenomenal.  

 2                 The antimicrobial surface area is 

 3          actually being developed by SUNY Binghamton 

 4          researchers right now, with students, so 

 5          hopefully we can solve our own problems on 

 6          that.  

 7                 On the green --

 8                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN BUTTENSCHON:  Well, I 

 9          was going to -- let me just interrupt.  I 

10          want to link you with Rome, we have a 

11          business here.  So that would be great.  

12          Thank you.

13                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  On the 

14          capital, we're doing more on the green side.  

15          We don't have an actual hard rule on making 

16          sure our capital projects are all green, but 

17          we are moving in that direction.  Our stats 

18          are pretty good on that.  

19                 We have been focused more on if we're 

20          building new structures or retrofitting new 

21          structures, do you focus on geothermal, do 

22          you bring in some of those core activities.  

23                 I want to add a student component to 

24          that, which I still think is missing from us, 


 1          how do we turn our students into the 

 2          workforce for ourselves, in a way, that -- 

 3          when we do all of those things.  

 4                 And on the workforce, the community 

 5          colleges have to be a major part of this.  

 6          That's why I've been visiting so many of our 

 7          community colleges.  I think I've already 

 8          visited 20 out of our 30 community colleges 

 9          thus far.  They're going to play a 

10          fundamentally important role in the recovery 

11          of the State of New York.  I think they 

12          provide the different access tools -- 

13          micro-credentialing, associate's degrees, 

14          certifications.  I think the online training 

15          program feeding into the community college 

16          system will help.  

17                 And there are 5 million New Yorkers 

18          right now between the ages of 24 and 60 with 

19          no college education.  Many of those 

20          individuals are being transitioned out of 

21          traditional industries, and they need more 

22          education now more than ever.  So it's our 

23          job to connect them with all the various 

24          resources that we have.  And that's what 


 1          we're going to work on too, is just reaching 

 2          out and getting those folks to know that we 

 3          even exist.  I think that's part of our SUNY 

 4          For All campaign as well.

 5                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN BUTTENSCHON:  And I 

 6          appreciate that.  I would like to see formal 

 7          plans.  Thank you.  

 8                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  We 

 9          go to the Senate now.

10                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you very 

11          much.  

12                 Senator Robert Jackson, for three 

13          minutes.

14                 SENATOR JACKSON:  So good morning, 

15          everyone.  And Chancellor, good morning.  

16          Good to see you.  I am and my daughters are 

17          SUNY alums -- SUNY New Paltz, myself and my 

18          oldest daughter, and University of Buffalo.  

19          So I have a vested interest in SUNY and CUNY 

20          and education overall.

21                 Let me thank you for your leadership.  

22          I just have several questions to ask, if you 

23          don't mind.  And I have only three minutes, 

24          and so I'm just trying to be as quick as I 


 1          can, and I would appreciate it if you can 

 2          answer them as succinctly as possible.  

 3                 So can you tell me about -- first, I 

 4          disagree with the $200 increase in tuition.  

 5          People are suffering right now, not only in 

 6          New York but around the entire state.  And 

 7          this is not the time to increase tuition.  

 8          And I understand that you need money overall, 

 9          and we're trying to raise the money, as 

10          Harvey Epstein said, through taxes and what 

11          have you and so forth, in order -- I heard 

12          you say that you wish you had -- a million 

13          times you would agree for an increase in 

14          money for SUNY, and I appreciate that.  But 

15          it has to come from somewhere.

16                 So how do you plan on implementing a 

17          proposed cut of $46 million?  That's one 

18          question.  And then the second question is, 

19          do you and SUNY plan on compensating 

20          hazardous pay for workers in SUNY hospitals 

21          that put their lives on the line during this 

22          pandemic?  

23                 So those are the two questions that I 

24          have for you.


 1                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  Well, thank 

 2          you, Senator.

 3                 Just -- and I want to, just for 

 4          clarity -- we -- we understood the economic 

 5          challenges that folks had, so we did not 

 6          authorize a tuition increase this year.  This 

 7          is the first time, that it was important in 

 8          my chancellorship not to increase tuition, 

 9          which we did not do.  And the board was very 

10          supportive of that, because we felt the 

11          struggles of our students.

12                 On the second piece -- last piece 

13          first -- we would like to do more for our 

14          healthcare workers.  They are frontline 

15          heroes.  We have some limitations by state 

16          collective bargaining.  We've asked for some 

17          flexibility to provide additional resources 

18          to those.  But we've been working with folks 

19          from PEF and CSEA and UUP to try to get some 

20          more funding to them.  

21                 We're working on alternative 

22          arrangements to help those individuals -- 

23          parking or other things.  We can never fully 

24          repay those folks, but we're trying to at 


 1          least do a small down payment to say we 

 2          appreciate everything that you do.  And by 

 3          the way, they're getting poached to private 

 4          hospitals that can actually pay them a lot 

 5          more, so we want to maintain our ability to 

 6          keep our workforce whole.

 7                 And on the reduction of $46 million, 

 8          we're going to focus on protecting core 

 9          academic services, protecting our faculty and 

10          our staff to make sure they can educate 

11          students, and protecting those core student 

12          services.  And where we have to take 

13          reductions, we're going to focus everywhere 

14          else but there, as we can, because that's the 

15          most important thing for me.  Even if I have 

16          to, you know, work in your office and give up 

17          and sell my building, we'll do all of those 

18          things.

19                 SENATOR JACKSON:  I like that, I like 

20          that attitude.  I appreciate that.  And as a 

21          former PEF employee -- I worked for the union 

22          for 23 years -- I will be advocating.  So 

23          I'll be interested in seeing what that game 

24          plan is in order to support it.  


 1                 And I thank you for your time.

 2                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  Thank you.

 3                 SENATOR JACKSON:  Thank you, 

 4          Madam Chairs.

 5                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.  

 6                 Assembly.

 7                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  We go to 

 8          Assemblyman Conrad.

 9                 ASSEMBLYMAN CONRAD:  Thank you.  Thank 

10          you, Chairs.  Thank you, Chancellor.  

11                 I'm coming from Buffalo, so I'll take 

12          the Jets on the chin here.  

13                 I just want to point out one thing 

14          really quickly before I get to my question.  

15          Going back to UB, UB was in the top 25 for 

16          football in the ranking.  They made the NCAA 

17          video games.  Very proud here in Buffalo of 

18          the UB experience, so talking about flagship 

19          sports, it's one of the best D1 schools 

20          around here, personally.

21                 I want to talk a little bit about 

22          student retention and these invisible 

23          barriers.  I know that ideas42 out of Harvard 

24          had done a program at Brockport State, as 


 1          they were kind of looking at low-cost nudges 

 2          to keep kids to be able to complete.  Is 

 3          that something that we're carrying forward in 

 4          other schools right now, Chancellor, the 

 5          ideas42 retention program?  

 6                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  I don't 

 7          know specifically to that program, but we 

 8          have a couple of programs like SUNY Re-Enroll 

 9          and other things to get folks to re-enroll.  

10          And I think some of the things that we've 

11          been doing under SUNY For All is to try to 

12          get some folks who have some college but no 

13          degree back into our universe, especially the 

14          older demographic, which is the growing -- 

15          the growing -- the growth in higher education 

16          right now is that demographic of 25 to 44, 

17          actually.  

18                 So we have many programs.  We want to 

19          unify some of that, because too often what 

20          you find in these programs, we have these 

21          one-offs, we can't actually leverage all the 

22          value.  So that's something that we're now, 

23          as we're turning the page on COVID, focusing 

24          a lot of our time and energy on, in fact.


 1                 ASSEMBLYMAN CONRAD:  Okay.  Because I 

 2          find that these small little behavioral, you 

 3          know, economical nudges -- you know, you've 

 4          got to file your paperwork, you've got to do 

 5          this -- you know, for somebody who's a 

 6          first-time student or maybe the first time in 

 7          their family going to college, you know, now 

 8          having that kind of guidance is really 

 9          helpful and having those little nudges along.  

10                 I know a lot of students right now are 

11          not really keen on -- I've had some friends 

12          whose kids go to UB who are kind of not going 

13          to carry on this semester, they're going to 

14          take one off until the COVID's over.  But, 

15          you know, being able to get them back on and 

16          keeping in touch with them is going to be so 

17          important to I think the -- keeping SUNY 

18          going.  

19                 You know, I'm a proud graduate of SUNY 

20          Fredonia, SUNY Buff State.  I think you have 

21          a phenomenal program, it's world-renowned, 

22          and I just want to keep it tiptop if we can.  

23                 So thank you.

24                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  Well, even 


 1          the -- just one final point on that is even 

 2          the SNAP program, when only a quarter of our 

 3          students really are participating in a 

 4          program that they're eligible for -- let's 

 5          just help them.  We'll enroll them for it so 

 6          they're not -- they're worried about their 

 7          academic studies, not about hunger.

 8                 And that's just a small part of what 

 9          our schools can do for folks, and I think 

10          that's a game-changer.  Because the margins 

11          are so small for some of our students -- $10 

12          matters if they eat that day or they're able 

13          to buy a book.  And we don't want to have 

14          that sort of issue for them.  So we have to 

15          do more.  

16                 But programs like we've just recently 

17          announced are really important steps for us, 

18          and we do it for them.  Let them focus on 

19          their studies, let us focus on the 

20          bureaucratic paperwork.

21                 ASSEMBLYMAN CONRAD:  Appreciate it.  

22          Thank you.

23                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  I think -- okay, 

24          you're going to hand it to me, right, Helene?


 1                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Yes.

 2                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Okay.  Thank you 

 3          very much.  I am next up for the Senate, 

 4          thank you.  

 5                 So yes, Chancellor, you and I talked 

 6          about SNAP maybe less than a week ago, and I 

 7          was so pleased to see the announcement I 

 8          think yesterday that you've already figured 

 9          out a way to auto-sign up 10,000 of your 

10          students.  So I applaud you and the 

11          university for being so proactive, because 

12          it's totally a win/win.  I mean, you've 

13          focused on the importance of the food and 

14          nutrition for your students.  

15                 I'll just point out also, SNAP is 

16          100 percent federally paid for.  That's 

17          100 percent new federal dollars into our 

18          local economy, our food stores, our farmers.  

19          It's a win/win/win from an economic 

20          development and health and nutrition and 

21          education perspective.  Because you have 

22          researchers at your university who will 

23          explain to you that hungry students can't 

24          learn as well.  So when we address the food 


 1          needs of our students, we've addressed a 

 2          major issue for them educationally as well.  

 3          So thank you, keep going with that.  

 4                 So money.  Last year -- I'm just 

 5          reading my notes -- SUNY's four-year campuses 

 6          received 300 million for institutional aid 

 7          and 186 million for student aid from the 

 8          federal government.  Was that all 

 9          specifically COVID-related funding, or was 

10          some of that normal, everyday money for you 

11          all?

12                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  I believe 

13          most of it is all -- but I'm going to be 

14          corrected if I'm wrong.  I think most of it 

15          was COVID-related.  So the student-based aid, 

16          and then what we were paying for -- what we 

17          asked for, Senator, on the institutional aid 

18          was to expand the categories of what is 

19          COVID-related, testing and other things, to 

20          help us pay for some of those costs.  It was 

21          all COVID-related.

22                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  And did you spend 

23          it all?  

24                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  I believe 


 1          we have spent most of it.  I can get you the 

 2          breakdown of the final spend-out by campus, I 

 3          can get you the total dollars allocated by 

 4          campus.

 5                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  And my 

 6          understanding is the new CARES Act actually 

 7          allocates even a greater amount to colleges.  

 8          Do you know how much you're expecting from 

 9          the CARES funding?  

10                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  I think 

11          we've netted out about -- it's about 

12          $340 million or so.  But I will get you that 

13          breakdown.

14                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  To be received in 

15          the future.

16                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  Yes.

17                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Okay.  And you 

18          expect that you will be spending that all 

19          down related specifically to COVID activities 

20          on the campuses?

21                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  I mean, 

22          yeah, there have been real significant costs.  

23          I know folks have done improvements to HVAC 

24          systems.  Testing is a real cost to our 


 1          campuses.  How you provide food services and 

 2          isolation services has been a real cost to 

 3          our campuses.  Direct student support has 

 4          been a real -- I mean, our students have real 

 5          costs on laptops and e-technology and those 

 6          types of activities.  

 7                 So yeah, I think there's a real need 

 8          that will be filled by those -- that funding.

 9                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  So when the 

10          Governor proposes a $49 million cut to SUNY, 

11          you wouldn't respond, Well, we can absorb 

12          that because we got all that federal money?  

13          Or would you say, We can handle that because 

14          we got all that federal money?  

15                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  Well, I 

16          never look a gift horse in the mouth.  So 

17          if -- we will always take more funding.  

18                 I do think the federal aid has helped 

19          tremendously for our campuses for this year.  

20          If we do take a reduction in our spending, we 

21          will -- as I mentioned to Senator Jackson -- 

22          focus on those non-core academic activities 

23          in order to protect the student experience as 

24          much as possible for sure.


 1                 But we never are looking for less 

 2          money, we're always looking for additional 

 3          services for our college campuses.  But I 

 4          think if we had to manage a $46 million 

 5          reduction this year, we could manage it the 

 6          best we could.

 7                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  So you talked 

 8          quite a bit about sort of SUNY doing all 

 9          kinds of work with the private sector and the 

10          value of doing that and targeting programs to 

11          the kinds of things that the labor market is 

12          asking for.  You know, if they're looking for 

13          people who can do A, B and C, it totally 

14          makes sense that we should help provide an 

15          educated workforce that's got the skills that 

16          they're asking for.  

17                 You were even asked about -- or 

18          someone else brought up, excuse me, but you 

19          nodded recognition for we're creating new 

20          inventions, so to speak, in our labs with our 

21          students that have real-world important 

22          purposes that private companies are then 

23          interested in.  I know several of the 

24          colleges -- I don't know the community 


 1          colleges, but several of the colleges have 

 2          sort of deals with various businesses to use 

 3          students in the research labs, use SUNY 

 4          buildings for the actual research they're 

 5          doing.

 6                 So here's my question.  When the 

 7          private sector goes ahead and creates 

 8          something and brings it to market and patents 

 9          it and makes a lot of money, people who buy 

10          stock in that company might get a return on 

11          their investment.  Do we get a return on our 

12          investment in some kind of contractual way so 

13          that if somebody invents the next great 

14          sustainable battery storage for energy on a 

15          SUNY campus -- I just made that one up, by 

16          the way, although it would be really good to 

17          do that -- do we get a -- sort of a share of 

18          the stock value of that company who will do 

19          extremely well for a very long time?  Do we 

20          have those kinds of contracts in place?  

21          Because I know private universities do.

22                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  Yes, the 

23          short -- I don't know about every case on 

24          every campus, but many of the programs that 


 1          we still support, like the START-UP NY 

 2          program -- which by the way, helped feed the 

 3          COVID-19 test at SUNY Upstate.  Their 

 4          partner, Quadrant Bioscience, is a 

 5          START-UP NY company that helped develop the 

 6          test with Upstate.  

 7                 We do have an equity share in whatever 

 8          happens with that company, and we're hopeful 

 9          that that would become fruitful, because that 

10          would ultimately help the entire university 

11          system, right?  This is also not just 

12          supporting research and innovation, but how 

13          do you give back to liberal arts and other 

14          really important programs that are making 

15          sure students are well-rounded students.

16                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Exactly.  So do 

17          you -- obviously, not off the top of your 

18          head, but do you think you could provide us a 

19          master list of all of these contracts that 

20          actually have been fruitful and are paying 

21          money back to the university?  

22                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  That will 

23          be a -- that is a question I do not know off 

24          the top of my head.  But I will talk to our 


 1          folks and get you whatever we have, for sure.

 2                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Okay.  I'd 

 3          appreciate that.  

 4                 And I cede back my time to the 

 5          Assembly, the remainder of my time.

 6                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.

 7                 So our next up is Jo Anne Simon for 

 8          three minutes.  

 9                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN SIMON:  Thank you very 

10          much.  Thank you, Chancellor, it's great to 

11          see you, and congratulations.

12                 I have a couple of questions I'll just 

13          outline and then embellish.

14                 One, I just want to piggyback on 

15          Assemblymember Epstein and resources for 

16          students with disabilities on our college 

17          campuses.  We've talked about community 

18          colleges, which of course are -- about 

19          75 percent of our students with disabilities 

20          enter into higher education through the 

21          community college system.  And so this is 

22          critical.

23                 But pound for pound, we really haven't 

24          had much of an increase in the dollars 


 1          serving students with disabilities for about 

 2          30 years.  So I'm just leaving it at that.

 3                 The other thing is I'd like to talk to 

 4          you about remote learning and how that's 

 5          affecting our students, and the difference in 

 6          learning that remote learning requires, and 

 7          then the other issue is the teaching of 

 8          reading that I want to explore.  

 9                 So one is I know that there's tech 

10          issues, broadband issues, it's a statewide 

11          issue.  We've heard from students that they 

12          have difficulty with connectivity.  But also 

13          the means by which they're learning remotely, 

14          which for example doesn't allow them to 

15          highlight and margin-note like -- if you'd 

16          ask me to do something without making 

17          highlights or writing in the margin, I 

18          wouldn't be able to do it.  We're 

19          increasingly calling on our students to do 

20          that, which puts a greater load on working 

21          memory, the speed of reading, et cetera, et 

22          cetera.

23                 I'm curious whether we're doing any 

24          work to explore those issues so that we can 


 1          then improve those online products by which 

 2          our students are being forced to learn.

 3                 And the other is the teaching of 

 4          reading, and I know we've talked about this 

 5          before, and I want to follow up with you on 

 6          it, because it's too much for this hearing.  

 7                 But the National Center on Teacher 

 8          Quality has pointed out the schools that are 

 9          doing a good job, according to the science of 

10          reading, in teaching young children to read, 

11          right -- so it's early reading.  And of the 

12          As and Bs, only four New York SUNY schools 

13          are in that category.  So, you know, the rest 

14          are unfortunately in the C, D and F category 

15          or our SUNY schools.

16                 And so I would like to -- I'm working 

17          on a roundtable about what we need to do to 

18          move the state forward and who are those 

19          players.  And I'd like to know who to reach 

20          out to in your -- at SUNY to start that ball 

21          rolling.

22                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  Certainly.  

23          We'll follow up on that piece.  

24                 I think -- in the short term, I think 


 1          remote learning is something we have to learn 

 2          from this experience.  I think our campuses 

 3          came together extraordinarily well in March.  

 4          I was a college president at the time; I was 

 5          at the online college, in many ways, but it 

 6          was difficult.  

 7                 But I think we kept up in a big way.  

 8          Students that didn't have access, we created 

 9          WiFi ports for folks.  We tried to do the 

10          best we can.

11                 I do think there's a moment to learn 

12          from this.  I do think this hybrid concept of 

13          giving more opportunities for students who 

14          want to reach a -- as a student at Fredonia, 

15          I want to take a course maybe at University 

16          at Buffalo?  That's an important thing to 

17          keep exploring.  I had to adapt my 

18          teaching -- by the way, I taught in the fall, 

19          but I taught remotely for the first time in 

20          the history of my teaching career.  It's a 

21          difficult thing to do right away.  

22                 But there were benefits.  There was a 

23          more engaged student body, because we're all 

24          on camera looking at each other.  But how do 


 1          you take the best of that?  But also how do 

 2          you make sure the in-person experience is 

 3          still the most robust experience?  Because 

 4          that's where most of our students want to be.  

 5          And how do you supplement it with the online 

 6          piece?  I think there's a lot to learn there.  

 7          We want to take the best of that and apply 

 8          it.  

 9                 And then for those other pieces, 

10          there's a lot of work to do.  That's probably 

11          its own hearing, which we should probably 

12          have, because what we want to do is high 

13          quality, not just access.  There's a lot of 

14          online colleges out there right now.  And 

15          quite frankly, as the SUNY chancellor, I 

16          don't think they're very good.  And I don't 

17          think they give the same quality to our 

18          students.  And I think they take a lot of 

19          their money, and students get turned off by 

20          that experience and then they never go back 

21          again.

22                 I think we have to flip the equation 

23          into high-quality hybrid in a meaningful way, 

24          not just an access type of way.


 1                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN SIMON:  Thank you.  

 2                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  

 3                 There are no other Senators for the 

 4          first round, so we're going to go through the 

 5          Assembly for a bit.  Is that correct, Senator 

 6          Krueger?  Okay.

 7                 So we go to Assemblywoman Hyndman, 

 8          three minutes.  Alicia, just unmute yourself 

 9          and you're ready to go.

10                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN HYNDMAN:  Chair 

11          Weinstein, I put my hand down.  Thank you.

12                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Oh.  Okay, 

13          grateful.

14                 So we go now to our ranker, 

15          Assemblyman Ra, for five minutes.

16                 THE MODERATOR:  I don't actually see 

17          him in the hearing at the moment.

18                 ASSEMBLYMAN RA:  I'm here.

19                 THE MODERATOR:  Oh, I'm so sorry, 

20          Assemblyman.

21                 ASSEMBLYMAN RA:  All right, it 

22          wouldn't -- it wasn't letting me 

23          (inaudible) -- but I'm here.  Thank you.  

24                 Chancellor, thank you.  I just had a 


 1          couple of questions, one of which is a little 

 2          bit of a follow-up to something that was 

 3          asked earlier.  

 4                 Chair Glick had mentioned the TAP gap.  

 5          And I know that there is also now somewhat of 

 6          a gap between the Excelsior Award and the -- 

 7          you know, because it's set at a tuition level 

 8          from a couple of years ago.  Do you know what 

 9          that number is?  Or would that have been 

10          included in that $69 million number?  

11                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  Let me -- I 

12          will have to get back to you on that actual 

13          number, Assemblyman.  I'm not exactly sure.  

14          It may be a couple of million dollars a year, 

15          but I want to get the exact number to you so 

16          I don't misspeak.  I will get that to the 

17          committee.

18                 ASSEMBLYMAN RA:  Okay.  Thank you very 

19          much.

20                 The other question I had is I know 

21          that, you know, there was a new contract a 

22          few years ago with UUP with multiyear 

23          increases.  I'm just wondering what the 

24          potential impact is if there is a cut in 


 1          operating aid to the institutions, you know, 

 2          where that might be made up, if it will just 

 3          fall on the individual institutions or could 

 4          it be passed along, you know, in fees and 

 5          things for students.

 6                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  Do you mean 

 7          where the increase -- if the increases on the 

 8          contract actually go into effect right now?  

 9          It's been paused.  It's a $40 million impact 

10          a year to us.  When you compound that, right, 

11          you go into the outyears, it gets more 

12          expensive.  We would have to figure out a way 

13          to pay for those contracts.  The campuses 

14          would have to absorb those increases.

15                 ASSEMBLYMAN RA:  Okay.  Great.

16                 And then the last thing I had, I know 

17          that there is a -- you know, an elimination 

18          in the budget proposal for the SUNY mental 

19          health telecounseling initiative.  And 

20          obviously this is something that we're trying 

21          to utilize in a lot of ways right now, given 

22          the pandemic.  So I'm just wondering if 

23          there's some way, you know, to either 

24          otherwise fund that or what the impact would 


 1          be if that cut were to remain in the enacted 

 2          budget.

 3                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  Thank you 

 4          for that question.

 5                 We think the money is well spent 

 6          there.  I think it's about a million dollars 

 7          that was reduced.  We were able to, taking a 

 8          small amount of money, apply a pretty robust 

 9          mental health program to all of our SUNY 

10          students.  So we would like to see either 

11          restoration of that or find a way to 

12          underwrite and support that piece so we can 

13          continue forward with the telehealth 

14          especially.

15                 ASSEMBLYMAN RA:  Okay, thank you.  I 

16          don't think I have anything else right now.  

17                 I will say that I'm with you, with 

18          that football behind you, and I -- but I know 

19          Chair Glick, you know, likes getting her 

20          shots in at the Jets, which is -- we're an 

21          easy target sometimes.

22                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  Yeah, an 

23          easy mark.

24                 ASSEMBLYMAN RA:  We'll see.  So keep 


 1          the faith.  Thank you, Jim. 

 2                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  Thank you.  

 3          Thank you.

 4                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  So we go to the 

 5          Senate.  I think we have an additional 

 6          Senator?  

 7                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Yes, we found 

 8          another Senator.  Or he found us, as the case 

 9          may be.  Elijah Reichlin-Melnick.

10                 SENATOR REICHLIN-MELNICK:   Thank you 

11          so much, Madam Chair.  

12                 And thank you, Chancellor.  

13                 So I just want to ask quickly about 

14          community colleges, which have obviously been 

15          hit hard over the past year between this 5 

16          percent withholding and reduction of state 

17          support, the impact of the TAP gap, extra 

18          costs associated with COVID such as PPE and 

19          cleaning costs, testing, classroom 

20          reorganization and reduced enrollment numbers 

21          due to the pandemic.

22                 Obviously a vibrant community college 

23          system is very important to the higher ed 

24          community, and it ensures that we've got an 


 1          educated workforce.  It is the path into the 

 2          middle class for many of our students.  So 

 3          I'm just very concerned about the impact of 

 4          the loss of revenue on campus budgets.  

 5                 Can you tell me a little bit what the 

 6          impact do you think is likely to be, and what 

 7          is the plan to ensure that community 

 8          colleges are able to stay viable without 

 9          burdening students any further with 

10          additional costs?  

11                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  Thank you 

12          for that question.  

13                 I think what we have to do is recommit 

14          to the community college system.  Part of the 

15          issue is sometimes folks think that's lesser 

16          value, and I would categorically reject that 

17          going to a community college is of lesser 

18          value and that somehow they are secondary.  I 

19          think we have phenomenal students in our 

20          community college system.  I think the 

21          pandemic has exacerbated and accelerated the 

22          decline.  But when you lose a third, 

23          basically, of your enrollment over a decade 

24          period, that's a real challenge.  And 


 1          enrollment is our goal.  

 2                 So I think by what we are doing is 

 3          focusing on high-demand areas of 

 4          certification, focusing on workforce areas 

 5          that really provide value, changing the 

 6          meaning of what it means to be a college 

 7          student, micro-credentialing, a longer period 

 8          of time.  Community colleges don't have to be 

 9          two years.  To a working parent, it could be 

10          longer than that, and you can build 

11          structures and incentives around that 

12          individual.  I think that is our challenge 

13          going forward.

14                 I do think now with the federal 

15          partners that we have, I think Dr. Jill Biden 

16          is a godsend for the community college system 

17          because she understands the community college 

18          system.  She is a professor of a community 

19          college system.  She sees the value in the 

20          community college system.  

21                 And I'm going to spend a lot of my 

22          activity focused on community colleges as 

23          well as EOCs and other important access areas 

24          for New York State.  Because the thing is, we 


 1          have the people who need education.  When you 

 2          need more education in the workforce, now 

 3          more than ever, when 70 percent of all new 

 4          jobs need some credentialing, when you have 

 5          5 million New Yorkers who have no 

 6          post-secondary credentialing at all, when you 

 7          have 50,000 New Yorkers going outside the 

 8          State of New York to get educated -- we need 

 9          to get those folks back.  We need to get them 

10          engaged.  Part of my responsibility as 

11          chancellor will be to demystify the process, 

12          build things -- solutions around folks.  

13                 By the way, the Northern Workforce 

14          Training Center in Buffalo is one of those 

15          important things we have to do more of, put 

16          multiple institutions under one roof and 

17          build programs around those folks that need 

18          that access, who have never had access before 

19          in their life.  I think we are going to do 

20          that in Syracuse, New York, now with the new 

21          workforce Development Center.  We should be 

22          doing that all across the state.

23                 I think that's what turns some of this 

24          stuff around.  I think we need additional 


 1          investment.  I think there's been real 

 2          strain.  But I see an opportunity in this 

 3          because we can control our own destiny, in 

 4          many ways, through enrollment.  That's what 

 5          I'm most excited about.  But we do need 

 6          investment as well.

 7                 SENATOR REICHLIN-MELNICK:  Thank you 

 8          very much, Chancellor.

 9                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  

10                 We go to Assemblywoman Joyner now.

11                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JOYNER:  Okay, thank 

12          you, Chancellor.  I just want to lend my 

13          voice for full support of all of the 

14          Opportunity Programs, EOP programs, making 

15          sure that we fully invest in those very 

16          important programs.  

17                 My question for you -- I have two 

18          questions for you this morning.  The first 

19          one is the budget includes an appropriation 

20          calling for a cut of $46 million.  The 

21          appropriation calls on the Board of Trustees 

22          and Chancellor to decide on how to implement 

23          those cuts.  What are some plans to minimize 

24          the impact of this?  


 1                 And then my second question is we have 

 2          seen how vital essential workers have been 

 3          during the pandemic and being, you know, the 

 4          life line to our state.  With a looming 

 5          shortage in both the teaching and healthcare 

 6          professions, is SUNY prepared to address 

 7          these areas of concern within the current 

 8          budget?

 9                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  So thank 

10          you for those questions.  

11                 On the 46 million reduction, we will 

12          do -- what we are asking for in the budget is 

13          the ability to, if we had to take the 

14          reduction, take the reduction in areas that 

15          do not impact the core academic mission, 

16          student services and other areas.  Often what 

17          you see in a reduction is an across-the-board 

18          reduction.  That does then touch on EOP.  

19          That does then touch on TAP and other 

20          programs.  We ask to hold those harmless and 

21          then let's focus on nonacademic things, like 

22          get rid of administrative costs and other 

23          things as much as we can to close that gap.

24                 So that's what we were asking for to 


 1          work on.  We would of course work with you in 

 2          the Legislature so you can see how we are 

 3          presenting and putting together that plan, 

 4          that everyone is comfortable with that if we 

 5          are put in that situation.

 6                 On essential workers, I think 

 7          you're -- we have such a great need for more 

 8          healthcare workers.  It's not just nurses, 

 9          it's respiratory therapists, it's doctors, 

10          it's all across the board.  

11                 We have the capability to educate 

12          more.  I do think we need some speeding up of 

13          our program review.  We have a couple of 

14          nursing programs that have been sort of 

15          hanging out there, and other healthcare 

16          programs that have been hanging out there  

17          for too long, when you need 250,000 new 

18          nurses, for instance, by 2028, we need to 

19          start getting those programs up and running 

20          now.

21                 I do think you mentioned -- many of 

22          your colleagues mentioned the community 

23          colleges.  They're doing a phenomenal job on 

24          the healthcare training side.  But we need 


 1          more modern clinical space.  For instance, 

 2          Rockland Community College is a great 

 3          community college, their nurses are 

 4          phenomenal students, but they're not dealing 

 5          with the state-of-the-art clinical space that 

 6          they should be in order to meet the workforce 

 7          demand.  

 8                 So I think if you put some of those 

 9          pieces together that we've asked for, we can 

10          meet all of the workforce demand on that area 

11          in healthcare, especially because there is a 

12          growing demand, including the "BSN in 10" 

13          program, where all of our nurses currently in 

14          the system have to get their bachelor's 

15          within 10 years.  That's another demand.  So 

16          we're creating partnerships within the SUNY 

17          system in order to make that happen.  

18                 So the demand is there, our pieces are 

19          there all across the state.  We need some 

20          help on the clinical side, and we need some 

21          help on the program approval side so we can 

22          get more of this ramped up faster.

23                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN JOYNER:  Okay, thank you 

24          for your comment.


 1                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  

 2                 We go to Assemblywoman Seawright now.  

 3                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN SEAWRIGHT:  Thank you, 

 4          Chairwoman Weinstein.  

 5                 And good morning, Chancellor.  

 6          Congratulations on your appointment.  

 7                 I just have a couple of questions.  

 8          I'm a proud SUNY parent, a child at SUNY 

 9          Albany and at SUNY New Paltz, so we 

10          definitely have SUNY in the house.

11                 Recently there -- in the Executive 

12          Budget there was a reference made to priority 

13          admissions for the nursing students.  Are 

14          there any programs or support that's planned 

15          to help these students succeed?

16                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  Well, 

17          that's a very good question.  Yes, you do 

18          have two proud SUNY students in your system.  

19          I don't pick sides on the best, but you have 

20          an aggressive advocate from SUNY New Paltz, 

21          of course, which I was just down and visited, 

22          and of course University at Albany, my 

23          alma mater.  So two good choices.  

24                 I would have to see what we're doing 


 1          on the support side.  We are doing more on 

 2          the academic support side in order to make 

 3          sure folks are completing and not feeling 

 4          abandoned in a program.  So we're doing more 

 5          support coaches and things like that.  

 6                 But I'll check specifically in the 

 7          nursing and other healthcare programs.  I 

 8          don't know off the top of my head, but I will 

 9          double-check on that.

10                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN SEAWRIGHT:  And then 

11          another quick question, thank you.  

12                 Many of the students at the community 

13          colleges are eligible for TAP and Pell grants 

14          and other financial aid programs.  How much 

15          would it cost to implement President Biden's 

16          pledge for free tuition at SUNY's community 

17          colleges?

18                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  Well, I 

19          don't have that off the top of my head, but I 

20          will get that to the committee.

21                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN SEAWRIGHT:  Okay.  And 

22          then lastly, my district has a lot of senior 

23          citizens, and they love auditing classes.  Is 

24          SUNY -- what provisions is SUNY making to 


 1          allow senior citizens to audit classes 

 2          online?

 3                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  So we -- I 

 4          think we should open up more of our courses.  

 5          I think the concept of -- the Open SUNY 

 6          concept of allowing people to come in -- when 

 7          I was president of Empire State College, we 

 8          had the Center for Lifelong Learning actually 

 9          on our campuses, taking class with our 

10          faculty -- language courses, other courses.  

11          I think we can replicate that across the 

12          system.  

13                 I think you could use the online 

14          modality, but I think you could also use the 

15          in-person modality.  We have beautiful space 

16          all across the state.  I would work with you 

17          on a more robust program.  But at Empire 

18          State College, we had a really close 

19          partnership with the Center for Lifelong 

20          Learning, who came, took our classes and 

21          things like that.  It was great.  It was 

22          great to have them on our campus, interacting 

23          with our other students and participating 

24          with our colleagues.


 1                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN SEAWRIGHT:  Terrific.  

 2          Thank you very much for your leadership, 

 3          Chancellor.

 4                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  

 5                 We go to Assemblywoman Forrest.

 6                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN FORREST:  Thank you.  

 7                 Good morning, Chancellor Mala -- 

 8          Malata -- Malatras.  I want to make sure I 

 9          got it right.

10                 So as a SUNY Geneseo graduate, I'm 

11          really excited to speak on SUNY issues.  One 

12          of the issues that we brought up -- that was 

13          brought up to me from constituents is that 

14          graduate students at SUNY pay astronomical 

15          fees compared to CUNY grad students.  This is 

16          specifically in the case where -- in terms of 

17          fees.  So -- and it could amount to a couple 

18          of thousand dollars.  

19                 And so they can't get employment as 

20          graduate employees until these particular 

21          fees are paid.  So I guess the question that 

22          I have is, do you support efforts to 

23          eliminate pay-to-work fees for New York State 

24          graduate employees?


 1                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  I will 

 2          definitely look into that.  As a graduate 

 3          student at the State University of New York 

 4          who did take on student loans and ate a lot 

 5          of ramen noodles, I have a great soft spot 

 6          for graduate students and the plight that 

 7          they have to go through in their studies and 

 8          economically.  

 9                 But I will definitely work on that 

10          with you.  I don't -- I don't know enough yet 

11          about those different fee structures for the 

12          current student.  I was a grad student a long 

13          time ago.  But I will definitely work on that 

14          with you.  However we can make it easier for 

15          our graduate students to thrive, I think we 

16          should do it.

17                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN FORREST:  Especially 

18          when we know that students are usually 

19          working -- or cannot work, are barred from 

20          work while they're pursuing their graduate 

21          studies, and so we should eliminate as many 

22          barriers as possible.  

23                 Thank you, Chancellor.

24                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  Thank you.


 1                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  

 2                 We go to Assemblywoman Griffin.

 3                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN GRIFFIN:  Good morning, 

 4          Chancellor.  Thank you, Chairs.

 5                 I wanted to ask a couple of questions.  

 6          I appreciate the $20 million investment in 

 7          offshore wind training at Farmingdale and 

 8          Stony Brook.  And I just was curious -- I 

 9          talk to a lot of college graduates that may 

10          have went to other schools, private schools, 

11          non-SUNY.  And now they're interested in 

12          possibly going back to school for renewable 

13          energy and sustainability.  

14                 And I was wondering, is there any plan 

15          at SUNY to expand graduate programs where 

16          students could get a master's in any of 

17          these -- in this field?  

18                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  We're 

19          looking.  We have a couple right now, and 

20          we're actually looking -- that's one of the 

21          areas on the program that we'd actually like 

22          to speed up a little bit.  We have a couple 

23          of programs right now that have been hanging 

24          out there for a while, but I think if we 


 1          could get those approved, that would give 

 2          great opportunities.  

 3                 And I think the academy concept that 

 4          we've talking about, the clean energy, clean 

 5          jobs academy, there's different access points 

 6          all across the system where we're kind of 

 7          aggregating those different programs for 

 8          folks to understand.  

 9                 And then marrying different 

10          concepts -- I was at the Capital District EOC 

11          yesterday.  Their welding program is 

12          phenomenal.  But how do you marry the 

13          traditional welding program with the turbine 

14          program and creation, right?  There's a 

15          different skill set that you have to marry 

16          together.  

17                 There's 400,000 open welding jobs in 

18          the entire country.  The average salary I 

19          think is like $80,000 a year.  That's no 

20          insignificant salary, and lots of jobs.  But 

21          you can -- have to combine those 

22          certifications.  So I would do more of that.  

23          I think the academy could solve a lot of 

24          those issues.


 1                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN GRIFFIN:  Okay, 

 2          thank you.  Another question is a lot of 

 3          parents in my district search for colleges 

 4          that have a dedicated special ed program.  

 5          And often they wind up going to another 

 6          college, a private college, an independent 

 7          college, because they don't feel there is a 

 8          dedicated enough program at the SUNY schools.  

 9                 And I just wondered, have you recently 

10          done anything to expand any programs, even if 

11          you focused on one SUNY school?  Or, you 

12          know, is there any program that's really 

13          dedicated so a special ed student could go 

14          there and know that they're really going to 

15          get the attention that they really need?  

16                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  On the 

17          individual student themself or the training 

18          for the teacher going into special ed?  

19                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN GRIFFIN:  No, I mean for 

20          the student themselves.  A student with 

21          special ed issues.  

22                 So often they -- SUNY would be a -- 

23          you know, great schools for New Yorkers but 

24          often there isn't -- a family doesn't have 


 1          confidence in the SUNY -- any of the SUNY -- 

 2          some of the SUNY schools to give that 

 3          education to their special ed student, so 

 4          sometimes they wind up going to a private 

 5          school instead.

 6                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  I will look 

 7          more into that.  I have not dove really 

 8          deeply into this issue yet.  

 9                 The one area I have was on the autism 

10          spectrum side.  I think we have not provided 

11          enough opportunities for those students who 

12          need a lot more individualized learning.  We 

13          created the first Center for Autism 

14          Inclusivity, which I talked about at the 

15          beginning.  Which isn't just about training 

16          the workforce for folks who want to provide 

17          direct services, but actually providing best 

18          practices and training our faculty and staff 

19          to better educate those students and make it 

20          more acceptable for them to feel welcome and 

21          part of the SUNY community.  

22                 That's starting at Empire State 

23          College, but I'd like to see that go 

24          systemwide, because I think there's a real 


 1          need and demand there, and I think they could 

 2          be highly successful.  We have to adapt to 

 3          their needs, not them adapting to our needs.  

 4          There's more work to be done in this space, 

 5          but that's a good first step.

 6                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN GRIFFIN:  Okay, thank 

 7          you very much.

 8                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  

 9                 We go to Assemblyman Englebright now.  

10          Steve, are you there?

11                 ASSEMBLYMAN ENGLEBRIGHT:  Yes.  Can 

12          you hear me?  

13                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Yes, we can.

14                 ASSEMBLYMAN ENGLEBRIGHT:  Ah, good.  

15          Thank you very much.  

16                 Congratulations, Chancellor, on your 

17          recent appointment.  And it's wonderful to 

18          listen to you talk about the directions that 

19          you're taking our great institution.

20                 I have really one primary issue that I 

21          wanted to ask you about, and it deals with 

22          the operating needs of Stony Brook and the 

23          other University Centers, and specifically 

24          the need for flexible tuition.  I just 


 1          wondered if you could speak to the 

 2          possibility of having flexible tuition for 

 3          the University Centers and what your thoughts 

 4          might be on that topic.

 5                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  Thank you 

 6          for that question, Assemblyman.  And thank 

 7          you for the kind words about being 

 8          chancellor.

 9                 I think this is the time.  I mean, we 

10          forwarded it in our budget submission to 

11          allow our University Centers, which are 

12          research-heavy.  Research institutions are 

13          often higher-cost institutions because of lab 

14          capacity and other investment capacity that 

15          goes into that.

16                 We asked to rationalize the policy 

17          because in many ways there already is a 

18          differential among our University Centers 

19          versus our other colleges.  It's done in a 

20          way that is not as transparent, I don't 

21          think.  But I think a program like this, we 

22          can keep the cost still affordable.  I think 

23          we are something like still the -- we're in 

24          the bottom 10 in a good way, in the lowest 


 1          tuition in the country, which I think is a 

 2          good thing for us even where we've been with 

 3          our predictable tuition program.  That's 

 4          something to be proud of, because that's an 

 5          investment by the state.  

 6                 But also recognize that our University 

 7          Centers do need additional resources to 

 8          improve their research capacity.  As long as 

 9          they're taking a portion of what they're 

10          raising in addition, in supporting those 

11          students who don't have the means in order to 

12          go to college, which they've been very good 

13          stewards of, at Stony Brook University in 

14          particular.  University of Buffalo, 

15          Binghamton and Albany have put considerable 

16          dollars into additional scholarships and 

17          other programs to close some of those gaps.  

18                 And that would be something, as the 

19          Board of Trustees and I work on a plan -- if 

20          we are to get this authority -- which we will 

21          share with you, that is protecting both 

22          access but then institutional research 

23          quality by the flexible tuition as well.

24                 ASSEMBLYMAN ENGLEBRIGHT:  Thank you 


 1          for your very thoughtful response.  

 2                 You know, and the other thing I want 

 3          to say is I very much appreciate the focus 

 4          and emphasis that you have placed on bringing 

 5          the SUNY system into compliance and indeed 

 6          exceeding minimum expectations of the CLCPA.  

 7          Well done.  Thank you.

 8                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  

 9                 We go to Assemblymember Gandolfo, 

10          three minutes.

11                 ASSEMBLYMAN GANDOLFO:  Thank you, 

12          Chairs.  

13                 And thank you, Chancellor, for being 

14          here today.

15                 First I want to say I'm happy that we 

16          share an alma mater.  I'm a SUNY Albany 

17          graduate myself, and I have great memories 

18          there, especially since when I was there, the 

19          Jets were making runs to the AFC 

20          championship.  So those were great years, and 

21          I wish we could go back to them.  

22                 And I'll start and say I appreciate 

23          the comments you made about providing more 

24          opportunities for students with autism.  I 


 1          think that's a great initiative and that's a 

 2          great priority to have.

 3                 And I just want to loop back to 

 4          something one of my colleagues in the Senate 

 5          mentioned earlier, about providing, you know, 

 6          free speech protections on our campuses.  And 

 7          I appreciate that you mentioned that it is a 

 8          little bit of a priority for you.  

 9                 You know, it hasn't been too much of a 

10          problem on SUNY campuses.  We did have the 

11          one incident at Binghamton with Art Laffer, 

12          which was disappointing.  

13                 I just wanted to know, are there any 

14          plans to issue some kind of directive from 

15          the top in terms of providing security for 

16          speakers coming to campuses or for, you know, 

17          student groups who are tabling, to make sure 

18          that they don't kind of get intimidated by 

19          groups of protestors and mobs and that they 

20          can feel safe on the campus?  

21                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  Thank you 

22          for the question.  What we're trying to do is 

23          set the tone and provide the opportunities 

24          for the free expression of ideas without 


 1          saying you need -- I don't think we're at the 

 2          point where as a SUNY institution we need to 

 3          provide extra protection and support.  I 

 4          think that on some levels -- if we have to 

 5          get there, maybe.  But I think what we're 

 6          trying to say is let's have an open and 

 7          honest dialogue.  That is the academy.

 8                 And by the way, it's been happening at 

 9          our campuses over the past couple of months.  

10          There's been many issues of real import -- 

11          social justice issues, economic justice 

12          issues -- that campuses are working through.  

13          One of your colleagues mentioned SUNY 

14          Geneseo.  SUNY Geneseo is one of the most 

15          beautiful sunsets you'll ever see in the 

16          world, and they have a tree that can be 

17          painted with whatever by students.  And there 

18          was a BLM painting, and then there was a 

19          veterans replacement.  And that spurred a 

20          dialogue and debate, and I think they were 

21          able to handle -- students almost handle it 

22          in a better way than we have as adults in 

23          society in many ways.  And we think they 

24          should be the model for that.  


 1                 What I would like, though, is to keep 

 2          that free expression of ideas going.  That's 

 3          what makes the academy great.  That's what 

 4          spurs change and ideas.  Often social change 

 5          comes from higher education.  I think the 

 6          social justice movement -- we all saw the 

 7          terrible video at the end of May of what 

 8          happened to Mr. Floyd.  But those 

 9          conversations were happening on our college 

10          campuses in real and meaningful ways.  I 

11          think the pandemic turned it on its head a 

12          little bit.  

13                 But I would rather set the tone as 

14          opposed to say we need to put extra 

15          protections in place.  Because we'll get 

16          there if we have to, but I think coming from 

17          the top in a different way is the best way of 

18          doing it for now.  And if we have to adjust 

19          it, we will.

20                 ASSEMBLYMAN GANDOLFO:  All right, 

21          thank you, Chancellor.  And thank you, 

22          Chairs.

23                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  

24                 We go to Assemblyman Palmesano, three 


 1          minutes. 

 2                 SENATOR RIVERA:  Actually, there's a 

 3          Senate -- it's Senator Rivera.  I just wanted 

 4          to see if I could get --

 5                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Oh, okay.  I 

 6          didn't see his hand.

 7                 So why don't we go to Senator Rivera.

 8                 SENATOR RIVERA:  Thank you.  

 9                 I just wanted to thank you, 

10          Chancellor, for being here and for all the 

11          information you've given.  I just wanted to 

12          make a quick point regarding that last 

13          conversation.  We've had different versions 

14          of the conversation during the morning 

15          related to speakers on campus, et cetera.  I 

16          just wanted to state something just as a -- 

17          just make a statement and certainly get your 

18          input if you'd like.  

19                 But as somebody who's been a college 

20          professor for most of my time in New York 

21          State -- I started teaching college in 

22          1999 -- I certainly welcome and believe that 

23          open discussion is something that is 

24          important in the academy.  


 1                 However, it must be stated as a fact 

 2          that if somebody is a conservative speaker is 

 3          one thing.  If somebody is a fascist, that 

 4          person should not be allowed on campus.  It 

 5          is my view that if your difference with me is 

 6          based on your difference on your belief of my 

 7          humanity, or if you believe that it is -- you 

 8          strictly -- anybody who is defending fascist 

 9          talking points, I do not believe it is an 

10          equal -- there's -- we should get over this 

11          whole equalness of like -- we could have a 

12          debate about taxation all day and all night.  

13          We can have debates about the -- you know, in 

14          education whether you believe in charter 

15          schools or you believe in public schools.  We 

16          can have that conversation all day and all 

17          night.  We can debate all sorts of policy.  

18                 However, many -- some of the speakers 

19          that we've been -- that have been referenced 

20          here and some of the speakers that had this 

21          issue across the nation have been folks who 

22          are not there to express a different opinion, 

23          they're there to express fascist viewpoints.

24                 And so I just wanted to kind of state 


 1          that for the record.  Having distinctions -- 

 2          and I'm very glad to say that most of my -- 

 3          the overwhelming majority of the Republican 

 4          colleagues that I've had over the time that 

 5          I've been in the Senate have been those type 

 6          of folks, have been folks who understand that 

 7          having differences of opinion is important 

 8          and is good for governance as well as for the 

 9          academy.  

10                 But I just wanted to make that point.  

11          There's a difference between a difference of 

12          opinion and people who defend fascist talking 

13          points or who take those positions.  And 

14          those are folks that I don't necessarily 

15          believe should be allowed in the academy, so 

16          just -- or anywhere else, for that matter.  

17          Just wanted to make that as a statement.

18                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  Thank you 

19          for that, Senator.  

20                 And just on that point, we have been 

21          very strong on that.  I think there's a 

22          difference in what the different actions are 

23          when there was the events of January 6th.  I, 

24          with the Board of Trustees, came out very 


 1          strongly in opposition to those events, 

 2          because that wasn't speech, that was clearly 

 3          counter to the democratic ideals of our 

 4          society.  

 5                 Or when we disagreed with certain 

 6          executive orders that banned, quote, unquote, 

 7          divisive topics when they themselves were a 

 8          way to stifle the free expression of ideas, 

 9          especially when it comes to racial inequities 

10          and structural racism in our society, we call 

11          that out as well.

12                 I do think you're right, there's a 

13          difference I think -- Professor Laffer, he 

14          and I disagree economically on I think the 

15          approach to economics.  But, you know, I 

16          think he has a valued voice in the academy.  

17          But you're right, there's a difference in 

18          some levels that we have to be very mindful 

19          of, or is a different sort of activity that 

20          we're talking about (inaudible). 

21                 SENATOR RIVERA:  Not that one speaker, 

22          but other folks.  So I just wanted to make 

23          that point.  Thank you.

24                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Assemblyman 


 1          Palmesano now, for three.

 2                 ASSEMBLYMAN PALMESANO:  Thank you, 

 3          Chancellor, for being here.  I appreciate 

 4          your time.  

 5                 I really just have one area.  I don't 

 6          know if necessarily you can answer this 

 7          question, but wondering if you can provide 

 8          this information back to myself and probably 

 9          members of the Legislature, specifically 

10          regarding Clean Energy Funds.  As Energy 

11          ranker, I'm always very concerned about the 

12          impact a number of these programs have on our 

13          ratepayers and our taxpayers.  

14                 So I was wondering, Chancellor, if you 

15          might be able to provide to us in a timely 

16          fashion a list of all the monies that SUNY 

17          uses from all the state clean energy funds, 

18          programs like RGGI, the NYSERDA monies, the 

19          REV campus challenge.  And also details on 

20          what this money is being used for, the 

21          current status of these projects, what's been 

22          worked on, what still needs to be worked on, 

23          how much money you have in your coffers to do 

24          these projects.  


 1                 I just think that's an important thing 

 2          for us to have as we move forward, again, 

 3          to -- as you can recognize, these funds are a 

 4          tremendous commitment and investment that are 

 5          paid for through taxpayer dollars and 

 6          ratepayer dollars on their energy bills.  

 7                 And I just wonder if that's something 

 8          you can look at and share with us, because I 

 9          think -- you know, get back to us in a timely 

10          manner, because I think as we analyze the 

11          budget to see if some of these funds -- what 

12          they're being used for, if they're not being 

13          used, maybe they should be repurposed for 

14          other -- if possible, repurposed for other 

15          programs, whether within SUNY or other 

16          important programs, to help other important 

17          state priorities like helping our nursing 

18          home residents or other important state 

19          priorities.  

20                 So I'm just wondering if you could -- 

21          you and your team would be able to provide to 

22          us a list of those monies that, again, that 

23          SUNY has through all these clean energy funds 

24          like RGGI, NYSERDA, REV Campus Challenge.  


 1          Because again, this is a significant amount 

 2          of dollars that is paid for and subsidized by 

 3          taxpayers and ratepayers on their bills.  

 4                 So I was wondering if that's something 

 5          you could provide to the committee.  I'd 

 6          really appreciate that if you could do that 

 7          in a timely manner so we can evaluate that 

 8          and analyze that as we move forward, if 

 9          that's possible.

10                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  Certainly.  

11          We'll talk to my finance staff and we'll get 

12          you whatever the spending is on the SUNY 

13          side, on what we spend.

14                 ASSEMBLYMAN PALMESANO:  Yeah, that 

15          would be great to have that breakdown as far 

16          as what is spent on, what the status is, how 

17          much money you actually have in these 

18          programs, specific dollars.  So like really a 

19          detailed breakdown would be really helpful to 

20          us as we move forward with these programs and 

21          as we analyze moving forward in the budget 

22          and see the overall impact this has on our 

23          ratepayers and our taxpayers.  

24                 Thank you, Chancellor, again for what 


 1          you're doing.

 2                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  Thank you.

 3                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  I believe we go 

 4          to the Senate now.

 5                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.  

 6                 Senator John Liu has a question or 

 7          two.  Three minutes.

 8                 SENATOR LIU:  Thank you, Madam Chair.  

 9          I'm wondering if we can have Assemblymember 

10          Bichotte go first.

11                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Helene, is that 

12          all right with you?  

13                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  That's fine.  

14          Okay, Assemblywoman Bichotte Hermelyn, three 

15          minutes.


17          Thank you so much, Senator Liu, my brother. 

18                 Thank you, Chancellor, for being here, 

19          and congratulations on your appointment.  

20                 I am a SUNY grad from Buffalo State 

21          College as well as University of Buffalo.  

22          And I also have the best CUNY college in my 

23          district, Brooklyn College.  

24                 I do have a few questions that I will 


 1          ask, and then if you can answer all of them.  

 2          And some of them you already touched on.  

 3                 So one of them is while students have 

 4          been learning remotely now for almost a year, 

 5          we know that there's a proposal to raise 

 6          tuition.  And this is, you know, virtual 

 7          learning in the CUNY and SUNY system.  But 

 8          knowing that there's no one in the building, 

 9          I just don't understand how we can justify 

10          raising costs during the high unemployment in 

11          the very industries like restaurants that a 

12          lot of our students rely on to make ends 

13          meet -- and all of this while we're not 

14          necessarily using the facility and it's 

15          virtual.  That's my first question.

16                 In addition to that, we are -- I see 

17          that there's an investment of $75 million in 

18          dormitory facilities.  Again, these very 

19          institutions are closed.  I know the one in 

20          my district, they are not leasing anymore -- 

21          Brooklyn College was leasing a building for 

22          the dormitory; they're not doing that 

23          anymore.  Can that cost be shifted to, you 

24          know, subsidize or help not increase tuition?  


 1                 And as we talk about tuition, I want 

 2          to talk about the TAP gap.  I see that in the 

 3          Executive Budget is like a 13.1 million deep 

 4          freeze -- again, due to the enrollment 

 5          declines that says, you know, it's prior year 

 6          over year.  The program continues to support 

 7          the DREAM Act.  Has that been cut at all?  

 8                 And why would we want to cut the TAP 

 9          funding when we already have a TAP gap?  We 

10          need to kind of look at that.

11                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Can we leave a 

12          few seconds for the chancellor to respond.


14                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  Well, thank 

15          you for that, and thank you for going to Buff 

16          State and UB.  Buff State, I was at Buff 

17          State and UB on Sunday.  The Bengals are 

18          great, and the Bison.

19                 On the tuition question, we did not 

20          raise tuition this year.  We're asking for 

21          the authorization to continue the predictable 

22          tuition -- not that we're going to raise it 

23          every year, but to have the ability to make 

24          those considerations when doing budgeting.  


 1          But just for clarity, we did not raise 

 2          tuition this year because of the issues that 

 3          you raise.  That's important to us.

 4                 We are a little different than CUNY.  

 5          We have students on our campus.  We have 

 6          about 150,000 students on campus currently.  

 7          So we have a hybrid model in many ways.  But 

 8          we didn't raise tuition anyway.  And in fact 

 9          we've reduced some of our fees because we're 

10          not providing those services, so we've 

11          reduced some of our fees.

12                 So the dormitory, for instance, 

13          investment, we're using our facilities.  We 

14          have folks in our dormitories.  Many of our 

15          dormitories have been used for isolation and 

16          quarantine space as well.  So SUNY at 

17          least -- it may be different than CUNY -- we 

18          have different costs associated with it, 

19          because we've borne real costs this year, 

20          almost in a weirder way because of the 

21          pandemic.  But we do have students on our 

22          campus, although much reduced.  But we have 

23          campuses open, it's not all online.



 1          Okay, thank you.

 2                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  Thank you 

 3          very much.


 5          one quick question?

 6                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  

 7          We -- we go to the Senate.  Senator Liu, I 

 8          believe, had a question?  

 9                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Yes.  

10                 Senator John Liu.  Turn your mute off.

11                 SENATOR LIU:  Yeah, thank you very 

12          much.  

13                 Well, I want to thank the chancellor 

14          and his team for taking on the additional 

15          challenge of running our -- really our, you 

16          know, star school system in New York State.  

17                 My question has to do with an earlier 

18          question about the cost of tuition for 

19          community colleges, given what we're seeing 

20          nationally, which is a good trend, and the 

21          new administration, the Biden administration, 

22          looking at community colleges, continuing off 

23          what President Obama had envisioned.  

24                 What -- we should have, at this point, 


 1          some kind of cost impact or cost -- what's it 

 2          take to make tuition free at the community 

 3          colleges?  And furthermore, I'm wondering 

 4          what the cost impact would be of making SUNY 

 5          tuition free for all.  I assume you have 

 6          readily available the amount of revenues  

 7          that are derived by tuition.

 8                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  We can 

 9          definitely provide that to you, Senator.  

10          Thank you for -- I agree, SUNY is one of the 

11          best systems ever created in the history of 

12          the world.  I think it has provided access.  

13          And I'm not just saying that because I'm the 

14          chancellor; I'm also a graduate several times 

15          over.

16                 The community college piece we'll put 

17          together is just numbers.  Right?  Our 

18          community college tuition is set at the local 

19          level.  So our tuition for our community 

20          colleges ranges -- it varies from 4900 all 

21          the way up to 50-something hundred dollars a 

22          semester.  So we'll provide that to you, I 

23          just don't have it off the top of my head, so 

24          I don't want to give you a joint round number 


 1          that may not be right.  But we'll provide it 

 2          to the committees for sure, what the total 

 3          cost of our tuition revenue across the system 

 4          is for you.

 5                 SENATOR LIU:  Okay.  But, you know, 

 6          just broadly speaking, we should have readily 

 7          available how much of the SUNY budget is 

 8          relying upon tuition payments.  I'm not 

 9          pressing you on that right now, I'm just 

10          saying it's got to be a number, I'm guessing, 

11          maybe a billion and a half to 2 billion.  But 

12          I don't know.  That's just off the top of my 

13          head.  

14                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  You're the 

15          numbers guy.  I'm not --

16                 SENATOR LIU:  Listen, just because I'm 

17          Asian doesn't mean I'm just a numbers guy.

18                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  No, 

19          comptroller, you got the whole -- 

20                 SENATOR LIU:  Before my time runs out, 

21          since so many mentions were made of your 

22          alma mater, Albany, and Stony Brook and 

23          Farmingdale, Geneseo and others, I've got to 

24          make sure that Binghamton is in the mix as 


 1          well.  So a shout out to SUNY Binghamton, my 

 2          alma mater.

 3                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  By the way, 

 4          Stanley Whittingham -- I thought someone 

 5          would mention the lithium ion battery.  These 

 6          state-of-the-art batteries are being 

 7          developed in Binghamton, New York.  Actually 

 8          students worked together to put up start-up 

 9          companies that will have a giga factory built 

10          there.  They are doing amazing things in that 

11          space.  It's remarkable.  Binghamton -- I 

12          love Binghamton.

13                 SENATOR LIU:  Good to hear.  Thank 

14          you.

15                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.  

16                 Assembly.

17                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  

18                 Yes, we go to Assemblyman Smith, three 

19          minutes.

20                 ASSEMBLYMAN SMITH:  Thank you, 

21          Madam Chair.  

22                 And thank you to our new SUNY 

23          chancellor.  Welcome.  It's so good to have 

24          you here.  Exciting times we're in.


 1                 I wasn't going to speak but I do feel 

 2          compelled to just note something two of my 

 3          colleagues -- actually, three of my 

 4          colleagues mentioned the idea of protecting 

 5          student voices on campus.  Now, last year I 

 6          was the ranker of Higher Ed, and at the 

 7          budget hearing this time I did not bring up 

 8          the incident that actually happened in 

 9          November of 2019, because I felt that it was 

10          kind of a settled issue.  

11                 But I do feel, as the incoming 

12          chancellor, to bring up this issue.  In 

13          November of 2019 an economist, Art Laffer, 

14          that was referenced, did attempt to make a 

15          speech and presentation at SUNY Binghamton.  

16          And a few days before his speech, there was a 

17          group of students who were 

18          conservative-leaning students tabling on 

19          campus, and it was widely reported, video, 

20          shocking video, of them being completely shut 

21          down in their ability to share their 

22          thoughts.  

23                 Now, they did have a poster that was 

24          promoting the Second Amendment, something 


 1          maybe a little controversial.  But again, 

 2          it's a college campus and promoting 

 3          discussion about controversial ideas is 

 4          something that we routinely encourage.  They 

 5          were completely shut down.  Physically, their 

 6          table was disheveled, the campus police at 

 7          SUNY Binghamton had to come and respond to 

 8          protect the students and break up the 

 9          situation.

10                 Following that -- and I mention this 

11          because I was the only Assemblymember to 

12          actually directly engage with Binghamton's 

13          president -- I said, What the heck happened 

14          here?  They did a review, and I said, Okay, 

15          well, we have this economist coming to speak 

16          at your campus, somebody who the students had 

17          I believe raised about $90,000 in private 

18          funds to get him to come and speak, including 

19          travel and hotel.  And I said to the campus 

20          president, I would suggest you call in the 

21          State Police, because this is something that 

22          if this speaker is not allowed to engage 

23          students -- and again, it's Art Laffer.  I 

24          mean, with all due respect to him, not 


 1          exactly the most controversial -- Reagan 

 2          economist, but he was advising Trump at the 

 3          time, so I think students were -- you know, 

 4          maybe tempers were a little bit high.  

 5                 So the gentleman, Art Laffer, shows up 

 6          to give his speech.  Within 10 minutes, and 

 7          it's all caught on video, students shouted 

 8          him down.  Police, local police had to arrest 

 9          two individuals.  There were some people that 

10          were not campus students, but from around the 

11          surrounding community that came to disrupt 

12          the speech. 

13                 So when my colleagues bring up this 

14          issue, it is a legitimate concern, as we're 

15          talking about diversity of thought and 

16          diversity of ideas.  And while I can respect,  

17          you know, we don't want -- you know, we 

18          wouldn't want a dictator from another country 

19          coming to speak or someone who is provoking 

20          or promoting violence, I can agree with that.  

21                 I do think when we have basic 

22          Republican or conservative-leaning speakers, 

23          the least we can do is make sure that they're 

24          allowed to freely express their ideas.  


 1                 So again, my time is about to expire.  

 2          I really do hope, because this has been an 

 3          issue, that this is something that can be 

 4          addressed.  We really do want to protect the 

 5          ability.  

 6                 Thank you, Chancellor.

 7                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  

 8                 And I just have, before we go to -- 

 9          before we go for seconds, I just had two 

10          quick things to say.

11                 First, on behalf of one of my 

12          colleagues who wanted to ask about publicly 

13          available charging stations on all SUNY 

14          campuses, I'm wondering if they are available 

15          for students and faculty.

16                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  Thank you, 

17          Chair.  Many of our campuses do in fact have 

18          charging stations.  We built them at Empire 

19          State College.  If you go to many of our 

20          college campuses today, you'll have charging 

21          stations at the campuses.  

22                 I don't know if we've mandated that as 

23          a matter of SUNY policy, but that is 

24          something that many of our campuses -- mainly 


 1          because it's been student-driven, actually, 

 2          the students want that infrastructure on our 

 3          campuses.  So if you go to many of our 

 4          campuses, they have the charging stations.

 5                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  That's great.  

 6          And even though Downstate isn't in my 

 7          district, I'm glad we're calling it Downstate 

 8          again.  

 9                 Even though Downstate is not in my 

10          district, a lot of my constituents both work 

11          there and use the hospital.  So I know that 

12          Dr. Riley has really appreciated the working 

13          relationship.  He came to visit the campus 

14          and that's -- you know, we in our delegation 

15          feel very strongly about the importance of 

16          the medical school and the hospital to our 

17          community and to all of Brooklyn.  

18                 You noted how it was a COVID-only 

19          hospital and people really went the extra 

20          mile.  So that is near and dear to all of us 

21          in Brooklyn, both constituents and our 

22          delegation.

23                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  May I give 

24          one pitch to Downstate?  Not only was it a 


 1          COVID-only hospital, they were among the 

 2          fastest to vaccinate, use all their 

 3          vaccinations distributed to them in that way.  

 4          And I looked at that vaccination process, it 

 5          was phenomenal.  

 6                 Not only are they providing access to 

 7          students from communities of color that 

 8          normally would not have access to medical 

 9          schools, they are providing critical access 

10          to medical students.  They are doing 

11          innovative research.  We don't often look at 

12          Downstate as research -- they are mapping the 

13          brain right now, using big data in ways that 

14          no other institution is.  And that faculty 

15          member is from the PRODiG program.  

16                 So they've got a lot of good stuff 

17          going on at Downstate right now that we want 

18          to just keep rising up and applauding.  It's 

19          phenomenal.

20                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  That's great.  

21          And perhaps once we get some money, we can 

22          figure out a garage space for them.  When I 

23          have gone to meetings there, it takes forever 

24          to try and find a place to park and --


 1                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  All the 

 2          medical students, that's their number-one 

 3          complaint, is parking at SUNY Downstate.

 4                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  And just on a 

 5          personal note, Jim, it's -- I very much enjoy 

 6          seeing you in this new role.  Having survived 

 7          our late colleague, Assemblyman Brodsky, 

 8          you're certainly ready for this job.  And 

 9          your testimony today has shown that.

10                 I'm going to turn it over to the 

11          Senate now.  Do you have a --

12                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  I thought Deborah 

13          Glick might have a second round --

14                 (Overtalk.)

15                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Oh, yes.  Yes, 

16          Deborah has -- okay, we'll go to Deborah 

17          Glick for her second round.

18                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  (Inaudible.)

19                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  

20                 Okay, Deborah?  Five minutes. 

21                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN GLICK:  I'm going to try 

22          to keep my video on, but if it starts to 

23          freeze, I'm going to kick it off.

24                 Thank you, Jim.  I have only five 


 1          minutes, so -- and I have 10 questions.  

 2                 So let me just say for the record I've 

 3          gone back to my notes and SED approves 

 4          programs, 84 percent happen in 60 days, 

 5          95 percent within 90 days.  Now, there 

 6          certainly are outliers, and I think you've 

 7          enumerated some of them.  But we can talk 

 8          more about that.

 9                 A couple of quick questions.  Are 

10          there going to be any limits -- as you 

11          distribute cuts across the system, will there 

12          be a benchmark, like no more than 5 percent 

13          or no more than 10 percent to any particular 

14          campus?  

15                 What is the situation with bandwidth 

16          for remote colleges?  Despite the 98 percent 

17          coverage alleged by the Executive, there are 

18          lots of places where that just is not true.

19                 What are you doing to build an alumni 

20          base?  I really feel like there are millions 

21          of New Yorkers who have come out of SUNY.  

22          And, you know, I get a solicitation from 

23          CUNY; I'm not sure what you're doing about 

24          SUNY.


 1                 And if you could give us a list of 

 2          what you see as the high-demand certificates.  

 3          We don't have to go into it now, but it would 

 4          be helpful to have a list of what that 

 5          actually means.  

 6                 And where are you -- I mean, the one 

 7          thing that has been a longstanding annoyance, 

 8          the requirements for postgraduate for 

 9          Excelsior is really you have to stay in the 

10          state for five years.  You could sit at home 

11          with mom and do flower arranging.  

12                 But if you have gotten a STEM 

13          scholarship, which requires you to be in the 

14          top 10 percent of your high school and to 

15          complete a STEM program at any of our SUNY or 

16          CUNY schools, you then have to have 

17          five years working in a STEM field, which may 

18          or may not be available to you if you are, 

19          you know, wanting to live in certain parts of 

20          the state.  And then it becomes a loan.  So 

21          that seems like an inequity that is very 

22          concerning.

23                 And then finally, what are our 

24          out-of-state tuitions at our 


 1          University Centers?  

 2                 I know it's a long list, and if we 

 3          don't have time, you can get those to us.  

 4          But a few of them are just kind of 

 5          throwaways -- not throwaways, but, you know, 

 6          should be quick.

 7                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  Sure.  

 8          There's a lot there, so if I miss something, 

 9          Chair, you will let me know.

10                 On the tuition side, the out-of-states 

11          I can get you.  It's -- it's, you know, more.  

12          It's in the $18,000 average range, or 

13          something like that.  But I'll get you that 

14          list.  It's actually still lower than many of 

15          our border states competition-wise.  I think 

16          New Jersey and Connecticut's out-of-state 

17          tuition rate is still higher.  So it's an 

18          affordable option, which is very good.

19                 On the side of the broadband, we did a 

20          lot of good work setting up stopgap measures 

21          like WiFi.  I partner with Adirondack -- 

22          Adirondack Community College is one of those 

23          perfect examples that you've mentioned.  

24          They're a more rural community.  Access is an 


 1          issue.  It's not always -- it's not -- it's 

 2          affordability and access.  There's two 

 3          component pieces to that.

 4                 We set up WiFi banks for our students 

 5          so at least they had opportunities to connect 

 6          remotely.

 7                 We're also partnering with something 

 8          called Eduroam to allow free WiFi throughout 

 9          the different colleges no matter where you're 

10          a student of.  So if you go somewhere else, 

11          you have the same privileges and access to 

12          the broadband capacity among our SUNY 

13          campuses.  We haven't fully built that out 

14          yet, but I think going forward that is a 

15          really important thing for us.

16                 And then there was a couple of other 

17          things you threw in there, but I -- 

18                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN GLICK:  Building an 

19          alumni --

20                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  We'll get 

21          you the high-demand certificate areas that 

22          we're thinking of.  In fact, we'll even 

23          convene -- we have a working group of several 

24          of our community college representatives, 


 1          presidents, who have been helping me with 

 2          that.  Which we'll just -- we should just 

 3          convene a meeting to talk through some of 

 4          those areas that they've been looking at on 

 5          that.

 6                 And on the alumni base, that --I think 

 7          that is something we should do a heck of a 

 8          lot more on.  I'm relatively new, I'm trying 

 9          to get through COVID and all this other stuff 

10          first.  But we have an untapped database of 

11          fellow alums.  We've got to get them jazzed 

12          and reengaged in the mission and direction of 

13          the system.  There's so many great pieces 

14          behind that.  

15                 I mean, I know Oswego, Al Roker is 

16          like their prime guy.  But we've got lots of 

17          Al Rokers out there that we want to support.  

18          And by the way, 62 members of the Legislature 

19          now are alums of SUNY.  I think it's the 

20          highest number of SUNY alums we've ever had 

21          in the Legislature.  So that's great.  So 

22          like we want to use you guys too, you know, 

23          and trumpet all the good work that SUNY has 

24          produced.


 1                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN GLICK:  And the last 

 2          thing is the different treatment between 

 3          certain scholarships for post -- in the 

 4          postgraduate period.

 5                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  The STEM 

 6          one I remember, that was a scholarship that 

 7          was done earlier on.  And I think that was to 

 8          get people in the STEM field.  So we'd have 

 9          to revisit that one.  I don't know how well 

10          that program's going.

11                 On the Excelsior side, I believe 80 or 

12          85 percent of all graduates stay in New York 

13          anyway, of SUNY graduates.  So we are good 

14          that most of our students stay in New York.  

15                 I know there is an exemption process 

16          of -- for the Excelsior Scholarship, so if 

17          you do have a circumstance where you need to 

18          leave the state, I think there are those 

19          exemptions made.

20                 But I agree, we should look at the -- 

21          I think this goes back to the lifelong 

22          learning process of a -- maybe a full-time 

23          worker or a parent who wants to go back to 

24          community college who needs more than two 


 1          years, and how do you build incentive 

 2          structures around them.  I think we should 

 3          have that larger conversation.  Because if 

 4          you're going to adapt and modernize the 

 5          public university system, you have to meet 

 6          the needs of the modern student, which is 

 7          often older, often workers, often going 

 8          through a transitional economy, pieces that 

 9          we're not really geared to do yet.  But I 

10          think there's a lot of opportunity for us 

11          there.

12                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN GLICK:  Thank you very 

13          much.  

14                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  

15                 We go to the Senate, I think for our 

16          last questioner.

17                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Yes, Senator Toby 

18          Stavisky, second round, five minutes.

19                 Toby, are you there?

20                 THE MODERATOR:  Senator, you are 

21          muted.

22                 SENATOR STAVISKY:  Okay, sorry.  Very 

23          hard to -- I can only mute myself.

24                 Chancellor, I'm delighted that you 


 1          mentioned SUNY Binghamton, because it's my 

 2          recollection that Professor Whittingham won 

 3          the Nobel Prize in Chemistry a couple of 

 4          years ago.

 5                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  Yeah, 

 6          SUNY's. 

 7                 SENATOR STAVISKY:  Absolutely.  

 8                 Real quick, you've mentioned the 

 9          importance of the nursing programs.  I have 

10          heard from quite a number of people who are 

11          saying that they're having difficulties 

12          because they don't have the patient contact 

13          that's necessary, you can only do so much 

14          remotely.  And how would you address that 

15          issue?  

16                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  Thank you, 

17          Senator, for that.  There have been some 

18          issues specifically now with clinical 

19          opportunities in hospitals to complete their 

20          clinical work because of COVID.  And that has 

21          limited the number of spaces on some levels.

22                 And the other challenge has been some 

23          of our programs have actually run into 

24          problems because of COVID, they've actually 


 1          tested positive in the clinical setting in 

 2          hospitals.  

 3                 So we're hopeful, past this year, it 

 4          frees up some more of that space.

 5                 I think there's an important role for 

 6          an online clinical component, but I do think 

 7          you need to be in the actual direct 

 8          healthcare provision of services while you're 

 9          being trained.  So we want to grow that 

10          opportunity.  

11                 And just my final point on all nursing 

12          and everything, because Senator Liu and 

13          others have raised it.  We're really proud 

14          that the state, including the Legislature, 

15          invests so much in us.  It's something like 

16          $7 billion a year.  And we just hope that we 

17          can turn that investment into more 

18          opportunities for our students, nursing being 

19          one of those primary areas for sure.  There's 

20          a lot of need right now.

21                 SENATOR STAVISKY:  Yes.  And I think 

22          it requires additional work and perhaps even 

23          partnerships with the nonpublic institutions.  

24                 Last question.  You've been talking 


 1          about online and out-of-state.  How do you 

 2          deal with the higher education institutions 

 3          that are out of state advertising extensively 

 4          on television, such as Phoenix or Southern 

 5          New Hampshire?  And I'm sure they are drawing 

 6          students away from SUNY and CUNY.

 7                 How would you address that issue?

 8                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  I think we 

 9          have to demonstrate what we are to students 

10          in New York State.  The fact that we have 

11          50,000 New Yorkers right now going to those 

12          programs is something that we have to do a 

13          better job of communicating.  It's not just, 

14          here's a great advertising campaign.  What 

15          kind of education are you getting beyond 

16          that?

17                 We have all the same things that those 

18          schools do.  And not to be a little 

19          provocative, I think we're better than 

20          Southern New Hampshire.  I think we're better 

21          than Phoenix Online.  I think we do it all.  

22          We don't have $90 million in advertising.  

23                 One of those schools that you 

24          mentioned advertises $90 million worth of 


 1          revenue a year.  That triples, quadruples 

 2          what some of our state support for our 

 3          campuses are, in their total budgets.  We 

 4          can't compete with that.

 5                 But I think, getting back to 

 6          Assemblymember Glick's point of we have a 

 7          fantastic alumni base, how do we build in 

 8          those lines of communication?  What resonates 

 9          with prospective students to not go to those 

10          schools, but go to these schools because who 

11          do they resonate with?  Alumni.  Targeted 

12          advertising.  Reaching into high schools, 

13          like Chair Mayer said, and others.  

14                 I think there's lots of opportunities, 

15          but it's my job as chancellor, I'm going to 

16          spend a lot of time coming out of COVID 

17          focusing on just that.  Project 50,000 is 

18          getting all 50,000 of those students back, 

19          increasing our enrollment and stopping them 

20          from going to those for-profit privateers 

21          that don't give as much educational quality 

22          as we can.

23                 SENATOR STAVISKY:  And many of these 

24          students {inaudible; microphone cut out} 


 1          New York {inaudible; microphone cut out}.  

 2          That's another base to perhaps bring them 

 3          back.  

 4                 Thank you very much, Chancellor.

 5                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  Thank you.  

 6                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.  

 7                 Assembly.

 8                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  So quickly, 

 9          seeing no hands raised, thank you so much for 

10          being here today.  And we look forward to 

11          some of the follow-up -- follow-ups to some 

12          of the questions that were asked.  Thank you.

13                 SUNY CHANCELLOR MALATRAS:  Thank you.

14                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  We're going to 

15          be moving on to the CUNY chancellor, Félix 

16          Rodríguez.

17                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.

18                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  So, Chancellor, 

19          we are -- I see you're in the Zoom.  We are 

20          ready to begin.  

21                 You get up to 10 minutes to make your 

22          presentation, then I know there are -- 

23          members will have questions.  So you want to 

24          begin?


 1                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  So thank 

 2          you, and good morning to Chairs Krueger, 

 3          Weinstein, Stavisky and Glick, and the 

 4          members of the Senate Finance, Assembly Ways 

 5          and Means, and Senate and Assembly Higher 

 6          Education Committees and their staff and 

 7          their guests.  I am Félix Matos Rodríguez, 

 8          chancellor of the City University of 

 9          New York. 

10                 (Zoom interruption.)

11                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  Thank you 

12          so much for this opportunity to testify this 

13          morning.  It is  quite the understatement to 

14          say that a lot has changed since the last 

15          time I appeared before you a year ago, but I 

16          am proud to share today how the City 

17          University of New York stood strong against a 

18          relentless pandemic and outline our 

19          priorities, plans, and goals for the coming 

20          fiscal year and beyond.  

21                 On behalf of the entire CUNY 

22          community, I want to thank Governor Cuomo, 

23          the State Senate, and the State Assembly for 

24          your past and sustained support, which has 


 1          enabled CUNY to deliver strong results for 

 2          our half a million students and the citizens 

 3          of New York.  

 4                 2020 was a year that both demanded and 

 5          inspired great fortitude and resourcefulness 

 6          from our students, faculty, staff and 

 7          leaders.  The coronavirus was largely a 

 8          remote concern when the year began, but it 

 9          soon gained a foothold in New York that 

10          forced CUNY to all but shut down its 

11          25 campuses on March 12th and quickly pivot 

12          to distance education.  When classes resumed  

13          after a week-long academic recess, 95 percent 

14          of the university's 50,000 course sections 

15          had transitioned to online instruction.  

16                 We quickly realized that thousands of 

17          students lacked the tools to participate in 

18          distance learning, and with support from the 

19          Governor, we purchased 33,000 laptops and 

20          tablets and made sure they were safely 

21          distributed to students in need, as well as 

22          provided 4,000 personal hotspots for those 

23          students who required enhanced WiFi 

24          capability.  


 1                 I want to emphasize that these efforts 

 2          will not stop when the pandemic is over.  We 

 3          enthusiastically support the Governor's 

 4          proposal to require all internet providers in 

 5          the state to offer affordable broadband 

 6          service to low-income households.  

 7                 Early in the COVID-19 crisis, we 

 8          established the Chancellor's Emergency Relief 

 9          Fund.  With $1 million from the Petrie 

10          Foundation and another million from the James 

11          and Judith Dimon Foundation, we started, and 

12          by the fall, support from additional donors 

13          grew the fund to more than $8 million and 

14          allowed us to distribute emergency grants to 

15          more than 10,000 students.  Individual 

16          colleges and schools raised more than 

17          $8.6 million in addition, enabling them to 

18          help thousands of students more, for a total 

19          of nearly $17 million in emergency relief 

20          funds across the university.  

21                 We were also among the first systems 

22          in the nation to disburse the $118 million in 

23          student emergency grants that were funded by 

24          the federal CARES Act.  In the end, we 


 1          distributed grants to about 200,000 students, 

 2          averaging $600 each.  

 3                 The perseverance and accomplishments 

 4          came amid a backdrop of widespread grief.  

 5          CUNY campuses and the central office have 

 6          been deeply saddened by the loss to COVID-19 

 7          of many dear members of our community, 

 8          including 22 staff members, 16 faculty, four 

 9          students, and countless CUNY retirees and 

10          alumni.  Among them you might remember -- 

11          because he was here with me last year -- was 

12          Allen Lew, who was our senior vice chancellor 

13          for facilities, planning and construction -- 

14          the first Asian-American chancellor in CUNY's 

15          history -- that we lost to the pandemic.  

16                 The university has a website now in 

17          honor of all those that we lost; it's a page 

18          called "In Memoriam" in tribute to those that 

19          we have lost.  

20                 Through it all, we stayed the course 

21          and the students pressed on.  This past 

22          academic year, CUNY conferred 56,527 degrees, 

23          the second-highest total in our history and 

24          just shy of the record high awarded the year 


 1          before.  

 2                 Looking ahead to life after COVID, we 

 3          redoubled our efforts to help our students 

 4          succeed, graduate on time and find 

 5          sustainable career paths.  Among the most 

 6          important developments were a plan to expand 

 7          mental health services on campuses and a new 

 8          partnership, the New York Jobs CEO Council, 

 9          which is working with the CEOs from 27 of the 

10          largest employers in the New York area to 

11          create a pipeline to job opportunities for 

12          25,000 CUNY students.  

13                 We also focused our professional 

14          development training to help 3,400 faculty 

15          become better online teachers, part of a 

16          larger, longer-range initiative to improve 

17          pedagogy and teaching at CUNY.  

18                 These efforts will be greatly aided by 

19          a pair of $10 million gifts from foundations 

20          that are great CUNY partners.  One of the 

21          investments, from Bank of New York Mellon, 

22          will support innovative educational programs 

23          and workplace initiatives that will help 

24          train 40,000 underserved students for 


 1          high-demand jobs, closing equity gaps and 

 2          supporting the region's post-pandemic 

 3          economic recovery.  

 4                 The other grant, from the Andrew W. 

 5          Mellon Foundation, will advance CUNY programs 

 6          in Black and ethnic studies and the 

 7          humanities, and expand a program that 

 8          provides a pathway to careers in the arts for 

 9          students from underrepresented communities. 

10          The gift also contributed $2.5 million to the 

11          student emergency relief fund.  This $10 

12          million award is the largest gift the Mellon 

13          Foundation has ever made to CUNY in their 

14          45 years of support.  

15                 Since I was appointed chancellor a 

16          year and a half ago, we have continued to 

17          assemble a cabinet and college presidents of 

18          unprecedented expertise and diversity who 

19          reflect the city we live in and the students 

20          that we serve.  The Board of Trustees has 

21          appointed nine new presidents during my 

22          tenure, the last two this past Monday, at 

23          Lehman and Guttman Community College.  They 

24          include the first two Asian-Americans to ever 


 1          serve as presidents of CUNY, three women, and 

 2          three African-Americans.  

 3                 Now let me turn to the Governor's 

 4          Executive Budget proposal.  We fully 

 5          understand the large fiscal challenge that 

 6          the state is facing in the upcoming fiscal 

 7          year, and commit to being good partners by 

 8          continuing our responsible fiscal stewardship 

 9          of this university.  We also appreciate, 

10          despite the enormous fiscal challenge, the 

11          Governor's plan maintaining close to 

12          $2.4 billion in support for CUNY, including 

13          full funding for financial aid and 

14          opportunity programs that support our 

15          neediest students.  

16                 We also recognize the generous support 

17          we receive from the state -- for debt 

18          service, fringe benefits and other campus 

19          operating expenses -- that will enable us to 

20          protect our core academic mission in tough 

21          fiscal times.  

22                 We are pleased that the Governor's 

23          plan continues stability for our critical 

24          opportunity programs, SEEK and College 


 1          Discovery, as well as continues to include 

 2          $4 million for Open Educational Resources, 

 3          OER for short.  The OER program, originally 

 4          started by Governor Cuomo, is funding that we 

 5          have leveraged to significantly reduce the 

 6          costs of textbooks to our students.  Our 

 7          students saved over $50 million in textbook 

 8          costs over the last four years, which amounts 

 9          to students saving $12 for every $1 invested 

10          by the State of New York.  

11                 I would like to take a few minutes to 

12          address the issue of tuition.  The capacity 

13          to adapt and plan ahead is critical to 

14          effective leadership, and we welcome the 

15          flexibility that the Governor's proposal to 

16          extend the Predictable Tuition policy through 

17          2025 gives us.  Students who are in the most 

18          need continue to have any additional 

19          out-of-pocket tuition costs significantly or 

20          completely covered by New York's generous 

21          financial aid programs -- TAP, Excelsior, 

22          SEEK, College Discovery, and the Peralta 

23          DREAM Act -- along with federal Pell grants. 

24                 We are also appreciative of the 


 1          proposal to establish lower tuition rates for 

 2          high-demand certificate programs.  

 3                 CUNY's budget request takes into 

 4          account our needs as well as the current 

 5          fiscal environment.  Our focus is on 

 6          responding to the pandemic and jump-starting 

 7          New York's economic resurgence.  Some of the 

 8          initiatives for which we are seeking support 

 9          include prioritizing student mental health, 

10          creating a nursing pipeline program, forging 

11          connections with private industry partners to 

12          create career pathways for our students, 

13          expanding the successful CUNY Corps 

14          internship program, and enhancing diversity 

15          within our full-time faculty ranks.  

16                 We are also seeking crucial capital 

17          budget support to enhance our IT systems, the 

18          needs of which have come to the forefront due 

19          to our transition to online learning.  

20                 I would be remiss if I did not add 

21          that our budget request and our future 

22          outlook is predicated upon the assumption 

23          that there will be significant additional 

24          financial support from the federal government 


 1          to New York State and New York City.  If this 

 2          assistance is not forthcoming, our outlook 

 3          would change significantly.  

 4                 Capital construction is known to be a 

 5          strong engine to restart the economy.  CUNY 

 6          has been a major part of that process in our 

 7          recovery for the state.  And for every 

 8          $100 million in construction spending, nearly 

 9          1,000 direct and indirect jobs are created in 

10          the local economy.  And with our continued 

11          commitment to supplier diversity, we continue 

12          to support state-certified MWBE vendors, 

13          which we have done at the rate of 30 percent.

14                 I know my time has expired; this was 

15          an abridged version of my full testimony, 

16          which I will submit for the record, and hope 

17          that all of you will have the chance to read.

18                 Thank you again for your support.  

19          Happy to take any questions.  And I also want 

20          to introduce four members of my team that are 

21          joining me here today:  Our university 

22          provost, José Luis Cruz; our chief operating 

23          officer, Héctor Batista; and our chief 

24          financial officer, Matt Sapienza.  


 1                 So thank you so much for your support, 

 2          and happy to take any questions that you 

 3          might have.

 4                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  We do have 

 5          questions.  And just want you to know that 

 6          your testimony was distributed to all members 

 7          of the -- who are here, and even those who 

 8          haven't joined us today.

 9                 I go to our Higher Ed chair for 

10          10 minutes, Deborah Glick.

11                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN GLICK:  Thank you.  I 

12          don't think it's letting me turn on my 

13          video -- which is okay, because that saves 

14          the bandwidth.

15                 It's good to see you, even if you 

16          can't see me.  

17                 I have several questions.  I have 

18          10 minutes.  So I'm going to give you a few 

19          of those questions up front and then if you 

20          don't have them immediately, you can get them 

21          to the committee.

22                 One is, what is the current dimension 

23          of the TAP gap?  And how much do you have in 

24          accounts receivable from students who, 


 1          because of their inability to pay certain 

 2          fees, might have the withholding of 

 3          transcripts or the inability to re-register?  

 4          So those two numbers would be helpful.

 5                 And what your current faculty-student 

 6          ratio is and whether that's full-time 

 7          faculty.  

 8                 On your enrollment numbers, I'm 

 9          wondering how much you're down, if you are 

10          down, and if so, I've heard that there are 

11          less students applying for college, which 

12          would make sense from three points of view:  

13          One, their families may have lost income, so 

14          they're uncomfortable about making the 

15          commitment to college.  

16                 But I also think that they are more 

17          disconnected from school and any counseling, 

18          and I'm wondering if you've had discussions 

19          with Chancellor Carranza on what support 

20          students are getting in terms of being able 

21          to understand that they could apply, that 

22          they have both TAP, they may be eligible for 

23          Pell, there may be some other scholarships 

24          that they could access that would make it 


 1          possible for them to actually begin their 

 2          college careers.

 3                 One of the issues that has been raised 

 4          has been in the course of the online 

 5          learning, some of the -- there are 

 6          differences in the use of platforms, so that 

 7          certain professors may be using a Zoom-type 

 8          platform, but some others are using 

 9          Blackboard, and students are complaining 

10          about the fact that they're having trouble, 

11          even though they've been given laptops or 

12          tablets, moving between these different 

13          platforms in order to -- {mic dropout}.

14                 So if you could begin responding with 

15          those myriad questions, I would appreciate 

16          it.

17                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  Well 

18          again, thank you so much.  And I'm happy that 

19          Queens College is sending you alumni requests 

20          for donations, and I hope that you are being 

21          generous in responding back.  And thank you 

22          for your support.  And as usual, I bring you 

23          greetings on behalf of the 606 students who 

24          go to CUNY schools who are part of your 


 1          district.  So thank you for your support.

 2                 Let me take several of the things that 

 3          you asked me, and then maybe some of the 

 4          others we can send you the information to 

 5          your team.

 6                 The amount of money on receivables is 

 7          around $66 million.  I do want to stress that 

 8          even though there's been a lot of 

 9          conversation out there about bursar holds, in 

10          the past two semesters our campuses have been 

11          incredibly flexible in allowing students that 

12          might have some level of debt to register for 

13          the classes, to keep the academic momentum, 

14          and are working with them in finding 

15          alternate ways to be able to secure funding 

16          and do payment plans and do different kinds 

17          of things to be able to support them, in 

18          addition to the fact that we have fundraised 

19          dollars to support the students.

20                 Part of that Mellon grant I mentioned 

21          to you put about $2 million exclusively to 

22          support these kinds of students moving 

23          forward.  The first million we used for the 

24          fall; the next million we're using now for 


 1          the spring.  And a lot, also, of the 

 2          individual fundraising that we have done, 

 3          either from the Chancellor's Emergency Fund 

 4          or the funds on the campuses, has gone to be 

 5          able to assist some of the students that 

 6          might have small amounts of debts so they can 

 7          register and continue their education.

 8                 So things have been very, very 

 9          sensible, given what we're facing with the 

10          pandemic and what the students are facing.  

11          And also redirecting students who might have 

12          lost a job or in their family lost -- a 

13          family member lost their job, to reapply for 

14          financial aid, to look at the new package to 

15          see if they qualify for additional 

16          assistance.  So that's the status of that 

17          information.

18                 I'll have Matt Sapienza send you the 

19          numbers for the TAP gap.

20                 You asked me about the ratio of 

21          faculty to students.  That ratio has been, 

22          for the past five years, consistent between 

23          21 and 22.  Right now it's at 22.  It grew 

24          just a little bit last year; a couple of 


 1          years before it was at 22.  So there's been 

 2          incredible consistency in that ratio all 

 3          through the system for the past -- for the 

 4          past five years.  

 5                 And we follow -- we look at that ratio 

 6          very, very closely.  That ratio is 

 7          systemwide, and I don't believe that is 

 8          broken down by part-time and full-time 

 9          faculty, so I can try to get you that 

10          breakdown.  So that number that I'm providing 

11          talks about instruction overall across the 

12          system.

13                 You talked about enrollment loss, and 

14          we're very, very concerned about that, 

15          particularly at the community college level.  

16          It's a national trend, we know that, and it's 

17          a trend that started before the pandemic and 

18          got accelerated by the pandemic.

19                 But again, our team has been tapping 

20          on all doors to be able to bring students 

21          back.  The university provost and his team 

22          has been working with the DOE, identifying 

23          about 800 students that we thought were going 

24          to come from graduation from the New York 


 1          City public schools in May, did not show up 

 2          in the fall, and we're following up 

 3          aggressively to see why they didn't show up.

 4                 So again, we're doing -- because we 

 5          have such a good collaboration with the DOE, 

 6          we're really looking at their students to 

 7          make sure that we didn't lose any students in 

 8          this COVID transition.

 9                 We also put about a million dollars 

10          over the summer, with money that came from 

11          the Petrie Foundation and the Bloomberg 

12          Foundation, for a "summer melt" program that 

13          actually paid our CUNY students to serve as 

14          mentors to students that were coming from the 

15          DOE, to avoid the summer melt.  So we kept 

16          the momentum of the students coming, and we 

17          put money in the pockets of our students over 

18          the summer and created mentorships.  

19                 So we've been really working very hard 

20          to make sure that we bring all the students 

21          into our system.  And we have a strike force 

22          just working on the enrollment issue for the 

23          spring.

24                 The issue of the platforms is 


 1          something that we're thinking to get a lot 

 2          more uniformity.  When we moved last spring 

 3          from being I guess normal, if you want to use 

 4          the term, and we had to turn 50,000 courses 

 5          to distance-learning education, obviously 

 6          there was a lot of mismatch, because we were 

 7          just in an emergency mode trying to 

 8          transition, protect the semester, and get 

 9          everybody going.

10                 By our investment in the professional 

11          development of our faculty, we have tried to 

12          standardize the numbers of platforms that our 

13          students use, because I know that it's an 

14          issue.  I have a first-year freshman at home 

15          learning online who's equally complaining 

16          about the fact that one teacher uses this and 

17          the other uses a different thing.  So we're 

18          working through that so we can have the 

19          maximum level of flexibility for the faculty 

20          to use the tools they think are the best to 

21          teach, but to make that experience more even 

22          for our students.

23                 Did I miss any other of your 

24          questions?


 1                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN GLICK:  No, but I have 

 2          one follow-up.  In terms of the enrollment 

 3          numbers, some of it is new students and some 

 4          of it might be retention.  Do you have that 

 5          separated?  

 6                 And do you have students who just 

 7          couldn't relate to the online learning and 

 8          have taken a gap year?  Do you have a sense 

 9          of whether they are going to come back, 

10          either for the semester or hopefully 

11          targeting the fall?

12                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  So, you 

13          know, I can send you sort of the breakdown of 

14          our numbers.

15                 Most of -- like I said, the enrollment 

16          at the four-year schools has been fairly 

17          flat, maybe with a little increase in some of 

18          the campuses.  Most of that has been new 

19          students.  And there's been an increase on 

20          the graduate programs, that has been the one 

21          sector that has showed an increase.  And it's 

22          been the community colleges and the 

23          comprehensives where we've lost some of the 

24          students, and I can give you the breakdown in 


 1          terms of new students and transfers.

 2                 We have been working very hard with 

 3          the students who we feel, either because of 

 4          not adapting well to distance learning or 

 5          other issues that they might have faced due 

 6          to COVID, might have been losing academic 

 7          momentum.  So we -- that was part of giving 

 8          them flexibility with the credit/no credit 

 9          policy.  Right?  Pushing down the date to 

10          withdraw from a course, to give them the 

11          maximum level of flexibility.

12                 And our campuses have kept in touch 

13          with those students to either try to bring 

14          them back in the summer, and explore other 

15          alternatives of sort of support while we 

16          continue on this mostly online mode for the 

17          fall.  

18                 So there's been a lot of attention to 

19          the students that maybe have not adapted well 

20          because of that, and we're hoping that, you 

21          know, that in the fall we'll have a lot more 

22          sort of face-to-face activity or a better mix 

23          of hybrid courses that have some face-to-face 

24          and online, and we're able to recuperate 


 1          those students.

 2                 But I can give you some of the 

 3          breakdowns --

 4                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Great.  Thank 

 5          you, Chancellor.

 6                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  -- for 

 7          enrollment.  

 8                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN GLICK:  Thank you very 

 9          much.  

10                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.

11                 Now we go to the Senate.  

12                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.  

13                 Senator Toby Stavisky, 10 minutes.

14                 SENATOR STAVISKY:  Thank you.  

15                 Chancellor, first let me thank you for 

16          the really quality appointments that you made 

17          at the Queens institutions, the community 

18          colleges and Queens College.  And 

19          Queensborough is also in my district, as well 

20          as Queens College.  And I've met with all of 

21          the new presidents, and I think those were 

22          terrific appointments.

23                 I listened to your testimony, and you 

24          were appreciative of the fact that there were 


 1          many programs, opportunity programs, that 

 2          were not cut.  But ASAP is one that was cut 

 3          to the tune of about $2.5 million.  

 4                 How are you going to -- hopefully the 

 5          Legislature, you know, will add it on, 

 6          depending upon what the table amount is at 

 7          final budget discussions.  But what effect 

 8          will that loss have on student programs?  

 9          Because that's a really successful program.

10                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  So again, 

11          thank you, Senator Stavisky, for that.  And 

12          I'm happy that you're pleased with 

13          Dr. Mangino at Queensborough and Dr. Wu at 

14          Queens.  Dr. Wu has an easier job at Queens 

15          because the previous president was not as 

16          good.  

17                 (Laughter.)

18                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  But I'm 

19          delighted that you have them with you.  

20                 And also, thank you for your support 

21          on behalf of the 9,182 CUNY students that you 

22          have in your district.

23                 So ASAP is very important to us.  I 

24          mean, it has been -- it is a national model 


 1          now.  Seven states replicate the work that 

 2          we've been doing at ASAP.  The Kennedy School 

 3          gave us an award on innovation last year 

 4          because of the results that ASAP has 

 5          provided.  

 6                 So we hope that we can get that 

 7          funding back at the state level.  The ASAP 

 8          program has also been targeted for cuts at 

 9          the city level, and we'll be trying to have 

10          conversations to restore those, because they 

11          target one of our most successful programs 

12          that has an impact on enrollment.  A lot of 

13          the students are attracted for the benefits 

14          that the ASAP provides and the effectiveness 

15          of ASAP -- so we lose enrollment.  

16                 So it's a cut that cuts a program and 

17          cuts our enrollment base.  It hits us twice.  

18          And then it hits us a third time when that 

19          student, right, that is going to finish at a 

20          faster rate than others, does not transfer to 

21          a four-year school.  Right?  So for us ASAP 

22          is an investment in student success, but it's 

23          also a key investment in our overall sort of 

24          enrollment trends in the system.  So thank 


 1          you for bringing that up to our attention.

 2                 SENATOR STAVISKY:  Yes.  And in fact 

 3          we're going to be paying more in state income 

 4          tax when they -- after they graduate and they 

 5          have a better-paying job, so it's a hit on 

 6          everybody.

 7                 Let me go to one area that hasn't been 

 8          discussed, and that is the campus safety 

 9          issue in terms of reopening.  To me, that's 

10          the most important aspect, to keep everybody 

11          safe -- students, faculty, anybody who works 

12          at any of the campuses.

13                 What have you been doing in terms of 

14          meeting with all of the stakeholders, talking 

15          to them, testing -- which I think is really 

16          the key to a successful academic year, where 

17          people are tested repeatedly, inspections are 

18          made by qualified, licensed industrial 

19          experts.  Because some of those buildings are 

20          really old.  I went to Hunter and Queens, 

21          both of them for graduate school.  Those 

22          buildings are still standing, and this was 

23          quite a while ago.

24                 So how are the reopening plans going?  


 1                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  So thank 

 2          you for your question.  And obviously for us, 

 3          safety -- actually, part of my testimony that 

 4          I didn't get to read addresses some of those 

 5          points, so thank you for bringing that point.  

 6                 Safety has been our key concern.  

 7          That's why we decided to have a semester that 

 8          was mostly online.  Our students come from 

 9          different parts of the city, they require -- 

10          our students, our faculty and staff come from 

11          different parts of the city and require 

12          public transportation to be moving.  So we 

13          felt that as long as the numbers were high 

14          and there was a lot of -- the possibility of, 

15          you know, contagiousness, that we wanted to 

16          protect our faculty, students and staff.

17                 And actually if you look at the 

18          numbers that we've had, the numbers of cases 

19          for our community have been quite low and 

20          very low instances of something happening on 

21          the campus because of the measures that we 

22          have taken.

23                 We've put in -- and I directed my team 

24          to do this -- we put in about 17 million of 


 1          the critical maintenance capital funds 

 2          directly into some of those old buildings 

 3          that you're mentioning so that in the fall 

 4          we're in the best possible conditions to 

 5          reopen.  I mean, we still don't know exactly 

 6          how the state of public health will be at 

 7          that time, but we agree with you that 

 8          additional testing, the social distancing, 

 9          the masks -- all those things are going to be 

10          part of the menu for our successful reopening 

11          in the fall.  

12                 We've also -- all our campuses have 

13          very direct reopening plans that were created 

14          in consultation with faculty, staff, labor, 

15          students, other stakeholders.  And they very 

16          clearly say if you are at 25 percent 

17          capacity, if you want to move to 50, here's a 

18          checklist of the things that you need to do.  

19          And all this is based on the best guidance 

20          from the state and the city.

21                 So we're going to be following those 

22          reopening plans, which is our map to a safe 

23          recovery.  We're working with our campuses to 

24          get ready for different scenarios in the 


 1          fall.  We hope that with the vaccines, with 

 2          new developments in cheaper, faster testing, 

 3          we can provide a safer environment in the 

 4          fall.  

 5                 I think that you're aware that we 

 6          created a partnership with the Health + 

 7          Hospitals of the City of New York and our 

 8          faculty, students and staff have priority 

 9          testing in all those facilities.  We've also 

10          began to do testing in our dorms.  We do not 

11          have the large dorm -- we have about 

12          850 students in our dorms.  But we began 

13          doing testing of those students periodically 

14          to sort of keep that contained.  

15                 So all those strategies will continue 

16          to -- and anything that we learn in the 

17          process we'll take to have a safe environment 

18          in the fall, because we're not going to let 

19          anyone be in facilities that do not have the 

20          proper social distance, that do not have the 

21          required health that we want for all our 

22          stakeholders.  And we take that very, very 

23          seriously.

24                 SENATOR STAVISKY:  Thank you.


 1                 I see there are only two minutes left, 

 2          but I think -- the CARES Act, is there any 

 3          money left that hasn't been spent?  I know 

 4          it's split between the students and the 

 5          institutions in the university.  Does the 

 6          money go to the CUNY or to the -- {mic 

 7          dropout}.

 8                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  So I 

 9          couldn't hear you right, but I thought the 

10          question was about the CARES Act and where 

11          the money went or is going.  

12                 So $118 million of the money that was 

13          directly going to the students, we sent that 

14          out right away in May, prioritizing the 

15          students that had the largest need, and 

16          student parents.  And about -- the average 

17          amount that each student got was about 600.  

18          And every CUNY student that was eligible 

19          according to the CARES Act got some portion 

20          of the money.  We used the Chancellor's Fund 

21          to support undocumented and international 

22          students that unfortunately were not included 

23          in the CARES Act.

24                 Of the money going to the campuses, 


 1          that money goes to the campuses.  There's no 

 2          money there that is allocated towards the 

 3          central office.  Of that money going to the 

 4          campuses, we took 5 million and we invested 

 5          that in support programs directly going to 

 6          mental health support.

 7                 Some money went to purchase systemwide 

 8          licenses -- they'd be cheaper, right, and we 

 9          get better terms -- that provide all kinds of 

10          tele-mental health support to the students.  

11          And then we gave money to the campuses and we 

12          said, this part of the money has to go to 

13          hiring more counselors, hiring more licenses, 

14          and 41 million was given to the campuses and 

15          the rest of the money is going to be 

16          allocated in the budget for this spring 

17          semester.

18                 SENATOR STAVISKY:  I think I lost my 

19          video.  But what I'm asking also is how much 

20          money is left.

21                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  It will be 

22          -- of the one allocated for the spring?  It 

23          would be 118 minus 41.

24                 SENATOR STAVISKY:  Okay.  And the 


 1          video's back.  Thank you.

 2                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  Thank you.  

 3                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.  

 4                 Assembly.

 5                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  We go to 

 6          Assemblywoman Hyndman, three minutes.

 7                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN HYNDMAN:  Thank you very 

 8          much.  Chair Weinstein, my question was 

 9          asked.  

10                 I would just like to say we're 

11          really -- it's always good to see you, 

12          Chancellor, and your staff.

13                 It is -- we're really excited in 

14          Southeast Queens with the prospect of the 

15          Queensborough FC coming, Football Club.  We 

16          have a huge Caribbean population in Southeast 

17          Queens, and a growing African population.  So 

18          if you could -- you know, this is just a plug 

19          to make sure that we get everything we need.  

20          I heard progress was made and an announcement 

21          will be forthcoming.  I'm not going to say 

22          what it is.  But we're really excited that 

23          it's coming.  

24                 And my question was already asked, so 


 1          that's all.  Thank you, Chair Weinstein.

 2                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  

 3          Okay, we're going to go to the Senate, then.

 4                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you very 

 5          much --  

 6                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  Can I give 

 7          a shout-out to the 3,816 CUNY students that 

 8          live in the district of Assemblywoman 

 9          Hyndman?

10                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  I guess you can.

11                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  And you did.  

12          And we appreciate it.

13                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Okay, I just want 

14          to double-check.  Does our ranker, Senator 

15          Boyle, have any questions?  I don't see him 

16          with his hand up, I just didn't want to jump 

17          over him.

18                 So the next Senator online is Senator 

19          Robert Jackson, three minutes.

20                 SENATOR JACKSON:  Well, thank you -- 

21          let's see.  Thank you, Chancellor and your 

22          staff, for being here.  I only have three 

23          minutes, though, if you can try to be as 

24          succinct as possible in answering.


 1                 So the -- first of all, I understand 

 2          that you've hired back about a thousand 

 3          adjunct professors, but there are 2,000 that 

 4          still have not been hired back and do not 

 5          have, when they were let go, health insurance 

 6          and all of the things that employees are 

 7          entitled to.

 8                 And so is there -- what's the game 

 9          plan on bringing them back?  Is it all about 

10          money?  And if so, how much do you need?

11                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  So the -- 

12          thank you for your question, Senator Jackson.  

13          And again, on behalf of 6,709 CUNY students 

14          in your district, thank you for your support.

15                 We hired a number of adjuncts back.  

16          And we actually raised some money from the 

17          Mellon Foundation to be able to hire adjuncts 

18          back, that's how important it is to us to try 

19          to get as many of those adjuncts back to us.

20                 Enrollment is an issue, so it's not 

21          just money.  If you have less students 

22          attending, particularly at the community 

23          college, it's going to have an impact on the 

24          number of sessions that you have.  And that 


 1          is something that varies from year to year, 

 2          so it's not necessarily just exactly about 

 3          the funding.

 4                 We prioritized, in an agreement that 

 5          we had with the PSC, the -- some of the 

 6          adjuncts that if not receiving one or two 

 7          courses will be affected with healthcare, and 

 8          we were able to bring about 80 percent of 

 9          those.  

10                 So again, that's something that 

11          they're vital members of our community and we 

12          hope to have a fiscal environment and an 

13          enrollment environment that allows us to 

14          provide them opportunities and also hopefully 

15          the opportunity to some of them to be ones 

16          who are on the path to be full professors, 

17          right -- because many of those adjuncts also 

18          just teach a class or two --

19                 SENATOR JACKSON:  I'm sorry, 

20          Chancellor -- Chancellor --

21                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  -- so 

22          getting a full-time job.

23                 SENATOR JACKSON:  I appreciate the 

24          full response, but I only have a minute.  So 


 1          I've got two more quick questions.  

 2                 Can you tell me what is the faculty to 

 3          student ratio at this point in time?  That's 

 4          one.  And how are we going to deal with the 

 5          5 percent proposed cut?  And I hope that it's 

 6          not a proposed cut, I hope that we increase 

 7          the amount of money for fiscal '21-'22.

 8                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  So the 

 9          faculty-student ratio is about 22 students 

10          per section.  It's between 21 and 22 for the 

11          past two years, so it's fairly stable.

12                 And again, in terms of navigating the 

13          5 percent, we've taken a number of measures.  

14          We had a hiring freeze that has allowed us to 

15          sort of, you know, contain some of the 

16          personnel costs, that we began this year some 

17          efficiencies that we're targeting across the 

18          systems to avoid redundancies that we hope 

19          that -- 

20                 SENATOR JACKSON:  Chancellor, my 

21          apologies.  I got five seconds, I got two 

22          questions that I quickly want to ask you.  

23          And that is about the Murphy Institute, CUNY 

24          School of Labor and Urban Studies, they're 


 1          increasing in their numbers, and my 

 2          understanding is that there's a commitment to 

 3          expand, and that has not been done to meet 

 4          the needs.

 5                 And then finally -- I'm sorry, Madam 

 6          Chairs, I just have to get this one in -- I 

 7          understand that PSC, the Professional Staff 

 8          Congress, has asked to be involved in 

 9          negotiations about reopening, and that has 

10          not -- that request has been refused.

11                 So I would like to have an answer in 

12          writing to those.  But if you can just answer 

13          those quickly, I would appreciate it.  And 

14          thank you, Madam Chairs, for indulging me.

15                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  You're indulged, 

16          but you're done.

17                 SENATOR JACKSON:  I know.

18                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Okay.

19                 SENATOR JACKSON:  Chancellor?

20                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  Do you 

21          want me -- do you want me to answer them -- 

22                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Yes, if you can 

23          quickly answer.

24                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  So the PSC 


 1          has been involved in conversations of 

 2          reopening two ways.  One, in each campus, as 

 3          each campus's reopening plan, they consulted 

 4          with faculty, staff, students, labor in the 

 5          case.  So that's one layer of consultation.  

 6          The PSC also has two quarterly meetings, two 

 7          meetings a semester with the senior 

 8          management, and we've been discussing 

 9          reopening plans and safety in those meetings 

10          too.  So they've had a forum there, aside 

11          from the, you know, more indirect contact.

12                 The first question was?  

13                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  No, we're not 

14          going back.  You're going to be able to 

15          answer him offline.

16                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  Oh, 

17          Murphy, committed to the Murphy Institute.  

18          And we actually gave them 12 percent more 

19          space to meet their needs in the past year.

20                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you, 

21          Chancellor.

22                 Assembly -- we apologize for the time.

23                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  We go to 

24          Assemblywoman Bichotte Hermelyn.


 1                 Rodneyse, are you there?  


 3          I am.  Thank you.  Thank you so much.  

 4                 Chancellor, so good to see you.  How 

 5          are you?

 6                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  Good to 

 7          see you too.


 9          Thank you for being here.  

10                 I have two short questions.  One, 

11          wanted to know how responsive is CUNY to 

12          students who, while remote learning, still 

13          have complaints regarding sexual harassment?  

14          You know, statistics show that there's an 

15          increase in domestic violence since the 

16          beginning of the COVID-19, and wanted to know 

17          how responsive is CUNY to that.  That's my 

18          first question.

19                 And my second question is, very happy 

20          to hear about the construction, 30 percent 

21          MWBEs is being dedicated to the $100 million 

22          construction initiative.  I wanted to know, 

23          you know, what is the spend percentage?  Is 

24          it also 30 percent, or is 30 percent just a 


 1          goal right now?  

 2                 Those are my two questions.

 3                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  Yes.  So 

 4          let me begin with the last one.  

 5                 We hit the -- we hit 31 percent this 

 6          year.  The state goal is 30.  So we've been 

 7          increasing those numbers every year.  It's 

 8          one of the -- it's a big priority for our 

 9          Board of Trustees.  I have to say that I have 

10          a very -- you know, Chairman Thompson and the 

11          entire board is very, very committed to this 

12          goal.  You have some champions there -- 

13          Sandra Wilkin, Trustee Ferrer, many people 

14          have fought for this historically -- Una 

15          Clarke -- and my team is committed to that 

16          too.  

17                 We changed some procurement rules to 

18          provide additional flexibility last year, so 

19          keep encouraging that.  We added parts of our 

20          capital funding that were not included in the 

21          MWBE programming, also to expand that pie.

22                 We're also looking forward to working 

23          with our small business campus centers that 

24          we have in the campuses to also be able to be 


 1          more supportive of our women- and 

 2          minority-owned business.  So that's a big, 

 3          big goal of ours.

 4                 And again, any additional feedback and 

 5          thoughts from you and the members of the 

 6          Assembly and the Senate on this front will be 

 7          gladly received, because it is an important 

 8          commitment on our part.

 9                 The sexual harassment investigations 

10          and claims continue to be processed in our 

11          campuses.  Now it's mostly done virtually, as 

12          most of our student services are done 

13          virtually, to avoid our students and faculty 

14          potentially getting exposed to the virus.

15                 If you have particular concerns about 

16          some of the campuses, please let me know, 

17          because these things are very, very important 

18          to us.  We want to make sure that no matter 

19          the environment, virtual or real, we take 

20          those things into account.  

21                 So if you have any signs that things 

22          are not being done well, please let me know 

23          so that we can correct them.



 1          Thank you.  Thank you so much, Chancellor.

 2                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.

 3                 We go to the Senate now.

 4                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.  

 5                 Senator Diane Savino.

 6                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Thank you, 

 7          Senator Krueger.

 8                 Good to see you, Chancellor.

 9                 So I'm going to pick up where Senator 

10          Jackson left off with respect to the School 

11          of Labor and Urban Studies.  It used to be 

12          the Murphy Institute.  

13                 But first I want to thank you, 

14          Chancellor, for your commitment to it.  It is 

15          the culmination of more than a decade of us 

16          trying to get CUNY to create it as a 

17          separate, self-standing school.  

18                 And it has shown tremendous growth.  

19          Enrollment is up 12 percent during the 

20          pandemic.  I know you've hired a lot of new 

21          faculty and staff.  But they're kind of stuck 

22          right now, because they need space.  So I 

23          have just a few questions, and hopefully you 

24          can answer them.  


 1                 Since we know that in-person classes 

 2          are likely to start up again this fall, you 

 3          were recently in negotiations with a landlord 

 4          to increase capacity.  Will you begin to 

 5          resume those negotiations?  

 6                 I know that many of the unions have 

 7          signed contracts to enroll new students -- 

 8          DC 37 just signed an MOU to enroll and pay 

 9          for 100 new students.  TWU Local 100 is 

10          signing a new contract, 1199 also.  And 

11          you're also attracting students that are not 

12          union-affiliated.  

13                 So the question is, where are you 

14          going to put them?  The library has been 

15          closed for the past five years, and students 

16          don't have a library.  So you're bursting at 

17          the seams at the School of Labor and Urban 

18          Studies.  And what can you do to make sure 

19          that students have a place to actually attend 

20          and learn?  

21                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  So thank 

22          you for your question and for your support of 

23          the Murphy Institute.  And not to leave 

24          anybody out or behind, you know, greetings 


 1          from the 10,475 CUNY students that are in 

 2          your district.  And also thank you for your 

 3          support of the Calandra Institute, which I 

 4          know is very dear to your heart also.

 5                 We began and we actually got the 

 6          School of Labor additional space.  They 

 7          increased their space about by about 

 8          12 percent.  So we came in, we knew that they 

 9          had their spacing, so we took care of that.  

10          They need additional space, and we are trying 

11          to negotiate that with the landlord.  A lot 

12          of real estate conversations have been sort 

13          of affected by COVID, so that has not been 

14          particularly helpful.  

15                 We've also been in conversations with 

16          the dean to see if we can maximize space.  

17          Many of the courses provided, for example, in 

18          the School of Labor Studies occur in the 

19          evening.  We have some campuses that most of 

20          the classes happen during the day and are 

21          nearby, and we're trying to see if we can 

22          more effectively use the space.

23                 Long term, right, we're also thinking 

24          about where the school could be housed.  


 1          Right?  There's a couple of other 

 2          possibilities in the Manhattan area we're 

 3          looking at, and that might be a possibility 

 4          to meet all their needs and maybe also create 

 5          some shared space.  For example, if they're 

 6          with another combined twin facility, things 

 7          like the library could be a joint facility 

 8          that would be better for the students there 

 9          and for everybody around.  

10                 So we're trying to work very hard to 

11          meet their needs.  And thank you for bringing 

12          that to my attention.

13                 SENATOR SAVINO:  Well, whatever we can 

14          do to help.  You know, it's been a commitment 

15          of the Legislature for years now, and we're 

16          happy that it's finally there.  Now we need 

17          to make sure the money is there as well.

18                 Thank you.  

19                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  Thank you.

20                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.

21                 Assembly.  

22                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  We go to 

23          Assemblyman Epstein, three minutes.

24                 Harvey?


 1                 Let's go instead to Assemblywoman --

 2                 ASSEMBLYMAN EPSTEIN:  I got my mike, 

 3          but not my camera.

 4                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Okay, Harvey, 

 5          please go ahead.

 6                 ASSEMBLYMAN EPSTEIN:  Yeah, if they 

 7          can get my camera, I'll do it.  

 8                 Hi, Chancellor.  Oh, there you go.

 9                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  Good to 

10          see you.

11                 ASSEMBLYMAN EPSTEIN:  Now you see me.  

12          There you go.  How are you?  Thank you for 

13          being here.  

14                 Do you support increased funding for 

15          CUNY, Chancellor?

16                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  Do I 

17          support --

18                 ASSEMBLYMAN EPSTEIN:  Increased 

19          funding for CUNY.  

20                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  All the 

21          resources that can help our students succeed, 

22          we're always behind.

23                 ASSEMBLYMAN EPSTEIN:  So you don't 

24          support cuts in childcare or telehealth, is 


 1          that right?  

 2                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  We've been 

 3          increasing telehealth support for the 

 4          students with money from the CARES Act.

 5                 ASSEMBLYMAN EPSTEIN:  So you want more 

 6          money, right, Chancellor?  

 7                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  And 

 8          actually our request talks about additional 

 9          mental health support too.

10                 ASSEMBLYMAN EPSTEIN:  Great.  And 

11          childcare support for students who need 

12          childcare?  

13                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  Very 

14          important.

15                 ASSEMBLYMAN EPSTEIN:  Very important.  

16          Students with disabilities who need more 

17          support, they should get more funding, right, 

18          Chancellor?  

19                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  Actually 

20          it's -- we're investing some money from the 

21          Chancellor's Emergency Fund to provide 

22          support for those students, so -- and I know 

23          they're very dear to our heart and to your 

24          heart too.


 1                 ASSEMBLYMAN EPSTEIN:  Great.  And then 

 2          we don't want cuts in -- we don't want to 

 3          increase the TAP gap, right, Chancellor?  We 

 4          don't want more TAP gap problems, right?

 5                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  Again, 

 6          this is the -- the -- we need the resources 

 7          that are available to us to be able to 

 8          provide the best services to the students.

 9                 ASSEMBLYMAN EPSTEIN:  Great.  So 

10          that's what we want.  We want more revenue to 

11          make CUNY as affordable as possible so people 

12          like me and my father and our kids can go to 

13          affordable schools for generations to come, 

14          right?  Fabulous.  I'm glad we agree.  I 

15          really appreciate it.

16                 I'm wondering, just on the cuts that 

17          we're seeing, you know, how do you think we 

18          can avoid it?  Is it just raising additional 

19          revenue to avoid those cuts?  

20                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  So, I 

21          mean, you and I have talked about this.  So I 

22          see my responsibility as coming and sharing 

23          with all of you the things that we're doing, 

24          the things that we need, the great return on 


 1          investment that the state and city gets from 

 2          supporting CUNY.  The state and the city have 

 3          been very generous with that support.

 4                 How the revenue gets allocated is 

 5          something that is part of the budget process, 

 6          and it's really a purview of the legislators 

 7          and the Executive to determine.

 8                 ASSEMBLYMAN EPSTEIN:  Thank you.  And 

 9          I appreciate you standing up for CUNY every 

10          single day.  It was great to see you at the 

11          Baruch opening that we had, I think last 

12          week.  

13                 I want to encourage you to look to us 

14          for support for CUNY, because you want to 

15          continue to make CUNY strong.  We know your 

16          an ally in that fight.  And the hope is when 

17          these issues come up, that you will stand 

18          with us to ensure that there's more funding 

19          in capital and operation money for CUNY, 

20          because that's what we all need to make CUNY 

21          successful.  

22                 I really appreciate your leadership 

23          and look forward to collaborating to make 

24          CUNY stronger every single day.


 1                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  Same here.  

 2          And always, thank you for your feedback.  

 3          Some of your feedback on the food pantry 

 4          policy, we put it into effect.  So we listen.  

 5          Thank you so much for the support.

 6                 ASSEMBLYMAN EPSTEIN:  Thank you.  

 7          Thank you, Madam Chair.

 8                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.

 9                 Go to the Senate now.

10                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.  

11                 Senator Andrew Gounardes, three 

12          minutes.

13                 SENATOR GOUNARDES:  Great.  Thank you, 

14          Senator Krueger.  

15                 Hi, Chancellor.  How are you?  Good to 

16          see you.

17                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  Good to 

18          see you.

19                 SENATOR GOUNARDES:  So -- and I want 

20          to just thank Harvey, because he kind of -- 

21          you know, he has the spirit of all the 

22          questions that I wanted to be asking.  So 

23          thanks for setting the stage there, Harvey.

24                 Chancellor, can you give us an 


 1          update -- you know, I know at one point the 

 2          state had withheld funding throughout the 

 3          past year for the CUNY system.  Can you give 

 4          us an update as to where that funding 

 5          currently is?  I think it was like 

 6          20 percent.  What's the status of that 

 7          funding?

 8                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  So the -- 

 9          thank you for your question.  

10                 And again, greetings from 10,575 CUNY 

11          students who are in your district.  And thank 

12          you for being such a great ally of the system 

13          and our students.

14                 The state, with the uncertainty that 

15          was being faced, withheld temporarily 

16          20 percent of the state appropriations and 

17          the money that came from the state for TAP 

18          and student support services.  That money is 

19          being restored and -- with the -- for the 

20          current fiscal year.

21                 SENATOR GOUNARDES:   And that will all 

22          be restored, all 20 percent?  Or will there 

23          still be a portion withheld, to your 

24          knowledge?


 1                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  So let me 

 2          turn to Matt, because I -- I don't know if 

 3          the 5 percent applies to this year or next 

 4          year.  Can I turn to Matt Sapienza just for a 

 5          lifesaver?

 6                 SENATOR GOUNARDES:  Phone a friend, 

 7          there you go.  

 8                 CUNY CFO SAPIENZA:  Hi, 

 9          Senator Gounardes.  And good afternoon, 

10          everyone.  

11                 So the 20 percent withholding has been 

12          removed, as the chancellor says, and has been 

13          replaced with a 5 percent reductions in 

14          current fiscal year, fiscal year '21, and 

15          that 5 percent reduction continues into next 

16          year, into fiscal '22.

17                 SENATOR GOUNARDES:  Got it.  So we're 

18          looking at a 5 percent reduction this year 

19          and a 5 percent reduction next year.

20                 Can you tell us, either Chancellor or 

21          Matt, what percent funding decrease has CUNY 

22          experienced over the last, I don't know, five 

23          years in state operating support?

24                 CUNY CFO SAPIENZA:  State operating 


 1          support has actually -- overall, has gone up 

 2          over the last five years.  I don't have the 

 3          actual number, but we can certainly get that 

 4          to you.

 5                 A lot of our mandatory needs have been 

 6          historically funded over the years -- fringe 

 7          benefit costs and the like.  So overall, it's 

 8          gone up.  I don't have the number or the 

 9          percents with me, but certainly a knowable 

10          number that we can get to you very quickly.

11                 SENATOR GOUNARDES:  So you're saying 

12          that state spending on the university has 

13          actually increased overall and that the 

14          state's share of support for the system has 

15          increased, not decreased, correct? 

16                 CUNY CFO SAPIENZA:  Overall state 

17          support has gone up, correct.

18                 SENATOR GOUNARDES:  Okay, thank you.

19                 And how are the colleges able to -- or 

20          let's say the 15 percent that's going to come 

21          back to them now, will that be the entire 

22          amount that was withheld, or will that be 

23          prorated for the remainder of the year to 

24          them?  In other words, is everyone getting a 


 1          lump sum of payment back, or is the system 

 2          going to kind of get, on a prorated basis, 

 3          whatever is left to spend for this year?  

 4          Obviously it's going to take time and 

 5          whatever --

 6                 CUNY CFO SAPIENZA:  Yeah, we are going 

 7          to be presenting to our Board of Trustees 

 8          Fiscal Committee at their next meeting on 

 9          March 1st the budget for each college for the 

10          rest of the year.  And so yes, that 5 percent 

11          cut will have to be proportioned to each 

12          college.

13                 We have other challenges as well.  And 

14          the chancellor mentioned earlier we have city 

15          budget reductions too that our community 

16          colleges are facing.

17                 But yes, the 5 percent will be 

18          prorated against every college's budget, and 

19          we'll be presenting that at the March 1st 

20          meeting of the board fiscal committee.

21                 SENATOR GOUNARDES:  Thank you.  I'll 

22          just close by saying I think it's crazy that 

23          this -- and this is not a condemnation of you 

24          all, but it's crazy that in, you know, one of 


 1          the world's largest urban public 

 2          universities, we're left to kind of figure 

 3          out on a month-by-month basis what the 

 4          budget's going to be like with a 5 percent 

 5          cut this year and next year.  And it is 

 6          completely absurd and something that I'm 

 7          very, very concerned about.  That's not your 

 8          fault --

 9                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.

10                 SENATOR GOUNARDES:  -- it's other 

11          people's faults, but I want that on the 

12          record.

13                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  You're over time, 

14          so I'm cutting you off.  Thank you, Senator.

15                 SENATOR GOUNARDES:  Go for it.

16                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Assembly.  

17                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  We go to 

18          Assemblywoman Forrest.

19                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN FORREST:  Thank you so 

20          much, Chancellor Matos, for being here.  

21          Chancellor Matos, you were at CUNY Queens.  

22          I'm a graduate of both City Tech and the 

23          School of Professional Studies.  So I love 

24          CUNY.


 1                 And you are the steward of an 

 2          education system that serves 500,000.  And as 

 3          you're a steward, I'm sure you know it is 

 4          your duty to propose a budget that serves 

 5          that 500,000 people, right?  So my question 

 6          to you, the 30,000 members of the 

 7          Professional Staff Congress were -- they were 

 8          owed a contractual 2 percent pay increase in 

 9          November 2020.  We have not seen that in the 

10          budget, and I don't see it anywhere else.  

11          How do we address this?  Because it seems 

12          like, you know, the system is now in 

13          violation of the union contract and the law 

14          by delaying contractually negotiated raises.

15                 That's one question.  Do you want me 

16          to wait for your answer or ask the other 

17          ones?

18                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  However 

19          you wish.

20                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN FORREST:  All right, go 

21          ahead, answer the question.

22                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  Okay, 

23          thank you.  Again, thank you for your 

24          support, and great to have a CUNY twofer with 


 1          us.  And greetings also from the 2,255 

 2          CUNY students that are in your district.  

 3                 And so this was a very, very difficult 

 4          fiscal year.  And this was a year also in 

 5          which we're dealing with a lot of 

 6          unprecedented changes coming our way -- the 

 7          budget scenario at the state city and federal 

 8          level; enrollment issues that also affect our 

 9          tuition.  So we had to take a number of 

10          decisions that -- to protect the overall 

11          university.  And to do that, members of the 

12          senior management took a five-day furlough to 

13          do that.  We created a Vacancy Review Board 

14          to provide good use of our hires and 

15          personnel in a way that was, you know, 

16          consistent with fiscally trying times that we 

17          are facing.

18                 So unfortunately, the -- and, you 

19          know, that's a contract that I signed when I 

20          started as chancellor, my first couple of 

21          months, because it is so important.  But in a 

22          way that is consistent with the SUNY system 

23          and the state employees, we decided to delay 

24          that.  We hope to be able to provide that 


 1          back when we have more budget certainty.  And 

 2          it's a priority for us.

 3                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN FORREST:  Yes.  But then 

 4          we have $455 million in federal funds.  Do 

 5          you have no control over where that goes in 

 6          terms of class sizes, keeping your 

 7          professional staff?  

 8                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  So the 

 9          money comes with very specific spending 

10          categories.  It is not free money that we get 

11          to spend on anything that we want.  The 

12          CARES Act, for example, was very specific in 

13          paying for things that were associated with 

14          costs for the pandemic, that we had about 

15          $68 million in added costs, and to be able to 

16          replace things associated with distance 

17          learning.  So some of those funds do not have 

18          the flexibility that some folks think that 

19          they do.

20                 We again, we're going to use every 

21          flexibility to support the students, to 

22          support the mission.  So that's going to be 

23          more classroom sections, that's going to be 

24          more advisors, more mental health, all the 


 1          things that the students need -- to the 

 2          extent that the federal funding allows us to.

 3                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN FORREST:  Thank you.

 4                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  Thank you.

 5                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  

 6                 We go to the Senate now.

 7                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.  

 8                 Senator John Liu.

 9                 SENATOR LIU:  Thank you, Madam Chair.

10                 Felo, what's my number?  

11                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  Great to 

12          see you.  9,443.

13                 SENATOR LIU:  Thank you.  I want to 

14          thank you, Chancellor, for the great 

15          appointment of Frank Wu to Queens College.  I 

16          do not appreciate you casting aspersions on 

17          his predecessor, former Queens College 

18          President Felix Matos Rodriguez.  He was a 

19          great Queens College president also.

20                 As Senator Savino and Senator Jackson 

21          already mentioned -- and I will throw my 

22          voice into it as well -- the School of Labor 

23          and Urban Studies is a very important part of 

24          CUNY.  I did have the pleasure of teaching 


 1          there a few years ago and saw firsthand the 

 2          contributions that it makes to our city.  So 

 3          please uphold the commitment that you've 

 4          already articulated.  I know you've already 

 5          increased the space that they have available, 

 6          but they need more.  And if we can get those 

 7          lease negotiations back on track that were 

 8          thrown off by COVID, but now it looks like at 

 9          some point students will return, so we need 

10          that space for the School of Labor and Urban 

11          Studies.  All right?

12                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  

13          {Inaudible.}.

14                 SENATOR LIU:  Maybe you can have my 

15          old friend Hector Battista work on that 

16          project, because he'll definitely get things 

17          done.  And I call him old because I've known 

18          him since we were young men.

19                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  And he's 

20          been -- the guiding force in getting that 

21          increase is Hector and his team.  So it's a 

22          commitment.  And I didn't know -- I knew that 

23          you had taught at Baruch and Queens, but I 

24          didn't know you had taught there.  So --


 1                 SENATOR LIU:  Yes.  And I used to be 

 2          one of those adjunct professors that 

 3          Senator Jackson mentioned.  

 4                 We do need to get them back, because 

 5          they -- the classes that they teach are vital 

 6          to CUNY students in providing them the 

 7          options and array of coursework.

 8                 Let me get to my main question today, 

 9          which is I know every year we do this, 

10          whether with you or your predecessors, and 

11          it's always about the budget shortfalls and 

12          the challenges that CUNY has balancing the 

13          budgets.  And even in today's discussion 

14          that's been the main focus.  

15                 My question for you is, we've been 

16          faced with years and years of austerity.  

17          CUNY has faced a lot of the brunt of that 

18          austerity.  Beyond just trying to figure out 

19          how you're going to do more with less, what 

20          is the vision?  At some point, you know, I'm 

21          looking to you and the trustees to articulate 

22          a broad, long-term vision for CUNY.  That 

23          broad, long-term vision has to take us out of 

24          austerity, has to start reducing the amount 


 1          of the costs that are borne by tuition -- 

 2          preferably, one day, down to zero, when we 

 3          can resume free tuition for CUNY students 

 4          once again.

 5                 And a great expansion of the offerings 

 6          that CUNY has to offer.  This has happened in 

 7          previous recessionary periods, where new CUNY 

 8          campuses were actually built, where offerings 

 9          were greatly expanded to take advantage of 

10          the greater demand for CUNY services.

11                 So what's the vision for that, apart 

12          from, you know, having to deal with these 

13          budget crises all the time?  And my 

14          point-blank question is, if you had more 

15          money, if you had like a few billion dollars 

16          more -- because we're trying to raise revenue 

17          to get us out of this austerity -- what would 

18          you do with that?  What would CUNY do with, 

19          say, $4 billion more each year?

20                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  So from 

21          your lips to God's ears, right?  

22                 And thank you, thank you for the 

23          questions.  A couple of things, right?  We 

24          have focused this budget request at a very 


 1          difficult time on things that are key to our 

 2          mission, which are COVID response and 

 3          recovery, right?  To make sure that everybody 

 4          can come back --  

 5                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Chancellor, if 

 6          you could just be kind of concise.  We've 

 7          gone over more than a minute.

 8                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  So let me 

 9          then send him a vision independently.

10                 But again, you know, for us -- and we 

11          always will provide a budget with the context 

12          of where we are.  We are at a difficult 

13          budget time.  We take that into account in 

14          the budget request.  If we are in a scenario 

15          where there's additional dollars, then we'll 

16          make a budget request that is consistent with 

17          that.  If the federal government and Biden 

18          gets the things that he's hoping for, that 

19          will change things too.  And then we'll adapt 

20          the request to that.  

21                 But happy to take that -- I mean, I 

22          don't have time, but to take your question 

23          and talk in private.

24                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Any follow-up 


 1          questions -- follow-up answers to questions, 

 2          please also send to the respective chairs so 

 3          that we can circulate with all of the 

 4          members.  I'm sure they'll be curious.

 5                 Now we go to Assemblyman Pichardo, 

 6          three minutes.

 7                 Victor, you need to unmute yourself, 

 8          please.  Thank you.  

 9                 ASSEMBLYMAN PICHARDO:  It's only taken 

10          me a year to figure this out, Madam 

11          Chairwoman, I apologize.  

12                 So Felo, nice to see you.  To my 

13          colleagues at CUCF, it's nice to see many of 

14          you here.  I'll be brief because time is 

15          short.

16                 A couple of things I wanted to ask.  

17          First of all, regarding opportunity programs 

18          distributed by the Office of Special 

19          Programs, I kind of want to have a sense of 

20          what really is the breakdown in terms of 

21          dollars.  Is it -- is most of the majority of 

22          the money going towards students?  Is it to 

23          cover overhead?  What's sort of the breakdown 

24          there, Mr. Chancellor?  


 1                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  So I don't 

 2          have -- great to see you, Assemblyman 

 3          Pichardo.  And not to leave your constituents 

 4          behind, you know, greetings also from 3,887 

 5          CUNY students that live in your district.  

 6                 And I don't have a breakdown of the -- 

 7          how the different budget categories are used 

 8          in the opportunity programs.  We can get 

 9          those to your office both from SEEK and the 

10          College Discovery.  

11                 But I mean, in general, based on 

12          having been on the campuses, they pay for 

13          faculty to teach specialized courses to the 

14          students, they pay for advisors for the 

15          students, they provide some stipends -- 

16          sometimes the students serve as mentors to 

17          other SEEK students -- and then for some 

18          other programmatic needs.  But I can get you 

19          the precise breakdown too.

20                 ASSEMBLYMAN PICHARDO:  I would 

21          appreciate that, Chancellor.

22                 And two more questions, sir.  I 

23          mentioned CUCF.  Obviously I represent the 

24          campus of Bronx Community College in my 


 1          district.  We've been trying to work on 

 2          trying to upgrade the ventilation systems and 

 3          the air-conditioning systems.  Is there money 

 4          in your proposal right now to help deal with 

 5          that specific issue on campus for Bronx 

 6          Community College?

 7                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  So thank 

 8          you for that question, because one of the 

 9          parts in my oral testimony that I didn't get 

10          to is a request on capital dollars.  And we 

11          have put the request for this year really 

12          focusing on those key areas that are 

13          important all the time, but are particularly 

14          important as we get ready to move to the new 

15          normal in the fall and other things 

16          associated with COVID.

17                 So the budget request that we have 

18          right now accentuates funding for those kinds 

19          of repairs all across the system.  And 

20          obviously a campus like Bronx Community, 

21          because of its size and its age, you know, 

22          has been prioritized and will continue to be 

23          prioritized.  So that's a key part of what 

24          we're asking in this budget request.  So 


 1          thank you for allowing me to make that 

 2          comment to the panel today.

 3                 ASSEMBLYMAN PICHARDO:  And one last 

 4          thing before I close, as my time runs short.  

 5          I've been hearing some push-back from some of 

 6          the CUNY students regarding class sizes, 

 7          especially around remote learning.  Some 

 8          classes have been sort of canceled a week 

 9          before if they have 20 or less.  It's been 

10          shown that there's a benefit to doing classes 

11          with smaller class sizes.  If you can answer 

12          that, and I'll leave it at that.  

13                 And Mr. Chancellor, again, my 

14          condolences to you and your family on your 

15          recent loss as well, sir.

16                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  {In 

17          Spanish} Victor, thank you so much for that.  

18          And actually I'm coming live from my mother's 

19          house, right, because we're still dealing 

20          with that.

21                 To your question about class size, as 

22          I mentioned before, the data that we have 

23          systemwide doesn't show that the class sizes 

24          have sort of grown.  They're about 22, and 


 1          they used to be -- they've been between 22 

 2          and 21 for the past five, six years.  

 3                 That doesn't mean that there might not 

 4          be specific examples in a campus here or 

 5          there, but I don't think there's a widespread 

 6          issue with that.

 7                 And actually, at the community 

 8          colleges, to your case in the Bronx, the 

 9          number of classes between one and 10 students 

10          has actually increased.  So again, we are 

11          trying to be responsive to the student needs, 

12          so the sections that they need available for 

13          them, to be good stewards, right, in the 

14          sense of maximizing the sections that we 

15          have.  

16                 But I -- I -- I -- there might be some 

17          specific examples here and there.  Right?  

18          I'm sure that in a big system there is.  But 

19          I think that that idea of a widespread issue 

20          with class size is -- doesn't hold bare to 

21          the data.

22                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  

23                 We go to Assemblywoman Seawright now, 

24          three minutes.


 1                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN SEAWRIGHT:  Thank you, 

 2          Chairwoman Weinstein.  And good afternoon.  

 3          Thank you, Chancellor, and to your team, 

 4          Hector and Matt and José and Mary Kay and 

 5          Maureen and Grace.  I also want to extend my 

 6          deepest sympathy on the loss of your father.  

 7                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  Thank you.

 8                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN SEAWRIGHT:  So I just 

 9          have a couple of quick questions.  

10                 With many students at the community 

11          colleges eligible for TAP and Pell and other 

12          financial programs, what would it cost to 

13          implement free tuition, as President Biden 

14          has pledged, at the community colleges?

15                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  So let 

16          me -- I can get that number for you.  And I 

17          had it in -- we have some estimates.  

18                 The one thing that I want to say about 

19          this question, too, is that folks need to 

20          define what "free" means.  Is it first dollar 

21          or last dollar?  There's a lot of nuances as 

22          to how free college and free community 

23          colleges can be done.  And I think it's 

24          important that as we go into this debate, 


 1          right, even these of us who are supportive of 

 2          things like this, that we get into the 

 3          nuances.  Because, you know, that can mean 

 4          what we want is the most affordable quality 

 5          community college and four-year college 

 6          experience.  Right?  

 7                 But we can give you -- I mean, we've 

 8          done some projections, and we would be happy 

 9          to share them with you.

10                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN SEAWRIGHT:  Thank you.

11                 And back during election season, 

12          118,000 people were sent in my district to 

13          early vote at Wagner Middle School.  And I 

14          know that CUNY has some of its campuses 

15          available for early voting.

16                 But what would it take or require for 

17          additional campuses of CUNY to be available?  

18          I know the Board of Elections is examining 

19          right now different areas -- Marymount 

20          Manhattan College, in my district, has 

21          offered again to be an early voting site.  So 

22          what would it require of CUNY for more of 

23          your campuses to be sites?  

24                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  So we -- 


 1          thank you for that.  We want to be the best 

 2          partner to the Board of Elections.  And, you 

 3          know, part of our public education is passing 

 4          the knowledge of civic engagement to our 

 5          students.  Right?  So what better way than to 

 6          pass that and to be supportive of such an 

 7          important thing.

 8                 The challenge that we have faced in 

 9          the past is that that requires sort of 

10          substantial space, right, and it's 

11          particularly challenging when you are running 

12          classes.  And when we go back to more 

13          face-to-face classes, that scheduling 

14          becomes, you know, sort of complicated.  

15          Right?  In terms of the space that is needed.  

16                 It was a little bit easier this year, 

17          right, because by being mostly virtual, we 

18          have more flexibility in our campuses.  But 

19          that's some of the tensions that we've seen 

20          in the past.  But we're happy to be very 

21          flexible to help the Board of Elections.

22                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN SEAWRIGHT:  Great, 

23          terrific.  Thank you.  My district has a lot 

24          of senior citizens, and they love to --


 1                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Rebecca -- 

 2          Assemblywoman, we've gone over the time.  So 

 3          perhaps you can send a question, we'll ask it 

 4          later.

 5                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN SEAWRIGHT:  Thank you.

 6                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Senator 

 7          Krueger, we go to you.

 8                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  There we go, I 

 9          got myself unmuted.  I apologize.  

10                 Good afternoon.  Thank you for being 

11          here, and condolences for your family's loss.

12                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  Thank you.

13                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  I have a series 

14          of questions that you're just going to write 

15          down and get back to us on.  Okay?  Because I 

16          need it in written form.

17                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  Okay.

18                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Okay.  So we know 

19          that CUNY got $300 million plus 186 million 

20          from the feds this year.  I would like a 

21          chart breaking down how you spent the money.  

22          And then I would also like a chart I guess 

23          projecting how you're spending -- I think 

24          you're scheduled to get over 500 million from 


 1          the CARES Act for the coming fiscal year, so 

 2          I want to see how that money is being spent.

 3                 And interestingly, Senator Pichardo -- 

 4          Senator?  Hello -- Assemblymember Pichardo 

 5          raised a ventilation issue, and you said that 

 6          would have to fall into some state capital 

 7          funds.  But I would think that's the kind of 

 8          money that could be spent from the federal 

 9          for making sure your buildings and 

10          classrooms are safe for students to return 

11          to, because you need a modern COVID-protected 

12          ventilation system.  

13                 So I would also suggest you just 

14          double-check the wording of the federal 

15          dollars on that, because maybe we can be 

16          helpful to broaden the interpretation of the 

17          federal language.

18                 So now we get to -- and everybody is 

19          talking about this, so I'm trying to just ask 

20          for a chart and we'll be able to look at it 

21          together.  For the last 10 years, one column 

22          that shows your number of students in CUNY -- 

23          you can do it senior and community colleges 

24          separated.  Next column, number of faculty.  


 1          You can do it full-time and then adjunct, or 

 2          whatever you -- right?  And then number of 

 3          other CUNY employees.  I think you put them 

 4          under "administrative."  

 5                 Because there are a lot of people out 

 6          there saying we keep reducing the number of 

 7          people teaching our students, but we keep 

 8          increasing the total number of people who 

 9          work for CUNY.  I don't know if that's true.  

10          I want to see it in chart format so we can 

11          all take a look and see if that's the case.  

12          And then we can ask questions about why, if 

13          that is the case.  All right?  

14                 I don't even know whether your 

15          population went down or stayed the same 

16          during COVID, because obviously you went from 

17          in-class to online, and a number of people 

18          have asked about that.  But I also heard 

19          there's a lot of students who decided the 

20          online really wasn't going to work for them 

21          and they're not going to spend their TAP year 

22          money on a year that they don't think makes 

23          any sense for them, which I empathize with.  

24          I think that's perhaps a rational decision.


 1                 But we really need to understand your 

 2          total money, state and federal, and how 

 3          they're being spent and how life is changing.  

 4          Okay?  So you'll be able to get us those 

 5          charts?  

 6                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  No -- no 

 7          problem.

 8                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Great, I 

 9          appreciate that.

10                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  Can I -- 

11          can I -- can I just -- since this goes -- you 

12          know, people can watch this -- just so that 

13          the -- the total number of CARES Act money 

14          was 251 million.  You provided a number that 

15          was slightly higher; I just want to make 

16          sure.  And the projected amount from the 

17          second stimulus is 455 million.  You said 

18          over five --

19                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  I read SUNY 

20          numbers when I meant to read CUNY.  So my 

21          numbers go --

22                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  You know, 

23          just -- you know.

24                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  No, I appreciate 


 1          that.  Good, good, good.  My -- I correct 

 2          myself.

 3                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  But we'll 

 4          get you the breakdown.  We'll get you the 

 5          breakdown.  I just wanted to make sure that 

 6          for --

 7                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Good.  So my 

 8          numbers show 287 million institutional aid 

 9          from the feds, 158 million for student aid 

10          from the feds in the year that is ending, and 

11          then close to 500 million in the year coming 

12          up.  And you said four hundred and fifty --

13                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  -- 55.

14                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  -- 55 million, 

15          okay, thank you for that.

16                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  Can I just 

17          quickly comment on the enrollment number?

18                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Yeah.

19                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  The -- 

20          the -- your commentary about particularly the 

21          community college students.  Because like I 

22          said, the enrollment at the four-year 

23          colleges remained mostly flat.  In some 

24          cases, it even went up.  And the graduate 


 1          programs went up.  It is the community 

 2          colleges.  

 3                 And consistent with some service that 

 4          we have done and some data that we also have 

 5          seen at the national level, many students 

 6          that either were facing financial hardships 

 7          or concerned about how safe it was to be even 

 8          in an online learning environment, or who had 

 9          situations in their family dealing with 

10          COVID, might have decided to sit out.  Right?  

11          And many of those students would have been 

12          mostly students in the community college 

13          sector, right, that maybe because of the 

14          tighter dollars are making more precise 

15          calculations, going back to your point about 

16          using TAP or didn't feel as comfortable with 

17          an online environment.  

18                 So we're getting ready to -- and we're 

19          tapping to try to get those students back, 

20          you know, beginning in the fall, hopefully.

21                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.  

22                 So you and I once had a conversation 

23          about this, but I've been asking around, and 

24          so -- and it's been bugging me.


 1                 So we have a system in CUNY where we 

 2          put all the Ph.D. students in something 

 3          called The Graduate Center.  Then 

 4          The Graduate Center made a decision that if 

 5          they couldn't afford to give every single 

 6          student there a stipend, they couldn't be a 

 7          student there and they would turn them down 

 8          from our Ph.D. programs.  

 9                 First off, every other college says, 

10          send them to us, we'd love to have Ph.D. 

11          students that can afford to pay full freight, 

12          we have no problem with that.  

13                 So again, I don't understand, for the 

14          record, why CUNY turns away quality students 

15          because they don't have or need the stipend 

16          money.  But then because you've limited to a 

17          very small number how many new Ph.D. students 

18          come in any given year to any given program, 

19          you don't actually have enough of them to 

20          fill classrooms under your mandate for larger 

21          classes, and so you don't even have 

22          professors teaching the classes they need, 

23          which also discourages Ph.D. students from 

24          coming to CUNY.


 1                 So again, you can wait and write it up 

 2          to me, that's fine, because we have very 

 3          little time today.  I'm just saying I think 

 4          CUNY is intentionally stopping and closing 

 5          Ph.D. programs.  And maybe that's your 

 6          decision and your policy decision.  But I 

 7          would love to know why CUNY actually is 

 8          making the decision to not want to have Ph.D. 

 9          programs.  Because that's where you're 

10          heading.

11                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  So the -- 

12          briefly, I will get you that.  The change to 

13          mostly -- almost exclusively stipend students 

14          is a change that happened before my time.  

15          Right?  And I understand that the rationale 

16          had to do that they wanted to be competitive 

17          with other programs nationally.

18                 There's -- there's very few people 

19          that pay out-of-pocket for Ph.D. programs.  

20          Right?  It might be -- it might seem that 

21          there's a lot of people out there; that is 

22          not the case.  So in a lot of the mostly 

23          competitive programs, the students come in 

24          with a stipend.  And I believe that the 


 1          rationale, back when that was changed, was to 

 2          be able to be competitive to those students.

 3                 We have new leadership at The Graduate 

 4          Center.  Let me revisit the issue with our 

 5          new president, President Garrell, who's 

 6          wonderful.  

 7                 And actually one of the other things 

 8          is that I have mentioned to her that at 

 9          CUNY -- and COVID has sort of taken, you 

10          know, most of the oxygen in the work that we 

11          do.  But that we are due for a comprehensive 

12          look systemwide at how we do graduate 

13          education.  I think it's important that we do 

14          that.  We have some models that work very 

15          well.  They might need some tweaking, they 

16          might need to be -- to look at them.  And I 

17          think that we need to have that conversation 

18          systemwide.  

19                 And I was waiting to have the new 

20          president of The Graduate Center to be 

21          leading that effort, and we're going to get 

22          going on that now.

23                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Good.  I would 

24          argue that there's also reasons to reevaluate 


 1          master's programs, because it is good for the 

 2          City and State of New York and for the 

 3          students who live in our city and state who 

 4          depend on the CUNY system to have options for 

 5          higher ed as well as the community colleges 

 6          and the four-year programs.  So thank you for 

 7          that.

 8                 And then in my last minute or so -- I 

 9          don't remember whether we talked about this, 

10          but I had talked about it with Chancellor 

11          Malatras at SUNY, and he followed up.  Is 

12          CUNY following up sort of internally and 

13          systemically about assuring that your 

14          students who are now eligible for SNAP -- 

15          simply because they are students and meet the 

16          income guidelines -- are getting signed up?  

17          Because he seems to have figured out a way to 

18          do it sort of centrally for 10,000 students 

19          in one day.  And CUNY's student population is 

20          even more likely to be eligible for SNAP and 

21          more in need of the food resources.

22                 So are you doing anything parallel 

23          with CUNY?

24                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  Happy to 


 1          report that since the Governor adjusted his 

 2          eligibility, we have -- so far 7,000 students 

 3          have already been referred.  So we are -- we 

 4          moved ahead on this in part because we 

 5          already had -- when the Governor made the 

 6          announcement, we already had in our central 

 7          CUNYfirst system, a way to identify the 

 8          students based on the information that 

 9          they're giving us and say, You might be 

10          eligible, and make a connection to HRA.  

11                 So we had been working on that even 

12          before the Governor made the very good 

13          announcement of the added flexibility.

14                 As a former SNAP administrator for the 

15          Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, I am fully 

16          behind this and we are pushing this since day 

17          one.  It was already in our system, so we're 

18          just following up to doing that, and we're 

19          actually looking for additional private 

20          resources to get somebody centrally to help 

21          us even be more aggressive in getting to 

22          those students.

23                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Great.  Glad to 

24          hear it.  Thank you very much, Chancellor.


 1                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  Thank you.

 2                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Assembly.  

 3                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  We go now to 

 4          Assemblywoman Dickens, three minutes.  

 5                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN DICKENS:  Good 

 6          afternoon.  And thank you, Madam Chair.  

 7                 And thank you, Chancellor, for your 

 8          testimony.  And I too join in giving my 

 9          deepest condolences on the loss of your 

10          father.

11                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  Thank you.

12                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN DICKENS:  First, I just 

13          want to acknowledge City College, because 

14          it's in my district.  And they have opened 

15          the campus during this very bad time of 

16          pandemic for testing, food distribution to 

17          the students as well as to the community, and 

18          they have offered the campus for vaccine 

19          distribution once it becomes available.  So I 

20          just wanted to say thank you for that.

21                 But now I want to go on and ask a 

22          question about the remote learning.  Many of 

23          the students have told me that remote 

24          learning -- many of the educators are not 


 1          good at it.  

 2                 Are you providing a class or would you 

 3          be willing to provide a class in order for 

 4          the professors -- and including the adjunct 

 5          professors -- that might want to continue 

 6          with remote learning, and we shouldn't turn 

 7          them away because they may be excellent, but 

 8          not on-site, that they can learn how to do 

 9          teaching remotely?

10                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  Well, 

11          thank you, Assemblywoman Dickens, for your 

12          question.  And a couple of things.  

13                 First, we are -- CUNY is ready to do 

14          even more, and we've been in conversation 

15          with the Governor's team to open up more 

16          vaccination sites.  As more of the vaccine 

17          becomes available, we are ready to be 

18          supportive of that effort, which we think 

19          also, given our presence and a student body 

20          of communities of color, right, would also 

21          begin addressing this issue about the 

22          inequities of who gets the vaccine.  So happy 

23          to be part of that effort, and ready for it.

24                 To your question, we actually have 


 1          provided -- over 3,400 faculty members, 

 2          full-time and part-time, have done 

 3          professional development for online teaching.  

 4          It's something that we have really 

 5          invested -- our School of Professional 

 6          Studies won an award for the work that they 

 7          did in getting more of our teachers ready 

 8          precisely to address the point that you make.  

 9                 And I'll add one more thing, is that 

10          we also have a couple of additional courses 

11          online -- they're not an official course -- 

12          that we have for our students that we have 

13          developed to help them be better online 

14          learners too.  So it's not just the teachers, 

15          we want our students to be better.

16                 So we hope that when we go back to 

17          normal, right, we have more of a mix --

18                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN DICKENS:  Thank you, 

19          Chancellor.  Madam Finance Chair in the 

20          Senate, Liz Krueger, had asked for -- to 

21          receive some charts.  I'm asking her 

22          permission, can that be broken down by campus 

23          site, if that's acceptable to her?

24                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  And that 


 1          will be the information about faculty and 

 2          students and hired, right, by campus.

 3                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN DICKENS:  Yes.  

 4                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  It's acceptable 

 5          to break it down farther if you can do that, 

 6          yes.

 7                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN DICKENS:  Thank you.  

 8                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  Yeah, we 

 9          do that already, so it's no issue, 

10          Ms. Dickens.  Happy to do that.

11                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN DICKENS:  Thank you.  

12                 And the last thing is just the Colin 

13          Powell School of Labor and Urban Studies is 

14          important, very important.  Thank you.  

15                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  

16                 Now we go to Assemblywoman Simon.

17                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN SIMON:  Thank you.  

18          Thank you.  And let me also share any 

19          condolences, Chancellor.

20                 I have a couple of questions that I 

21          wanted to follow up with you on about 

22          resources for our students with disabilities, 

23          and the -- because there's still an issue 

24          with having enough financing to provide those 


 1          support services.  And I wanted to know what 

 2          efforts you have made to rectify that, to 

 3          increase those services.

 4                 And I also want to talk to you about 

 5          remote learning and some of the difficulties 

 6          I know students have experienced, and also 

 7          the way we're doing remote learning, how it's 

 8          affecting the learning of our students as 

 9          well as teaching of reading.

10                 And so one is about -- A, it's access, 

11          but also I think when it comes to remote 

12          learning, we need to be looking at actually 

13          the cognitive processes, that the students 

14          are now having to rely on different ways of 

15          learning, that their brains are doing 

16          something different.  And I don't know how 

17          much we have looked at that.  

18                 And I'm curious whether your faculty, 

19          for example, have looked at it.  You have a 

20          number of professionals there that are 

21          familiar with those kinds of issues.  And I 

22          don't know whether that's being looked at, 

23          and I'd love to know what if anything you've 

24          learned and how we can support that.


 1                 And then the other issue is the 

 2          teaching of reading and how many schools 

 3          within the CUNY system are -- seem to be 

 4          rated, as you know, C, D, E -- or C, D, F 

 5          from the National Center of Teacher Quality 

 6          in the teaching of early reading.

 7                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  So let me 

 8          begin with that last one.  I'll have to get 

 9          the information about that.  That's something 

10          that I'm not sort of aware of, so happy to 

11          get you additional information.  And also if 

12          there's things from your end that you want me 

13          specifically to tackle on, I'll be happy to 

14          look at that.

15                 We have -- one of the main areas of 

16          concern when we moved to mostly distance 

17          learning, first in the emergency mode back in 

18          last spring, right, when we were dealing with 

19          the first COVID wave, that we were all sort 

20          of learning how to adapt.

21                 But then afterwards, when we sort of 

22          knew that it was going to be the best way to 

23          move forward to keep people safe, has always 

24          been instructing my team about making sure 


 1          that students with disabilities, right, get 

 2          the services and the support that they get 

 3          because it's easy for them to get lost in the 

 4          shuffle, particularly as we move to -- and 

 5          I'm particularly concerned about the services 

 6          they get.  Right?  Because I know that they 

 7          work very closely with the Disability Centers 

 8          on the campuses.  And we've been keeping an 

 9          eye on those services and trying to be 

10          proactive in giving them support.  Because we 

11          know that we -- you know, CUNY is probably 

12          the institution of choice for many students 

13          with disabilities, and we want to continue to 

14          earn that trust and to do more.

15                 And actually, we wanted to do 

16          something to support those students and using 

17          some of the funding from the Chancellor's 

18          Emergency Fund, which was the more flexible 

19          money that we have access to, that we 

20          fundraise for, we made several of the 

21          emergency grant allocations to support those 

22          students directly.  Because, you know, they 

23          didn't seem to be part of any CARES Act 

24          category or things like that.


 1                 On the learning side, it's been 

 2          interesting.  As somebody who's been saying 

 3          that we need to focus on pedagogy, I've 

 4          enjoyed that people are interested in how 

 5          we're learning more.  And I hope that we 

 6          continue that interest when we go back to the 

 7          new normal.

 8                 The provost and his team has partnered 

 9          with research entities to do some research on 

10          how well the learning process has gone with 

11          our students.  So we're going to have some 

12          data on that, because it's something that 

13          we're also very concerned about.  I'll be 

14          happy to share those results with you when we 

15          get them.  

16                 We had some work also done in the 

17          spring, so there's data that we have that 

18          we'll be happy to share.  We've been working 

19          with the added resources on mental health to 

20          support the students who have had issues in 

21          adapting to the distance learning modality 

22          and to find ways to be supportive of them.  

23          And some of the training that we've done of 

24          the faculty has gone to some of the issues 


 1          that you address, in making faculty that are 

 2          fabulous, but have never taught online, more 

 3          aware of many of these issues.

 4                 And I'd be happy to, you know, discuss 

 5          it in more depth if you want with more 

 6          specific questions.

 7                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you, 

 8          Chancellor.

 9                 So now we're going to move on to 

10          Assemblymember Mitaynes.  

11                 Marcela, are you there?

12                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN MITAYNES:  Yes, just 

13          give me one second.  My internet is a bit 

14          unstable, so I needed to call in, get the 

15          video going.

16                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  No problem.

17                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN MITAYNES:  Thank you so 

18          much.

19                 {In Spanish.}  I'm sorry for your 

20          loss.

21                 {In Spanish.}  My question has to do 

22          particularly with the 30,000 -- where the 

23          members of the professional staff were 

24          contractually mandated for a 2 percent pay 


 1          increase in November of 2020.  And is there a 

 2          violation with the union contract and the law 

 3          by delaying the contractual negotiated 

 4          raises?  

 5                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  Thank you 

 6          for your question and your condolences.  And 

 7          thank you for your support.

 8                 The issue of the contractual raises in 

 9          November -- again, it is something that for 

10          us was a measure that we had to take that we 

11          were not, you know, happy to make.  It went 

12          with a lot of other decisions that we made, 

13          like furloughing some of the administrative 

14          staff members.  And we hope that it's 

15          something that when we have more budget 

16          certainty, we can sort of respond to.  We 

17          intend, right, to be able to give those 

18          dollars back to the PSC members.

19                 My understanding is that there's an 

20          arbitration hearing about that, so I would 

21          like to sort of keep my comments limited, 

22          given that we have that forum coming up.

23                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN MITAYNES:  Okay.  So the 

24          next question is about the CARES Act money.  


 1          There's all this federal relief and we're 

 2          still making cuts.  The layoffs of adjunct 

 3          faculty in the middle of the pandemic, where 

 4          research shows that there's, you know, a 

 5          benefit in having smaller class sizes.  The 

 6          staffing is essential, and so is the funding.  

 7          So if classes need to be small, spending 

 8          needs to be the priority.  What is happening 

 9          with the CARES money?  

10                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  So thank 

11          you for your question.  

12                 So the CARES Act money in the first 

13          place, right, went -- had very strict 

14          guidelines of how it could be used, even 

15          though some folks have a misunderstanding of 

16          how that money could be used.  Right?  And we 

17          litigated that misunderstanding with the PSC.

18                 It's money that has to go towards 

19          costs that we lost in COVID.  Right?  And the 

20          money that came from the CARES Act, for 

21          example, was 118.  Right?  We had 68 alone in 

22          added expenses of cleaning, PPE and things 

23          associated with COVID.  

24                 So the money was to pay for those 


 1          things, to pay for the cost of moving to 

 2          distance learning, the laptops that we got 

 3          for the students, some of that 

 4          infrastructure, they paid for that.  So 

 5          that's where the bulk of that money -- it 

 6          reimbursed some campuses that have dorms for 

 7          their losses.  They're very, very strict 

 8          guidelines.

 9                 Luckily, the next stimulus provides 

10          more flexibility.  And we're going to put 

11          those resources, to the extent that we're 

12          allowed to by the Department of Education, 

13          into, you know, things that are 

14          mission-critical.  Teaching and classes for 

15          students, support services for the students, 

16          mental health, advising -- all those things 

17          is how we're going to prioritizing that 

18          funding, always consistent with the 

19          guidelines that we get from the Department of 

20          Education, which has yet to clearly say 

21          exactly what is permissible and what's not.  

22          And we're waiting for that clarity before we 

23          make decisions on the investments.  But 

24          they're going to be, to the extent that we 


 1          have the flexibility, focused on the student 

 2          success.

 3                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you, 

 4          Chancellor.  We now go to -- and thank you, 

 5          Assemblywoman.  We now go to Assemblywoman 

 6          Glick for her second round of five minutes.

 7                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN GLICK:  Thank you very 

 8          much --

 9                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Five minutes on 

10          the clock, please.

11                 Go ahead, Deborah.  We'll deal with 

12          it.

13                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN GLICK:  They asked me to 

14          start my video, and I'll just see if it 

15          starts to freeze; I'm going to knock it off.

16                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Five minutes on 

17          the clock, please.  Five minutes on the 

18          clock.  Thank you.  

19                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN GLICK:  Not 10.  I could 

20          have used the 10.

21                 (Laughter.)

22                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN GLICK:  Let me join 

23          others in offering condolences on your 

24          family's loss and also on the CUNY family's 


 1          loss.  

 2                 We face a teacher shortage which I 

 3          think is going to get worse as a result of 

 4          the pandemic.  And I think a lot of 

 5          teachers are going to just say they're close 

 6          to retirement, they've had it, whatever.  

 7                 Does the state requirement for a 3.0 

 8          GPA to enter a graduate teaching program 

 9          interfere with the ability of CUNY to admit 

10          students into their master's programs?  And 

11          does this have an impact on diversity?

12                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  So I'll 

13          have to go back to our dean of education and 

14          get a better sense of the data to sort of 

15          look at that.  I'm sure that people have 

16          looked at the impact of that and other 

17          admission standards.  And I think that you're 

18          absolutely correct, that we need to be ready 

19          to have that next wave of teachers, because I 

20          think that it doesn't require a crystal ball 

21          to know that that's going to be happening all 

22          across a number of sectors of the economy, 

23          teaching being one.

24                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN GLICK:  Yeah, yeah, I 


 1          think nursing as well.

 2                 Now, where are you on capital 

 3          improvements?  Many facilities are older, 

 4          some are rentals.  But what do you need to do 

 5          to make facilities more energy efficient?  

 6          Clearly the city is moving in a -- to have a 

 7          requirement for a lot of buildings.  And I'm 

 8          just wondering where you stand on that.  

 9                 And one other question while I have 

10          time.  There were plans some time ago for an 

11          annex, a CUNY annex in the Rockaways.  And I 

12          think it fell off the table, probably 

13          financial constraints.  And I'm just 

14          wondering -- I've been asked by members -- if 

15          that is, you know, projected at some point.

16                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  So I am 

17          not familiar with the conversation of the 

18          Rockaways, although from my previous life at 

19          Queens College, in conversations with the 

20          councilmember who represents that district, I 

21          know that there's transportation issues for 

22          students there to come to the system.

23                 So let me go back and do a little bit 

24          of history on that.  And I -- you know, so 


 1          let me do some homework on that issue.

 2                 The other thing also is that we'll be 

 3          happy to share.  You know, we have an entire 

 4          sustainability effort that is looking at all 

 5          this work in our campuses existing and in the 

 6          investments that we're making, either in 

 7          repairs and new buildings that we have, as 

 8          part of the capital of the five-year capital 

 9          plan.  

10                 Let me then also share that with you, 

11          because that might have some of the specifics 

12          that you're looking for in terms of 

13          sustainability and investment in those areas.

14                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN GLICK:  I'm just 

15          wondering where you are -- and this is 

16          something that you can get to us.  Again, 

17          nursing programs tend to be more expensive, 

18          and I know that some of the campuses have 

19          that.  There's been a question asked about 

20          whether or not we could use more simulators 

21          for the clinical part, because it -- 

22          certainly with COVID, the placement in 

23          hospitals dropped to zero.  

24                 And there is a concern that that will 


 1          continue, and yet students need the clinical 

 2          work in order to be -- for the purpose of 

 3          their licensure.  

 4                 So I'm wondering whether there have 

 5          been discussions at your end -- and again, 

 6          you can get back to us about this -- around 

 7          the issue of using simulators to actually 

 8          stand in for clinical placements.  

 9                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  Quickly, I 

10          will get that.  Very much so.  I mean, part 

11          of our budget request asks for additional 

12          investments in nursing, because we feel that 

13          we have to meet the challenge of the growing 

14          demand that is there, and that we can do it 

15          maximizing our facilities, investing in some 

16          of the facilities on the capital side.

17                 But to your point, we learned some 

18          things as a result of this transition to 

19          mostly online.  Let's use them.  But on our 

20          end -- and kudos to my University Provost 

21          Cruz, who's been looking at this thing too -- 

22          a lot of the clinical internships, we leave 

23          the campuses to broker those relationships.  

24          Right?  We feel that if the central office 


 1          took more of a centralized approach, we could 

 2          really maximize a lot more of those 

 3          opportunities in ways that created more 

 4          opportunities for all our students, and they 

 5          didn't leave the negotiations to be done 

 6          program by program and campus by campus.  

 7                 That's something that we're looking 

 8          for, because we do want to expand our 

 9          footprint in nursing.  

10                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN GLICK:  Thank you very 

11          much.

12                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Back to the 

13          Senate now.

14                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.  

15                 And our chair of Higher Ed, Toby 

16          Stavisky, to close.  Five minutes.

17                 SENATOR STAVISKY:  Thank you.  Thank 

18          you, Senator, Assemblywoman.

19                 Chancellor, incidentally, I offer my 

20          condolences also --

21                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  Thank you.

22                 SENATOR STAVISKY:  -- on your ex-boss, 

23          and to the rest of the CUNY family.

24                 Let me follow up on just two areas 


 1          where you testified.  And I'm going to ask 

 2          both questions together so that if I run out 

 3          of time, you'll give me the written answer.

 4                 First, you talked about students who 

 5          graduated from high school and never showed 

 6          up.  That number was 600?

 7                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  Let me --

 8                 SENATOR STAVISKY:  Whatever.  You can 

 9          get back to me.  Because I'm going to ask 

10          you -- I think Senator Krueger had a great 

11          idea, a chart.  Go -- not only the students 

12          who graduated from high school, but I suspect 

13          there are students who took a gap year in 

14          high school, so to speak.

15                 So if you and the chancellor of the 

16          city schools, the DOE, could get together, 

17          that would be a very interesting study of the 

18          students who didn't show up, where did they 

19          go, where are they.  

20                 And also, I think it ought to be 

21          compared to the 2020 high school graduates, 

22          so that we have a comparison.  

23                 And the second question -- I asked you 

24          about the CARES Act and how much was left in 


 1          the account, and it was $77 million, I think 

 2          you testified.  What's happened to that 

 3          money?  I'm just curious.  Is it just sitting 

 4          in an interest-bearing account or something?  

 5          The interest is obviously very low.  What's 

 6          happening to that money?  Just curious.  

 7                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  So that -- 

 8          that -- so I'll have Provost Cruz speak to 

 9          the number of the DOE students that we're 

10          trying to reach out, because they're working 

11          on that effort, in a sec.  

12                 But the CARES Act money is going to be 

13          part of the budget that is going to be 

14          presented to complete this year, in the 

15          fiscal year '21, and in some ways the fact 

16          that that allocation was -- you know, comes 

17          at this time is going to be beneficial for 

18          us.  Because with the new rules approved with 

19          the second set of stimulus funding, which is 

20          more flexible, we're going to be able to use 

21          those rules and not the previous rules, that 

22          were particularly restrictive and actually 

23          was making difficult the spending in some of 

24          the community colleges because they have so 


 1          many restrictions.  

 2                 So we're going to be able to take 

 3          advantage of more flexibility coming from the 

 4          new set of rules.

 5                 And Provost Cruz, you want to talk 

 6          about this?  

 7                 CUNY PROVOST CRUZ:  Sure.  Thank you, 

 8          Chancellor.  And --

 9                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  {Inaudible.}

10                 SENATOR STAVISKY:  And also, I also 

11          should have jumped in when you talked about 

12          the previous Queens College president.  I too 

13          think he was one of the best.  

14                 And we appreciated your service in 

15          Queens, and we were sorry to lose you, but 

16          obviously now you can help everybody, the 

17          rest of the campuses, the way you helped 

18          Queens College --

19                 CUNY CHANCELLOR RODRÍGUEZ:  Too kind 

20          too kind.  Thank you.

21                 SENATOR STAVISKY:  -- as somebody who 

22          went to graduate school.  Thank you.  

23                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you, Toby.  

24                 Assembly, I think we're closed out.


 1                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Yes.  And so 

 2          are we.  

 3                 Chancellor, I want to also offer my 

 4          condolences to you, your family, and just 

 5          thank you for being here today and also for 

 6          how CUNY has stepped up during this pandemic 

 7          to make sure that as many of our constituents 

 8          that want to continue with their education 

 9          under these difficult circumstances have been 

10          able to.

11                 So thank you for being here.  

12                 And we're going to go on to our next 

13          witness, the New York State Education 

14          Department Interim Commissioner Betty Rosa.  

15                 Welcome back.  And we'll be able to go 

16          right into your testimony with us today.  

17          Thank you.

18                 NYSED INTERIM COMMR. ROSA:  Thank you 

19          so much.

20                 Good afternoon, Chairs Krueger, 

21          Weinstein, Stavisky, and Glick, and members 

22          of the Senate and Assembly here today.  I'm 

23          Dr. Betty Rosa, the Interim Commissioner of 

24          Education.  


 1                 I am joined today by Chief Financial 

 2          Officer Phyllis Morris, Deputy Commissioners 

 3          Sarah Benson, Dr. Bill Murphy and Ceylane 

 4          Meyers-Ruff, as well as Assistant 

 5          Commissioner Dr. Anael Alston.  

 6                 I also want to thank Chancellor Young 

 7          and our cochairs of Higher Ed, both Regents 

 8          Cashin and Collins, and all the Regents who 

 9          are watching today.  

10                 As you know, during 2020 -- this has 

11          been a year like no other, with the Governor 

12          ordering institutions of higher education to 

13          stop in-person instruction this past spring 

14          due to the pandemic.  This mandatory closure 

15          forced colleges and universities across 

16          New York State to undertake an unprecedented 

17          transformation, forcing faculty and our 

18          students to shift from in-person instruction 

19          to all-remote learning.  

20                 I want to thank and commend our 

21          students, their families, administration, 

22          faculty, and support staff across New York 

23          State for their efforts in making this 

24          important and necessary shift.  


 1                 The pandemic and the changes it has 

 2          brought about have been especially 

 3          challenging for foster care youth, students 

 4          in opportunity programs, and students with 

 5          disabilities.  We need to support our 

 6          postsecondary students, as their needs and 

 7          challenges have only increased during this 

 8          time.  In addition, we need to ensure 

 9          supports are in place for postsecondary 

10          education for students that are at the 

11          highest risk of either not attending college 

12          or not completing a degree.  

13                 As you can see on Slides 3 through 7, 

14          our opportunity programs provide access and 

15          are designed to help these students.  As 

16          such, we were pleased to see that the 

17          Executive Budget proposal did not cut any of 

18          these critical programs.  Over 40,000 

19          students are served by these opportunity 

20          programs.  

21                 However, we do ask for needed 

22          investments, on Slides 8 and 9, to support 

23          our students with disabilities.  The 

24          department has been engaged in collaborative 


 1          efforts with our higher-education sectors to 

 2          establish a legislative framework advocating 

 3          for critical new funding.  This funding would 

 4          supplement, not supplant, any other funding 

 5          in existence for support and accommodations 

 6          of students with disabilities, and in terms 

 7          of summer college preparation programs, 

 8          training, and data collection.  

 9                 We need to start this critical 

10          conversation of how, as a state, we can 

11          better support our students with disabilities 

12          to be successful in college.  A $7 million 

13          grant program would be allocated, in a 

14          proportional manner by each identified 

15          student with a disability, to eligible 

16          degree-granting colleges.  

17                 Moving on to the Executive Budget's 

18          proposed Article VII provisions, I need to 

19          note our opposition to their program approval 

20          proposal.  This proposal would permit any new 

21          curriculum or program of study offered by 

22          certain not-for-profit colleges to be deemed 

23          approved by the governing body of such 

24          college or university.  As written, this 


 1          proposal would eliminate the department's 

 2          role in reviewing the majority of program 

 3          proposals for almost all independent colleges 

 4          and universities, as well as SUNY and CUNY 

 5          institutions.  

 6                 The department's independent review of 

 7          these program proposals provides an important 

 8          level of consumer and student protection. 

 9          Currently, the majority of these reviews and 

10          approvals occur within 30 days of receipt of 

11          any application by our staff.  The Board of 

12          Regents and the Department does not want to 

13          stand in the way of innovation, but we do 

14          want to ensure that our students, their time 

15          and money are invested in quality higher 

16          education programs.  This important 

17          independent review process protects our 

18          students.  

19                 Now I'd like to turn to Slides 11 

20          through 15, where we provide you with updates 

21          on the work of our Office of the Professions.  

22                 We're happy to see that the Executive 

23          Budget included $7.85 million in capital 

24          spending authority to continue our systems 


 1          modernization efforts for the Office of the 

 2          Professions.  OP's modernization plan is 

 3          underway already to replace our antiquated 

 4          mainframe system with a custom-built online 

 5          licensing platform.  This platform, that will 

 6          handle all licensing and renewal activities 

 7          in one system, will improve customer 

 8          experience and back-office processes.

 9                 The first phase of the OP 

10          modernization program, the launch of online 

11          applications, is now available for all 

12          professions.  Coming later this year, an 

13          enhanced self-service FAQ database and 

14          updated, fully accessible website will be 

15          released.  However, current hiring and 

16          staffing constraints hinder licensing and 

17          registering health professionals in a timely 

18          manner at a time when this is even more 

19          critical than ever.  

20                 Our Office of Professions is funded by 

21          a revenue account that is solely funded by 

22          fees paid by licensees and applicants.  These 

23          fees bring in approximately $55 million in 

24          annual revenue, and these funds cannot be 


 1          spent without an authorization in the enacted 

 2          State Budget.  For years, OP was held to 

 3          appropriation and spending levels that were 

 4          significantly below its revenue intake.  

 5                 With executive and legislative 

 6          support, which the department was thankful 

 7          for, OP's spending and appropriation levels 

 8          were increased in the 2019-2020 budget, which 

 9          provided OP with the ability to begin to 

10          rebuild their staffing.  However, the 

11          rebuilding process had only just begun when 

12          the pandemic hit and spending and staffing 

13          controls were put in place by the Division of 

14          Budget.  Since DOB instituted a hiring freeze 

15          in April 2020, OP has experienced a rapid 

16          loss of staff in critical areas.  

17                 While OP received DOB approval on 

18          eight waivers early this week, priority 

19          waivers continue to pend at DOB, despite OP's 

20          critical role in overseeing professionals on 

21          the front lines of the current pandemic.  

22                 OP staffing today stands at only 296 

23          employees, which is far short of our target 

24          of 348.  As we all know, this loss of staff 


 1          affects OP's ability to process license 

 2          applications and educational programs in a 

 3          timely manner, resulting in review cycle 

 4          times of 12 weeks or more in nursing programs 

 5          at a time when nurses, we all know, are 

 6          critically needed.  Staffing losses have also 

 7          negatively impacted on the time to resolve 

 8          professional misconduct complaints.  

 9                 These delays result in avoidable risks 

10          to public health and safety.  This could be 

11          addressed if OP were exempt from the state 

12          hiring and spending restrictions consistent 

13          with revenue generated for its account.  

14          However, if these drastic hiring freeze 

15          constraints continue, the ability of OP to 

16          meet its full array of responsibilities will 

17          continue to deteriorate to dangerous levels.  

18          We would like to work with you to address 

19          this important public health and safety 

20          issue.  

21                 Before I end my testimony, I would be 

22          remiss not to thank our staff who work so 

23          very hard on behalf of students, institutions 

24          of higher education, and licensed 


 1          professionals across New York.  

 2                 Thank you, and I look forward to your 

 3          questions. 

 4                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you, 

 5          Commissioner.  

 6                 And we'll go to our Higher Ed chair, 

 7          Assemblywoman Deborah Glick, 10 minutes.  

 8          Thank you.

 9                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN GLICK:  I warn everybody 

10          that the video will go off if it starts to 

11          freeze.

12                 Good to see you, Commissioner.  I'm 

13          wondering, you made reference to having open 

14          positions at -- in OP.  I'm wondering what 

15          your head count is down across SED.  And I 

16          know that there have been some retirements.  

17          When it comes to program review, et cetera, 

18          how many openings do you have?

19                 NYSED INTERIM COMMR. ROSA:  I'm going 

20          to turn to Phyllis, but I know we did -- 

21          thank you for the question, because we 

22          actually last week began to do a deep dive 

23          into not only our total numbers, but also 

24          with the freeze and the fact that, you know, 


 1          we've been obviously having to deal with the 

 2          pandemic and the new projection, which is 

 3          close to another 50 positions.  

 4                 So Phyllis, please?

 5                 NYSED CFO MORRIS:  Hi.  Yes, so a 

 6          couple of concerns.  

 7                 One is that our full-time equivalent 

 8          target was taken down in the Executive Budget 

 9          by -- I believe it was 42 positions.  So that 

10          will actually keep us from being able to 

11          backfill all of our current vacancies.  I 

12          believe we have about 80 vacancies that are 

13          pending at the Division of Budget for 

14          approval.  And we have additional vacancies 

15          because there are strict requirements on what 

16          we're allowed to submit -- they have to meet 

17          like health and safety or COVID response.  So 

18          we haven't been able to submit all of the 

19          currently vacant positions.  

20                 So we can get you more specific 

21          numbers, but the FTE reduction target will 

22          prevent us, when we are able to submit 

23          waivers that have expanded submission 

24          criteria, from being able to fully backfill 


 1          all of our current positions.  So we can 

 2          provide you with more specifics.

 3                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN GLICK:  Yeah, I'm 

 4          interested in the area of program review and 

 5          obviously in the Office of Professions, 

 6          because those are the two areas that impact 

 7          my committee.  And those are concerns.  

 8                 Certainly we hear longstanding 

 9          complaints about the delays in program 

10          approval, even though it's my understanding 

11          that, you know, 84 percent of them get done 

12          within a 60-day period.  I think there are 

13          probably -- you know, it gets delayed when 

14          you have questions.  You have to get 

15          responses.  That comes off of your clock, but 

16          is not necessarily within your control if 

17          people haven't submitted everything that's 

18          required.

19                 Going back to the commissioner, I'm 

20          wondering, on the opportunity programs, there 

21          was -- there isn't any current withholding, 

22          and there isn't a current cut, but there was 

23          a period during this past year where you 

24          were -- the Division of Budget was holding 


 1          back or delaying the approval for various 

 2          STEP, CSTEP programs, and obviously that had 

 3          an impact down the line.

 4                 Do you have a backlog of requests at 

 5          DOB for processing any of those requests from 

 6          the individual programs?  

 7                 NYSED INTERIM COMMR. ROSA:  Sure.  So 

 8          once again, we have been pretty diligent in 

 9          really focusing on making sure that through 

10          this pandemic we realize that our programs 

11          and our support systems for our students is 

12          critical.  And so we have been constantly 

13          engaging with DOB.  

14                 And Phyllis will tell you, you know, 

15          as you indicated, in some cases we've had the 

16          20 percent, right, cuts.  We'll call them 

17          withheld.  And so those have had an impact.  

18                 But we also have, and we will share 

19          with you, we did an analysis, we did a really 

20          deep analysis of looking at each program and 

21          the dollar amount in terms of the impact of 

22          these.  And we're more than glad to share 

23          that with you as well.

24                 Phyllis, I don't know if you want to 


 1          add anything else to that.

 2                 NYSED CFO MORRIS:  I think just to 

 3          answer the question, I mean, across.  So for 

 4          Liberty Partnerships, HEOP, STEP, CSTEP, 

 5          foster youth, we do have 20 percent 

 6          withholdings that we have not yet received 

 7          approval as to the date we can make those 

 8          repayments.  

 9                 We have been told by Division of 

10          Budget that we will be able to, by the end of 

11          the state fiscal year, repay all of the 

12          amounts that are in the millions that we're 

13          currently holding pursuant to DOB direction.  

14                 But without a payment date we can't 

15          schedule the payment or send the vouchers 

16          over to OSC or make the processing -- 

17          finalize the processing in the statewide 

18          financial system.  So we're waiting for that 

19          approval.

20                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN GLICK:  Well, obviously 

21          when schools are waiting, they submit to you.  

22          So from their perspective, you haven't gotten 

23          the money approved.  So -- but that's 

24          actually a DOB function, and you're just sort 


 1          of caught in the middle.  

 2                 When it comes to the foster youth 

 3          initiative, there's a little bit more of a 

 4          step involved in order to get the 

 5          certification of who is a foster youth and 

 6          who isn't.  Has SED had discussions with OCFS 

 7          about what we might do to make that run more 

 8          smoothly?  Obviously there are privacy 

 9          concerns; that's the real -- real issue.

10                 NYSED INTERIM COMMR. ROSA:  Sure.  I'm 

11          going to turn to Bill Murphy, because these 

12          discussions have in fact been taking place.  

13          So we're happy to share that with you.

14                 Bill?

15                 NYSED DEP. COMMR. MURPHY:  Yes, 

16          thank you, Commissioner.  And thank you, 

17          Assemblywoman Glick.

18                 Yes, we actually -- last year we were 

19          able to get together with OCFS, and we had 

20          successive meetings with our folks in our 

21          Opportunity and Access offices, and we 

22          actually turned around that process.  And the 

23          numbers are much better this year.  

24                 We streamlined a lot of the processes 


 1          with, you know, trying to get the names 

 2          certified.  And I will say, you know, it was 

 3          the first year we would really be able to say 

 4          with OCFS that, you know, for -- I think it's 

 5          over a thousand students now in our Foster 

 6          Youth Skills Initiative program.  So the 

 7          numbers are even higher, but we were able to 

 8          turn around that process much quicker.

 9                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN GLICK:  Well, that's 

10          great.  

11                 We -- right now it's flat funding.  

12          We're hopeful that if there is in fact 

13          additional federal dollars, that we could 

14          actually advance that number -- maybe not to 

15          the usual full cohort, but at least to add 

16          maybe a million dollars.  And then all of 

17          that, you know, like so much of our lives, is 

18          dependent on what happens at the federal 

19          level.

20                 If we were able to expand that, do you 

21          have the capacity to move that through?

22                 NYSED INTERIM COMMR. ROSA:  We will 

23          obviously, with -- you know, as we said 

24          earlier with the staffing situation.  But 


 1          this is such an important issue that we will 

 2          make a commitment to absolutely work on doing 

 3          so.

 4                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN GLICK:  Okay.  Well, I 

 5          appreciate that.  Obviously these are the 

 6          neediest students, students who have no 

 7          intact, stable family.  And frequently -- you 

 8          know, we have concerns about -- let me just 

 9          raise one last thing.  Enrollments are down.  

10          You know, applications are down at colleges.  

11          And some of that may be -- I don't know, did 

12          I lose everything?  Maybe not.  So we're just 

13          concerned that students may not be getting 

14          the kind of counseling that they normally 

15          would get, even though it's frequently 

16          insufficient.  

17                 Have you had conversations about 

18          ensuring that students who want to go 

19          understand that there's financial aid, and 

20          the rest of it?  Maybe it's some of them 

21          feeling that the pandemic has hurt their 

22          families so much that they can't go.  

23                 What are you doing with interacting 

24          with the chancellors and the heads of 


 1          state -- around the state, the education 

 2          leaders?  

 3                 NYSED INTERIM COMMR. ROSA:  Well, I 

 4          will tell you that I know, particularly with 

 5          New York City, with CUNY, we've had some of 

 6          the conversations around the support systems.

 7                 We've also -- you know, one of the 

 8          things, particularly with our special 

 9          education population, we actually have had 

10          forums to really actually hear the voices of 

11          our students and really capture the areas -- 

12          whether it's counseling or feeling a sense of 

13          isolation, not feeling that we've got 

14          different mechanisms in place to support them 

15          as they continue in terms of their studies.  

16          We even had conversations about some of the 

17          students that are struggling with family 

18          issues as well as trying to do their 

19          studying.  

20                 And, you know, all of these 

21          conversations have helped us in terms of some 

22          of the forums that we're having.  And we have 

23          been able to also take those conversations 

24          and clearly begin to have conversations of 


 1          sharing those.  

 2                 And Bill, I think you may want to add 

 3          to some of the other work that we're doing in 

 4          that area.

 5                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Very briefly, 

 6          please.

 7                 NYSED DEP. COMMR. MURPHY:  Yes, very 

 8          briefly.  

 9                 You may remember we had some regional 

10          reopening meetings before the fall semester 

11          started, Assemblywoman Glick, and we had all 

12          the sectors there.  And that was one of the 

13          topics that definitely came up, even before 

14          the semester started in 2020, the fall 

15          semester.  

16                 And as the commissioner said, we've 

17          been engaged with this, our cochairs for 

18          higher ed.  And I've been hearing actually in 

19          the past few weeks from a number of -- on the 

20          Board of Regents that, you know, they want us 

21          to actually really keep this at the fore and 

22          make sure that we're, you know, working with 

23          the stakeholders, you know, with all the 

24          sectors with this issue.  Because just like 


 1          in P-12, this has become, you know, a P-20 

 2          issue, obviously.

 3                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN GLICK:  Yeah, we can 

 4          follow up on this later.  And thank you very 

 5          much.

 6                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  

 7                 We go to the Senate.

 8                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.

 9                 Toby Stavisky, 10 minutes.

10                 SENATOR STAVISKY:  Thank you.  And 

11          thank you, Commissioner, for your testimony.

12                 The Executive Budget gave you a lot 

13          more work to do.  There is a shift from -- 

14          some of the agenda items in the DOH have been 

15          shifted to SED, and with the staffing 

16          programs you've had at the Office of the 

17          Professions.  

18                 And I particularly want to mention the 

19          OPMC, the Office of Professional Medical 

20          Conduct.  They gave you some oversight 

21          functions for you to take a look at.  

22          Secondly, the expansion of the scope of 

23          practice of the pharmacists, especially on 

24          the collaborative drug therapy management 


 1          program.

 2                 How do -- do you see any problems with 

 3          SED assuming these additional 

 4          responsibilities?

 5                 NYSED INTERIM COMMR. ROSA:  Well, I'm 

 6          going to start by saying some of these are 

 7          concerns which of course are issues of the 

 8          staffing.  Having the staffing, as you 

 9          mentioned, is critical in a time when there 

10          have been so many demands on the -- you know, 

11          OP and the department.  I think it's -- also 

12          some of it is programmatic, you know, to have 

13          the pharmacists, the scope of the pharmacy 

14          issue in terms of diagnosing and determining 

15          medical treatments.  

16                 Which I'm going to turn to Sarah, 

17          because it's been more than just staffing.  

18          It's been staffing and also some of the ways 

19          and requirements -- and we are always 

20          concerned about the integrity and the 

21          standards of our programs and making sure 

22          that we are, you know, keeping in mind the 

23          health and safety of our communities.  And 

24          with that, I'm going to turn to Sarah Benson.


 1                 NYSED DEP. COMMR. BENSON:  {Distorted 

 2          audio.}  Thank you, Commissioner.  And thank 

 3          you, Senator.  Absolutely, and we appreciate 

 4          the question.  And obviously the details of 

 5          the question, we're happy to engage with you 

 6          in conversations offline to get the --

 7                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  There seems to 

 8          be something wrong with your audio.  Can you 

 9          just --

10                 SENATOR STAVISKY:  Maybe switch to 

11          audio?

12                 NYSED DEP. COMMR. BENSON:  {Distorted 

13          audio.}  Hold on.  Is that better?

14                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  No.

15                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  No.

16                 SENATOR STAVISKY:  No.  We need a 

17          pharmacist, I think, to fix this.

18                 (Laughter.)

19                 NYSED DEP. COMMR. BENSON:  {Distorted 

20          audio.}  I don't know how to make it better.  

21          Any suggestions?

22                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN GLICK:  Turn off the 

23          video.

24                 NYSED INTERIM COMMR. ROSA:  Go to 


 1          audio instead of --

 2                 SENATOR STAVISKY:  Yeah, that's what I 

 3          meant.

 4                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Turn off your 

 5          video.

 6                 NYSED DEP. COMMR. BENSON:  {Distorted 

 7          audio.}  Is that better?

 8                 NYSED INTERIM COMMR. ROSA:  No, I 

 9          think, Sarah, it's still -- 

10                 SENATOR STAVISKY:  Can I make a 

11          suggestion?

12                 NYSED INTERIM COMMR. ROSA:  Sure.

13                 SENATOR STAVISKY:  Why don't you 

14          submit it in writing to us?

15                 NYSED INTERIM COMMR. ROSA:  

16          Absolutely.  Because we have looked at, as 

17          you suggested, the pharmacists and the scope 

18          of the work, and we have several concerns 

19          with it.  So we will definitely submit that 

20          in writing.

21                 SENATOR STAVISKY:  Okay.  I was going 

22          to ask -- it's like a football game -- to 

23          reset the clock, but I don't think it's going 

24          to be necessary.


 1                 You talked at great length about the 

 2          Office of the Professions.  Is there anything 

 3          besides the staffing level where you're 

 4          having a problem?

 5                 NYSED INTERIM COMMR. ROSA:  Sure.  We 

 6          do have problems in terms of the telehealth 

 7          area.  We have various concerns there in 

 8          terms of standards and the continuous issue 

 9          and implementing the recommendation by March 

10          31, 2022, which is just right around the 

11          corner.  So when we -- (microphone muted).

12                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  You've gone on 

13          mute.  You accidentally hit mute.

14                 NYSED INTERIM COMMR. ROSA:  Okay, I'm 

15          back.

16                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  There you go, 

17          you're back.

18                 NYSED INTERIM COMMR. ROSA:  Okay.  So 

19          with the -- we have various concerns, for 

20          example, in the area of telehealth.  We have 

21          concerns about the standards, the continuous 

22          work with other states, the fact that we have 

23          also -- we are -- it's giving us the date of 

24          March 31, 2022, which is right around the 


 1          corner.  And so all of that planning, knowing 

 2          that -- you know, the whole telehealth issue 

 3          is a good thing, but we really have to do it 

 4          in a way that it's appropriate, it supports 

 5          obviously communities and individuals.  

 6                 And so this takes time.  It's not 

 7          something that, you know, we -- we'd love to 

 8          share with you.  Because as I said, we did 

 9          analyze this and love to share with you what 

10          our specific concerns are around that area, 

11          as well as the scope of the pharmacists.  I 

12          mean, they are now being looked at to do -- 

13          to diagnose and to --

14                 SENATOR STAVISKY:  I caught that, yes.

15                 NYSED INTERIM COMMR. ROSA:  Yeah.  And 

16          so with all of that, you know, we're also 

17          concerned about the checks and balances in 

18          some of these issues.  So we will definitely 

19          get a written response to you in several of 

20          our concerns in this -- in these areas.

21                 SENATOR STAVISKY:  Yeah.  Also there's 

22          a change, major change in the OPMC, the 

23          fingerprinting and the removal of the names 

24          if they don't respond after two years.  How 


 1          do you feel about that?  

 2                 NYSED INTERIM COMMR. ROSA:  Yeah, 

 3          absolutely.  I mean, licensing, you know, as 

 4          we know it has been a -- you know, a 

 5          permanent situation.  And so for us, it's -- 

 6          you know, the idea that we have never asked 

 7          for, you know, the fingerprinting and we 

 8          have -- you know, we really have to take a -- 

 9          again, take a look at this, because it's got 

10          implications.  If somehow something happens 

11          and people don't respond the first time or 

12          the second time, it's really an unfair 

13          situation.

14                 So we -- again, this is one that we 

15          will definitely, as Sarah is not on, we will 

16          get you a written response as well.

17                 SENATOR STAVISKY:  Thank you.  

18          Particularly on the scope on the pharmacists.  

19                 And I might add, on the 

20          fingerprinting, when I became a teacher a 

21          long time ago at the old Board of Education, 

22          I was fingerprinted even then.  It happens in 

23          many states, from what I understand.  

24                 Lastly, I appreciated your comments 


 1          about the addition of new programs.  To me, 

 2          it's very similar to almost a 

 3          self-certification process, which I think 

 4          is -- can be damaging in many ways.  So I 

 5          thank you and -- oh, yeah, have there been 

 6          any problems with the opportunity programs?  

 7          I know you only administer some of them.

 8                 NYSED INTERIM COMMR. ROSA:  Bill, I --

 9                 SENATOR STAVISKY:   Because there's 

10          been no cut in funding, which is good.

11                 NYSED DEP. COMMR. MURPHY:  Yeah.  As 

12          you know, Senator Stavisky, the issues we had 

13          were when the 20 percent withholding was in 

14          effect and we were -- you know, we obviously 

15          were getting a lot of, you know, issues 

16          related to they might have had to furlough 

17          staff and, you know, deal with a lot of the 

18          20 percent withholding.

19                 But since that, you know, is not in 

20          effect right now, or it's -- we seem to have 

21          had them stabilize a bit.

22                 SENATOR STAVISKY:  Good.  Thank you 

23          very much.  And thank you for taking on the 

24          position.


 1                 NYSED INTERIM COMMR. ROSA:  Thank you.

 2                 NYSED DEP. COMMR. MURPHY:  Thank you.

 3                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  All right, 

 4          Assembly.  

 5                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  We go to the 

 6          ranker in Higher Ed, Assemblymember Walczyk.

 7                 ASSEMBLYMAN WALCZYK:  Thanks so much, 

 8          Chairwoman.  

 9                 A couple of questions here.  The SUNY 

10          chancellor brought up today that it takes 

11          200 days-plus for a program review, and that 

12          SED is a good chunk of that timeline.  As 

13          SUNY continues to need to be flexible for new 

14          programs, I was wondering if you could just 

15          answer a couple of questions about how it 

16          works on your end for me, Commissioner.

17                 How long does it take for SED to 

18          review any programmatic additions or changes, 

19          usually?

20                 NYSED INTERIM COMMR. ROSA:  And if you 

21          notice we -- and we also -- and again, we'll 

22          share this with you -- we really took a deep 

23          dive into the analysis.  

24                 Now, keep in mind that SUNY submits 


 1          the proposal -- and sometimes we have 

 2          questions, right, as you well know.  And we 

 3          go back and forth, and it could take -- you 

 4          know, we've had situations -- and we're going 

 5          to share with you some of these specifics 

 6          where it could be sitting in terms of SUNY's 

 7          responding to our questions for a period of 

 8          time.  And then therefore the clock is still 

 9          ticking.  And it comes back to us, SUNY can 

10          then send revised proposals to -- you know, 

11          to us.  

12                 And at the same time, we basically 

13          have been saying that, you know, in looking 

14          at our time frame we really see the 

15          importance of this and try to turn this 

16          around as quickly as possible.  

17                 Bill?

18                 NYSED DEP. COMMR. MURPHY:  Yes, thank 

19          you.

20                 Quickly, what we did was we just did a 

21          quick analysis of what 2020 looked like for 

22          our program proposals.  And the numbers we 

23          had were we finished 60 percent of the 

24          proposals within 30 days or less.  


 1                 And we know that there's definitely 

 2          proposals out there, though, that go longer 

 3          than that.  Many of them, you know, could 

 4          be --

 5                 ASSEMBLYMAN WALCZYK:  What -- is that 

 6          because 60 percent -- sorry to cut you off, 

 7          Bill.

 8                 NYSED DEP. COMMR. MURPHY:  That's 

 9          okay.

10                 ASSEMBLYMAN WALCZYK:  Is that because 

11          60 percent of the proposals are just simple 

12          changes and it takes you 30 days to stamp 

13          them, essentially?

14                 NYSED DEP. COMMR. MURPHY:  It could be 

15          a combination of that, or that the proposal 

16          came in and it was just very well done, there 

17          were no issues with faculty, resources, it 

18          was not a master plan amendment, it did not 

19          have, you know, say different professional 

20          licensure clinical experiences associated 

21          with it.  

22                 You know, so it could be a combination 

23          of, you know, that it was a simple proposal 

24          or change or that, you know, it truly was a 


 1          proposal that did not have any issues that we 

 2          saw when we overlaid it on the standards.

 3                 ASSEMBLYMAN WALCZYK:  I appreciate 

 4          that.  

 5                 Has SED ever denied a program outright 

 6          that SUNY has requested?  Have you ever said 

 7          no, that's a bad idea, we're not doing it?

 8                 NYSED DEP. COMMR. MURPHY:  Typically 

 9          the way it works is that those proposals, in 

10          many cases, just like with accreditation 

11          bodies, we go through an iterative process 

12          and we try our best to get to that point 

13          where it gets registered.  

14                 But there have been proposals where, 

15          you know, they've not been able to, say, get 

16          the specialized accreditation body approval.  

17          And in many cases those proposals just kind 

18          of, you know, die on the vine as it is, 

19          because you cannot -- you can't launch 

20          certain programs without accreditation.  

21          So --

22                 ASSEMBLYMAN WALCZYK:  So is -- yeah, 

23          and SUNY has accreditation.  This is probably 

24          a question to bounce back to the 


 1          commissioner.  Because I'm just trying to 

 2          understand this from a higher level.  

 3                 It seems like, you know, if they're 

 4          talking about 200 days-plus of bureaucracy, 

 5          for us to turn to any institution -- think 

 6          about it as policymakers -- or back to our 

 7          constituents who have questions about these 

 8          programs, that we're in dire need when we're 

 9          talking about certain professions that have 

10          shortages.  The Governor is talking about new 

11          windmill programs and developing technologies 

12          where you need to expedite things 

13          programmatically.  

14                 Would it make more sense, because SUNY 

15          already has accreditation and has access to 

16          those same institutions that you do, to just 

17          cut SED out of the process?  I know -- I'm 

18          always impressed by how large your building 

19          is and how much SED does in the State of 

20          New York.  I think it's underappreciated how 

21          much you're involved in.  My office in the 

22          Legislative Office Building looks just at the 

23          SED building downtown, and I often think 

24          about how much your hands are involved in.


 1                 Is this one thing that us as 

 2          policymakers should be looking to take off of 

 3          your plate and let SUNY handle?  

 4                 NYSED INTERIM COMMR. ROSA:  I would 

 5          really have reservations, because it's a 

 6          program review.  It's back to reviewing 

 7          yourself, in some ways.  And, you know, by 

 8          design we want to ensure the integrity and 

 9          the alignment with standards.  

10                 And so at a time when colleges, as you 

11          know, are facing particularly critical 

12          issues, that we want to make sure that we 

13          maintain program authority and oversight.

14                 ASSEMBLYMAN WALCZYK:  Thanks, 

15          Commissioner.  I appreciate it.  I'm out of 

16          time.  

17                 I just want to make one last pitch on 

18          that, and also to our legislative leaders.  

19          On Bundy Aid, I fully support restoring the 

20          $35.1 million cut in this budget.  

21                 Thanks very much.

22                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  

23                 Now to the Senate.

24                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.  I 


 1          think I'm the next Senator.  

 2                 So thank you, Commissioner.  And 

 3          again, nice to see you twice, recently.  And 

 4          thank you for agreeing to take on this job.  

 5          And hopefully you're getting the sense that 

 6          we hope you don't run away anytime soon.

 7                 NYSED INTERIM COMMR. ROSA:  Thank you.

 8                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  So the 

 9          Comptroller's office recently released an 

10          audit that's -- I guess the headline was "SED 

11          Missed Red Flags of Proprietary Schools' 

12          Financial Trouble."  And it goes into details 

13          about some of these schools closing down and 

14          leaving the students high and dry, so to 

15          speak.  That potentially the tuition 

16          reimbursements account, which is funded 

17          through assessments on these schools, unless 

18          there was better oversight, that that would 

19          be empty of the funds needed to repay the 

20          students.  It gave quite a few statistics.

21                 And I'm curious, based on this audit, 

22          what do you think you're going to be able to 

23          do to fix the problem?  Problems plural, I 

24          guess.


 1                 NYSED INTERIM COMMR. ROSA:  Sure.  

 2          Sure.  So first and foremost, as soon as we 

 3          received the audit, obviously we went through 

 4          it.  But even prior to that, there was some 

 5          work that was being done, acknowledging and 

 6          knowing that we had some systems issues that 

 7          needed to be addressed.  

 8                 And with that, we responded.  And 

 9          we've put certain -- certain, I would say, 

10          systems key points in place in order to make 

11          sure that not only are we responding to the 

12          audit, we're responding to the issue of -- in 

13          terms of proprietary.  And I'm going to turn 

14          it to Ceylane, because she's done a great 

15          deal of work with our internal staff to 

16          respond and to really create opportunities to 

17          make sure that there is a better situation.  

18                 Ceylane?  

19                 NYSED DEP. COMMR. MEYERS-RUFF:  Hi.  

20          Hi, Senator.  

21                 So I think there's a couple of things.  

22          One, actually only one school closed.  So 

23          there weren't a number of schools that 

24          closed.  And we have a pretty strong tuition 


 1          reimbursement account.  

 2                 But to the Commissioner's point, we 

 3          were able to bring in some new staff and 

 4          they've done an analysis.  And the 

 5          Comptroller's report really reinforces the 

 6          things that we found in our own analysis.  

 7                 And so our next steps now, there's a 

 8          series of regulatory solutions and policies 

 9          and procedures that we'll be working on over 

10          the next couple of months that really build 

11          on the strong foundation that we already 

12          have.  

13                 But we definitely recognize that in 

14          the area of the financial viability, the 

15          collection and use of data, and also as it 

16          relates to inspection reporting, there's more 

17          that we can be doing.  And we plan to.

18                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  So we'll keep 

19          looking.  Because I -- you know, I've gotten 

20          myself in trouble by saying proprietary 

21          schools -- and some of them are very good, 

22          and I have no problems with them.  And some 

23          of them are not very good.  And then I do 

24          have a problem.


 1                 So interestingly, Chancellor Malatras 

 2          earlier today talked about certificate 

 3          proprietary programs, quote, unquote, 

 4          competing with SUNY community college 

 5          certificate programs, where he stated 

 6          definitively that they knew the community 

 7          college programs were much better, but they 

 8          might actually be losing out to the 

 9          proprietary certificate programs.  

10                 And I am just wondering whether you 

11          also share that view and where we would go to 

12          look for evidence of that and what we might 

13          do it about it if in fact our students are 

14          being directed into lesser-quality programs 

15          that often cost more money than the public 

16          universities.

17                 NYSED DEP. COMMR. MEYERS-RUFF:  Do you 

18          want me to take that?

19                 NYSED INTERIM COMMR. ROSA:  Sure.

20                 NYSED DEP. COMMR. MEYERS-RUFF:  So I 

21          think it's an interesting analysis, because 

22          if you talk to the proprietary colleges, they 

23          would say that money is being spent on 

24          college tuition and there isn't always a 


 1          guarantee of employment.  And the role of the 

 2          proprietary schools is to lead to a job and a 

 3          career.  

 4                 So -- and I think there's also some 

 5          distinctions as it relates to where we're at 

 6          in the state.  Clearly, downstate and New 

 7          York City, there's a lot more competition, 

 8          there's a lot of proprietary schools, there's 

 9          a lot of colleges.  The number of proprietary 

10          schools begins to decrease as you go west and 

11          north in the state.  So I think it kind of 

12          varies.  So I would say that SED probably has 

13          a different perspective than SUNY on this.  

14                 But I think what's important is that 

15          we have quality options for New Yorkers.  We 

16          want to make sure that whatever option they 

17          have that it's a quality option that leads to 

18          a career path.

19                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  And I don't want 

20          to misspeak the chancellor from earlier, 

21          because he was specific to certificate 

22          programs, which I think is a subuniverse of 

23          the entire proprietary model.  

24                 So would you take the same position if 


 1          it was -- if the question is only the 

 2          certificate programs?

 3                 NYSED DEP. COMMR. MEYERS-RUFF:  Yes, 

 4          my response would be the same.

 5                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Okay, thank you.  

 6          That's all the time I need to take today.  

 7          Thank you very much.

 8                 Assembly.

 9                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  

10                 Then we'll go to Assemblyman Ra, 

11          ranker, for five minutes.

12                 ASSEMBLYMAN RA:  Thank you, 

13          Chairwoman.  

14                 Commissioner, good afternoon.  Good to 

15          see you again.

16                 So I have a question in an area that 

17          relates to licensure.  It does kind of get 

18          into the healthcare area, but there's overlap 

19          because of the licensure issue.  And that's 

20          the proposal with regard to telehealth and 

21          licensure of people from, I guess, 

22          surrounding states and the like.  

23                 Just in terms of -- obviously, it's 

24          asking that the department would have to 


 1          promulgate regulations.  But one of the 

 2          concerns that has been raised to me by some 

 3          doctors in the area is making sure that as 

 4          that happens, that there are scope of 

 5          practice rules that, you know, reflect -- 

 6          New York scope of practice rules for -- for 

 7          similar professions.

 8                 NYSED INTERIM COMMR. ROSA:  Right.  

 9          And that was a statement that I made earlier 

10          that we have various concerns as well in 

11          terms of the standards.  You know, in the 

12          contiguous states.  

13                 And we also have, you know, a concern 

14          I think I mentioned about the implementation 

15          date that is in the proposal, which is the 

16          March 31, 2022.  And I think Sarah was also 

17          joining us at the time to add to that 

18          conversation.

19                 NYSED DEP. COMMR. BENSON:  Thank you.  

20          Can you hear me better now?

21                 NYSED INTERIM COMMR. ROSA:  Yes.

22                 NYSED DEP. COMMR. BENSON:  Oh, that's 

23          good news.  

24                 Then I will say, with apologies, I 


 1          missed whatever you said before, 

 2          Commissioner, so I apologize if I'm repeating 

 3          things you've already mentioned.  

 4                 But Assemblyman, one of the comments 

 5          you made is very astute, in that certainly 

 6          among professions there's a real concern that 

 7          the scope of practice is not necessarily 

 8          identical from state to state.  In some cases 

 9          it is, but in other cases the New York scope 

10          is slightly different.  And any time you're 

11          talking about bringing folks in to do similar 

12          work, you want to make sure that they're 

13          properly qualified to do so.  

14                 Obviously our primary goal is to 

15          protect New Yorkers' health and safety and 

16          wanting to make sure that those folks have 

17          met all the same standards but also are 

18          practicing within the scope the same as 

19          New York licensees.

20                 ASSEMBLYMAN RA:  Well, thank you for 

21          that.

22                 And then the other piece of it would 

23          be what about the, you know, in-state 

24          licensed professionals in New York State and 


 1          perhaps their ability to provide a telehealth 

 2          service to, say, a New Yorker who spends 

 3          their winter in Florida or South Carolina or 

 4          someplace like that.

 5                 NYSED DEP. COMMR. BENSON:  You want me 

 6          to keep going, Commissioner?

 7                 NYSED INTERIM COMMR. ROSA:  Sure.

 8                 NYSED DEP. COMMR. BENSON:  So I think 

 9          the proposal in the Executive Budget is a 

10          little light on details in terms of exactly 

11          what's contemplated.  You know, we certainly 

12          would welcome additional conversation, and 

13          we're happy to provide whatever technical 

14          assistance we can to that.  

15                 Telehealth is something that was 

16          widely used before the pandemic.  Obviously 

17          the pandemic, you know, put a spotlight 

18          on it, and there's a lot of great advantage 

19          to it.  It is something that, you know, I 

20          think as professions evolve, it's important 

21          to provide alternatives to how people receive 

22          their care.  But it's got to be done in a 

23          thoughtful and very, you know, methodical way 

24          to ensure that they're getting the services 


 1          that they deserve.

 2                 ASSEMBLYMAN RA:  Well, thank you.  I'm 

 3          glad these are things you're talking about 

 4          and contemplating as maybe getting more 

 5          detail into this and addressing some of those 

 6          issues, as well as stuff that I think is 

 7          somewhat outside out of your purview in terms 

 8          of, you know, audio-only services and, you 

 9          know, some sort of payment parity for these 

10          services.

11                 I've certainly seen -- my grandmother 

12          is getting ready to get a hip replacement, 

13          and my aunt who lives with her, thankfully, 

14          has been trying to help her do the 

15          preliminary appointments via telehealth, 

16          which is a very foreign thing to her.  She is 

17          not a computer-savvy person by any extent.

18                 So all of these things that maybe we 

19          weren't even thinking about a year ago have 

20          now become very important to providing equity 

21          in services to people.

22                 So thank you.

23                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  

24                 We go to the Senate now.


 1                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.  

 2                 Senator Robert Jackson, three minutes.

 3                 SENATOR JACKSON:  Wow.  Three minutes.  

 4                 Hey, everyone.  Good afternoon, 

 5          Commissioner.  My pleasure, always good to 

 6          see you.  

 7                 I just have a couple of little things.  

 8          One, you know, I am really concerned about 

 9          the education budget and higher education 

10          budget overall.  And I don't think that 

11          there's enough money in there.  And so 

12          obviously we're going to be looking at -- 

13          when I say "we," both the Assembly and 

14          Senate, and even the Governor mentioned that 

15          he is willing to consider raising taxes -- an 

16          increase in taxes on the wealthiest 

17          New Yorkers.  So I'm hoping that we have 

18          enough money from the federal government and 

19          the State of New York in order to make sure 

20          that everyone has an opportunity to get an 

21          education, whether it's elementary or higher 

22          education.  That's extremely important.  

23          Education is the key to uplift all families, 

24          and we know that.


 1                 But obviously this is Black History 

 2          Month, and there are a couple of bills that 

 3          were passed in the Senate regarding diversity 

 4          and the lack of diversity.  Can you tell me 

 5          what's happening overall in order to increase 

 6          diversity overall in the system as far as the 

 7          public school system and in higher education?  

 8          And more specifically, can you touch base as 

 9          far as the My Brother's Keeper program and 

10          where are we at with that.

11                 NYSED INTERIM COMMR. ROSA:  Well, so 

12          let me start, since you started with the 

13          budget, I just want to make it known that 

14          eliminating programs such as, for example, 

15          Teachers of Tomorrow, or even a program like 

16          the Teacher Mentor Internship Program, has an 

17          effect.  Any elimination of really having 

18          teachers that, given what we know about the 

19          pipeline -- and also leadership, but 

20          particularly teachers -- if we're saying on 

21          the one hand that we're having difficulty 

22          creating a pipeline, creating a pipeline in 

23          terms of diversity and then eliminating 

24          programs that financially support increasing 


 1          the footprint, then that in itself is a mixed 

 2          message.

 3                 I think it's important when we look at 

 4          Teachers of Tomorrow that serve 

 5          low-performing districts, as you well know, 

 6          then these financial decisions are more 

 7          beyond financial, they're moral decisions 

 8          that have an impact.

 9                 The second question, you talked about 

10          diversity.  As we're looking at this, our 

11          department has assigned and we're working 

12          with various stakeholders and institutions 

13          knowing the importance of our children having 

14          the kind of a diverse workforce that 

15          reflects -- you know, that they can look and 

16          they can see staff in many cases that look 

17          like them.  

18                 So diversity is critical.  I mean, as 

19          a matter of fact, this February we're going 

20          to have a diversity discussion around 

21          medical, which Sarah Benson has put together 

22          along with the two cochairs in the medical 

23          field.

24                 And so it's not just the educational 


 1          field, but it's also the need to grow, the 

 2          need to have a much more accessible -- and 

 3          have opportunities.  And when we financially 

 4          impede this growth, it clearly has an effect 

 5          and it reflects not only in the individuals 

 6          that will go into the profession, but also it 

 7          has an overarching effect.  

 8                 I think eliminating these two key 

 9          programs, Teachers of Tomorrow, Teacher 

10          Mentor Internship Program, is a concern that 

11          we have voiced.  And we continue to advocate 

12          for the funding of these two programs, along 

13          with other programs in terms of our 

14          special-need students.

15                 SENATOR JACKSON:  Thank you, 

16          Madam Commissioner.  I just want to say to 

17          you I'll be working with you and your staff 

18          on that.  I put forward, you know, the 

19          Amistad Commission and others as far as, you 

20          know, increasing diversity as far as 

21          educators are concerned.  

22                 NYSED INTERIM COMMR. ROSA:  Well, I 

23          want you to know that the Amistad, we have 

24          already -- along with our chancellor, we have 


 1          already started.  I know that Jen Trowbridge 

 2          and others, Kim Wilkins and many of our 

 3          staff, Sharon Cates-Williams, we are already 

 4          looking at -- we actually did a -- had a 

 5          conversation with New Jersey in terms of how 

 6          they have advanced an internal conversation 

 7          around this issue.  

 8                 We really clearly see the importance 

 9          of diversity as an equity issue for our 

10          department, so --

11                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you, 

12          Commissioner.  Thank you, Senator Jackson.

13                 Assembly.

14                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  We go to 

15          Assemblywoman Hyndman.  Reset the clock to 

16          three minutes, please.

17                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN HYNDMAN:  I need all my 

18          minutes.  Thank you.  Thank you, Chair 

19          Weinstein.  I was hoping we could bank 

20          minutes for those members who didn't use all 

21          their minutes, but -- 

22                 (Laughter.)

23                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN HYNDMAN:  Thank you very 

24          much.  I have a couple of questions here, 


 1          Commissioner -- I was about to call you 

 2          chancellor.  Commissioner, if someone could 

 3          tell me how long, on average, does it take to 

 4          fill a position within SED, is my first 

 5          question.

 6                 The second question is of the 

 7          vacancies that you listed, how many of them 

 8          are Grade 18s, 22s, you know, 26s?  

 9                 My third question is about the BPSS -- 

10          which you know is dear to me, I used to work 

11          there -- audit.  How many auditors are in the 

12          investigations and audit unit of BPSS?  Which 

13          I think would have helped with that report 

14          because you're not talking about people who 

15          are -- love my colleagues.  I'm just saying 

16          if we had auditors, the report might have 

17          been different.

18                 And my last -- I think my last points 

19          are in OQ, how many staff members are in OQ 

20          and at different grade levels of OQ 

21          employees, because of the time it takes to 

22          evaluate -- receive programs, evaluate 

23          programs?  And what are the technology 

24          hindrances in OQ to speed up the evaluations 


 1          of programs?  

 2                 And the last thing, I just wanted to 

 3          comment on the pharmacists, the change of 

 4          practice.  We just passed a bill that would 

 5          change -- allow pharmacists to administer the 

 6          COVID-19 vaccinations.  When I know that 

 7          predominantly in my communities, communities 

 8          of color, sometimes a lot of people, their 

 9          pharmacists are the person they speak to and 

10          so forth.

11                 We're not asking pharmacists to 

12          diagnose whether someone -- obviously, with 

13          the COVID virus, they're giving vaccinations 

14          to prevent.

15                 I would really like us to explore -- 

16          this is probably the one area of the 

17          Article VII language I actually agree with, 

18          in that allowing pharmacists to give 

19          vaccinations for adults.  

20                 I know we don't have enough time.  I 

21          would really appreciate the follow-up, 

22          Commissioner, as I do in other hearings, 

23          please.  And congratulations, 

24          Ms. Meyers-Ruff, on your appointment to 


 1          ACCESS.

 2                 Thank you.

 3                 NYSED INTERIM COMMR. ROSA:  Okay.  

 4          Well, thank you.  We will get all of your 

 5          questions -- we jotted them down, we will get 

 6          answers to that.  

 7                 On the pharmacist issue, the objection 

 8          is not about the vaccination.  So we just 

 9          want to be clear that it's in the other -- 

10          it's in the other statements that are part of 

11          that.  And we will definitely set up a 

12          follow-up and make sure you have the 

13          responses to all the requests and questions 

14          around these staffing issues.

15                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN HYNDMAN:  Thank you.  I 

16          look forward to the follow-up.  

17                 Thank you, Chair Weinstein.  I'm done!  

18                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  You got in 

19          under the clock.

20                 Assemblyman Epstein.

21                 ASSEMBLYMAN EPSTEIN:  Good afternoon, 

22          Commissioner.  Thank you for being here, 

23          thank you for your time.  

24                 I have really just a simple question.  


 1          We've seen a lot of people who are looking at 

 2          colleges and really not being able to compare 

 3          apples to apples, really wanting more 

 4          information on disclosures, you know, 

 5          for-profit, nonprofit, public schools.  

 6                 I'm wondering, why don't we have an 

 7          across-the-board disclosure that allows them 

 8          to compare all schools against each other.  

 9          So, you know, why is not every school on 

10          their website saying, you know, in 

11          relationship to costs, this is what they have 

12          compared to -- why are we not making it 

13          easier for the consumer or for the student to 

14          be able to get that information?  

15                 Because people make choices all the 

16          time -- like I go to a restaurant that's an A 

17          because it's an A.  I don't go to a C, you 

18          know?  We make it easy for consumers, but we 

19          don't do that in the college arena.

20                 NYSED INTERIM COMMR. ROSA:  Okay, so 

21          I'm going to turn it to Bill, but I will say 

22          that there are -- that this information 

23          obviously, as you know, resides -- there are 

24          parents -- and I know, for example, as a 


 1          parent with my son, when we were looking at 

 2          colleges, obviously there are materials 

 3          and -- you know, and the difficulty, as you 

 4          said, is the accessibility for some 

 5          communities.  Right?  So that is -- that is a 

 6          concern that we share.  

 7                 Bill, I'm going to turn that to you 

 8          because there are things that are available, 

 9          and we're more than glad to share with you 

10          what they are.

11                 ASSEMBLYMAN EPSTEIN:  So I'd be happy 

12          to turn it over to Bill, but I'll also say 

13          there are things that are available but are 

14          very difficult for people to follow.  And so 

15          we're educated, we have advanced degrees, and 

16          we can figure it out for our kids.  But not 

17          every parent has that experience, or every 

18          child has.  So we've seen a lot of people 

19          going to for-profit schools because they're 

20          local, but that's not the best economic 

21          choice.  We've seen people make financial aid 

22          decisions that aren't the best because they 

23          didn't really understand their options.

24                 And we -- I would love to see a really 


 1          simple way of providing information across 

 2          schools to students that doesn't require them 

 3          to go through 15 different pages on some 

 4          federal website to figure it all out.  Why 

 5          are we not, New York State, being a leader 

 6          and making it easy for people?  

 7                 Go ahead, Bill.

 8                 NYSED INTERIM COMMR. ROSA:  Go ahead 

 9          Bill.

10                 NYSED DEP. COMMR. MURPHY:  Thank you.  

11          Thank you, Assemblyman.  And I would love to 

12          have conversations with your staff on that, 

13          because we've already started to work with 

14          folks in our information resources department 

15          who collect all the data in our HED system, 

16          our higher ed data system, and we have been 

17          looking at updated technology.  

18                 Right now, you know, a lot of our 

19          data -- you know, like you said, like we'll 

20          have spreadsheets on there and we'll have the 

21          basic numbers with enrollment and, you know, 

22          outcomes with graduation.  And I know that 

23          there are some models at the federal level 

24          where you can do a little bit of what you're 


 1          talking about, you know, to look at like a 

 2          report card that shows --

 3                 ASSEMBLYMAN EPSTEIN:  I've only got 

 4          5 seconds.  So I would love to do that.  I 

 5          have a bill that I'd love to sit down and 

 6          talk to you about.  I know we've talked 

 7          before about it, and I'd love to kind of 

 8          continue this conversation.

 9                 NYSED DEP. COMMR. MURPHY:  Excellent.  

10          Thank you.

11                 ASSEMBLYMAN EPSTEIN:  Thank you.  

12                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  I 

13          don't believe we have any other 

14          Assemblymembers or Senators who have 

15          questions.  So I want to thank you, 

16          Commissioner Rosa, for being here with us 

17          today.

18                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Yes, thank you 

19          and your team for all your work.

20                 NYSED INTERIM COMMR. ROSA:  Thank you.  

21          Thank you.  

22                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Yes.  And now 

23          we're going to go to the New York Higher 

24          Education Services Corporation, HESC, and 


 1          Dr. Linares, president.  

 2                 Guillermo Linares, are you there?

 3                 HESC PRESIDENT LINARES:  Yes, I am 

 4          here.

 5                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Hello, former 

 6          colleague.  So you have 10 minutes to make a 

 7          presentation, and then there will be 

 8          questions.  Don't feel compelled to use all 

 9          10 minutes.

10                 (Laughter.)

11                 HESC PRESIDENT LINARES:  Okay.  Good 

12          afternoon, Chairs Krueger, Weinstein, 

13          Stavisky, Glick, and to all my former 

14          colleagues in the Senate and Assembly.  Thank 

15          you for the opportunity to speak today about 

16          the Governor's 2021-2022 Executive Budget 

17          recommendations that impact the New York 

18          State Higher Education Services Corporation, 

19          HESC.  

20                 I am Dr. Guillermo Linares, president 

21          of HESC.  And I'm joined this afternoon by my 

22          executive vice president, Elsa Magee.  

23                 Before I begin, I would like to say 

24          that at this time last year we had no sense 


 1          of the turmoil that was before us as a state 

 2          and a nation.  It is good to see each of you 

 3          in good health.  And while we know that 

 4          challenges remain, we have reason to be 

 5          hopeful, as more than 2 million New Yorkers 

 6          have received a vaccine and we move forward 

 7          towards getting a majority of New Yorkers 

 8          fully vaccinated.  

 9                 Through 2020, New York State continued 

10          its steadfast support for higher education 

11          programs.  HESC continued to administer more 

12          than two dozen student financial aid and 

13          college access programs that enabled 

14          New Yorkers to reach their higher educational 

15          goals, including the Tuition Assistance 

16          Program (TAP), one of the nation's largest 

17          need-based student financial aid grant 

18          programs, and the Excelsior Scholarship, 

19          which enabled nearly 230,000 New York 

20          resident SUNY and CUNY students to attend 

21          college tuition-free.  

22                 HESC annually receives more than a 

23          half million applications for grants, 

24          scholarships and loan forgiveness programs, 


 1          and annually awards more than $1 billion in 

 2          financial aid to help over 330,000 

 3          college-going students and college graduates 

 4          pay for college.  In its 50th Annual Survey 

 5          Report on State-Sponsored Student Financial 

 6          Aid, the National Association of State 

 7          Student Grant Aid Programs, NASSGAP, cites 

 8          New York State's need-based financial aid 

 9          expenditures exceeded that of every other 

10          state in the nation.  

11                 The 2022 Executive Budget preserves 

12          access to an affordable college degree and 

13          protects this opportunity for students who 

14          faced challenges presented by the pandemic. 

15          The budget proposes to maintain student 

16          financial aid and opportunity programs that 

17          serve our neediest students and includes 

18          legislation to hold harmless students who 

19          were unable to complete academic requirements 

20          needed to maintain financial aid eligibility 

21          due to the coronavirus pandemic.  The budget 

22          extends financial aid award duration limits 

23          for students who were unable to maintain 

24          satisfactory academic progress requirements 


 1          due to the pandemic and releases previously 

 2          withheld payments to colleges.  

 3                 In closing, under Governor Cuomo's 

 4          leadership, New York continues to lead the 

 5          nation in expanding access to a quality and 

 6          affordable college education.  Funding for 

 7          higher education has increased by 

 8          $1.5 billion -- that is 25 percent -- since 

 9          2012, from $6 billion to $7.5 billion in the 

10          fiscal year 2022 Executive Budget.  

11                 This investment includes nearly 

12          $1.3 billion in fiscal year 2022 for 

13          strategic programs to make college more 

14          affordable and encourage the best and 

15          brightest students to build their future in 

16          New York.  

17                 The Governor's recommendations for 

18          higher education continue to fund programs 

19          that enable the neediest of New York's 

20          students to pursue their educational goals 

21          regardless of financial situation.  HESC is 

22          pleased to be an integral player in helping 

23          New York's students, and our future leaders, 

24          attain the economic and social benefits that 


 1          accompany a college degree.  

 2                 Thank you for allowing me the 

 3          opportunity to present our testimony today.  

 4          I will be happy to answer any questions you 

 5          may have.  

 6                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  

 7          Thank you, Guillermo.  

 8                 We go to Assemblywoman Glick for 

 9          10 minutes.

10                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN GLICK:  Thank you very 

11          much.  Very happy to see you again, and hope 

12          you and Elsa and everyone on the HESC staff 

13          is well.

14                 When you said that there has been some 

15          extension for students who couldn't complete 

16          their work, could you explain if that is an 

17          extension of TAP and whether students are 

18          getting one or two extra semesters of 

19          coverage?  

20                 HESC PRESIDENT LINARES:  I want to 

21          refer to the impact the pandemic had in the 

22          previous year, 2020, on students.  The 

23          overwhelming majority of students were able 

24          to complete both terms, the spring 2020 and 


 1          fall 2020 semester, primarily because of the 

 2          flexibility that was provided by both the 

 3          federal and the state Departments of 

 4          Education that allowed virtually all students 

 5          to be able to complete their requirements 

 6          that they had to complete their terms.  

 7                 So that is something that I think 

 8          we're glad that we were able to accomplish, 

 9          given the extent of the pandemic.

10                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN GLICK:  Well, I guess 

11          I'd like to understand, while it may have 

12          been the majority of students, I know that 

13          there are students who, because of the 

14          pandemic, found it impossible or difficult -- 

15          there were delays in getting devices to 

16          students, they might have been in places 

17          where they could not access properly all of 

18          their courses due to WiFi limitations.  

19                 If they have had to, for example, drop 

20          some courses, were they -- are they able to, 

21          if they lost, in essence, part of a semester, 

22          are they able to get -- instead of eight 

23          semesters of GPA, will they be able to get 

24          nine?


 1                 HESC PRESIDENT LINARES:  I can assure 

 2          you that what we wanted to make sure was that 

 3          in the context of the pandemic, the awards 

 4          that we offer all students that were impacted 

 5          by the pandemic, we wanted to make sure that 

 6          those would not be an impact on them given 

 7          the circumstances that came all of a sudden.

 8                 So we -- we know that there are 

 9          multiple circumstances impacting, but we can 

10          say that students have -- we've been 

11          responsive to students when they have been 

12          impacted, and we want to make sure that 

13          they're not penalized for any of those 

14          circumstances as they relate to the pandemic.

15                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN GLICK:  Okay.  Well, I 

16          don't know that I actually know whether 

17          students have -- I mean, it's a numerical 

18          question, and at some point perhaps somebody 

19          on your staff can give me a numerical answer.

20                 How many students have had 

21          scholarships -- not just during the pandemic, 

22          but in general -- each year, how many 

23          students have their scholarships converted to 

24          loans because they have not met the service 


 1          contract arrangements?  

 2                 For example, in a STEM scholarship -- 

 3          and this is not about the pandemic, but in a 

 4          STEM scholarship, the student gets the 

 5          scholarship if they graduate in the top 10 

 6          percent of their class.  They pursue STEM in 

 7          college.  They graduate, they want to return 

 8          to where they resided with their family, for 

 9          whatever reason, to a part of the state where 

10          the STEM disciplines do not have the same 

11          level of employment opportunity as some other 

12          places or some other states.

13                 How many students, in various 

14          categories, including the STEM scholarship, 

15          have had those scholarships turn into loans?

16                 HESC PRESIDENT LINARES:  We'd be happy 

17          to provide you with specific numbers.  

18                 But I want to assure you that 

19          obviously whenever we invest, you know, in 

20          our students, we want them to -- for them to 

21          stay.  Obviously this has become more 

22          challenging with the pandemic now.  But, you 

23          know, fortunately we have provisions now 

24          under the pandemic to address that.


 1                 But we are mindful that there will be 

 2          more difficulties in the labor force moving 

 3          forward.  But we want to be able to provide 

 4          as much opportunity for our students to stay 

 5          here when they graduate.  And we do -- we are 

 6          mindful that this is something that would 

 7          benefit our state moving forward.

 8                 Elsa, would you like to add anything 

 9          to my response?

10                 HESC EXEC. VP MAGEE:  I concur with 

11          everything that you just shared, Dr. Linares.  

12                 I think what we found with the STEM 

13          program in particular is that it was 

14          established at a time where both I think the 

15          federal and state Labor Departments had 

16          identified that there was a significant 

17          shortage of qualified workers to fill the 

18          STEM jobs that were existing and were 

19          projected to exist.

20                 So I think, as Dr. Linares said, we 

21          can certainly get you the specific numbers.  

22          But, you know, again, pre-pandemic at least, 

23          what we were finding was that there were not 

24          significant numbers of individuals who were 


 1          struggling with finding jobs in a STEM field.  

 2          It was more what we were seeing were students 

 3          who started off thinking that they were going 

 4          to pursue STEM while in college, changed 

 5          majors, as many students do. 

 6                 But we can certainly get you the 

 7          numbers, as Dr. Linares said.

 8                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN GLICK:  I appreciate 

 9          that.  I know that we received at least some 

10          calls through other colleagues about students 

11          who, particularly upstate, had difficulty and 

12          were -- their parents, in fact, were the ones 

13          who were shocked to find that something had 

14          converted.  

15                 And we certainly don't want students 

16          to decide, Well, the only -- I don't want it 

17          to be a loan, but I can't, you know, get a 

18          job here and if it's going to be a loan, then 

19          I'm going to have to go, you know, to Boston 

20          where I can get a job that's higher-paying in 

21          that field.  But we lose somebody out of the 

22          state.

23                 Do you run -- does HESC run programs 

24          for financial aid counselors?  I was 


 1          especially thinking about like high school 

 2          guidance counselors, who have a lot on their 

 3          plate.  And I know that things may be 

 4          available on your website, but sometimes it's 

 5          easier for people to get that information in 

 6          a webinar-type thing.  Are you running those?

 7                 HESC PRESIDENT LINARES:  Yes, we are.  

 8          As a matter of fact, we just had a webinar 

 9          recently with regards to the DREAM Act.  

10                 But we are running webinars -- 

11          especially now that we have to work remotely, 

12          we are utilizing all our efforts, whether 

13          through the Department of Education to reach 

14          high schools directly, and guidance 

15          counselors, or the different districts that 

16          we have across the state.  

17                 So it's a modality that we're using 

18          now aggressively to do aggressive outreach, 

19          and, you know, continue to be in contact with 

20          our partners at the school level but also 

21          with students and families.

22                 Elsa, you want to add --

23                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN GLICK:  I'm not sure if 

24          I have any time left, because I can't see the 


 1          time on -- 

 2                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  46 seconds.

 3                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN GLICK:  Okay.  Well, 

 4          I'll come back at the end.  Thank you.

 5                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  You're welcome, 

 6          Deborah.

 7                 Next is Senate Higher Education Chair 

 8          Toby Stavisky.

 9                 SENATOR STAVISKY:  Thank you, 

10          Madam Chair.  

11                 And thank you, Dr. Linares and 

12          Ms. Magee, for your insights.  And thank you 

13          for the job that you've been doing.  I know 

14          it's been difficult at times.

15                 How has -- my first question concerns 

16          the DREAM Act.  How has the implementation 

17          gone?  And what kind of outreach are you 

18          doing, with the privacy concerns and other 

19          issues -- but how has it been going?  Would 

20          you discuss that?

21                 HESC PRESIDENT LINARES:  Absolutely, 

22          with pleasure.

23                 As you know, the DREAM Act was 

24          approved by the Legislature in April of 2019.  


 1          We hit the ground running.  We engaged 

 2          Dreamers and the networks of organizations 

 3          that work closely with them and with 

 4          immigrant communities across the state.  By 

 5          July, we had the application open.  

 6                 We wanted to make sure that we could 

 7          protect our Dreamers as well, so we worked 

 8          closely with the Department of Education on 

 9          that.  

10                 We had a great response.  We worked 

11          with both SUNY, CUNY, and private schools 

12          across the state to do this.  We had a great 

13          response, and it's been a great rollout.  

14          It's been highly successful.  

15                 And as I said earlier, as recently as 

16          last -- December, we had a webinar with a 

17          network of organizations that work closely 

18          with Dreamers and immigrant communities to 

19          make sure that we continue our efforts to do 

20          outreach and engage Dreamers to participate 

21          and take advantage of all the offerings that 

22          we have.

23                 So it's been very successful, the 

24          rollout and the response that we've had and 


 1          the Dreamers that have been benefited from 

 2          this program so far.  

 3                 You want to add anything, Elsa?

 4                 HESC EXEC. VP MAGEE:  I don't want to 

 5          take up any additional time.  But yeah, the 

 6          support that we've gotten from the 

 7          community-based organizations -- and we have 

 8          a team of people within the agency who are 

 9          really committed to the program and to 

10          assisting the students -- has been great.  

11                 And then we also want to thank the 

12          State Education Department, who we have 

13          partnered with to ensure that Dreamers don't 

14          have to provide as much documentation.  

15          Beginning this past fall, SED is confirming 

16          for us their high school status and, once 

17          they've graduated from high school, that 

18          they've graduated, so we don't really have to 

19          ask them to upload documents any longer.  And 

20          we know that was an issue for students, 

21          particularly in New York City during the 

22          pandemic, trying to get some of the 

23          credentials.

24                 SENATOR STAVISKY:  Thank you.


 1                 And I think that's especially 

 2          important, because as you know, I represent a 

 3          large immigrant community in Queens.  And I 

 4          noticed a lot of the Asian-American kids are 

 5          leaving the state.  And I said repeatedly 

 6          that I'd love to have them stay in New York.  

 7          Because I'm afraid when they go to California 

 8          or wherever they go, we're not going to get 

 9          them back so readily.  So I appreciate that.

10                 I was curious if you could provide us 

11          with the demographics of who was receiving 

12          the TAP awards, the Excelsior, the Enhanced 

13          Tuition and the other programs that you -- 

14          I'm not asking for now, but if you would get 

15          that to me, I think that would be interesting 

16          question.  Do you have such information?  

17                 HESC PRESIDENT LINARES:  Sure.  We'll 

18          be glad to provide you information that we 

19          have beyond what we have in Open New York and 

20          also in our website with our annual reports.  

21                 We have it, we'll gladly share it with 

22          you.

23                 SENATOR STAVISKY:  Thank you.  And I'm 

24          thinking about it in terms of how we can do 


 1          additional outreach to attract the 

 2          underrepresented in these categories.

 3                 Let me ask you one last question.  On 

 4          the awards that you administer, TAP and 

 5          Excelsior and ETA, I understand that the 

 6          students will reply -- or apply, rather, and 

 7          many of them do not submit all of the 

 8          information and therefore they don't receive 

 9          the award.  

10                 What are the reasons?  What are they 

11          missing?  Where are the deficiencies?

12                 HESC PRESIDENT LINARES:  Well, I want 

13          to share with you that when it comes to 

14          applications, particularly this year, we've 

15          seen somewhat of a decline we attributed to 

16          the pandemic.  But this is not just here in 

17          the State of New York, it's across the 

18          country.  So I wanted to convey that.

19                 But we fully expect that once we get 

20          from under this pandemic we will see the 

21          number of applications to come back as they 

22          are.  

23                 But Elsa, would you want to add 

24          anything?


 1                 HESC EXEC. VP MAGEE:  Yeah.  Thank 

 2          you, Senator.  

 3                 We would not just deny somebody for 

 4          failing to provide supporting documentation 

 5          that's required to determine their 

 6          eligibility.  We do, for most of our newer 

 7          programs, the -- I would say since 2014, 

 8          definitely -- the programs, as they're 

 9          developed, they're automated.  So once a 

10          student submits an application, they 

11          typically get an email that tells them the 

12          documentation that they need to provide.

13                 Sometimes they may think that they've 

14          uploaded it, but we will send reminders.  We 

15          tend to wait months before we might think 

16          that someone -- and they would have gotten 

17          several reminders.  They do have to make sure 

18          that the email that they're providing is the 

19          email that they're going to use going 

20          forward.  I think we're trying to work 

21          through to do texting to probably help with 

22          some of this.  

23                 When you're applying as a high school 

24          student, you may have a Gmail address that 


 1          you use, but then when you go to college you 

 2          have to use your college email address, and 

 3          they may not be thinking about going back to 

 4          their Gmail address, but that's where we're 

 5          sending them notifications because that's all 

 6          that we had.  

 7                 But we know that the students -- now, 

 8          especially, you keep your cellphone number.  

 9          So we're really actively looking now at 

10          texting to try to address some of those 

11          issues, because it does lengthen the process 

12          to be able to determine their eligibility.

13                 SENATOR STAVISKY:  Thank you.  Thank 

14          you.  

15                 (Overtalk.)

16                 SENATOR STAVISKY:  Is there anything 

17          you would like to add or -- because I have no 

18          more questions.

19                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  So we'll go to 

20          the Assembly, to Assemblyman Walczyk, ranker 

21          on Higher Ed for five minutes.  Thank you.

22                 ASSEMBLYMAN WALCZYK:  Thanks so much.  

23          I don't need the five minutes.  

24                 I'm just curious to know if you think 


 1          we should eliminate the Excelsior 

 2          Scholarship.

 3                 HESC PRESIDENT LINARES:  Well, I 

 4          believe that the Excelsior Scholarship has 

 5          been a resounding success.  I think just 

 6          looking at the 2019-2020 year, 32,000 

 7          students benefited from this program, meaning 

 8          that middle-class families did not have to 

 9          pay out-of-pocket or take a loan in order for 

10          them to meet the tuition fees that students 

11          have to pay.

12                 So this has been also a program that 

13          really sends a clear message that when you 

14          attend school full-time, you save money and 

15          you save time, which is very, very powerful 

16          as a message.  And you avoid having to borrow 

17          money when you exhaust the financial aid that 

18          you have.  

19                 So this is one of the big benefits 

20          that I think a program like this offers.  And 

21          it's successful across the country whenever 

22          it has been implemented.

23                 So I'd say, if anything, we're looking 

24          to expand the program moving forward so that 


 1          it benefits more students and more families 

 2          across the state.

 3                 ASSEMBLYMAN WALCZYK:  Wouldn't it just 

 4          be easier or we could -- I mean, we could 

 5          create an entirely new program to talk about 

 6          whatever other people that you want to serve.  

 7          And I can understand the merits of the 

 8          program, and you outlined some of them very 

 9          well, sir.  Wouldn't it be easier to just 

10          expand TAP instead of creating new programs 

11          with new titles?

12                 HESC PRESIDENT LINARES:  Well, the 

13          difference between TAP and this Excelsior is 

14          again that TAP, you can exhaust the funding 

15          that TAP offers and not fulfill the 

16          completion that you have within the four 

17          years.  And then you're left having to either 

18          borrow money or drop out, which is worse.  

19                 And this program sends a very clear 

20          and strong message for students whose 

21          families are unable to cover that money 

22          unless they get it out-of-pocket or borrow 

23          it.  And the in-time completion is really 

24          key.  That's a big, big difference that I 


 1          see.  

 2                 But, you know, the Legislature is open 

 3          to look and revisit TAP, which was 

 4          established 50 years ago.  But this program 

 5          has already made a tremendous impact and 

 6          increased the benefits for students that 

 7          would otherwise not have it.

 8                 ASSEMBLYMAN WALCZYK:  I appreciate 

 9          your time, sir.  And I think it did send a 

10          strong message.  The message that was 

11          received mostly in the phone calls to my 

12          office were from higher education 

13          institutions that were frustrated with an 

14          entirely new program that they had to learn 

15          and had, you know, changing rules, and with 

16          middle-class families who were confused about 

17          many of those rules that were changing by the 

18          day.  

19                 But I think I've said my piece, and I 

20          will yield back the extra minute and a half 

21          of my time to the good chairwoman.

22                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  

23          Appreciate it.  We can go to the Senate.

24                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.  And I 


 1          will pass along not the extra time but the 

 2          microphone to Robert Jackson, three minutes.  

 3                 Are you there, Robert?

 4                 SENATOR JACKSON:  I'll take the 

 5          minutes and the time.  

 6                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Nope, you just 

 7          get the three minutes.  You always go over.  

 8          I'm going to be strict this time.

 9                 SENATOR JACKSON:  Oh, boy, don't be so 

10          strict.  I'm just trying to change my video.  

11          Can you hear me, though?  

12                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  We can hear you.

13                 SENATOR JACKSON:  Yes, okay.  So 

14          Dr. Guillermo Linares, let me thank you for 

15          your leadership as the president of the 

16          Higher Education Services Corp.  Guillermo 

17          and I go way back, and it's my pleasure and 

18          honor to see him in the capacity that he's 

19          in.  

20                 But I have concerns about the negative 

21          impact this pandemic has had on the people 

22          that we represent overall.  And so can you 

23          tell me, as far as -- you mentioned the 

24          number of students that are part of the 


 1          Excelsior program.  But can you -- if you 

 2          don't have it now, is it possible you can get 

 3          it down later, as far as can you break it 

 4          down by geographical areas and also the 

 5          diversity of the students that are enrolled 

 6          in the program, so that I can get a full 

 7          picture of who is it serving?  

 8                 And I know it's serving students based 

 9          on a financial matter, but I would like to 

10          see some statistics other than that --

11                 UNIDENTIFIED STAFFER:  Arnie's {ph} 

12          looking for that, but he's going to send it 

13          to me when he gets it.

14                 SENATOR JACKSON:  Yeah.  So -- but 

15          also, I just wanted to say that right now, so 

16          you have -- you have more money to give out 

17          to students as long as they qualify, is that 

18          correct?  Have you been negatively impacted 

19          by the budget?

20                 HESC PRESIDENT LINARES:  I think one 

21          of the positive things that we've seen is 

22          that, you know, the -- the education, higher 

23          education budget has been kept whole, meaning 

24          that we wanted to be able that in spite of 


 1          the pandemic that we face and also the 

 2          challenges, financial challenges the state 

 3          had, we have been able to keep financial aid 

 4          to students across the board in the state 

 5          whole.  

 6                 And this is a commitment the Governor 

 7          has made and continues to make.  And I think 

 8          that notwithstanding the challenges that we 

 9          have with being able to make sure that the 

10          awards that were made, that have been made 

11          are kept regardless of the circumstances of 

12          the pandemic, to make sure that students, you 

13          know, are able to keep afloat financially.  

14          And I think that it's because we've made 

15          higher education a top priority and make sure 

16          that any impediments that came as a result of 

17          the pandemic were being addressed.  

18                 And so we support students across the 

19          state, and it's based on income --

20                 SENATOR JACKSON:  Dr. Linares, I'm 

21          sorry, I just have -- I need to get this in 

22          so you can then respond in writing.

23                 HESC PRESIDENT LINARES:  Yeah, sure.

24                 SENATOR JACKSON:  I would like to 


 1          know, regarding the pandemic, the negative 

 2          impact it's had on people that have dropped 

 3          out of school and now would have to pay back 

 4          money, or they graduated and they don't have 

 5          a job, as people said, so they may have to go 

 6          to another state.  

 7                 Can you put those stats and send it to 

 8          us, if you don't mind?  My time is up.  And I 

 9          wish that I could give you more 

10          opportunity --

11                 HESC PRESIDENT LINARES:  Happy to do 

12          so.

13                 SENATOR JACKSON:  Thank you.  Thank 

14          you, Madam Chairs.

15                 HESC PRESIDENT LINARES:  Thank you.  

16                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.  

17                 Assembly.

18                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  We go to Ways 

19          and Means ranker Ed Ra, for five minutes.

20                 ASSEMBLYMAN RA:  Thank you, Chair.  

21                 Dr. Linares, always great to see a 

22          former colleague before us in these days.

23                 HESC PRESIDENT LINARES:  Same here.

24                 ASSEMBLYMAN RA:  I hope you are well.  


 1                 I just wanted to ask a question -- 

 2          this is something we had spoken about briefly 

 3          last year.  I know it's a relatively small 

 4          program, but it's regarding the Child Welfare 

 5          Workers Incentive Scholarship and the Child 

 6          Welfare Worker Loan Forgiveness Program.  

 7                 Just in terms of (A) whether there was 

 8          any type of delay or withholding that that 

 9          program had been subject to during the past 

10          year as -- you know, as there were these 

11          temporary adjustments made to the budget.  

12                 And then (B) again, as I asked last 

13          year, if you are able to get us information 

14          about how many people are actually applying 

15          to that program.  Because it's something that 

16          I would like to see in the long term 

17          hopefully expanded.  You know, people that 

18          work in those settings -- that sector has had 

19          a lot of trouble to begin with, and with the 

20          pandemic, it's gotten even worse.  And trying 

21          to recruit people into that sector is very 

22          important.

23                 HESC PRESIDENT LINARES:  Thank you for 

24          the question.


 1                 You know, as with all our programs, we 

 2          have managed to maintain them whole, you 

 3          know, notwithstanding the challenges of the 

 4          pandemic.  And obviously, going forward, 

 5          we -- we're able to proceed to address it 

 6          based on the funding that we receive approved 

 7          by the Legislature.  But we have been able to 

 8          maintain this particular program, along with 

 9          all the others, whole during this pandemic.  

10                 Elsa, would you like to add anything?

11                 HESC EXEC. VP MAGEE:  For the loan 

12          forgiveness program, Child Welfare Worker 

13          Loan Forgiveness, we do have recipients for 

14          five awards.  So the program is fully 

15          utilized there, as well as for the 

16          scholarship.  

17                 Again, it's a $50,000 appropriation 

18          for the program.  It's been fully utilized.  

19          But my understanding is that the recipients 

20          are attending graduate programs.  So I 

21          believe the number of recipients were either 

22          two or three, to fully exhaust the -- the 

23          allocation for the program.

24                 ASSEMBLYMAN RA:  Okay, great.  I mean, 


 1          that's great to hear that it's fully being 

 2          utilized.

 3                 Again, if it's possible to go back and 

 4          provide information as to, you know, how many 

 5          applications the agency does get or maybe has 

 6          gotten over the last few years.  Just that 

 7          way, those of us in the Legislature, you 

 8          know, can look at what the demand is there 

 9          and perhaps consider expanding the number so 

10          that there are more slots for people to be 

11          awarded awards under that program.

12                 Thank you.

13                 HESC PRESIDENT LINARES:  We'll be 

14          happy to do that.

15                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  We go to the 

16          Senate now.

17                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Okay, thank you.  

18          I think I'm the last Senator, so to speak.  

19                 Actually, I think I'm starting where 

20          my colleague Senator Jackson ended.  

21                 Can you give us a sense -- oh, will 

22          you set the clock again, whoever is on clock?  

23          I promise not to use my 10 minutes.  Oh, 

24          well, they'll get to it.


 1                 So people who -- probably related to 

 2          COVID, I would expect we would see an 

 3          increase in people who had to drop out of 

 4          their program or decided not to continue in 

 5          school for this year.  But I'm wondering 

 6          whether you're already seeing an increase in 

 7          students defaulting on student loans.  Or 

 8          would you expect that another year or two 

 9          down the line?

10                 HESC PRESIDENT LINARES:  For now, we 

11          realize the challenges that the pandemic 

12          brings.  But we do have built-in flexibility 

13          and also the hardship provisions that have 

14          been put together and authorized to look at 

15          the extent of the pandemic, whether it is 

16          job-related or interfering with students not 

17          being able to continue their studies.  

18                 So we are mindful of the 

19          circumstances, and we don't know how long 

20          this impact will take.  We're still in the 

21          midst of it.  But we do have those provisions 

22          to look and examine the impact of -- that 

23          this is having on students, to make sure that 

24          they're -- at the end of the day, they're not 


 1          penalized for the disruption that the 

 2          pandemic has brought.

 3                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  So I know we've 

 4          done moratoriums on rent payments and 

 5          utilities and a variety of other things.  But 

 6          if I'm finished with my education but I have 

 7          a hefty student loan that I'm paying back, is 

 8          there something that happened at the federal 

 9          or state level to -- a moratorium on my 

10          having to pay back my student loan now?

11                 HESC EXEC. VP MAGEE:  So --

12                 HESC PRESIDENT LINARES:  Yeah, go 

13          ahead, Elsa.

14                 HESC EXEC. VP MAGEE:  So the federal 

15          CARES Act provided relief for Federal Direct 

16          Loan borrowers.  HESC still has guaranties, 

17          as do other state guaranty agencies.  Pell 

18          loan borrowers back -- I think it was in 

19          2010, when all loans disbursed were disbursed 

20          under the Federal Direct Loan Program.

21                 But HESC voluntarily for -- on behalf 

22          of New York State, we provided that same 

23          moratorium for all of our borrowers.  So from 

24          last March till the end of December, there 


 1          were no payments, there were no adverse 

 2          collections activities, no interest accruing 

 3          on the balance of their loans, consistent 

 4          with what the federal government had offered.  

 5                 We did the same thing -- I think 

 6          Dr. Linares was referring to students who had 

 7          scholarships that could have converted to 

 8          loans.  We provided the same relief to those 

 9          students as well, and as well as anyone who 

10          had a NYHELPs loan outstanding.

11                 So as a state, we chose to provide 

12          that relief.  And we know that we worked with 

13          the Department of Financial Services, who 

14          works with the lenders when we don't own the 

15          loan, to encourage lenders to provide similar 

16          supports to students who were not in default 

17          as well.

18                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  So that's great.  

19          But I heard you say past tense that that 

20          ended in December.  So now are we making 

21          people pay?  Or have we continued that?

22                 HESC EXEC. VP MAGEE:  So what we have 

23          done is rather than do this across the board, 

24          because we do know that we have -- we know 


 1          our borrowers, that we have some borrowers 

 2          who have state, federal, local government 

 3          jobs that were not impacted.  So what we're 

 4          doing is offering the same benefits to those 

 5          who need it.  And those who were not impacted 

 6          healthwise or job wise by the pandemic will 

 7          be returning back to the payments that they 

 8          had.  

 9                 If they're underemployed, again, we 

10          are going to be touching each one of them to 

11          provide the relief that they need.  But -- 

12          and again, we're still extending the 

13          zero-interest accrual for the first quarter 

14          of the year.

15                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Great.  And you 

16          referenced the private loan authorizers, that 

17          DFS is working to encourage them to do that.  

18          So we can't make them do it.  Do we know what 

19          happened?  Are people responding to our 

20          request for them to do this voluntarily?

21                 HESC EXEC. VP MAGEE:  I think, again, 

22          we've seen fewer purchases than we normally 

23          would.  So it seems that the lenders -- just 

24          anecdotally, from what we're seeing, it seems 


 1          that lenders did provide relief.  We can, you 

 2          know, again reach out to DFS to see if they 

 3          have more specific information.

 4                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  That would be 

 5          very helpful, thank you.

 6                 And I'm going to cede my time back to 

 7          the Assembly chair.

 8                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  We 

 9          have a few additional members.  

10                 Harvey Epstein, three minutes.

11                 ASSEMBLYMAN EPSTEIN:  I think -- I'm 

12          sorry, am I on video now?

13                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Yes.

14                 ASSEMBLYMAN EPSTEIN:  Thank you, 

15          Dr. Linares.  Good seeing you again.

16                 Just building on Senator Krueger's 

17          points, if there -- if people are defaulting, 

18          traditionally the Attorney General's been 

19          filing cases in Albany, which has been a huge 

20          hardship for students who have to challenge 

21          defaults.  You know, we've talked to legal 

22          services programs.  Are you open to allowing 

23          for people to be able to deal with those 

24          cases, especially in the counties that they 


 1          live in?  

 2                 And the Attorney General now is 

 3          appearing on those cases via Zoom anyway.  

 4          Would HESC be supportive of making it easier 

 5          for students to challenge those default 

 6          cases?

 7                 HESC PRESIDENT LINARES:  We do have 

 8          efforts to provide guidance and assistance 

 9          with regards to default.  And this is part of 

10          our efforts ongoing.

11                 So any effort that we have to assist 

12          those who fall in default or those who may 

13          fall in default, and because, you know, of 

14          our guidance and assistance do not default, 

15          we're more than open to assist.  But now with 

16          the pandemic, it's even more urgent and 

17          important because of the impact that it has 

18          on families and economic --

19                 ASSEMBLYMAN EPSTEIN:  Doctor, I only 

20          have three minutes, so I don't want to -- but 

21          would HESC support the idea of allowing 

22          students to appear in those cases in the 

23          jurisdiction that they live?  If you live in 

24          Brooklyn, the case should be filed in 


 1          Brooklyn, not in Albany.  Right now all the 

 2          cases are being filed in Albany.

 3                 Would you consider supporting that and 

 4          get back to me in writing about whether HESC 

 5          supports that idea?

 6                 HESC PRESIDENT LINARES:  We'll look 

 7          into it and get back to you.

 8                 ASSEMBLYMAN EPSTEIN:  That would be 

 9          great.

10                 I know there's been -- there's 

11          proposals to cut back on TAP.  And there's a 

12          huge population of people who don't get 

13          access to TAP -- inmates.  You know, we're 

14          improving programs, the federal government 

15          has now allowed federal dollars to go to 

16          people who are incarcerated to attend school.

17                 Would you consider allowing TAP to go 

18          to inmates?

19                 HESC PRESIDENT LINARES:  Well, my 

20          understanding is that the federal government 

21          is now considering offering TAP to inmates -- 

22          Pell, that is.  And it's something that has 

23          not yet been authorized.  I think it will be 

24          good to see in the future when they do 


 1          authorize it, how they roll it out.  And then 

 2          the Legislature could then proceed to look 

 3          and approve how we can --

 4                 ASSEMBLYMAN EPSTEIN:  So it would be 

 5          great to know where HESC is positioned on it.  

 6          I only have 5 seconds left to ask a quick 

 7          question.  I'd love to see what is your 

 8          position, in writing.

 9                 Finally, is Excelsior -- I've heard 

10          the success of it.  I would love to expand it 

11          for people who are part-time, people who have 

12          additional needs.  We've seen more students 

13          going part-time because of the economic 

14          crisis we're in.  We'd love to be able to get 

15          more students to get college degrees, and 

16          Excelsior can help them.

17                 We'd love to know if you'd be 

18          supportive of Excelsior for part-time 

19          students as well.

20                 HESC PRESIDENT LINARES:  Right now 

21          it's a full-time program.  There is some 

22          statutes, so we -- we now see the success 

23          that it has, but it's something to look into 

24          by the Legislature in the future.  But right 


 1          now it is an in-time-completion program, and 

 2          it's a huge success.  So it's something that, 

 3          again, would have to be picked up by the 

 4          Legislature.

 5                 ASSEMBLYMAN EPSTEIN:  Thank you, 

 6          Chair.  Sorry I went over.  Thank you, 

 7          Doctor.

 8                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Sure.  Then we 

 9          go to Assemblywoman Hyndman.

10                 Alicia, are you -- 

11                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN HYNDMAN:  I'm here.  I'm 

12          just waiting for the prompts to come up on my 

13          screen.  Okay, thank you.

14                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  There you go.  

15          Okay.

16                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN HYNDMAN:  I'm here.  

17          Thank you, Dr. Linares.  It's always good to 

18          see you and Ms. Magee.  Thank you very much.

19                 In regards to the Enhanced Tuition 

20          Assistance Program, I know the Governor does 

21          increase it, a $1.50 million increase.  But 

22          how many students have been able to take 

23          advantage of the ETA, have gotten access to 

24          it?  


 1                 HESC PRESIDENT LINARES:  We can 

 2          provide you the specific numbers.  But we 

 3          know that a good number of students have been 

 4          able to benefit from the program, attending 

 5          private colleges and universities.  So we can 

 6          could give you the specific numbers that we 

 7          have.

 8                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN HYNDMAN:  Yes, please, 

 9          I'd like that very much.

10                 I don't believe -- you all don't 

11          administer or have anything to do with 

12          Bundy Aid; right?  

13                 HESC PRESIDENT LINARES:  No.

14                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN HYNDMAN:  No, okay.  All 

15          right.  Okay, thank you.  

16                 I yield back the balance of my time.

17                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.

18                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Very quick, 

19          Alicia.  

20                 We go to Assemblywoman Glick for her 

21          seconds.

22                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN GLICK:  Thank you.

23                 Dr. Linares, I know when Dr. Malatras 

24          was on, he referred to the Excelsior program, 


 1          and you just did, as a completion program.  

 2          And I would suggest that when TAP was 

 3          created, it too was envisioned as a 

 4          completion program, in that the notion was 

 5          that you needed eight semesters in order to 

 6          complete your four years of school.

 7                 Life has changed, people have changed.  

 8          The top TAP income eligibility is 80 --

 9                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Deborah, I 

10          think it would be helpful if you shut off 

11          your video, because your voice is off a bit, 

12          breaking up.

13                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN GLICK:  Okay.  I will do 

14          that.  Is that a little better?  

15                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Much better.

16                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN GLICK:  Okay.  Sorry.

17                 So the top income eligibility for TAP 

18          is $80,000.  The top Excelsior is $125,000.  

19          So in my humble opinion, it was intended to 

20          reach a population that was more affluent, 

21          where students would have perhaps more family 

22          support and thereby be able to go full-time.  

23                 Whereas TAP students, who have a 

24          moderate family income and have to work, are 


 1          getting maybe $4,000 worth of support, but 

 2          these other families are getting a full 

 3          tuition remission of $6500.  

 4                 Is that just extending the income 

 5          inequality that we see in the state?  

 6                 HESC PRESIDENT LINARES:  Well, as you 

 7          are aware, TAP was started 50 years ago.  It 

 8          was a different time.  And as you said, many 

 9          things have changed.  And, you know, 

10          12 credits a semester when you are at the 

11          eight semesters doesn't really get students 

12          to the finish line.  So it merits taking a 

13          harder look, another look at TAP 50 years 

14          later.

15                 The idea of having a program like 

16          Excelsior is to reinforce the importance of 

17          attending full-time to the extent possible, 

18          and also reaching students that would 

19          otherwise have to go and borrow money or drop 

20          out.  So I think, again, this is something 

21          that the Legislature, you know, could look 

22          into and see how we can expand.  

23                 All in all, I say that because of TAP, 

24          which is a top program for the nation, we 


 1          have so many students, especially low income,  

 2          benefiting from it.  

 3                 Elsa, would you like to add anything?

 4                 HESC EXEC. VP MAGEE:  No, thank you.  

 5                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN GLICK:  Well, we can 

 6          take that up privately later.

 7                 I have one other question.  I know 

 8          that you work with students who are in 

 9          default or on the verge of default and you 

10          can work with them.  But I'm wondering if 

11          there is anything that prevents you from 

12          informing students that there are 

13          not-for-profits that provide one-on-one 

14          counseling around student debt and, frankly, 

15          other debt that they might have accrued as 

16          they try to maintain their status as 

17          students.

18                 So is there anything statutorily that 

19          prevents you -- in New York City, the 

20          Community Service Society has a free debt 

21          reduction program that targets students.  But 

22          students have more than just student debt, 

23          they have other debt, and I think you only 

24          focus on the student debt part of it.


 1                 HESC PRESIDENT LINARES:  I think we 

 2          look to work collaboratively with any entity 

 3          or any organizations in the state that 

 4          provides guidance and assistance to students 

 5          and New Yorkers.  So we look to have 

 6          collaboration within the parameters with 

 7          which we operate.

 8                 Elsa, would you like to add anything?

 9                 HESC EXEC. VP MAGEE:  The Department 

10          of Financial Services -- I think several 

11          years ago there was legislation that created 

12          an office within that agency to also assist 

13          with the type of student loan debt that HESC 

14          does not have a direct relationship.  So we 

15          work with students whose loans we guaranteed, 

16          but the Department of Financial Services, who 

17          we do work closely with, has services 

18          available to assist all student loan 

19          borrowers as well.

20                 There is right now a group where we 

21          are working with them, along with other state 

22          agencies, for that very purpose, 

23          understanding that, you know, someone who's 

24          struggling with finding a job and being able 


 1          to write a resume may also have student loan 

 2          debt and need assistance there, or someone 

 3          who's in a worker training program who's 

 4          looking to go back to work may be struggling 

 5          with other types of debt.

 6                 And we're in the process now of 

 7          looking at how we can have a one-stop shop 

 8          for New Yorkers for that very purpose.

 9                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN GLICK:  Thank you very, 

10          very much.

11                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.

12                 Senate, right, we are finished? 

13                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  I think we're 

14          done here at the Senate side.

15                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Okay.  So thank 

16          you, Guillermo.  

17                 This is the end of the governmental 

18          witness part, and we're going to be going now 

19          to our panels.  And we will be starting 

20          with --

21                 HESC PRESIDENT LINARES:  Thank you.

22                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  -- Panel A.  

23                 And just let me announce the order 

24          will be, first, New York State United 


 1          Teachers, Andrew Pallotta, president.  Then 

 2          Professional Staff Congress of CUNY, 

 3          Dr. Barbara Bowen, president.  And then 

 4          United University Professions, UUP, Frederick 

 5          Kowal, Ph.D., president.  

 6                 So if we can bring that panel up.  I 

 7          think they are all here.  

 8                 And just a reminder now to both this 

 9          panel, the panelists to come, and members, 

10          that each member of the panel gets three 

11          minutes to make a presentation.  Please don't 

12          read your written remarks, which were 

13          previously distributed to all of the members 

14          that are here, and those that aren't.  

15                 And then for the members, you get 

16          three minutes to ask a question of the panel, 

17          not each individual panelist.  And please 

18          leave time for them to respond to the 

19          questions.  

20                 And with that, we go to Andrew for a 

21          presentation.

22                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  And just before 

23          you start, Andrew -- you know, Helene, I've 

24          heard you say it a dozen times, but it's sort 


 1          of like speed dating.  We're all 

 2          participating in speed dating this year.  

 3                 So thank you very much for humoring us 

 4          with these short time windows.

 5                 MR. PALLOTTA:  Thank you.  Thank you, 

 6          and good afternoon, almost good evening.  

 7                 And Chairpersons Krueger and Weinstein 

 8          and Stavisky and Glick, members of the 

 9          Legislature, I am Andy Pallotta.  I'm the 

10          president of New York State United Teachers.  

11          We represent over 600,000 members around the 

12          state.  Thank you for this opportunity to 

13          testify today on the proposed 2021-'22 

14          budget.  

15                 My testimony represents the concerns 

16          of over 80,000 faculty and professional staff 

17          who work in public colleges and universities 

18          across the state as well as the three SUNY 

19          teaching hospitals.  These include members of 

20          the UUP, PSC and the faculty and staff at 

21          nearly every community college throughout the 

22          state.

23                 I'm joined today by Dr. Fred Kowal and 

24          Dr. Barbara Bowen, president of PSC.  You 


 1          will hear from both of them in a few moments.

 2                 I want to talk about, quickly, the 

 3          financial devastation that has followed the 

 4          health crisis created by COVID-19.  I cannot 

 5          imagine trying to craft a budget when your 

 6          starting point is 15 billion negative.

 7                 To make matters worse, you also must 

 8          grapple with an Executive Budget proposal 

 9          that is woefully inadequate.  The proposed 

10          2021-'22 Executive Budget presents many 

11          challenges for public higher education.  

12                 Budgeting with the hope that we are 

13          going to receive $15 billion in federal money 

14          is, to me, is like going shopping, on a 

15          shopping spree, and holding an 

16          unscratched-off scratch-off lottery ticket 

17          and hoping for the best.  This is really a 

18          very difficult time for all of us.

19                 The worst part for higher education is 

20          the fact that even if we somehow do receive 

21          15 billion from the federal government, the 

22          budget as proposed is still woefully 

23          inadequate.  Without a significant windfall 

24          from the federal government, SUNY and CUNY 


 1          stand to lose millions in critical 

 2          operational dollars -- specifically, SUNY, 

 3          46 million, and CUNY, 26.2.

 4                 Our community colleges, which have yet 

 5          to recover from having 20 percent of their 

 6          TAP dollars and 92 million in base aid 

 7          withheld in 2021, are left to contend with 

 8          the full-time equivalent student funding 

 9          methodology, which fails to insulate the 

10          colleges from enrollment fluctuations.  

11                 Since COVID-19 has caused enrollment 

12          numbers to decrease, these colleges stand to 

13          lose an additional $40 million.  If we do not 

14          address these issues, they will have very 

15          difficult times returning when enrollment 

16          reverses.

17                 I am watching that clock.  I believe 

18          that we have other options, and that is 

19          raising money from the ultrawealthy in this 

20          state.

21                 I want to thank each and every one of 

22          you for all the work that you do, and I 

23          cannot imagine us having success without this 

24          process and the work that each and every 


 1          legislator does on our behalf.

 2                 So thank you for that, and going -- 

 3          right now we'll go right to Dr. Kowal, I 

 4          believe.

 5                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  I actually had 

 6          called on Barbara Bowen next, but --

 7                 MR. PALLOTTA:  Okay.

 8                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  So Barbara, why 

 9          don't you go next, so we --

10                 MR. PALLOTTA:  Thank you.

11                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Because that's 

12          what the --

13                 DR. BOWEN:  I'd be delighted.  Great.  

14          Thank you.  One second, please, just till I 

15          get my -- okay, thank you.  

16                 Good afternoon, Chairpersons and 

17          Honorable Members.  Thank you for staying all 

18          afternoon and for this opportunity to testify 

19          also for your support for public higher 

20          education.

21                 I'm privileged to represent the 30,000 

22          members of the PSC, the faculty and staff who 

23          have up-ended our lives this year to keep 

24          CUNY running for our students and for 


 1          New York.

 2                 The Governor's two budget scenarios, 

 3          one with a $15 billion infusion of federal 

 4          aid and one with 6 billion, position a flat 

 5          budget as a victory.  A flat budget would be 

 6          a defeat, for CUNY and for New York.  For 

 7          CUNY, it would mean a return to overcrowded 

 8          classrooms, inadequate staffing, crumbling 

 9          buildings, layoffs of adjuncts, and 

10          dangerously low student support.  A return to 

11          normal is not enough.  Normal was killing 

12          CUNY.

13                 The actual Executive Budget, which 

14          assumes 6 billion in federal support, would 

15          be completely unsustainable.  It would cut 

16          programs, hurt students, and charge more in 

17          tuition.  The members of the PSC call on you 

18          to reject the false choice between these two 

19          scenarios.  

20                 There is an alternative, one not 

21          envisioned in the Executive Budget or even 

22          CUNY's own inadequate budget request.  End 

23          the tax breaks for the rich.  The linchpin of 

24          the fiscal year 2022 budget must be increased 


 1          revenue through fair taxation.  

 2                 We urge you to pass the six revenue 

 3          bills supported by the Invest in Our New York 

 4          Coalition.  You have a once-in-a-generation 

 5          chance -- and the support of 92 percent of 

 6          New Yorkers -- to fix this problem.  Aim 

 7          high.

 8                 Investment in CUNY cannot wait until a 

 9          better budget year.  CUNY has an unmatched 

10          ability to help working-class and poor New 

11          Yorkers rebuild their lives.  That's exactly 

12          the ability that is needed now.  Hollowing 

13          out the public sector has been literally 

14          fatal.  Anything less than enacting real 

15          revenue increases this year will sabotage 

16          economic recovery and reinscribe the 

17          inequities of race and class the pandemic 

18          laid bare.  

19                 The PSC asks you to reject all cuts to 

20          CUNY in the Executive Budget.  Undo the 

21          damage to CUNY's current allocation through 

22          silent cuts and wage freezes.  Ensure that 

23          CUNY uses the federal funds it has already 

24          received to protect students and reverse 


 1          layoffs.  And join us in embracing visionary 

 2          new legislation that will be introduced 

 3          tomorrow, the New Deal for CUNY.

 4                 The New Deal for CUNY demonstrates 

 5          that there is a compelling and fiscally sound 

 6          path to making CUNY tuition-free while at the 

 7          same time restoring staffing and student 

 8          support to the level students need.  The PSC 

 9          seeks the initial year's funding in fiscal 

10          '22.  We ask you, use your position in 

11          government as courageously as the original 

12          New Deal reformers used theirs.  Whether we 

13          are in government or not, we get only a few 

14          chances in a lifetime to change history, and 

15          this may be one of them.  The PSC urges you 

16          to take it.

17                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Three minutes 

18          on the dot.

19                 Dr. Kowal?  

20                 DR. KOWAL:  Thank you, Chairpersons 

21          Weinstein, Krueger, Stavisky and Glick, and 

22          distinguished members of the Senate and 

23          Assembly.  Thank you for inviting United 

24          University Professions to testify on the 


 1          '21-'22 Executive Budget for higher 

 2          education.  

 3                 My name is Dr. Frederick Kowal, and as 

 4          president of UUP it is my honor to represent 

 5          more than 37,000 academic and professional 

 6          faculty at SUNY.

 7                 I want to begin by thanking you for 

 8          your unwavering support for SUNY and the work 

 9          our members do.  

10                 This year's Executive Budget does not 

11          offer this kind of support.  At best, the 

12          budget will be flat.  At worst, it will lead 

13          to a cut of $46 million.  Cutting SUNY is 

14          shortsighted and ill-advised, as campuses are 

15          already facing this year's 5 percent cut 

16          occurring this spring.  

17                 You don't cut your way out of an 

18          economic depression.  You take bold steps to 

19          invest in essential public services such as 

20          SUNY, a proven economic engine, to bounce 

21          back.  

22                 And these cuts are compounded by the 

23          continued withholding of negotiated salary 

24          increases to all state employees, along with 


 1          the lack of any hazard pay to the employees 

 2          of SUNY hospitals, who have spent the last 

 3          year saving lives.  This is unconscionable.

 4                 Much has been made about the federal 

 5          assistance that may well be coming.  This 

 6          assistance is of crucial importance to our 

 7          state, our university, and our members.  

 8          However, let us be clear.  This assistance 

 9          will not rescue the state's economy or 

10          overcome the decade of austerity funding that 

11          has caused great harm to SUNY.  The federal 

12          assistance is triage.  It is not recovery.  

13                 For a full recovery, we need 

14          progressive taxes fueling massive investments 

15          in all institutional infrastructure -- 

16          healthcare, education and green energy.  The 

17          federal support will help us, but true 

18          recovery depends on us.

19                 There are a number of untapped revenue 

20          streams that, if approved by the Legislature 

21          and signed by the Governor, could bring in 

22          tens of billions of dollars in new revenue.  

23          New York could be placed on solid financial 

24          footing with the passage of a combination of 


 1          revenue raisers which target the mega-rich, 

 2          who have added to their fortunes each day 

 3          during the COVID pandemic.  The resources 

 4          raised would be crucial in carrying out the 

 5          ambitious agenda that SUNY, our students and 

 6          our state deserve.  

 7                 UUP is proposing such an ambitious 

 8          program in NY HEALS, a wide-ranging 

 9          legislative proposal that would expand 

10          services to address basic healthcare needs as 

11          well as the crisis in maternal mortality 

12          among African-Americans, provide support to 

13          hire diverse, full-time tenure-track faculty 

14          and staff, double the funding for opportunity 

15          programs, and fund innovative approaches so 

16          that SUNY can take the lead in creating a 

17          sustainable path forward for the state.  

18                 If there was ever a time when we need 

19          healing, it is now.  We must address the 

20          worsening crises we face together, and SUNY 

21          can and must lead.

22                 Thank you.

23                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  

24                 So we're going to go to some 


 1          questions.  A reminder to members and 

 2          Senators that it is three minutes to ask 

 3          questions of the panel, for both the question 

 4          and the answer.  

 5                 We go to Assemblymember Glick first.

 6                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN GLICK:  Yeah, let me ask 

 7          just a couple of questions.  

 8                 Obviously I understand that the 

 9          position of all of the panel is that we need 

10          to dramatically increase the number of 

11          dollars that we receive.  I'm going to set 

12          that argument aside and ask a couple of 

13          specific questions.

14                 For Barbara, we've gotten mixed 

15          information on how many adjuncts have been 

16          rehired and then how many are actually 

17          needed, based on the fact that there is a 

18          lower number of students participating -- I 

19          don't know if that's accurate or not.  

20                 The second part is that there's been 

21          professional development regarding the online 

22          teaching, and I'm wondering if that's in fact 

23          your experience.

24                 DR. BOWEN:  Thank you.  Thank you for 


 1          asking, and I'll be quick.  

 2                 On the question about the adjuncts, 

 3          the best information we have is that 

 4          initially last spring, before even drops in 

 5          enrollment -- and that's important -- 

 6          2,990 adjuncts were laid off.  Before the 

 7          enrollment for the coming fall was even 

 8          clear.

 9                 Thanks to the efforts of the 

10          department chairs, the union, solidarity 

11          among full-timers and part-timers, and the 

12          pressure that we put on CUNY so that they 

13          would use grant money to hire back adjuncts, 

14          about a thousand were reinstated.

15                 But even with that, there is still a 

16          need for the work they do.  All the research 

17          shows that online classes, which is what 

18          we're in now, need to be smaller than regular 

19          classes, because students don't succeed 

20          unless they have a small class in the online 

21          setting.  So there should in fact be more 

22          classes, and smaller classes.

23                 Instead, what CUNY has done -- in one 

24          department, for example, English at John Jay, 


 1          they cut 20 percent of their courses this 

 2          term.  All the department chairs of Brooklyn 

 3          College were initially told to raise the 

 4          maximum number needed and therefore cut 

 5          courses.  

 6                 These adjuncts are desperately needed, 

 7          and 422 were put off health insurance.  

 8                 Professional development, yes, CUNY 

 9          has been doing that.  It's woefully 

10          underpaid, and not everybody who's been 

11          taking that opportunity has received their 

12          proper payment.  So it is very inadequate.

13                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN GLICK:  All right.  I 

14          only have a moment left.  And I apologize, 

15          just to maintain my bandwidth, I don't have 

16          my video on.

17                 Fred, I'm just wondering about the -- 

18          with the 5 percent cut this year and, going 

19          forward, a $46 million cut, how many job 

20          losses do you anticipate?  And was this 

21          accomplished by encouraging people to retire 

22          or just the general attrition?  That's for 

23          Fred.

24                 DR. KOWAL:  For the fall semester, 


 1          what we saw was mostly attrition that took 

 2          place.  And also SUNY was using reserve 

 3          funds.

 4                 But we are already hearing for the 

 5          spring -- for instance, at Cortland College, 

 6          50 adjuncts have been informed that they will 

 7          not be back in the spring.  We are hearing 

 8          similar things at the University at Albany, 

 9          Binghamton and Stony Brook, at the University 

10          Centers, which tend to be in the best 

11          financial shape.

12                 So there's no way of projecting what 

13          will occur.  We're curious about what's 

14          happening with the funding, the federal 

15          funding that was passed late in the year.  We 

16          know specifically Cortland got $9 million or 

17          is due to get $9 million of that.  So we will 

18          need to be tracking that federal funding to 

19          ensure our workers, our members are 

20          protected.

21                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.

22                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN GLICK:  Thank you very 

23          much.

24                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Time is up.  


 1          We'll go to the Senate.

 2                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.  

 3                 We'll go to Toby Stavisky, Higher 

 4          Education chair.

 5                 You're on mute, Toby.  Take your mute 

 6          off.

 7                 SENATOR STAVISKY:  Sorry.

 8                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  That's okay.

 9                 SENATOR STAVISKY:  Sorry, I forget.  I 

10          need a class in this.  But then again, the 

11          adjunct -- no.

12                 (Laughter.)

13                 SENATOR STAVISKY:  Barbara, I'd like 

14          to ask Barbara and Fred each a question.  

15                 Barbara, obviously we all notice that 

16          the maintenance of effort was not included in 

17          the Governor's budget.  What's going to 

18          happen as a result?  

19                 DR. BOWEN:  There needs to be a 

20          maintenance of effort.  And that should be a 

21          floor.  For the Governor's budget not even to 

22          be talking about maintaining past effort, 

23          we -- also, to close the TAP gap.  We didn't 

24          talk about that in our oral testimony, but 


 1          there's almost $80 million in TAP gap, which 

 2          is a structural deficit at CUNY.  A similar 

 3          amount at SUNY.  That's not even included.  

 4                 And CUNY's budget request doesn't even 

 5          call for the mandatory cost increases for 

 6          fringe benefits and collectively bargained 

 7          increases.  That's a terrible mistake, 

 8          because it builds in a deficit which will be 

 9          taken out elsewhere.  

10                 So maintenance of effort should be a 

11          beginning, but we need much more than that.  

12          I think our point from both of us is that 

13          this is a time when we need to step up and do 

14          more investment, not just hold the line.

15                 SENATOR STAVISKY:  Thank you.

16                 Fred, may I ask you about campus 

17          safety and the importance of not only testing 

18          but inoculating all of the healthcare 

19          workers.  And would you -- the third point -- 

20          well, those are the three ones.  Would you 

21          comment on how this has affected your 

22          members?

23                 DR. KOWAL:  Yes.  And as quickly as 

24          possible, Senator.  


 1                 What I will say, in terms of the 

 2          maintenance of effort, I think the way I see 

 3          it, and not to be sarcastic, but it's almost 

 4          been a maintenance of insufficient effort, 

 5          especially in the proposed budget for this 

 6          year.  

 7                 As Barbara was saying, there's no 

 8          funding to cover the negotiated salary 

 9          increases.  There also, in the case of SUNY, 

10          there is not the mission-critical funding for 

11          the SUNY hospitals.  Which, as you heard the 

12          chancellor so eloquently say this morning, 

13          have been on the front lines of the pandemic.

14                 We also -- in terms of the security 

15          question that you talked about, the safety, 

16          not only is it a case where there is a 

17          shortage of vaccines at the hospitals, like 

18          at Upstate, and so everyone is not getting 

19          vaccinated who literally is working with 

20          patients.  

21                 The other, you know, extremely serious 

22          situation is our professional staff working 

23          in residential life, working in admissions, 

24          working in counseling services, are not 


 1          included in Category 1b.  They can't get 

 2          vaccinated, and they are dealing with 

 3          students on a day in and day out basis.  

 4                 It's unconscionable.  The chancellor 

 5          and I have argued for their inclusion.  But I 

 6          will tell you, I get emails daily from irate 

 7          members who are terrified, as they work with 

 8          students, that they're going to get infected 

 9          because they can't get vaccinated.

10                 SENATOR STAVISKY:  The fact that we 

11          have the four medical schools and the three 

12          hospitals, has that been helpful in any way?

13                 DR. KOWAL:  Yes, it has.  It 

14          definitely has been helpful, certainly in the 

15          development of the testing protocols at 

16          Upstate.  It has also been helpful in the 

17          ways that those members who are working at 

18          hospitals have been able really to educate 

19          the rest of us about the level of the crisis 

20          that we're facing.  But they really need to 

21          get that hazardous duty pay, because that is 

22          an unconscionable situation.

23                 SENATOR STAVISKY:  Thank you.  And 

24          please thank your members for what they do --


 1                 DR. KOWAL:  I will.

 2                 SENATOR STAVISKY:  -- all of NYSUT.

 3                 DR. BOWEN:  Thank you.  

 4                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  

 5                 We go to Assemblyman Epstein, three 

 6          minutes.

 7                 ASSEMBLYMAN EPSTEIN:  Thank you, and 

 8          thank you all.  The mantra is tax the rich to 

 9          fund our schools.

10                 So I want to know the impact of this, 

11          like, the killing of CUNY and SUNY.  What is 

12          the impact going to have to other students 

13          who are attending these schools?  And do you 

14          think that's the reason we've seen a 

15          declining enrollment over the last year?  

16                 DR. BOWEN:  Yes, absolutely.  And just 

17          to give you one statistic, there's a recent 

18          report by the Center for an Urban Future that 

19          shows that in New York City 64 percent of 

20          white residents have a bachelor's degree or 

21          higher, 27 percent of black residents, and 

22          20 percent of Latino residents.

23                 I mean, that gap is a disgrace.  And 

24          it's there, in part -- I mean, it's systemic 


 1          and it will take more, much more than fixing 

 2          CUNY funding to fix it.  But fixing CUNY 

 3          funding would go a long way, because the most 

 4          marginal students are the ones who are hurt 

 5          the most in any kind of cut.  

 6                 A lot of our students didn't have any 

 7          devices to take an online class.  We've had 

 8          students who say, in their classroom, 

 9          Professor, I'm standing here in the closet in 

10          my apartment because it's the only quiet 

11          place.  Or I have to get off this iPad now, 

12          because we have one device for everybody and 

13          there's five people in this apartment.

14                 I mean, those students were heroic to 

15          get to college in the first place.  And now 

16          there's just obstacle after obstacle.  So 

17          CUNY should be keeping faculty right there to 

18          help them, and providing the resources.  And 

19          the state needs to do that investment if 

20          there's any seriousness at all about an 

21          economic recovery that is more than just 

22          amplifying the wealth of the rich.

23                 ASSEMBLYMAN EPSTEIN:  Thank you.  And 

24          I know I only have a minute left, but I'd 


 1          love to hear what people feel is like CUNY 

 2          and SUNY's role in the green economy and how 

 3          CUNY and SUNY can play leaders in this -- you 

 4          know, when we have potentially millions if 

 5          not billions of dollars going into that.  And 

 6          Andrew or Frederick?

 7                 DR. KOWAL:  Yeah.  What I will say is 

 8          in -- and you've gotten a copy of our written 

 9          testimony where we outlined the extensive 

10          proposals we're making on SUNY taking the 

11          lead on the green transformation.  

12                 I was encouraged to hear the 

13          chancellor.  It sounded like he was endorsing 

14          one of our ideas, to have a program across 

15          campuses and centralizing the focus on this 

16          transformation that needs to occur.

17                 I think it's imperative that SUNY 

18          takes the lead -- not just because 40 percent 

19          of --

20                 ASSEMBLYMAN EPSTEIN:  I know we only 

21          have 30 seconds left, if Andrew wants to add 

22          anything.  I'm sorry, we're kind of short on 

23          time. 

24                 MR. PALLOTTA:  Thank you.  I can go 


 1          back to the enrollment issue, right, that you 

 2          spoke about.  So the fluctuations in how the 

 3          state funds the community colleges really is 

 4          going to hurt them.  

 5                 So right now, yes, there's a decline.  

 6          But that will go back up, and we want to make 

 7          sure that those institutions are vital and 

 8          ready for the students when they come back. 

 9                 ASSEMBLYMAN EPSTEIN:  Thank you all.  

10          Tax the rich, fund our schools.  Thank you.

11                 MR. PALLOTTA:  Thank you.

12                 DR. BOWEN:  Thanks, Harvey.

13                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  We go to the 

14          Senate.  I believe we have no more 

15          Assemblymembers.

16                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Oh, wow.  That's 

17          a new --

18                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Oh, now, we do 

19          have one, so we'll come back. 

20                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  -- challenging.  

21          So I saw Senator John Liu first.

22                 SENATOR LIU:  Well, I know I'm 

23          unmuted, but I'm just trying to get the video 

24          going.  There we go.


 1                 Hello.

 2                 DR. BOWEN:  Hello.

 3                 SENATOR LIU:  It's great, always, to 

 4          see our professor leaders here in our CUNY.  

 5                 I asked our CUNY chancellor earlier 

 6          and, you know, I suppose the chancellors are 

 7          to some extent under gag order from the big 

 8          dog, so I didn't press the issue.  But I 

 9          would like to ask all of you -- and I'll 

10          direct it to Barbara first, right.  Because 

11          like every year we're sitting here trying to 

12          figure out how to deal with budget cuts, 

13          budget deficits, trying to fund the TAP gap, 

14          trying not to raise tuition on students, all 

15          sorts of preserving programs that cost 

16          millions of dollars, when in fact we should 

17          be looking at billions.  Right?  Billions of 

18          dollars of investment for CUNY specifically.  

19                 There's the story of how in the Great 

20          Depression -- well, not the Great Depression, 

21          but economic -- the economic recession of the 

22          1970s saw a huge investment in CUNY.  A new 

23          campus, I believe, right?  

24                 DR. BOWEN:  In the thirties, in the 


 1          Depression.  

 2                 SENATOR LIU:  That was the Great 

 3          Depression, almost a hundred --

 4                 DR. BOWEN:  Three new campuses.

 5                 SENATOR LIU:  Right.  That seems to be 

 6          what we should be doing now, really changing 

 7          the paradigm for higher education, which I've 

 8          argued it shouldn't even be higher education, 

 9          it should just be education, because I don't 

10          think college, at least at the undergraduate 

11          level, is a -- I don't think it's an optional 

12          item anymore for the vast majority of people.

13                 So we are -- there are a number of us, 

14          and I know Assemblymember Epstein is 

15          certainly part of it, Senator Jackson I'm 

16          sure will talk about it as well.  We want to 

17          change the model, we want to raise a lot of 

18          revenue.  I tried to ask the chancellor what 

19          they would do if we had the revenue, but 

20          there was no answer.  So to me it seems like, 

21          you know, there's a gag order or there's just 

22          really no vision other than the day-to-day 

23          trying to balance and plug the budget 

24          deficits.  


 1                 What should be the vision?  And I 

 2          would say the vision should be a return to, 

 3          you know, free tuition, the establishment of 

 4          a couple of new campuses.  And, you know, 

 5          like funding the faculty fully, which not 

 6          only includes bringing back adjuncts but also 

 7          providing funding so that many of those 

 8          adjuncts can be full-time professors.  

 9                 So that's the kind of vision that I 

10          would have expected to hear about, but I 

11          didn't.  I'm sure -- 

12                 DR. BOWEN:  Now we only have nine 

13          seconds, so -- and it's not nearly enough.

14                 SENATOR LIU:  Maybe you can go a 

15          little longer, just because there aren't that 

16          many --

17                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  No, no, no.  

18          You can't use all your time to make a 

19          statement and then say, What do you think?  

20                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Helene is right.  

21          You're going to get a response from them 

22          afterwards, either in writing or verbally, 

23          however they would like.

24                 DR. BOWEN:  Okay.  I can't wait.


 1                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  

 2          Thank you, Senator, for understanding.

 3                 We're going to go to Assemblywoman 

 4          Simon.

 5                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN SIMON:  Thank you.  

 6                 Thank you for this panel.  You're 

 7          always people I like to hear from at these 

 8          hearings, because you make sense and are very 

 9          direct.  So I want to thank you all for your 

10          testimony.

11                 And, you know, particularly I think 

12          Barbara -- and Fred to a lesser extent, 

13          perhaps -- you know, we've seen these cuts 

14          that are being supported by declining 

15          enrollment.  And that declining enrollment in 

16          some respects is a factor of COVID and the 

17          impacts of COVID.  And, you know, I don't 

18          believe for a minute that we are going to 

19          continue to have those decreased enrollments, 

20          which are being used as evidence to support 

21          various cuts.

22                 I'm curious whether you guys have 

23          estimates of the likelihood of that 

24          stabilizing or, you know, increases in 


 1          enrollment, number one.

 2                 And number two, one of my colleagues 

 3          has a bill that I'm a sponsor of, and it's a 

 4          WPA for New York.  And I'm curious whether 

 5          you're familiar with that bill and what your 

 6          thinking is about having a WPA effort in 

 7          New York State.

 8                 DR. BOWEN:  That's great.  Fred, you 

 9          want to start?

10                 DR. KOWAL:  You go ahead.

11                 DR. BOWEN:  Okay.  I love the idea of 

12          a WPA for New York State.  And in fact a lot 

13          of the work of the original WPA was obscured 

14          by Robert Moses, who wanted to obscure the 

15          role of the federal government.  So there 

16          needs to be a recovery of that.  

17                 But yes.  I mean, our proposal, a 

18          New Deal for CUNY, which gets launched 

19          tomorrow, is in that tradition.  Absolutely.  

20                 Enrollments will rebound.  I mean, 

21          enrollments -- they're not down at every 

22          college.  As we've seen, some -- somewhat of 

23          the trend in lower enrollments in community 

24          colleges is national, not local.  We also 


 1          have President Biden with a plan for free 

 2          community college tuition.  And our proposal, 

 3          New Deal for CUNY, would reinstate free 

 4          tuition across CUNY at all levels.  

 5                 Enrollment would definitely go up if 

 6          that happened, because -- and you know this.  

 7          I know you've said this.  Even with TAP and 

 8          other support, there are so many other costs 

 9          that students have and so many other 

10          barriers.  Free tuition lifts those.

11                 So absolutely, enrollment will 

12          rebound.  And it will also rebound if the 

13          services are there for students.  I mean, 

14          it's sort of self-reinforcing, if you deplete 

15          the ranks of faculty and our counseling 

16          staff, mental health staff, then of course 

17          students don't stay.  Rebuild those ranks, 

18          students will stay.

19                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN SIMON:  Thank you.  

20                 DR. KOWAL:  And in terms of SUNY -- 

21          I'll use the remaining 18 seconds.  In terms 

22          of SUNY, we face a slightly different set of 

23          circumstances because of demographic shifts.  

24          There may be a slight rebound in the next 


 1          year, but we know that going forward into the 

 2          twenties there is going to be a diminished 

 3          number of students graduating from high 

 4          school in upstate.

 5                 We draw -- in SUNY, 57 percent of the 

 6          students come from the five boroughs and 

 7          Long Island, and so there's more and more 

 8          competition over one geographic area.  So 

 9          that's why we're embracing very aggressive 

10          new programs to attract students, including 

11          students from out of state, which I think is 

12          going to be vitally important.

13                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN SIMON:  Thank you.  

14                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  

15                 We go to the Senate.

16                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.  

17                 Senator Robert Jackson, for three 

18          minutes and zero seconds.

19                 SENATOR JACKSON:  Thank you.  

20                 Thank you, everyone.  So let me just 

21          thank you for coming in and presenting what 

22          you have to say about the state budget.  

23                 I'd like to know how many people have 

24          been laid off or not hired, both at NYSUT, 


 1          Barbara at PSC, and Fred at UUP.  How many 

 2          people have been laid off in the past year?  

 3                 DR. BOWEN:  I'll start, and then -- at 

 4          CUNY the net layoff of adjuncts was about 

 5          2,000.  There was initially about 2,900, and 

 6          we were able to bring some back.  But net, 

 7          about 2,000.  That's a huge number out of the 

 8          adjuncts.  That's a huge workforce laid off.  

 9                 Less visible, but very important, is 

10          that CUNY's also down 500 full-time 

11          positions, faculty and staff, because of 

12          hiring freezes.  So the number of full-time 

13          faculty has shrunk, and staff, because of 

14          hiring freezes.  So we are really being hit 

15          hard even before official cuts --

16                 SENATOR JACKSON:  I've got to move, 

17          because I'm limited in time.  

18                 Fred, can you give me what numbers, if 

19          you have it, as the president of UUP?  

20                 DR. KOWAL:  What we've had so far, 

21          Senator, is we can track about 1,000 lost 

22          lines within SUNY.  However, we are not 

23          aware -- that is not 1,000 people who were 

24          laid off or retrenched.  It was a couple of 


 1          hundred that were.  

 2                 But what we're seeing, different from 

 3          CUNY, is the wave coming this spring and 

 4          especially this coming fall unless we get the 

 5          funding we need.

 6                 SENATOR JACKSON:  Sure.  And NYSUT 

 7          overall, as far as educators?  

 8                 Pallotta?  Oh, you're muted.  

 9                 MR. PALLOTTA:  Barbara got hit the 

10          hardest, and then of course Fred spoke of 

11          his.  

12                 It's a small number in the community 

13          colleges, but what they're looking at now is 

14          33 million that they would be reduced by 

15          because of the reduction in enrollment.  So 

16          they're looking at a very difficult future --

17                 SENATOR JACKSON:  And I know we're 

18          talking about higher education, but as far as 

19          teachers overall, around the state, how many?  

20                 MR. PALLOTTA:  With teachers, we're 

21          talking probably, total picture, about 3,000, 

22          including the adjuncts from PSC.

23                 SENATOR JACKSON:  So if we don't get 

24          the money that we need from the feds, which 


 1          is at least 15 billion -- and people say that 

 2          we're going to have to raise taxes ourselves.  

 3          You would all agree that if that doesn't 

 4          happen, there's going to be thousands more 

 5          layoffs around the state?  

 6                 MR. PALLOTTA:  Thousands of layoffs.  

 7          Just the way we had it back in 2009, where we 

 8          lost 30,000 educators.

 9                 SENATOR JACKSON:  I just wanted to 

10          paint the picture of what happened and what 

11          will happen if we don't get the funds.  And 

12          obviously I agree with the six bills, Invest 

13          in New York.  And people -- I've been reading 

14          an article by Errol Louis in the New York 

15          Daily News saying that tax hikes, that just 

16          won't deliver.  

17                 I disagree with him.  We have to make 

18          it work.  And I think that we have to be 

19          smart about it.  So I look forward to working 

20          with all of you in trying to make sure that 

21          we raise revenues --

22                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Senator Jackson, 

23          You're 12 seconds over.  Thank you.

24                 And thank you, all you panelists, very 


 1          much.

 2                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  We have 

 3          Assemblywoman --

 4                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Oh, excuse me, 

 5          one more.  Excuse me.

 6                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Yeah, one more.  

 7          Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn.


 9          Hi, thank you so much, all of you, for being 

10          here.

11                 (Inaudible.)  -- fans and a great 

12          supporter.  And I wanted to probably yield my 

13          time to John Liu's question.  But before 

14          that, just quickly, I just want to note that 

15          I do support the invest in New York 

16          Coalition.  I think that's a great way for us 

17          to raise revenue.  

18                 I also have a bill on free community 

19          college, so I hope Biden adopts my bill.  

20                 (Laughter.)


22          as you talk about all of these things that we 

23          face every year -- TAP gap, faculties not 

24          being fully funded, maintenance of effort, 


 1          tuition increase, programs being cut -- what 

 2          is the plan?  Especially when our facilities 

 3          are not being utilized.  And it seems as if 

 4          we're going to be maintaining a remote 

 5          learning, how creative can we get with 

 6          funding, leasing buildings and so forth?  But 

 7          you have two minutes.  Please address what 

 8          Senator John Liu had asked.  Thank you.  

 9                 DR. BOWEN:  Okay.  Thank you.  And 

10          thanks for your support for people who need 

11          it very badly.  So thank you so much.

12                 There's so much.  And when you talked 

13          about creativity, I want to start there.  

14          There is such a lack of imagination in this 

15          critical moment about what could be done and 

16          what a resource CUNY could be.  

17                 I mean, for one thing, the City of 

18          New York should hire CUNY students to go door 

19          to door and help people get appointments for 

20          vaccines, those who are eligible, and then 

21          take them there when their time has come.  

22          That's just one simple idea.

23                 But in terms of John Liu's question, 

24          the New Deal for CUNY is a start on that, and 


 1          it's a New Deal that would increase the 

 2          number of full-time faculty at CUNY by 5,000.  

 3          It would have a special mandate to increase 

 4          the diversity, the racial and ethnic 

 5          diversity of faculty; to make New York a 

 6          national leader in labor standards -- it's 

 7          disgraceful the labor standards in higher ed 

 8          as an industry where we have thousands of 

 9          people paid unacceptable wages in 

10          unacceptable conditions.  New York should be 

11          a leader and mandate that that can be no 

12          more.  

13                 It would increase the number of mental 

14          health counselors, academic advisors, and 

15          make all tuition free.  But I would go beyond 

16          that.  New Deal for CUNY is just a start.  

17          With 4 billion from John Liu, we would make 

18          the pay competitive for once.  We would 

19          double the number of faculty.  We would have 

20          beautiful libraries.  

21                 Nothing is too good for our students.  

22          They should have beauty everywhere they are.  

23          They should have beautiful labs, they should 

24          have facilities in every community college.  


 1          They should have the kind of attention that I 

 2          have seen in the private universities where 

 3          I've taught, where students don't drop out 

 4          and they don't fail, because they have 

 5          somebody supporting them 100 percent of the 

 6          time.  

 7                 If there were the political will to do 

 8          that at CUNY, we could do it.  We know how to 

 9          do it.  And it's a question of whether 

10          New York State wants these students to fail 

11          or wants them to thrive.  And we want them to 

12          thrive.  But it's time that we change that 

13          agenda, which right now looks like an agenda 

14          that wants them to fail.


16          Thank you.  

17                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.

18                 I believe we do not have any other 

19          members or Senators.  So I just want to join 

20          my colleagues who have thanked you for being 

21          here, but also thank your members for all 

22          they've been able to do during -- under very 

23          trying circumstances.  

24                 So thank you for being here.  I'm sure 


 1          we look forward to hearing some responses.  

 2                 And we're going to move on to Panel B, 

 3          which is two individuals, the CUNY University 

 4          Student Senate, Jovanine --

 5                 MS. PIQUANT:  Juvanie Piquant.

 6                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Juvanie 

 7          Piquant, thank you.  I should look at the 

 8          list before I try and read.  But after 

 9          six and a half, approaching seven hours, it's 

10          getting a little -- your eyes get a little 

11          tired.

12                 MS. PIQUANT:  That's why the students 

13          should go first.

14                 (Laughter.)

15                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Maybe next 

16          year.

17                 And then the State University of 

18          New York Student Assembly, Brad Hershenson, 

19          president.  

20                 So we will start with CUNY and then go 

21          on to SUNY.

22                 MS. PIQUANT:  Good afternoon --

23                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Let me just -- 

24          before you start, I just want to say we have 


 1          your written testimony.  It's been 

 2          distributed to everybody.  Use your three 

 3          minutes to highlight your most important 

 4          points, and there may be some questions from 

 5          some members.

 6                 Now you can go, please.  

 7                 MS. PIQUANT:  Good afternoon, members 

 8          of the committee.  My name is Juvanie 

 9          Piquant.  I serve as chairperson of the CUNY 

10          University Student Senate, which is the 

11          student governing body of 500,000 students 

12          across all 25 CUNY campuses.  I'm a 

13          third-year student at New York City of 

14          Technology, majoring in law and paralegal 

15          studies.

16                 Today we are here because of the 

17          constant austerity budgets that we've 

18          constantly had in the City University of 

19          New York due to the constant disinvestment in 

20          public higher education.  The Executive 

21          Budget that the Governor proposes, proposes 

22          an authorization of an extension of 

23          predictable tuition hikes.  Tuition hikes are 

24          not predictable, nor rational.  For the next 


 1          five years, we cannot be balancing the 

 2          budgets on the backs of our students.  

 3                 The majority of our students have a 

 4          household income of $30,000.  The majority of 

 5          them are facing housing and food insecurity.  

 6          But it's not just that.  Those students are 

 7          Black and Brown students in the City 

 8          University of New York who are detrimentally 

 9          being affected by the constant disinvestment.

10                 How did we get here?  We didn't get to 

11          this point in CUNY because of the 

12          coronavirus.  We got here because of years of 

13          constant, systematic disinvestment to our 

14          university, constant cuts to opportunity 

15          programs.  And raising tuition on the backs 

16          of students is not a form of sustainable 

17          revenue, as we can see as it stands.

18                 And how do we go to a more efficient 

19          university?  We must be able to understand 

20          the concept of raising new revenue.  And when 

21          we raise revenue, what does that mean?  That 

22          means that we will be able to provide the 

23          services and invest in the City University of 

24          New York, invest in closing the TAP gap, 


 1          invest in not just only stopping tuition 

 2          hikes but never looking at tuition as a way 

 3          to increase revenue.  

 4                 We must expand opportunity programs, 

 5          and we must expand TAP.  We have something 

 6          called the TAP gap at our institution that is 

 7          still eating out of our budgets, and we also 

 8          now have an Excelsior gap.  And the Excelsior 

 9          Scholarship does not necessarily help our 

10          students, the majority of our students.  

11                 And in the times of crisis, we have 

12          seen this nationally, in the federal 

13          government, we have seen this in New York 

14          State.  We must look at a way for us to 

15          reimagine higher education in New York.  We 

16          must set the example to leading forces across 

17          the country of what higher education could 

18          be.  We must think in a concept of a New 

19          Deal.  We must think in a concept of how do 

20          we re-innovate what does education mean for 

21          us.

22                 We cannot operate in the concept of 

23          education being a luxury, but education and 

24          public higher education should be a right.  


 1          Not just for one particular student, but it 

 2          should be a right for all students.  

 3          Regardless of zip code, socioeconomic status 

 4          or background, gender or race, higher 

 5          education should be accessible to all.

 6                 And these are the stories of not just 

 7          me, but many CUNY students.  Last week I was 

 8          diagnosed with the coronavirus, and I also 

 9          lost my grandfather last week.  But it is 

10          important to show up to continuously fight 

11          for our students, to understand it is up to 

12          this Legislature to decide whether they will 

13          be investing in public higher education, and 

14          be investing in this institution that will 

15          give students opportunity and accessibility 

16          in New York City and across the world.

17                 Thank you.

18                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  And 

19          hopefully you have a speedy recovery, and 

20          condolences on your loss.

21                 Brad, you're up.

22                 MR. HERSHENSON:  Thank you.  

23                 Juvanie, you're a tough act to follow.

24                 Good afternoon, everyone.  My name is 


 1          Brad Hershenson, and I'm a graduate student 

 2          at the University at Albany.  I am privileged 

 3          and honored to serve as the president of the 

 4          Student Assembly, the recognized student 

 5          government representing the 64 campuses of 

 6          SUNY.

 7                 Right now we must invest in SUNY.  

 8          Graduates of SUNY are likely to work and live 

 9          in New York and continue to stimulate local 

10          and state economies through employment and 

11          taxes.  In fact, 80 percent of graduates 

12          remain in New York.  

13                 With issues such as the TAP gap, it's 

14          not a gap anymore that we're talking about.  

15          At tens of millions of dollars, we're talking 

16          about a canyon.  This has forced our 

17          institutions to balance their budgets on the 

18          backs of their own students.

19                 We need resources to invest in the 

20          services and programs -- such as mental 

21          health counseling, food pantries, protecting 

22          and enhancing EOP, academic advisement, 

23          gender and sexuality, and disability 

24          resources.


 1                 Earlier this morning the chancellor 

 2          made reference to the Middle Earth Peer 

 3          Assistance Program, which operates a mental 

 4          health hotline.  This is a program run by my 

 5          home campus, the University at Albany, and 

 6          it's advertised to all students in the entire 

 7          SUNY system.  However, the students 

 8          themselves pick up the slack where the state 

 9          support falls short.  Students, through their 

10          student activity fees, put forward hundreds 

11          of thousands of dollars to support this 

12          program alone.  

13                 And the same goes for services such as 

14          the offering of kosher and halal meals, and 

15          other areas where the campuses just can't 

16          afford to do during a pandemic -- in part, 

17          based on increased base expenses.  

18                 We need to also expand the promise of 

19          programs such as the Excelsior Scholarship.  

20                 What is needed now are measures to 

21          incorporate support for the real costs 

22          associated with pursuing a degree -- housing, 

23          food, transportation, textbooks, equipment, 

24          internet access -- which could maybe be a 


 1          capital investment, closing the digital 

 2          divide.  These are all financial stresses of 

 3          students, otherwise known as backdoor 

 4          tuition.  I know my fellow graduate students 

 5          who are forced to pay back their wages would 

 6          concur.

 7                 President Biden supports free tuition 

 8          at our community colleges.  We need to stop 

 9          relying on tuition increases on our campuses.  

10          State officials need to stop claiming that 

11          New York is a free-tuition advocate while 

12          simultaneously proposing that SUNY and CUNY 

13          be authorized to raise tuition yet again.

14                 I must put forward the notion of 

15          equity for the student voices at SUNY.  Our 

16          organization has been financially starved for 

17          decades, and we only hope to be treated the 

18          same as the CUNY students who have been 

19          granted stability of funding and 

20          representation through their own 

21          constituency.

22                 Right now, right in this exact moment, 

23          we are truly at a crossroads.  We need the 

24          Legislature to put the blinking red lights on 


 1          tuition increases and move SUNY down a new 

 2          pathway, one that supports students and does 

 3          not increase tuition during a pandemic.  It's 

 4          time we recognize our collective 

 5          responsibility to offer a world-class 

 6          education at an affordable cost to all.

 7                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  

 8          Thank you so much for being here.  

 9                 We have a number of members who have 

10          some questions, comments.  We go first to 

11          Assemblymember Glick, our Higher Ed chair.

12                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN GLICK:  Good afternoon.  

13          I apologize for not having my video on.  I 

14          actually like to put it on, but it does seem 

15          to interfere.  I just want you to know I'm 

16          actually a disembodied voice.  But it does 

17          seem to interfere with my bandwidth 

18          connection.

19                 Juvanie, first of all, I hope that you 

20          feel better soon, and I'm very sorry for your 

21          recent loss.

22                 I don't disagree that we have 

23          increased tuition at an unsustainable rate.  

24          But I'm wondering whether the students by and 


 1          large, if we were to stop increasing tuition, 

 2          what would be the top things that the 

 3          students would want us to ensure in terms 

 4          of -- is it smaller class size, is it 

 5          expanded services beyond the classroom, is it 

 6          library hours, technology assistance?  What 

 7          are the things -- because, you know, we're 

 8          going to have to figure out the money.

 9                 So what are the top student needs?

10                 MS. PIQUANT:  I would say obviously 

11          all that you've mentioned, because those 

12          services are the ones that help us get 

13          through our collegiate journey.  Thus I would 

14          say food and housing insecurity, mental 

15          health services.  Those are fundamental core 

16          things that we need for us to be able to 

17          carry out our duties as students.  If we are 

18          hungry, if we don't have stable roofs over 

19          our heads, if we don't have anyone to speak 

20          to when we're going through times of trauma, 

21          we will be unable to perform or even in fact 

22          be a student.  

23                 A majority of the time, that's what's 

24          causing us to drop out and to leave, because 


 1          we do not have the support to carry us 

 2          through.  It is not that we cannot handle the 

 3          academic rigor, because we are CUNY students 

 4          and we will show up in exemplary measures all 

 5          the time.  But we need the support services 

 6          to help us sustain ourselves.

 7                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN GLICK:  Thank you.

 8                 Brad?

 9                 MR. HERSHENSON:  Sure.  Just to echo, 

10          I have to echo my colleague's remarks.  

11          Mental health services are really key.  

12          Disability resources as well are a major 

13          point, and food insecurity.  I think we 

14          really would like to see more investment in 

15          these areas, specific training for faculty on 

16          the area of disability services and 

17          accommodations for students.

18                 But I think it's more than just 

19          funding the services that are important to 

20          students, it's funding those other ideas such 

21          as the TAP gap or the increased base 

22          expenses.  Because without funding faculty 

23          salary contracts, when we have a 3 percent 

24          increase, students end up asking questions 


 1          like, well, why is the library open at 

 2          8 o'clock when last year it was open at 

 3          midnight?

 4                 So we need to fund the increased base 

 5          expenses that the campuses have to pay; 

 6          otherwise, we don't have those services.

 7                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN GLICK:  Okay, thank you.

 8                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.

 9                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN GLICK:  I'm with you.  

10          You know, I went when it was free -- at least 

11          I started when it was free.  I couldn't 

12          finish free.

13                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Senate, do you 

14          have --

15                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  I think Toby 

16          Stavisky, our Higher Ed chair.  I'm trying to 

17          see if she does.

18                 SENATOR STAVISKY:  Yes, and I'm 

19          unmuted.

20                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  She does, okay.

21                 SENATOR STAVISKY:  We've all been 

22          unmuted in many ways today.

23                 Juvanie, I'm sorry about your 

24          grandfather, and I hope you feel better soon.


 1                 Real quick, if you remember a year and 

 2          a half ago when I held hearings all over the 

 3          state, I had the president of the college 

 4          first and I had the students second.  

 5          Because, quite frankly, you are our clients.  

 6                 Really, one comment.  When they 

 7          increase the tuition in this irrational 

 8          tuition -- excuse me, the rational tuition 

 9          policy was enacted, they did it because they 

10          were going to have smaller class sizes and 

11          additional faculty.  My real question to both 

12          of you is how has the online remote learning 

13          affected the students?

14                 MS. PIQUANT:  It's been very 

15          different.  And it is no secret we are not 

16          receiving the same delivery mode of teaching 

17          that we should be.  And yes, we have faculty 

18          who are doing all that they can to combat 

19          these times and to give us our education in 

20          the ways that they can, but it is not the 

21          same.

22                 And you still have Zoom classes that 

23          are extensively in large numbers.  And the 

24          mechanism, for example, of using the raised 


 1          hand option, trying to have classroom dialog, 

 2          becomes extensively difficult.  Now your 

 3          professor has to click the Zoom screen and 

 4          click the arrow to make sure did I hear 

 5          something, do I see you, connection issues -- 

 6          it all becomes a barrier in us receiving our 

 7          education virtually.

 8                 SENATOR STAVISKY:  Thank you.

 9                 Brad, would you like to respond?

10                 MR. HERSHENSON:  Sure.  I think what 

11          we've seen is, front and center, the digital 

12          divide.  And we've seen a greater emphasis 

13          and a need for graduate students to be 

14          involved in virtual course instruction.  In a 

15          lot of cases, graduate students are on the 

16          back end of course delivery, and we've seen 

17          students working many hours to address some 

18          of the concerns of students.  

19                 We've seen different software programs 

20          that make students take a camera and 

21          literally walk around their room to make sure 

22          they're not cheating or there's no one else 

23          in the room with them.  So it really shows 

24          the digital divide and how different students 


 1          may not have the same resources as one 

 2          another to operate in this environment.

 3                 SENATOR STAVISKY:  You notice -- 

 4          {inaudible} -- we're doing a lot of Zoom 

 5          also.

 6                 Is there anything either of you would 

 7          like to comment on what the college 

 8          chancellors have said?

 9                 MS. PIQUANT:  I know -- I believe it 

10          was Senator John Liu who asked about would, 

11          you know, he do in terms of if we had an 

12          extra couple of -- $4 billion.  I just want 

13          to take the time to stress I have been a 

14          student leader in CUNY, I have testified in 

15          countless hearings.

16                 SENATOR STAVISKY:  Mine included.

17                 MS. PIQUANT:  It's been years and 

18          years of the same dance.  And I think -- we 

19          are in the midst of a pandemic.  It is up to 

20          this Legislature to decide if we are going to 

21          put public higher education as a priority, 

22          not forget about us after we come to the 

23          hearings.  These are real stories, real 

24          students who are going through hardships, and 


 1          we have the ability to change their lives.  

 2          We have the ability to make a difference in 

 3          New York State and be a leading example in 

 4          higher education.  And it is up to us, in the 

 5          midst of this crisis, for us to figure out 

 6          how will we reimagine New York.  That starts 

 7          with investing in CUNY and in higher 

 8          education.

 9                 SENATOR STAVISKY:  Thank you.

10                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.

11                 So we're going to go to Assemblyman 

12          Ra, three minutes.

13                 ASSEMBLYMAN RA:  Thank you, 

14          Chairwoman.  

15                 Thank you both for being here.

16                 Always one of my favorite groups to 

17          come before us.  I was a student government 

18          person back in my college days.  In fact, I 

19          met my wife through student government.  I 

20          held the position my junior year that she had 

21          held her junior year -- she was a year older 

22          than me -- and she had to train me in 

23          everything, and that's how we met.  

24                 So thank you for your advocacy on 


 1          behalf of your fellow students.

 2                 Really this goes along the same lines 

 3          as what the chairwoman was just asking about, 

 4          and that's, you know, what your experience 

 5          has been in the last year.  You know, not 

 6          just in terms of classes themselves, but, you 

 7          know, all those support services that you're 

 8          used to getting as you're going through 

 9          school.  You know, career counseling, 

10          tutoring, all those different things.  Have 

11          you been able to access those?  What has your 

12          experience been, both things that you still 

13          can access in-person, or things you're 

14          accessing virtually?

15                 MS. PIQUANT:  I would say the digital 

16          divide has, as my colleague mentioned, Brad, 

17          has caused rifts, and it makes it a bit 

18          harder.  For example, reaching out to the 

19          financial aid office or the bursar's office, 

20          it's much harder to connect with them because 

21          you're not on campus.  You can't just go and 

22          wait in front of the bursar's office, now you 

23          have to send an email. 

24                 Some students who are new, you have 


 1          the freshmen who don't necessarily know how 

 2          to navigate or know exactly where things are 

 3          digitally on the website, or they may not 

 4          know this is who I have to reach out to, it 

 5          can create some barriers.

 6                 And we have seen, of course -- there 

 7          has been some telecounseling, there have been 

 8          efforts to have online support services for 

 9          us.  But then again, it is not enough and it 

10          needs to be more.  Because there are some 

11          people who are falling in the cracks, and 

12          those students who are falling in the cracks, 

13          how do we help them up to speed.

14                 MR. HERSHENSON:  On our end, I think, 

15          you know, it really all adds up.  Those 

16          mental health counseling services and the 

17          food pantries and veterans' services, I mean, 

18          it really is part of the student picture and 

19          it helps students graduate successfully and 

20          on time.  

21                 I think some services translate 

22          virtually in ways that other services don't.  

23          For example, gender and sexuality resources 

24          are a big concern for students.  And if a 


 1          student is not out to their parents or their 

 2          family, maybe they rely on that in-person 

 3          environment where they can be comfortable and 

 4          want to be who they are on campus.  But in a 

 5          virtual environment, that can be tough.

 6                 So in that area, we really like to see 

 7          more investment on these services.  And we 

 8          see it as an investment in the State of 

 9          New York.  We're the taxpayers, we're going 

10          to end up living in New York paying property 

11          tax and income tax and frequenting the local 

12          businesses.  So this is all part of the 

13          picture, the greater picture of investment in 

14          the State of New York.  And we'll be here for 

15          decades to pay back that return on investment 

16          for as long as we're living here.

17                 ASSEMBLYMAN RA:  Right.  Thank you 

18          both.  Keep up the good work.  Be well.

19                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you. 

20                 Now we move to Assemblyman Epstein.

21                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Actually, we have 

22          Senator Liu who snuck in as well.

23                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Okay.  So let's 

24          go to the Senate.  


 1                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Okay, thank you.  

 2                 Senator John Liu to ask questions.

 3                 SENATOR LIU:  I didn't realize I snuck 

 4          in.  All I did was press the "raise hand" 

 5          button.

 6                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  I know.  But I 

 7          saw that.

 8                 SENATOR LIU:  I thought I'd do this 

 9          quick before I get excoriated by our chairs 

10          again for exceeding my time.

11                 First, it's nice to hear from 

12          Assemblymember Ed Ra that he was well-trained 

13          by his wife.  Congratulations, Ed.

14                 (Laughter.)

15                 SENATOR LIU:  Always great to see our 

16          student leaders.  Nice to see you, Juvanie.  

17          I'm sorry about your granddad.  I hope you 

18          get better soon.

19                 And Brad, I was wondering if you might 

20          know Assemblymember Seawright.  I was just 

21          wondering, but -- well, you don't have to 

22          answer that.

23                 And like Ed, I was also active on 

24          campus.  In fact, back in the day when I was 


 1          a student, which was a long time ago, it was 

 2          called the Student Association of the State 

 3          University of New York, SASU.  It's a 

 4          different name now, but that was the 

 5          statewide student association for all of SUNY 

 6          students -- all the campus student 

 7          associations.

 8                 In any event, yeah, I mean, we're 

 9          talking about trying to raise a lot of 

10          revenue.  And we know what we would do with 

11          $4 billion for the public school system all 

12          throughout the state, and that is really to 

13          fulfill what the courts mandated the State of 

14          New York do a long time ago, more than a 

15          dozen years ago, through a court mandate.  

16                 And every year I've commented that 

17          higher education, meaning SUNY and CUNY, they 

18          kind of take a back seat to what we're trying 

19          to do to fulfill the Campaign for Fiscal 

20          Equity mandate for what's called lower 

21          education.  You know, everything through high 

22          school.  

23                 Well, if we had $4 billion?  And, you 

24          know, it's hard to try to fight for that if 


 1          no one can even say what they will use it 

 2          for.  We know we could get $150 million to 

 3          fund the TAP gap.  We know, you know, there's 

 4          probably a collection of another $50 million 

 5          to $80 million to restore all the programs.  

 6          But how much would free tuition cost?  Right?  

 7          I mean, we're talking probably a billion 

 8          dollars there.  What additional expansions of 

 9          CUNY, like we had seen in the 1970s fiscal 

10          crisis, could we embark on now?  

11                 I'm sure you have ideas.  But, you 

12          know, if you want to answer them now, great.  

13          If not, you know, just think about it.  But 

14          it would be helpful for me personally to know 

15          what could we do with $4 billion -- or three, 

16          or maybe five -- if we get that additional 

17          revenue and devote it to CUNY and possibly 

18          SUNY as well?

19                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  You have 

20          23 seconds.  Just John took a long time to 

21          ask the question.  

22                 SENATOR LIU:  Don't you want 

23          $4 billion?  

24                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  I think they're 


 1          going to put -- they're going to send you in 

 2          writing some comments.

 3                 MS. PIQUANT:  We'll definitely reach 

 4          out to you.  You'll be hearing from us.  We 

 5          will let you know all about the need.

 6                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.  

 7                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  

 8                 So we go to Assemblyman Epstein.

 9                 ASSEMBLYMAN EPSTEIN:  I also want to 

10          know what you want to do with $4 billion.  

11          You can tell me that later too.  

12                 Again, Juvanie, just -- I'm sorry for 

13          your loss.  You guys are -- both of you are 

14          amazing leaders, and I look forward to all 

15          the work you're going to do to improve all of 

16          the lives of all New Yorkers.

17                 I'd love to kind of humanize the story 

18          a bit, because I think this is -- we all know 

19          we need to tax the rich and fund our schools.  

20          But stories -- like I don't think we know -- 

21          we don't hear enough stories of students who 

22          had to drop out or students who've had family 

23          issues or students who've had to struggle or 

24          how the cuts are going to impact.  Because 


 1          they're just like, there are cuts, and these 

 2          are theoretical things.

 3                 Is there a way that you could help us 

 4          humanize like this person went to this school 

 5          and this is what happened and now this is why 

 6          they can't continue their education?  Those 

 7          stories will really help us as we push 

 8          internally, as you guys push externally, for 

 9          more funding for CUNY and SUNY to, you know, 

10          end the TAP gap and really have a program.  

11                 So can you guys commit to helping us 

12          with those stories and getting that 

13          information out so we can have those?

14                 MS. PIQUANT:  Yes.  And I would say 

15          also -- we can definitely get you the 

16          stories.  But also, if this committee should 

17          have more hearings to hear more of the 

18          stories, and more opportunities to hear not 

19          just only from myself and Brad, but other 

20          students that we represent to hear from us, I 

21          think having more hearings also can be an 

22          effective way as well.

23                 ASSEMBLYMAN EPSTEIN:  Well -- and I 

24          think we'd be happy to do that.  I know with 


 1          Senator Stavisky's hearings that we traveled, 

 2          I was with her for many of those hearings, 

 3          traveling around the state.  I think I would 

 4          be supportive of whatever hearing the Senate 

 5          or the Assembly Higher Ed chairs wanted to 

 6          have, to have these conversations, because I 

 7          think we need to hear more about this 

 8          disinvestment impacting our students.

 9                 You know, students with disabilities, 

10          big issue.  What's the funding cuts looking 

11          like?  And the food insecurity and housing 

12          insecurity.  Can you tell us what you're 

13          hearing from students in the last minute that 

14          we have?  

15                 MS. PIQUANT:  Well, I'll keep it short 

16          and then Brad can take it on.  

17                 I would say students with 

18          disabilities, the digital divide is creating 

19          barriers in terms of them having the 

20          accessible resources they need to receive 

21          proper instruction virtually.  And we do have 

22          food insecurity, for example, which is a 

23          prominent issue.  But we have seen the 

24          chancellor share out and say that students 


 1          will be able to go to any food pantry, 

 2          despite that being your campus.  

 3                 But I think we need more sustainable 

 4          ways of running our food pantries and making 

 5          sure they're stocked up and ready to go.  And 

 6          also mental health services is a very, very 

 7          important thing that needs to be expanded, 

 8          and time is of the essence and it's extremely 

 9          urgent that we get on it now.

10                 ASSEMBLYMAN EPSTEIN:  Brad, 

11          20 seconds?

12                 MR. HERSHENSON:  Sure.  We will 

13          definitely follow up with testimonies of 

14          students and share the stories of students.  

15                 On the disability side of things, it's 

16          tough for students.  And it's tough to adapt 

17          to Zoom and Webex and all the different types 

18          of virtual platforms.  It's tough when 

19          someone's wearing a mask and you need to be 

20          able to read lips.  If your lips are covered, 

21          it's very tough.  Students need to have 

22          colors and certain font sizes, where faculty 

23          need to accommodate for that.  And in some 

24          instances, it's very tough for students.


 1                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  

 2                 We actually will have some student 

 3          leaders later talking about disability issues 

 4          and higher education.

 5                 So now we got up to Assemblywoman 

 6          Seawright.

 7                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN SEAWRIGHT:  Thank you, 

 8          Chairwoman Weinstein, and Chair Krueger.  

 9                 And Brad and Juvanie, you've provided 

10          very good testimony today.  I want to direct 

11          my questions to Juvanie.  And my sympathy on 

12          the loss of your grandfather, and best wishes 

13          as you yourself recover from COVID.

14                 So I just have two quick questions, 

15          Juvanie.  What is CUNY doing to extend 

16          telecounseling programs?  

17                 MS. PIQUANT:  In terms of 

18          telecounseling programs, we know that they've 

19          had some funding to expand.  That expansion 

20          is seen directly in the fingertips of our 

21          students -- we still haven't seen it, and we 

22          are in February.

23                 And as you probably heard me mention 

24          before, time is of the essence.  We do see 


 1          that there is virtual counseling, some 

 2          campuses having them, but to the extensive 

 3          point as it should be, allotted to help meet 

 4          the demand of how many students are needing 

 5          to receive mental health services.

 6                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN SEAWRIGHT:  Okay.  And 

 7          can you just tell me, how do you fund your 

 8          organization?  

 9                 MS. PIQUANT:  So the University 

10          Student Senate is funded by a student 

11          activity fee, which is they pay $1.45 in 

12          terms of going -- every student pays $1.45 

13          into our organization.  That money is used 

14          for us to carry out our advocacy measures.  

15          And last year, last year's administration 

16          actually gave over $100,000 back into the 

17          pockets of the students in terms of 

18          scholarships and many other ways to help 

19          execute our advocacy measures.

20                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN SEAWRIGHT:  And how long 

21          has CUNY had that fee?  

22                 MS. PIQUANT:  That fee has been there 

23          since the 1970s.  It was suspended but then 

24          reinstated.


 1                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN SEAWRIGHT:  Great.  

 2          Okay, thank you.  And best wishes to you with 

 3          your studies.  I expect one day to see you as 

 4          the first CUNY United States Supreme Court 

 5          justice.  So good luck with your pre-law 

 6          studies.

 7                 MS. PIQUANT:  Thank you.

 8                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN SEAWRIGHT:  Thank you 

 9          both.

10                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  And 

11          the last Assemblymember to address the panel 

12          is Assemblywoman Hyndman.  

13                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN HYNDMAN:  Hi.  Thank 

14          you.  Brad, the former Assemblywoman didn't 

15          ask you any questions.  I wonder why.  

16                 Juvanie, it's always good to see you.  

17          And as you've testified, I've noticed that 

18          there's more strength in your presentation.  

19          So I'm just excited for your future.

20                 MS. PIQUANT:  Thank you.

21                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN HYNDMAN:  My question is 

22          this.  I am -- I was a -- when I was at SUNY 

23          New Paltz, I was an undocumented student.  

24          And so my question is -- and I remember being 


 1          afraid to ask too many questions for fear of 

 2          someone finding out my status and reporting 

 3          me.  

 4                 So my question is for undocumented 

 5          students, particularly in SUNY and CUNY, what 

 6          avenues do they have now, being that we're in 

 7          COVID and dealing with remote learning and, 

 8          you know, wanting services or having food 

 9          insecurities and not being able to meet their 

10          needs?  How are your student bodies able to 

11          help them?  

12                 MS. PIQUANT:  Well, I think -- I'm not 

13          only going to speak for the University 

14          Student Senate but many student government 

15          organizations across CUNY.  They do a really 

16          good job in terms of connecting with 

17          students.  And obviously we know the nuanced 

18          way of students being afraid to ask for help 

19          despite their status.  

20                 And I think it's important the student 

21          governments do a really good job in creating 

22          safe spaces, virtual events.  You know, John 

23          Jay College of Criminal Justice, their 

24          student government organization created -- 


 1          had like an undocumented-allied training just 

 2          to share how we can create more safe spaces 

 3          for our students.  

 4                 But obviously we do know the digital 

 5          divide does make people hesitant.  Without 

 6          seeing a poster in the hallway, students may 

 7          be scared to ask where we do ask for help, 

 8          where do we go.  But I believe it's our job 

 9          as students to make sure things are visible 

10          and they can see and come and ask questions.

11                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN HYNDMAN:  Thank you.

12                 MR. HERSHENSON:  At SUNY our campuses 

13          and specifically campus student governments 

14          do a great job of creating and fostering 

15          those virtual spaces, like Juvanie said, 

16          having virtual -- whether it's an online 

17          forum or a Zoom room or just a way to connect 

18          with other students.  Maybe you don't want to 

19          formally go ask a faculty member or someone 

20          on staff for help; there's a really great way 

21          to connect with students in a virtual 

22          atmosphere.  

23                 And to address the point about food 

24          insecurity, I know at least 80 percent of the 


 1          SUNY campuses have a food pantry on the 

 2          campus and at least somewhere within a small 

 3          radius to the campus, in proximity, so 

 4          students are able to access these services.  

 5                 I think in some instances we need 

 6          investment and more investment in these 

 7          services because there's no extra money for 

 8          some of the services that so many students, 

 9          undocumented or international students or 

10          other students use.  So year after year, as 

11          students become more reliant on some of these 

12          services, we also need to place the 

13          investment to fund them as well.

14                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN HYNDMAN:  Thank you.

15                 Thank you, Chair Weinstein. 

16                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  

17                 So now we go to our last 

18          Assemblymember, Assemblywoman Bichotte 

19          Hermelyn.

20                 Rodneyse?


22          Sorry.  I'm trying to -- okay, great.  Wow.  

23                 I'm really excited to see both of you.  

24          Oh, my goodness.  Juvanie and Brad, thank you 


 1          for being here, thank you for being leaders.

 2                 I have a question for both of you.  

 3                 First, Juvanie, congratulations.  As 

 4          the first Haitian-American woman to be 

 5          elected in New York City and the first 

 6          Haitian to be elected as a county chair of 

 7          Brooklyn, I'm really proud of you as first 

 8          Haitian student to run the student 

 9          government.  So thank you for all that you do 

10          and for the leadership, and thank you for all 

11          the things that you were expressing.

12                 And Brad, I just want to say that I 

13          have watched you and I am elated to see your 

14          leadership.  You want to take over CUNY, it 

15          seems.  So thank you so much for your 

16          leadership.

17                 My question is around the Haitian 

18          Studies Institute, the Puerto Rican Studies 

19          Institute, the Mexican Studies Institute, 

20          Dominican Studies Institute, the Jewish 

21          Studies Institute, all of these institutes 

22          that help students and undocumented students 

23          in history and culture and really connecting 

24          to our neighborhoods.  How are students 


 1          connecting with these institutes?  Are they 

 2          active?  How are you using it as resources?  

 3                 And then the second question is, you 

 4          mentioned -- what is the rollout for COVID 

 5          vaccination for all the students, and how are 

 6          you communicating that?  This question is for 

 7          both of you.

 8                 MS. PIQUANT:  Thank you, 

 9          Assemblymember Bichotte.

10                 So first off, I would say in terms of 

11          those institutes, when you're talking about 

12          our Black and Latinx studies and just studies 

13          that are very important in our journey of 

14          collegiate education, we do see they are 

15          active and they are trying to stay afloat.  

16                 But I would definitely like to see 

17          more investment in those programs and those 

18          departments, because I do believe as diverse 

19          as we are as an institution, there is still 

20          so much more we can do to help educate the 

21          futures leaders, the future doctors, lawyers, 

22          nurses, artists, chefs everywhere in New York 

23          City.  And I think it starts where we receive 

24          our education.  And expansion in those 


 1          institutes, more funding for those 

 2          departments is pivotal.  

 3                 To your question in regards to vaccine 

 4          rollouts for CUNY students, I particularly 

 5          have not heard in terms of anything 

 6          specifically students being vaccinated.  

 7                 We do know some campuses were being 

 8          used as sites.  We do know that, you know, 

 9          faculty -- I believe -- don't quote me on 

10          this, but I believe like our faculty who are 

11          in-person, there's an agreement in terms of 

12          partnership of them being vaccinated.  But in 

13          terms of our students being vaccinated, I 

14          haven't heard specifically in regards to 

15          those plans of that.  

16                 But if we do, we will definitely 

17          follow up and reach out.


19          Brad?

20                 MR. HERSHENSON:  In short, I think 

21          there's so much we're doing on the virtual 

22          side of things, and students are really being 

23          connected, now more than ever, to so many 

24          opportunities.  


 1                 On the vaccine side of things, there's 

 2          not really a SUNY campus out there where a 

 3          parking lot is not filled with a giant tent 

 4          and students aren't involved in vaccine 

 5          rollout and everything related to testing.  

 6                 So we're on the front lines of it, and 

 7          we need the investment and support to make 

 8          sure we get the job done.


10          Thank you.

11                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you both 

12          for being here.  And we look forward to 

13          getting some of your written comments to 

14          follow up.  

15                 So now we're going to move on to 

16          Panel C, the Commission on Independent 

17          Colleges and Universities, CICU, Drew Bogner, 

18          interim president, and Association of 

19          Proprietary Colleges, Donna Stelling-Gurnett, 

20          president.

21                 So Drew, if you can begin, please.  

22          You need to unmute yourself.  And just a 

23          reminder, you have three minutes to make a 

24          short statement.


 1                 DR. BOGNER:  Okay, I'm ready.  Okay.  

 2                 Okay, so thank you for having me here 

 3          to testify.  I'm Drew Bogner, the interim 

 4          president of the Commission on Independent 

 5          Colleges and Universities.  We represent 

 6          about 100 independent colleges and educate 

 7          about a half a million students in the State 

 8          of New York.

 9                 So we're an integral part of the 

10          ecosystem of higher education in the state, 

11          which makes us quite unique.  We educate 

12          about 40 percent of New York residents and 

13          produce 59 percent of the baccalaureate and 

14          undergraduate degrees, at a cost of only 

15          5 percent of the state higher education 

16          budget.  

17                 Our students really rely on 

18          institutional aid and state and federal aid 

19          to be able to make their way through college.  

20          Our TAP recipients at our institutions, 

21          75 percent of them come from families that 

22          earn less than 40,000, so they're very needy 

23          students.  And our institutions do their part 

24          by investing $6.4 billion every year.


 1                 The pandemic has hit our families and 

 2          our students and our sector really quite 

 3          hard.  Our students and families, many of 

 4          them have lost jobs, they're worried about 

 5          housing, they have food insecurity, and they 

 6          are trying to make a decision on a semester 

 7          by semester basis whether to continue towards 

 8          graduation.

 9                 In February of 2020, our colleges made 

10          an enormous investment in safety protocols, 

11          and we've been very successful in making our 

12          institutions a safe place.  Our positivity 

13          rate is 0.25 percent.  In March we followed 

14          that up by making this transition to online 

15          and hybrid learning.  

16                 And these two almost superhuman feats 

17          did come at a cost.  So the cost of the 

18          safety measures and the change in 

19          institutional delivery systems, coupled with 

20          revenue losses, has come to a $2 billion loss 

21          for our sector.  The federal aid that we've 

22          received has not even covered 25 percent of 

23          that.  So we're really at a tipping point.  

24                 So I'm here today to encourage you as 


 1          legislators to reject the Governor's 

 2          Executive proposal to eliminate Bundy Aid.  

 3          Bundy Aid is money we use for student 

 4          scholarships, and that is $35 million in next 

 5          fiscal year and making permanent another 

 6          amount this year, towards a total amount of 

 7          $52 million.  And that would go to 

 8          scholarships for students.

 9                 In addition, we're asking for TAP, 

10          which is our program that helps students, to 

11          go through a three-year phase-in that would 

12          bring us to the levels we had in 2017 and 

13          2018.  

14                 Investing in Bundy and TAP is the 

15          surest way to help those people most affected 

16          by the pandemic.  And it's also the best way 

17          to invest in our economy, because we help 

18          educate the workers, the individuals who will 

19          rebuild the New York economy.  

20                 There are a lot of other specific 

21          programs listed in my written testimony, but 

22          I will leave that to questions.  And thank 

23          you for your -- my testimony, and I'm open to 

24          any questions you might have.


 1                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  There will be 

 2          some.  

 3                 So next let's go on to the Association 

 4          of Proprietary Colleges, please.

 5                 MS. STELLING-GURNETT:  Thank you.  

 6          Thank you very much for this opportunity to 

 7          present this testimony on behalf of the 

 8          Association of Proprietary Colleges.  

 9                 My name is Donna Stelling-Gurnett, and 

10          I'm the president of APC.  As you know, the 

11          association represents the interests of 

12          12 privately held, primarily family-owned 

13          colleges that are committed to educational 

14          excellence, access and affordability.  

15                 I would like to begin my testimony 

16          today by sincerely thanking all of you for 

17          your support for the past year as we've all 

18          struggled with the challenges presented by 

19          COVID-19.  You've included us in public 

20          hearings and always made yourselves available 

21          to talk with us when needed, and we sincerely 

22          appreciate your efforts.

23                 In APC's written testimony we have 

24          three requests.  The first is to expand the 


 1          Tuition Assistance Program.  The second would 

 2          be to include proprietary colleges in the 

 3          Governor's proposal to streamline the program 

 4          approval process.  And the third would be to 

 5          support SED's request for additional funding 

 6          to support students with disabilities.  

 7                 In the interests of time, I'm going to 

 8          focus my remarks today on our first request, 

 9          which is expanding the Tuition Assistance 

10          Program.  

11                 We were relieved to see that the 

12          Governor's proposed budget did not make any 

13          reductions or programmatic changes to TAP or 

14          the Enhanced Tuition Program or the other 

15          opportunity programs.  The commitment to 

16          maintaining financial aid is needed now more 

17          than ever, since those students benefiting 

18          from the assistance are also those that have 

19          been most impacted by COVID-19.

20                 Over the past several months, the 

21          pandemic has truly highlighted the inequity 

22          that exists for minority and low-income 

23          students, and their ongoing financial 

24          needs are significant.  Many are struggling 


 1          with homelessness, food insecurities, 

 2          childcare needs, or caring for other family 

 3          members, all while earning a college degree.  

 4          This means that state aid programs such as 

 5          TAP and ETA are especially critical right 

 6          now.

 7                 APC realizes that the state is facing 

 8          a tight fiscal environment this year.  

 9          However, we feel it's important to advocate 

10          for the expansion of TAP.  Increasing the 

11          minimum or maximum TAP award, or increasing 

12          the maximum income threshold, would help 

13          ensure that students most impacted by 

14          COVID-19 can continue their educations.  

15                 Finally, I would be remiss if I didn't 

16          take this opportunity to mention a new APC 

17          initiative, and that is the Student 

18          Leadership Council.  We asked each APC member 

19          to nominate two or three students to serve on 

20          this council, and we've been working with 

21          them over the past few months about how the 

22          legislative process works at both the state 

23          and the federal level, as well as how 

24          important it is to be engaged in that 


 1          process.  

 2                 This group of students has amazing 

 3          stories to tell.  They're truly engaged and 

 4          have many wonderful ideas that we'll be 

 5          rolling out over the next few months.  And 

 6          we'd welcome the opportunity for you to meet 

 7          with them directly.

 8                 And with that, I'll end my remarks.  I 

 9          appreciate your time today, and I'm happy to 

10          answer any questions you may have.

11                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Great.  So 

12          we're going to go first to our Higher Ed 

13          chair, Assemblywoman Glick, three minutes.

14                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN GLICK:  Thank you very 

15          much.  

16                 Quickly, Dr. Bogner, you've talked 

17          about the number of students that graduate.  

18          What is the average time that it takes 

19          students to graduate out of colleges in the 

20          CICU -- on average, out of the CICU colleges?  

21          And what is the diversity of the student 

22          body?

23                 DR. BOGNER:  Well, I don't think I can 

24          tell you off the top of my head what the 


 1          average time is to graduation, but I can tell 

 2          you that we do an exceedingly good job of 

 3          educating minority students.  Our graduation 

 4          rate for those that attend our institutions 

 5          is quite a bit higher; we graduate about 

 6          40 percent of that number.  

 7                 So I do know we do a really good job 

 8          with that.  I know that many of our 

 9          institutions have graduation rates at either 

10          the four-year or the six-year average that is 

11          much higher than the average across the 

12          country.  I -- 

13                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN GLICK:  Well, maybe you 

14          can just have, you know, staff give us some 

15          of those details.  It may even be in your 

16          written report, but --

17                 DR. BOGNER:  I will have them --

18                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN GLICK:  If you could 

19          just spend -- you know, we're on a very 

20          reduced time frame.  So let me ask you, you 

21          have a wide range of institutions.  You have 

22          some very large institutions, like NYU in my 

23          district, but you have a lot of smaller 

24          institutions.  Could you just speak a little 


 1          bit what the pandemic has done to those 

 2          smaller institutions and their capacity to 

 3          survive the pandemic?

 4                 DR. BOGNER:  Well, you know, you would 

 5          think it makes sense that the smaller 

 6          institutions would be some of those most 

 7          impacted, but in reality we have some of our 

 8          larger institutions that are struggling 

 9          financially.  

10                 So I would say some common 

11          characteristics will be who you serve.  And 

12          if you serve students of color or students of 

13          lower income, you're going to be more at 

14          risk.  If you have a larger residential 

15          population, you're more at risk.

16                 So when I talked about the 2 billion, 

17          a significant component of that is not 

18          tuition dollar loss but room revenue and 

19          board loss.  

20                 So it's really all over the board in 

21          terms of the variables, but those would be 

22          the major variables I would see, will be 

23          those that I mentioned.

24                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN GLICK:  Very helpful.  


 1                 And finally, when you said a 

 2          three-year phase-in of TAP, are you hoping 

 3          to -- at what top level are you hoping to 

 4          reach with any phase-in?

 5                 DR. BOGNER:  We would like to get to a 

 6          $6,000 maximum.  So in reality we've had a 

 7          $165 increase in the maximum in the last 16 

 8          years.

 9                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN GLICK:  Okay.  Thank you 

10          very, very much.  That's very helpful.

11                 DR. BOGNER:  Yes, thank you, 

12          Assemblywoman.  

13                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Senate, please. 

14                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.  Our 

15          Higher Ed chair, Toby Stavisky.

16                 SENATOR STAVISKY:  Thank you.  

17                 May I ask Dr. Bogner a couple of 

18          questions.  On the Enhanced Tuition Award, 

19          has it been accepted by the independent 

20          colleges?  And if there are issues with it, 

21          what would you change?

22                 DR. BOGNER:  Well, I think we haven't 

23          had the number that you would think would 

24          make sense.  And some of the issues that 


 1          we've had have been the way in which the 

 2          processing takes place.  And I think the 

 3          number-one issue has to do with who makes the 

 4          decision on who receives the award.

 5                 So right now we are -- we are 

 6          precluded from weighing in on that.  It's 

 7          somewhat of a random process.  So I noticed 

 8          that in the past when I was president that we 

 9          had individuals that would receive the award 

10          that might have one semester left, and things 

11          of that nature.

12                 So I would change the involvement and 

13          allow the colleges to weigh into that and 

14          whether or not to make it somewhat 

15          income-driven as well.  And that's a bias I 

16          have.  But I do believe if we were more 

17          involved in the selection process of 

18          students, I think we would see that it would 

19          be more effective.

20                 SENATOR STAVISKY:  Thank you.

21                 What effect has -- I know that the 

22          independent colleges have been adversely 

23          affected by the pandemic, but would you talk 

24          about the smaller colleges?  Assemblywoman 


 1          Glick and I had a Zoom with -- sorry, I --

 2                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN GLICK:  We lost her.

 3                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  You're on mute, 

 4          Toby.

 5                 DR. BOGNER:  I think I know the 

 6          institution that you had the Zoom with, 

 7          because I think we talked about that.

 8                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Maybe you can 

 9          guess the question, in the absence --

10                 DR. BOGNER:  Well, I don't know the 

11          answer to that.  But if you want me to talk 

12          more about smaller institutions, I would say, 

13          though, that clearly we've been through a 

14          whole series of ripples in our sector that 

15          have been problematic, and they really have 

16          started with the recession and the amount of 

17          aid that private colleges have put into the 

18          system as federal and state dollars have gone 

19          away.

20                 So we've put in, this year, an 

21          additional 6.8 percent of additional 

22          financial aid as a sector.  Now, just think 

23          about that a minute.  That's at the same time 

24          that we've lost $2 billion.  So we are laying 


 1          people off, we're suspending pensions, all of 

 2          those things are happening.  

 3                 And I actually took the Bundy money 

 4          and did a calculation that with that Bundy 

 5          money that's lost, it would mean that we 

 6          would have to lay off around -- almost a 

 7          thousand people.  If we had to make up that 

 8          aid to the students, we're talking about 

 9          6,000 or 7,000 students that won't get 

10          institutional aid from our institutions.

11                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.  

12                 Assembly?

13                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Excuse me.  We 

14          go to our ranker, Assemblyman Walczyk.

15                 ASSEMBLYMAN WALCZYK:  Dr. Bogner, 

16          thank you very much.  Your testimony here 

17          today is great.  

18                 Your written testimony, especially, I 

19          found really succinct, and I encourage all 

20          members of either committee to look that over 

21          again, because I think you nailed down so 

22          many great points, especially on Bundy Aid 

23          and TAP, which you've reiterated here today.  

24                 I was wondering if you could zero in a 


 1          little bit on the impact of the Article VII 

 2          language proposal to {audio frozen}.

 3                 DR. BOGNER:  Oh, you froze there.  You 

 4          want me to go ahead and talk about that a 

 5          little bit?

 6                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Yes.

 7                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Yes, why don't 

 8          you.

 9                 DR. BOGNER:  So the Article VII, 

10          that's the change in the authorization 

11          process, am I right on that?  I don't want to 

12          talk about the wrong thing there.  Am I -- 

13                 ASSEMBLYMAN WALCZYK:  I apologize.  

14          For some reason the State Office Building 

15          sometimes kicks me off the WiFi {inaudible}.

16                 Article VII language and the impact of 

17          the changes there is what I was looking for.

18                 DR. BOGNER:  Yeah.  So that's the 

19          authorization, correct, program?  

20                 ASSEMBLYMAN WALCZYK:  Yes.

21                 DR. BOGNER:  So for me, this is really 

22          personal, because I was involved in those 

23          conversations that have taken place with the 

24          State Education Department over the last 


 1          five years, and we really -- the proposal 

 2          that's there is the same compromise proposal 

 3          that we discussed in the offices of the State 

 4          Department of Education.  

 5                 And the idea behind that is to take 

 6          pressure off of the State Department of 

 7          Education on those proposals that don't 

 8          impact new programs or those programs that 

 9          have to do with state licensure or those 

10          kinds of programs where we require on them to 

11          do a certification process.

12                 So we're really pulling those off and 

13          dealing with those kinds of things that might 

14          be a two- or three-course change in a major 

15          and those things, so that they can 

16          concentrate their staff time on these other 

17          ones.  

18                 And I understood and I listened very 

19          carefully about how important it is for them 

20          to be involved in guaranteeing quality.  But 

21          this still gives them the chance to weigh in 

22          if they want to.  And I listened to some of 

23          the testimony earlier, and I'll just say that 

24          it sounds to me like we need to go back and 


 1          have another conversation and find where 

 2          those lines might exist that make it more 

 3          realistic.  And I think we can find those 

 4          lines --

 5                 ASSEMBLYMAN WALCZYK:  I think so too.

 6                 DR. BOGNER:  -- that we're not talking 

 7          about making massive changes.  And I will say 

 8          that things have gotten better from where 

 9          they were three or four years ago, and we 

10          complained about this a lot to many of you, 

11          and they responded.  

12                 But there are still ways in which we 

13          could improve and streamline the processes in 

14          a way that will not take away what we need in 

15          terms of maintaining the quality of the 

16          programs of the State of New York.

17                 ASSEMBLYMAN WALCZYK:  Well, thanks 

18          very much.  I couldn't agree more.  And 

19          that's the rest of my time.  Thank you, sir.

20                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  We go to the 

21          Senate.

22                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you very 

23          much.  

24                 I'm going to go to Senator Jeremy 


 1          Cooney, who we have not heard from today.

 2                 Jeremy, are you there?  Oh, there you 

 3          go.

 4                 SENATOR COONEY:  Here I am.  Thanks so 

 5          much.  I appreciate it, Chair.

 6                 Well, good afternoon.  I've been 

 7          waiting so patiently and long to talk to 

 8          Dr. Bogner from CICU.  You represent over 

 9          500,000 students across New York, and I know 

10          how important your role is, and I appreciate 

11          you being here, both of you being here today.

12                 I represent parts of Rochester and the 

13          Finger Lakes region, including my own alma 

14          mater, Hobart and William Smith Colleges.  

15          And I am a proud son of a college professor, 

16          a SUNY college professor at Monroe Community 

17          College.  And so I'm dismayed, like so many, 

18          by the cuts that we've seen, upwards of 

19          $46 million to SUNY alone.  

20                 But one of the institutions in my 

21          district, the University of Rochester, has 

22          upwards of $32 million in cuts, under this 

23          budget, alone.  That's just one institution 

24          in the Finger Lakes region.  And University 


 1          of Rochester is the largest employer in my 

 2          community, as well as across upstate 

 3          New York.

 4                 So here's my question to you.  The 

 5          reduction, especially as relates to Bundy 

 6          Aid, I think may have a disproportionate 

 7          effect upon students who are attending 

 8          colleges and universities in upstate 

 9          New York.  And I'm wondering if you can 

10          comment on the need for additional funding, 

11          but also the role that these higher 

12          educational institutions play in economic 

13          development for upstate New York.

14                 DR. BOGNER:  We're really central to 

15          that in two ways, the economic development.  

16          So first, we really produce the talent that 

17          is really necessary in the state.  And when I 

18          listen to the Governor talk about the need to 

19          rebuild New York, it's really important.  And 

20          I'll just give you two examples.  

21                 We educate two-thirds of the nurses 

22          and half of the teachers, and both are in a 

23          crisis of a whole series of retirements 

24          coming, and we're going to need them.  And 


 1          not to mention the engineers.  And we have 

 2          most of the research universities, we have a 

 3          lot of them in the private side.  So we're 

 4          really important.  But we also -- and that's 

 5          one way we help the economy.  

 6                 The other one is we're anchor tenants.  

 7          So in what you're taking about is clearly the 

 8          case in Western New York, but it's also the 

 9          case on Long Island.  The two biggest 

10          employers on Long Island are healthcare and 

11          education.  So if you damage the private 

12          sector to a point where we are laying off and 

13          we're dismantling institutions and so forth, 

14          we will see an impact from that in so many 

15          ways.  

16                 The New York ecosystem is really 

17          unique, in that we rely on private higher 

18          education to really educate New Yorkers for 

19          the jobs that are required.  So I really 

20          worry about unintended consequences.  And 

21          right now, with the pandemic, we need to get 

22          the dollars to the students and then we'll 

23          help the institutions.  But the dollars need 

24          to go to the students.  You know, we have to 


 1          do that.

 2                 SENATOR COONEY:  I appreciate that 

 3          comment.  And I just want to underscore the 

 4          connection between economic development in 

 5          regions like New York and to our higher 

 6          educational institutions.

 7                 DR. BOGNER:  Yeah, very true.  Very 

 8          true.

 9                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Assemblyman Ra.

10                 ASSEMBLYMAN RA:  Thank you, 

11          Chairwoman.  

12                 Dr. Bogner, good to see you.

13                 DR. BOGNER:  Good to see you again 

14          too.

15                 ASSEMBLYMAN RA:  Just a question for 

16          you both regarding that TAP proposal.  

17                 I noticed in your written testimony 

18          you talked about that -- I think two-thirds 

19          of the students at your institutions are from 

20          families making under $125,000, which is 

21          obviously the Excelsior threshold.  So I 

22          don't know if you have numbers on that.  But 

23          if you have numbers, you know, that aren't 

24          even getting TAP, either of you, up to that 


 1          110.  And the impact it would have, you know, 

 2          in the number of additional students that you 

 3          would be able to serve who then might instead 

 4          be utilizing that instead of taking out 

 5          loans.

 6                 DR. BOGNER:  I'll just go ahead and 

 7          talk about that first.  

 8                 I think that is the issue right now, 

 9          and I believe that we're sidestepping the 

10          major issue in these conversations about 

11          loans and relieving -- you know, forgiving 

12          debt and so forth.  

13                 And the reality is, is we've really 

14          disinvested in higher education over time.  

15          When you go back and look at the aid programs 

16          that existed in the '70s and the '80s, they 

17          were quite different than what we have today.  

18                 And New York, the same way -- in the 

19          amount we used to have for Bundy and the 

20          percentage that TAP paid for.  And I've had 

21          conversations with my friends at SUNY, and 

22          they have similar concerns about TAP covering 

23          the cost of a SUNY education.  

24                 And I think we're all in agreement 


 1          that this is what we need.  And if we want to 

 2          take care of the debt and how that 

 3          contributes to our economic issues, the best 

 4          way to do it is to provide the aid on the 

 5          front end, and then there would be less 

 6          borrowing.

 7                 And I won't even get into the federal 

 8          components.  But at the state level, that is 

 9          exactly what we could do.  And right now the 

10          need is much greater.  So we see all the time 

11          how many people have lost their employment 

12          and they've used up all of their reserves, 

13          all of their savings.  Well, those are the 

14          students who would get the TAP dollars.  

15                 So I can't think of anything more 

16          important right now than investing in TAP and 

17          the opportunity programs.

18                 MS. STELLING-GURNETT:  And if I could 

19          just jump in, I would suggest the same.  I 

20          know, you know, it's been many years since 

21          there's been any structural changes to the 

22          Tuition Assistance Program.  For instance, I 

23          believe it was 2000 when the maximum income 

24          threshold was changed from 50,000 to 80,000.  


 1          And it has not been changed since.  

 2                 And so, you know, I really feel like 

 3          now is the time -- as Drew said earlier, it 

 4          is just more important now than ever.  You 

 5          know, the students are really suffering, 

 6          they're doing the best they can with what has 

 7          been dealt to them.  But, you know, this 

 8          additional assistance would be tremendously 

 9          impactful to them.  

10                 So I would just agree.  I think that 

11          now is the time to make those changes.

12                 DR. BOGNER:  We're trying to get 

13          research on exactly how many students are 

14          stepping out because they can't afford to 

15          continue.  And I really am guessing that 

16          we're looking at a pretty sizable number that 

17          stepped out in the fall, might be stepping 

18          out in the spring -- and next spring too, 

19          next fall too.

20                 ASSEMBLYMAN RA:  Right.  Thank you 

21          both.

22                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.  

23                 Senator Robert Jackson.

24                 SENATOR JACKSON:  I was going to say 


 1          good evening, but it's still afternoon.  Good 

 2          afternoon.  

 3                 DR. BOGNER:  I'll look and see.

 4                 MS. STELLING-GURNETT:  Hello.

 5                 SENATOR JACKSON:  But listen, let me 

 6          thank you for coming in and giving your 

 7          testimony, advocating for the institutions 

 8          that you're advocating for.  And I have no 

 9          problem with what you're doing.  Because of 

10          the fact that your institutions are educating 

11          young people -- the majority are young 

12          people -- in order to be the leaders of our 

13          great state and our country.  And that's a 

14          good thing.  

15                 And as you know, some of you know, my 

16          fight has been with education, to make sure 

17          that enough monies are there so that everyone 

18          can get a good education.

19                 So the only question I really have of 

20          you, and since you represent independent and 

21          some private universities also, is that many 

22          legislators are talking about increasing 

23          taxes on the wealthiest New Yorkers, in order 

24          so that we get the money from the feds -- and 


 1          many experts have said that all of the money 

 2          that we were going to get from the feds may 

 3          not be enough in order to have everyone in 

 4          our state survive.  And I know I only have a 

 5          minute and a half, but quickly, I say that 

 6          education is not the most important thing for 

 7          right now, it's about making sure people 

 8          aren't evicted from their apartments or their 

 9          homes and enough food for everyone to eat, 

10          and everyone to get healthcare, physical and 

11          mental health, because this pandemic has had 

12          a negative impact.

13                 So are you willing to support and say 

14          as an institution that we will consider 

15          taxing the wealthiest New Yorkers a little 

16          bit more?  And that's a basic question.  

17          Because if not, where is the money going to 

18          come from?  And so that's my question to both 

19          of you.  And I'm not trying to set you up or 

20          anything, but I'm just talking reality based 

21          on everything that I know.

22                 DR. BOGNER:  So I actually have 

23          already answered that question with a few 

24          other representatives.  So I don't think we 


 1          would take -- could take a position on that 

 2          as the independent college association.  But 

 3          I do think that there is an opportunity to 

 4          open up a dialogue between whatever group of 

 5          legislators would be pushing that concept and 

 6          how you might interact with college boards.  

 7                 Now, I don't think the college board's 

 8          going to take a position either.  As a former 

 9          college president, you know that it's going 

10          to vary who's on your board.

11                 However, there is a way to get some 

12          people who might be very influential into 

13          that conversation if you have an opt-in kind 

14          of approach, Senator.  And so I think there's 

15          a conduit, perhaps, for that.  And certainly 

16          we can talk about that later, if you want.  

17          But that would be my answer to it.

18                 SENATOR JACKSON:  In essence, there 

19          has to be a dialogue on this particular 

20          matter.  Not -- no shoving anything down.

21                 DR. BOGNER:  Yes.

22                 SENATOR JACKSON:  Okay.  Thank you.  

23                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.

24                 Assembly.


 1                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  

 2                 Assemblywoman Hyndman.

 3                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN HYNDMAN:  Thank you, 

 4          Chair.  

 5                 Thank you very much, Donna and Drew.  

 6          Drew, congratulations in your new role.  Just 

 7          different -- different perspectives.  Now you 

 8          have to listen to all of your colleagues, as 

 9          opposed to your --

10                 DR. BOGNER:  I listen to them anyway, 

11          because they're friends of mine.

12                 (Laughter.)

13                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN HYNDMAN:  Okay.  And 

14          when the chancellor of SUNY gave his 

15          presentation he said there is a shortage -- 

16          there will be a shortage of 250,000 nurses 

17          come 2028.  Donna, how many of the schools, 

18          of your member schools, offer nursing?  

19          That's the first thing.  

20                 And the second question is your 

21          process for additional courses for APC 

22          members is the same as any other institution, 

23          right?

24                 MS. STELLING-GURNETT:  That is 


 1          correct, yes.

 2                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN HYNDMAN:  And what is 

 3          the average length of time that OQ responds 

 4          to requests, applications for additional 

 5          courses?  

 6                 And Drew, my questions are asked and 

 7          answered regarding Bundy Aid, and I know how 

 8          important it is to your students.  But I will 

 9          ask how many students, Black and Latino, 

10          receive Bundy Aid, if you have those kinds of 

11          numbers, because I think it would affect them 

12          more.  

13                 So Donna first, and then Drew, please.  

14                 MS. STELLING-GURNETT:  Yeah.  So I was 

15          just looking at our membership list to answer 

16          your first question about how many APC 

17          members offer nursing degrees.  I believe 

18          there are at least two or three.  I know 

19          Bryant & Stratton, their Syracuse campus is 

20          going to be starting a new nursing program as 

21          well.

22                 To answer your second -- go ahead.  

23                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN HYNDMAN:  Is it 

24          practical nursing or registered nursing?


 1                 MS. STELLING-GURNETT:  No, registered 

 2          nursing.  Yes, exactly.  And I believe Monroe 

 3          has a B.S. in it as well.

 4                 So yeah, so we do have -- some of our 

 5          colleges are producing the nurses.  And they 

 6          also, many of them have very robust medical 

 7          assisting and, you know, those types of 

 8          paralegal, you know -- 

 9                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN HYNDMAN:  Right.  

10          Because there's a shortage in those areas too 

11          because of COVID.

12                 MS. STELLING-GURNETT:  Right, exactly, 

13          medical assisting and so on.

14                 And then to answer your other question 

15          about the length of time that it takes to get 

16          programs approved, you are correct that our 

17          process currently is the same as any other 

18          college.  You know, New York State has a 

19          longstanding history of treating all four 

20          sectors of higher ed the same.  Which is why, 

21          when we saw that streamlined approval 

22          process, we, you know, would want to have the 

23          same flexibility for our colleges.

24                 I will say that we -- APC members do a 


 1          very thorough job of assessing whether or not 

 2          there's a need for those types of jobs that 

 3          would come out of new innovative programs.  

 4          And so when they turn in their program 

 5          approvals to SED, you know, it's usually a 

 6          pretty quick turnaround, honestly.  You know, 

 7          I would say within a month or two.  So 

 8          usually it's a pretty quick turnaround.

 9                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN HYNDMAN:  My time --

10                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.

11                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN HYNDMAN:  Drew, I'll get 

12          back to you.  Thank you.  Thank you, Chair.

13                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.  

14                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Are there any 

15          other Senators?

16                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Yes, actually we 

17          have me.  And then if there's a second round 

18          for Toby --

19                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  No, not on the 

20          panels, right?  

21                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Oh, no, there's 

22          no second?  Okay.

23                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  And then I have 

24          Assemblymembers.  So go ahead, Senator.  


 1                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  So Toby, I'm 

 2          sorry, you got frozen out of your last minute 

 3          before, but they will follow up with you.  I 

 4          promise they will follow up with you.  

 5                 So Donna, I don't know if you were 

 6          here earlier today when I was referencing the 

 7          State Comptroller's recent audit findings of 

 8          proprietary colleges, which was really an 

 9          audit to say:  SED, what are you doing about 

10          this?  

11                 So I'm going to ask you, what are you 

12          doing about this?

13                 MS. STELLING-GURNETT:  So it -- 

14          actually, I did see that report.  It was 

15          actually in regard to the non-degree sector 

16          and their oversight by BPSS.  

17                 APC and their colleges, we are all 

18          degree-granting, so we actually fall into the 

19          purview of the Office of College and 

20          University Evaluation, like any other 

21          degree-granting college in New York State.  

22                 So, you know, we have a very close 

23          relationship with SED, and so, you know, 

24          we're always talking with them about 


 1          accountability standards and metrics.  So, 

 2          you know, it's just -- it's an ongoing 

 3          conversation.

 4                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  So wait, so your 

 5          mention don't fall into that category?  

 6                 MS. STELLING-GURNETT:  No, we don't, 

 7          no.

 8                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Is there another 

 9          association those groups fall under?  

10                 MS. STELLING-GURNETT:  There is, yes, 

11          there's another degree -- it's run by Terry 

12          Zaleski.  I can get you that information if 

13          you'd like.

14                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Okay.  So you 

15          don't see this as a problem for your members.

16                 MS. STELLING-GURNETT:  No.  No.  

17          They're all very high quality -- again, held 

18          to the same standards as any other 

19          degree-granting college in New York State.

20                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.  

21                 That's it for me.

22                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Okay, and we 

23          have one last Assemblymember, Assemblyman 

24          Otis.


 1                 ASSEMBLYMAN OTIS:  Thank you, Helene.  

 2          And thank you, Donna and Drew.  

 3                 Dr. President Bogner, a question to 

 4          follow up on Deborah Glick's inquiry before 

 5          about financial stress for private colleges.  

 6          If you could go into a little more detail -- 

 7          and I think there's sort of two categories 

 8          that I'd ask you to talk about.  

 9                 One is just for your average private 

10          institution in the state, they're not 

11          necessarily in a crisis mode, but my 

12          understanding is they have taken a financial 

13          hit during COVID.  And maybe you could give a 

14          little more texture to that.  

15                 And then I'm very concerned about 

16          private colleges who are not surviving.  Even 

17          before COVID, many private colleges were 

18          stressed.  We've had closures across the 

19          state from some of the smaller private 

20          colleges.  If you could just share your 

21          reflections on these kinds of situations as 

22          we sit here today.

23                 DR. BOGNER:  Yeah.  So clearly the 

24          major stressor started early on with the 


 1          recession, and the Governor's Excelsior 

 2          Scholarship did deepen it for some.  For 

 3          others, it was just recalibration that might 

 4          have taken a year to push through in the 

 5          marketplace.  But the transfer-student market 

 6          really faded dramatically because of 

 7          Excelsior.  

 8                 But I will say that we have some 

 9          issues that get in our way, and one issue -- 

10          we should talk about it sometime -- is the 

11          definition of university.  We are working on 

12          that legislatively a little bit, as well as 

13          with the Regents.  We're the only state that 

14          has a very archaic definition of university, 

15          where you must have three academic 

16          disciplines at the doctoral level, which 

17          means you have to have three PhDs.  

18                 No other state has anything.  

19          Massachusetts was the last one.  And the 

20          common definition is you have graduate 

21          programs.  So that puts a lot of our 

22          institutions at a disadvantage.  

23                 And if you're SUNY, you're already in 

24          the umbrella of being in the State University 


 1          of New York.  So the private colleges are the 

 2          ones that are at risk.  

 3                 So in the international market, a 

 4          college means high school.  And you're also 

 5          at risk if you're on a border or if you're at 

 6          the Pennsylvania border, and you're also at 

 7          risk if you're dealing with international 

 8          students or if you're dealing in the online 

 9          environment.  

10                 So I'll just put that out there.  We 

11          have to look at some of those things that 

12          could bolster New York.  

13                 The ones that are most at risk tend to 

14          be those that are liberal arts institutions, 

15          do not have professional programs, tend to be 

16          more rural, and don't have online programs.  

17          And it's very hard to be in the online space 

18          now.  You can't compete, because you're 

19          competing nationally with Arizona State 

20          University or whatever.

21                 So it is hard to come up with new 

22          revenue.  And I think one of the solutions 

23          has to be how do we collaborate.  And I'm a 

24          big believer in that.  And if you want to 


 1          talk offline about that, I could.  And I can 

 2          tell you a little bit about some of the 

 3          institutions that are looking at that and 

 4          what CICU has done to try and encourage 

 5          collaboration.  And I personally have been 

 6          involved in that and I've consulted on that.

 7                 ASSEMBLYMAN OTIS:  Thank you very 

 8          much.  Thank you for your testimony.

 9                 DR. BOGNER:  Yeah, mm-hmm.

10                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  And 

11          thank you both for being with us today and 

12          for your testimony.

13                 DR. BOGNER:  Thank you.

14                 MS. STELLING-GURNETT:  Thank you.

15                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  We move on to 

16          Panel D, On Point for College, Samuel Rowser, 

17          executive director, and Hispanic Federation, 

18          Diana Cruz, education policy director.

19                 And just a reminder, you have three 

20          minutes to make your presentation.  We 

21          already have circulated your written 

22          testimony.  And we will then -- members will 

23          have three minutes to ask a question and have 

24          your answer within that three minutes of the 


 1          panel. 

 2                 So Samuel, can you go first?

 3                 MR. ROWSER:  Sure.

 4                 Thank you, Chair Weinstein and Chair 

 5          Krueger, Chairs Glick and Stavisky of the 

 6          Higher Education Committees, for this 

 7          opportunity to talk with you guys about 

 8          transforming lives and communities in the 

 9          face of this pandemic.

10                 I've been listening to a lot of the 

11          testimony today, and what I'd like to say is 

12          that On Point is the conduit that pulls all 

13          this together.  We work with those students 

14          that need to get to those colleges.

15                 We all know that poverty is a problem 

16          in the rural and the urban communities, and 

17          we know education is one of the most 

18          effective pathways out of poverty.  We find, 

19          based on a Pew Charitable Trust study, that 

20          90 percent of the students who earn a 

21          bachelor's degree are lifted out of poverty 

22          in the course of their lives.

23                 Since On Point has been founded, in 

24          1999, over 3,000 students have completed or 


 1          graduated from college, and another 3,000 

 2          have completed some other post-secondary 

 3          credential.  That means that there will be 

 4          about $3 billion over their lifetime which 

 5          they will spend in their communities.  

 6                 What On Point does is we empower 

 7          first-generation, opportunity youth, and 

 8          financially challenged youth with an 

 9          opportunity to achieve post-secondary access 

10          first, post-secondary success next, and then 

11          a career for life that will lift their 

12          families out of poverty.  Without our 

13          assistance, these challenges can turn into 

14          barriers that lead students to stop out or to 

15          never attend college.  

16                 So On Point helps students develop a 

17          plan to address the challenges before they 

18          become stumbling blocks.  We provide a broad 

19          range of services that we tailor to meet the 

20          needs of the individual student.

21                 On Point, we're unique.  We're unique 

22          in the nation for the holistic approach that 

23          we take when we're helping students.  We 

24          offer services that no other organizations do 


 1          -- transportation, on-campus visits, we have 

 2          Campus Angels.  We take hundreds of students 

 3          on college visits throughout New York State, 

 4          and we help students fill out their FAFSA 

 5          applications, their college applications.  We 

 6          work with students in foster care, 

 7          housing-challenged.  And we use volunteers to 

 8          do wellness checks on our students.  

 9          Especially during this pandemic, we need to 

10          check on them to make sure that they're okay.

11                 An investment in On Point is also an 

12          investment in New York State's educational 

13          institutions.  These students are 

14          contributing over $23 million in tuition, 

15          fees, room and board, in community colleges, 

16          in SUNY, CUNY and the private industry.  

17                 On Point students persist at a higher 

18          rate at the community colleges.  We have a 

19          persistence rate of a little over 77 percent, 

20          while it's about 60 percent at the local 

21          community colleges.  So if these students had 

22          not had On Point support, they wouldn't even 

23          have gone to college.

24                 And so we believe that providing the 


 1          million dollars in state funding for the On 

 2          Point program will continue to have an impact 

 3          on our students.  

 4                 So we thank you for this opportunity 

 5          to speak, and we ask you to keep it On Point.

 6                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Yes, Donna?  I 

 7          mean Diana.

 8                 MS. CRUZ:  Diana, yeah.  I just wanted 

 9          to make sure that I can go next.

10                 Thank you, committee members.  I know 

11          it has been a long day.  My name is Diana 

12          Cruz, and I am the education policy director 

13          at Hispanic Federation, and leader of the 

14          Latino Education Advocacy Directors 

15          Coalition, focused on supporting Latino 

16          students across New York State.

17                 We appreciate you for hearing our 

18          testimony today, and we understand that since 

19          the pandemic began, Latino students have been 

20          hit disproportionately hard.  And the health 

21          crisis is forcing many of them to decide 

22          between staying in school or working to help 

23          their families.

24                 Hispanic Federation strongly urges the 


 1          Legislature to include and prioritize the 

 2          following budget and legislative 

 3          recommendations as they directly will benefit 

 4          and remedy some of the issues that many of 

 5          the Latinx college students are facing right 

 6          now.

 7                 Speaking to the Senator Jose Peralta 

 8          New York State DREAM Act, Hispanic Federation 

 9          asks the Legislature to ensure that the 

10          $27 million for the New York State DREAM Act 

11          remains.  We also believe that HESC needs 

12          additional funding to spearhead community 

13          outreach and partnership with community-based 

14          organizations to continue dispelling 

15          misinformation and expanding opportunities to 

16          apply.

17                 Moreover, HESC alone cannot provide 

18          enough outreach.  SUNY and CUNY also need 

19          funding to increase marketing and recruitment 

20          efforts to assist students.

21                 Moving towards direct student 

22          programs, with the COVID-19 crisis many 

23          Latino students have been forced to drop out.  

24          Through the CUNY ASAP program, 44 percent of 


 1          Latino students and 85 percent of Pell or TAP 

 2          recipients increase their chances to 

 3          graduate.  We urge the Legislature to restore 

 4          the 2.5 million in funding to continue the 

 5          impactfulness of this program.

 6                 Similarly, the CUNY Citizenship Now!  

 7          program offers free immigration services to 

 8          help individuals and families on the path to 

 9          U.S. citizenship.  The Legislature must 

10          restore the 20,000 in funding so that Latinx 

11          and other individuals in New York City can 

12          continue to receive this support.

13                 Moreover, the Hispanic Leadership 

14          Institute is a critical program that helps to 

15          ensure that SUNY's leadership is reflective 

16          of the Latino students that they enroll.  We 

17          strongly support the Hispanic Leadership 

18          Institute and urge that $150,000 in funding 

19          be restored to SUNY for this purpose.

20                 As for our positions, Hispanic 

21          Federation strongly opposes the $200 tuition 

22          increase or future increases, as they will be 

23          detrimental for students, especially students 

24          from underserved backgrounds who are already 


 1          struggling to continue their higher education 

 2          studies.

 3                 Our time to envision a tuition-free 

 4          college is more critical now than ever, and 

 5          we have been part of the immense work that 

 6          the CUNY {inaudible} has been leading to make 

 7          CUNY a free-tuition institution.  We strongly 

 8          advise that the state committee takes a stand 

 9          on addressing tuition challenges for students 

10          now.

11                 We're also concerned on how the 

12          pandemic will affect student borrowers, 

13          particularly for students who have been 

14          harmed by transcript withholding.  Hispanic 

15          federation, along with Young Invincibles and 

16          partners at the New Yorkers for Responsible 

17          Lending and the Student Borrowers Protection 

18          Center, are calling on New York leaders to 

19          stand with student borrowers and end 

20          transcript withholding.

21                 Finally, we must ensure that current 

22          and future funding is allocated equitably 

23          across SUNY and CUNY.  This funding can 

24          address some of the challenges that our 


 1          students are facing now, and we must act on 

 2          it now. 

 3                 Thank you for your time, and I 

 4          reemphasize how critical it is to focus on 

 5          these priorities.  Thank you.

 6                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you for 

 7          being here.

 8                 We go to Assemblyman Stirpe.

 9                 ASSEMBLYMAN STIRPE:  Thank you, Chair.

10                 I'd like to ask some questions of Sam 

11          at On Point.  Hi, Sam, how are you doing?

12                 MR. ROWSER:  How are you doing, Al?

13                 ASSEMBLYMAN STIRPE:  I'm doing all 

14          right.

15                 You know, as we've discussed before, 

16          you really do work in collaboration with a 

17          lot of the other opportunity programs.  So 

18          can you explain to us a little bit who, who 

19          you work with, what programs and what you do?

20                 MR. ROWSER:  Well -- absolutely, Al.  

21          One of the things I would say On Point does 

22          is we're working with students, 

23          first-generation students, we're working at  

24          campuses all across the state, and we're 


 1          working with the EOP, HEOP, SEEK programs to 

 2          make sure that those students get into the 

 3          college -- and not just get in, but they are 

 4          able to stay in college.  We provide them 

 5          transportation to and from.  You know, during 

 6          the pandemic we flipped over from taking them 

 7          shopping to getting them laptops so they'd 

 8          have, you know, access to getting their 

 9          classwork done.  We have Campus Angels on 

10          these campuses that are working also with our 

11          students to help them to be successful.

12                 So it's really a full-service program.  

13          If I could give you an example, you know, if 

14          a student goes off the campus, they make sure 

15          they have health insurance.  But what happens 

16          if you get a toothache and you need dental 

17          support?  Well, we have a dentist that does 

18          pro bono work.  We drive out, pick you up, 

19          bring you home, fix your teeth, take you back 

20          to school.  

21                 So it's providing those services that, 

22          you know, we normally think is okay for our 

23          children but other students don't have those 

24          same opportunities.


 1                 ASSEMBLYMAN STIRPE:  So, I mean, the 

 2          reality is the success of a lot of these 

 3          opportunity programs sort of depends somewhat 

 4          on the ability of On Point to sort of lift 

 5          them up and fill in the cracks when somebody 

 6          else doesn't do that.

 7                 You also, you know, I think, try to 

 8          help kids get paid internship jobs and 

 9          regular jobs, you know, in the summer and 

10          stuff like that.  Can you talk a little bit 

11          about that?

12                 MR. ROWSER:  Absolutely.  That's our 

13          third leg.  Our first leg is access, our 

14          second leg is success, our third leg is 

15          career services.  And we're helping students 

16          do cover letters, we're helping them do the 

17          actual mock interviews, and then we're 

18          helping them get paid internships.  Our 

19          students don't have the ability to work for 

20          free -- they need income for their 

21          families -- so a paid internship is critical.  

22          And we don't do it in the standard way.  We 

23          don't just place you at first.  We vet the 

24          company, what do you want, vet the student, 


 1          what do you want, and then we put them 

 2          together.  And then once a week we go back 

 3          and sit down with the company and the student 

 4          just to make sure it's working out for both.

 5                 ASSEMBLYMAN STIRPE:  Okay.  Well, 

 6          thank you.  And I thank On Point for what 

 7          they do.  And maybe some day we'll convince 

 8          New York State that On Point needs to be one 

 9          of the opportunity programs.  

10                 Okay, thank you.  

11                 MR. ROWSER:  Get New York State On 

12          Point.  

13                 (Laughter.)

14                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  

15                 We're going to go to the Senate now.

16                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.  I 

17          just want to double-check, does our Higher Ed 

18          chair have any questions?  

19                 SENATOR STAVISKY:  No, ma'am.

20                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.  Then 

21          I will go to Senator Robert Jackson, three 

22          minutes.

23                 SENATOR JACKSON:  Yeah, okay.  Good 

24          afternoon.  Yes, still afternoon.  I thought 


 1          it was evening already.  

 2                 But hi, and good to see both of you.  

 3          And I listened to both of your presentations, 

 4          and obviously I'm all in favor of it, 

 5          especially when you talk about helping 

 6          students and especially in your geographical 

 7          areas.  To the best of my knowledge, you're 

 8          both representing Black and Latinx 

 9          communities.  And I'm an African-American 

10          myself, so believe me, I know, I've come up 

11          through the Upward Bound program and through 

12          EOP.  So believe me, I do know.  

13                 And even I grew up on social services, 

14          my wife and I have broken that cycle and we 

15          have three beautiful girls that are 45, 40 

16          and 34, an M.D., an assistant principal, and 

17          a daughter that's in the arts.  So let me 

18          just tell you, I know how important education 

19          is, and community-based organizations that 

20          help us to move us in the right direction.  

21          And that's very, very important.

22                 And for me, it was in high school, 

23          Erwin Goldberg, our track coach, in which 

24          many, many people of color, young men and 


 1          women, Black and Latinx and some Caucasian 

 2          also, we feel that Erwin Goldberg was like 

 3          our stepfather.  That's how much he cared for 

 4          us overall.  And I say this to you, that 

 5          that's very, very important.  

 6                 And so the only question that I have 

 7          is -- I can assume what your answer is, but I 

 8          have to ask you.  Obviously, you know what 

 9          the situation is as far as the budget.  I 

10          don't need to tell you.  And we hope that we 

11          get all the money from the feds.  And where 

12          necessary, we're going to have to raise 

13          revenue ourselves.  

14                 And so my question is that in order to 

15          make sure that we cover all of the programs 

16          that need to be covered, along with housing, 

17          food security and health, along with 

18          education, are your organizations willing to 

19          go along with the fact that we have to raise 

20          revenues from the wealthiest New Yorkers in 

21          order to survive this pandemic?  That's my 

22          basic question.  Because I don't have any 

23          questions about your programs; I'm sure that 

24          the intent in what you're doing is very, very 


 1          good, and I have no problems with that, I 

 2          support you wholeheartedly.  

 3                 But I have to ask that question in 

 4          order to know whether or not we're going to 

 5          have support in trying to do what we need to 

 6          do in New York State.

 7                 MR. ROWSER:  I would say absolutely, 

 8          that if we want to be successful, we have to 

 9          share the wealth.  And the wealthy have it, 

10          so they need to share it with the rest.

11                 MS. CRUZ:  Senator Jackson, I think 

12          you're definitely, you know, posting a lot 

13          of -- a lot of -- a great question, and it is 

14          necessary to kind of take a stand.  

15                 I think at Hispanic Federation, for 

16          us, we know that that the money is needed, we 

17          know that all of this is the only way that 

18          we're going to be able to afford like the 

19          different programs and needs, is to get more 

20          money.  

21                 I think for us, it's more about 

22          thinking, what do we do with the money.  Kind 

23          of going back to Senator Liu's question that 

24          he was presenting earlier on, what do we do 


 1          once we have this money?  And I think that 

 2          that's really where we're standing.  As a 

 3          partner, as a collaborative effort, we're 

 4          always -- you know, we're working with over a 

 5          hundred different organizations across 

 6          New York State, and I think that's probably 

 7          our strength, that we can offer more 

 8          knowledge on, like, well, where does the 

 9          money need to go once we have that.  

10                 And so I -- I know that that probably 

11          doesn't answer your question directly, but I 

12          can tell you that we are definitely committed 

13          to the work and we're committed to 

14          collaborating across the different sectors, 

15          so.

16                 SENATOR JACKSON:  Thank you.  Thank 

17          you, Madam Chairs. 

18                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  

19                 There are no more questions for this 

20          panel, so thank you for being here with us 

21          today.

22                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you both 

23          very much.

24                 MS. CRUZ:  Thank you for having us.  


 1          Thank you.

 2                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.  

 3                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  So next, 

 4          there's a list of Panel E, but it should 

 5          actually be Panel -- the next is just going 

 6          to be the PBA of New York State, Ryan Law, 

 7          and then we go to the final panel, the last 

 8          five witnesses.  

 9                 So, Ryan, please proceed.  

10                 OFFICER LAW:  Good evening, respective 

11          members of the joint committee.  My name is 

12          Ryan Law, and I am the president of the PBA 

13          of New York State, and I'm a University 

14          Police officer at SUNY New Paltz.

15                 In the interests of time, and knowing 

16          that you have my testimony before you, I will 

17          summarize my testimony.

18                 Simply put, our members in our union, 

19          and those in University Police, are on 2014 

20          salaries -- 2014 salaries.  Our members have 

21          been on the front lines of the pandemic 

22          response from the beginning.  We continue to 

23          work through the pandemic response, and we 

24          will see this through to the end.  We will be 


 1          here working to the end of this, when it 

 2          comes to an end.

 3                 As most of you know, our vaccine sites 

 4          and our testing sites, a lot of them are on 

 5          SUNY campuses across the state.  That puts 

 6          our University Police officers on the front 

 7          lines of this pandemic in every way 

 8          imaginable, and so much so that our members 

 9          are -- have contracted the virus while in the 

10          scope of their duties.

11                 And beyond that, I have to mention, 

12          you know, they go home at the end of their 

13          shift not knowing if they're taking this 

14          virus home to their families and their loved 

15          ones.  You know, and then they turn around, 

16          they come back for that next shift regardless 

17          of that, and they continue to stand that 

18          line, work through the fight against the 

19          COVID-19 pandemic, side by side with our 

20          healthcare workers.  

21                 And they do it proudly.  We know the 

22          risk, we know it's our job.  But again, we're 

23          doing this on 2014 salaries.

24                 Back in March of 2020, through the 


 1          arbitration process, our union was awarded a 

 2          series of increases from 2015 through 2018.  

 3          That pay bill is now known as the Governor's 

 4          Program Bill No. 1 of 2021.  And I am here to 

 5          respectfully ask the Legislature to introduce 

 6          Governor's Program Bill No. 1 of 2021 as soon 

 7          as possible, and move our members off those 

 8          2014 salaries, as I think we can all agree 

 9          that they deserve.

10                 You know, our members, they don't 

11          forget to show up and work the testing sites, 

12          they don't forget to show up and work the 

13          vaccine sites.  So I'm asking that our 

14          Legislature doesn't forget about our members, 

15          what we're doing in the field, continuing as 

16          they sit home and have discussions with their 

17          families about where we are with our 

18          salaries -- they continue to go out there and 

19          put their best foot forward and work this 

20          fight against the pandemic.

21                 So with that, I'll conclude and 

22          certainly take any questions.  Appreciate 

23          your time.

24            CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  We have 


 1          Assemblyman Walczyk with a question.

 2                 ASSEMBLYMAN WALCZYK:  Hey, Mr. Law.  

 3                 First, thank you for your service to 

 4          the people of the State of New York, and 

 5          please pass that on to your membership.  You 

 6          guys do a phenomenal job for us and I think 

 7          sometimes, as far as police agencies go, you 

 8          know, sort of get a little bit forgotten.  

 9          But we certainly haven't forgotten you here 

10          in Northern New York, and appreciate 

11          everything you do.

12                 OFFICER LAW:  Thank you very much.

13                 ASSEMBLYMAN WALCZYK:  Yeah, 

14          absolutely.  This came up in a prior budget 

15          hearing, and I just kind of wanted to get 

16          your thoughts.  Do you think the state is 

17          trying to merge Park Police and Troopers?

18                 OFFICER LAW:  I know that there has 

19          been, you know, some back and forth on that.  

20          I think right now, you know, the 

21          commissioners are in middle of trying to 

22          figure that out.  So as much as the Parks and 

23          the PBA as a whole has tried to receive a 

24          solid answer on that, I don't think that we 


 1          have.  

 2                 And in regards to the Park Police 

 3          officers, you know, they need that solid 

 4          answer, they need to know what's going on 

 5          with the future, they need to know what's 

 6          going on with the future of the agency.  You 

 7          have Park Police officers that have worked 

 8          there for, you know, many, many years.  Our 

 9          -- one of our -- the vice president and one 

10          of the directors on the board has been there 

11          for over 30 years.

12                 So they're dedicated to the agency.  

13          They care about the future of the agency.  So 

14          we are seeking to see, you know, exactly what 

15          the next move is, and hopefully we can get 

16          some answers in the near future ourselves.

17                 ASSEMBLYMAN WALCZYK:  I wondered, 

18          along the same lines, what does your staffing 

19          look like for University Police?  Are you 

20          seeing similar attrition rates?  And are 

21          there academies scheduled, or are you getting 

22          answers there from the state?  

23                 OFFICER LAW:  Sure, great question, 

24          and thank you.  


 1                 We continue to have an attrition 

 2          problem within University Police.  Most 

 3          people here have heard us talk about this in 

 4          the past.  The unfortunate part of having to 

 5          talk about our pay bill and trying to get 

 6          that satisfied and fulfilled is it has taken 

 7          away from us trying to address you all on 

 8          our current attrition problem within 

 9          University Police.  

10                 Some things that add to that that we 

11          would like to speak to you all in the future 

12          about is centralization, our heart bill, a 

13          twenty-year retirement -- things that we're 

14          all familiar with and we've talked with you 

15          in the past about.  Those things are a big 

16          part of why we continue to lose people to 

17          other agencies.  

18                 For example, SUNY Purchase last year 

19          lost approximately six members.  It's 

20          $100,000 per member to get them through their 

21          first year.  So that's $600,000 that SUNY 

22          Purchase has lost to see well-trained 

23          officers walk out the door and be ready and 

24          trained to walk in the door and work for 


 1          another agency that doesn't have to foot that 

 2          bill.  

 3                 And that puts the department back in 

 4          the beginning stages of hiring and training 

 5          and getting them through their first year.  

 6          So --

 7                 ASSEMBLYMAN WALCZYK:  Thank you.  My 

 8          time is running out, but we appreciate you 

 9          keeping our students safe, and please reach 

10          out any time.

11                 OFFICER LAW:  Thank you very much, 

12          Assemblyman.  Appreciate your support.

13                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  So now we go 

14          from the Assembly to the Senate.

15                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Hi.  Our first 

16          questioner is Senator Toby Stavisky.

17                 SENATOR STAVISKY:  Thank you.  Real 

18          quick, Ryan.  Senator Gounardes, I think 

19          Senator Savino and I co-primed your pay bill 

20          last year, and it will go in in one form or 

21          another probably -- you know, if it hasn't 

22          gone in already.  

23                 I just wanted you to emphasize the 

24          loss to the state in the training aspects.  


 1          You touched on it, but what happens to your 

 2          members after they're trained?  

 3                 OFFICER LAW:  So what's different from 

 4          all of us not being centralized, which would 

 5          be a focus for us in the near future, is that 

 6          we send our officers to the municipal academy 

 7          nearest to where they're getting hired.  Once 

 8          they graduate the academy, they go directly 

 9          into field training.  

10                 And that process, from hiring until 

11          they're on the road by themselves with not 

12          needing a field training officer, is 

13          approximately a year.  To get through that 

14          first year of training, including salary and 

15          equipment, it costs a about $100,000 -- and I 

16          think I'm on the low side of that.  I believe 

17          when I was working with the commissioner's 

18          office, they were near $120,000 per officer.

19                 This has gotten to the point, Senator, 

20          where we have municipals and town PDs that 

21          basically poach from us.  They wait for our 

22          officers to get trained.  And when we're 

23          competing with what they are paying in 

24          salaries -- to my point of our 2014 current 


 1          salaries -- it's a no-brainer for a lot of 

 2          these officers to leave.

 3                 And I'll give you a prime example.  We 

 4          had an 11-year lieutenant leave recently to 

 5          go next door to a municipal and make -- I 

 6          think it was about $33,000 more a year than 

 7          what they make with us.

 8                 You couple that with no heart bill, no 

 9          20-year retirement, not being centralized -- 

10          it's almost becoming easier for them to walk 

11          away after getting trained and the state 

12          footing the bill to train them.  

13                 So this is a great concern of ours, 

14          and we know it's been a concern of yours.  

15          And we appreciate anything that you can do to 

16          work on it with us in the future.

17                 SENATOR STAVISKY:  Thank you.

18                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.  

19                 (Overtalk.)

20                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  And may we have 

21          three minutes back on the clock for 

22          Senator Robert Jackson.

23                 SENATOR JACKSON:  Thank you.  Thank 

24          you.  Hey, Ryan, how you doing?  


 1                 OFFICER LAW:  I'm doing good, Senator.  

 2          Thank you for your time.  I know it's been a 

 3          long afternoon.

 4                 SENATOR JACKSON:  Oh, I know.  But 

 5          listen.  Clearly, my gosh, you have not had 

 6          contract raises since -- you know, I've 

 7          listened to what you had to say, and you're 

 8          at SUNY New Paltz.  And I was at SUNY New 

 9          Paltz back in the '70s.  So that's where I 

10          went, and I am a grad from SUNY New Paltz, 

11          and my oldest daughter also.  

12                 But clearly, Toby, you're there -- 

13          make sure that I'm signed on immediately to 

14          the Program Bill No. 1 of 2021.  I clearly 

15          support the increase.  Just knowing that you 

16          haven't had a raise and all the other issues 

17          that you talked about.  So I wanted to let 

18          you know that.  I mean, if you were talking 

19          about something else with respect to 

20          especially education, I don't -- this is not 

21          the same thing, in my opinion as -- I'm not 

22          going to ask you the same questions I asked 

23          the others, do they support to tax a little 

24          bit more of the wealthiest in order to fund 


 1          education.  Education is a 

 2          multi-billion-dollar --

 3                 OFFICER LAW:  Sure.

 4                 SENATOR JACKSON:  But when it comes to 

 5          just your pay bill, I say to you I support 

 6          it.  Toby, make sure that I'm on it also, 

 7          okay?  

 8                 So Ryan, I don't have any questions of 

 9          you, but I wanted to let you -- 

10                 SENATOR STAVISKY:  You'll send in a 

11          whatever you call it?  

12                 SENATOR JACKSON:  Yeah.  Sure.  

13                 I want you to know that I support the 

14          pay bill and I will advocate for it in the 

15          Democratic Conference.

16                 OFFICER LAW:  Senator, I appreciate 

17          that very much.  And on behalf of our members 

18          within the union, and certainly those of 

19          University Police, thank you very much, that 

20          it means a lot.

21                 SENATOR JACKSON:  You're welcome.

22                 OFFICER LAW:  Thank you.

23                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.  I 

24          think the Senate's done.


 1                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Okay, and the 

 2          Assembly is done.  

 3                 But I also want to join my colleagues, 

 4          Ryan, in thanking you for the efforts of your 

 5          members all the time, but particularly this 

 6          past -- it's almost the past year, in helping 

 7          to keep our campuses safe and helping with 

 8          the COVID-19 vaccine distributions and 

 9          testing that's happening on campuses.  Thank 

10          you.

11                 OFFICER LAW:  Absolutely.  Thank you 

12          for the kind words, and thank you for your 

13          support.  Take care.

14                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  

15                 So now we go on to our last panel.  

16          And it is CUNY Coalition for Students with 

17          Disabilities, Lennyn Jacob, secretary; 

18          Friends of Liberty Inc., Shawn Denise Landry, 

19          president; APACS, Inc., Michael Molina, 

20          president; SUNY Albany, a student from SUNY 

21          Albany, Ahmat Adam Djouma; and Center for 

22          Food Safety, Jean Halloran.  

23                 So if we could start with the CUNY 

24          Coalition for Students with Disabilities, 


 1          that would be great.

 2                 MS. JACOB:  Buenos tardes.  Good 

 3          afternoon, distinguished members of the State 

 4          Legislature.  My name is Lennyn Jacob.  I'm a 

 5          student activist and most proud to be a 

 6          loving mother of a neurodiverse son with 

 7          autism.  I served for 12 years as a teaching 

 8          assistant for children with disabilities with 

 9          the DOE in the Bronx and chose to further my 

10          education at Bronx Community College, BCC.  

11          That's right, the Bronx is in the house.  

12                 I proudly serve as the treasurer of 

13          the CUNY Coalition for Students with 

14          Disabilities, CCSD, at BCC chapter, majoring 

15          in nuclear medicine technology.  I was 

16          recently elected as secretary for the CUNY 

17          Coalition for Students with Disabilities, 

18          CCSD, the university-wide group that 

19          represents all CUNY students with 

20          disabilities.  Who are we?  CCSD.  

21                 According to CUNY's Office of 

22          Institutional Research, there are more than 

23          1,800 CUNY students with disabilities 

24          enrolled in degree programs in my proud 


 1          borough known as Da Bronx.  We all rely on 

 2          reasonable accommodations from our colleges 

 3          to have an equal opportunity to succeed, 

 4          especially in the area of distance learning 

 5          made necessary because of COVID-19.  

 6                 The enrollment of students with 

 7          disabilities at CUNY is at an all-time high, 

 8          with more than 11,000 of us enrolled at our 

 9          university.  At CUNY, our disabled student 

10          enrollment has grown by more than 50 percent 

11          over the past two decades -- and yet our 

12          state funding for crucial accommodations and 

13          support services for these students has 

14          remained flat over the past 27 years.  It 

15          breaks my heart.  

16                 The CUNY Coalition for Students with 

17          Disabilities supports the New York State 

18          Education Department's $7 million budget 

19          request to enhance support services for 

20          students with disabilities statewide.  This 

21          new source of funding would supplement, not 

22          replace, existing college and university 

23          support for students with disabilities.  

24                 CCSD enthusiastically supports the 


 1          State Education Department's budget request 

 2          for students with disabilities that would be 

 3          the first of its kind in the nation, to yet 

 4          again allow New Yorkers to lead the way for 

 5          the rest of the country.  

 6                 My sincerest hope is that this would 

 7          also increase the likelihood of success for 

 8          my son and others like him, who I encourage 

 9          to come to CUNY to better their lives and the 

10          lives of their families.  

11                 Thank you.  

12                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  

13                 Can we go on to Friends of Liberty.

14                 MS. LANDRY:  Yes.  Good evening, and 

15          thank you, committee members.  

16                 Liberty Partnership Program serves 

17          more than 15,000 marginalized and oppressed 

18          students across New York State.  We are the 

19          only state-funded dropout prevention program 

20          and have been since we were established in 

21          1988 under Section 612, subdivision 6, of the 

22          Education Law, to address the significant 

23          dropout rate among New York youths.  

24                 The program and staff provide a safety 


 1          net for at-risk students and their families.  

 2          We support the whole student, their social, 

 3          emotional and academic needs.  We were doing 

 4          this before the pandemic.  

 5                 Liberty has been here, as I said, for 

 6          50 years.  We appreciate and are grateful for 

 7          all of the support we've received during that 

 8          time.  We also are dependent and wouldn't 

 9          have survived without contract extensions for 

10          program year 2019-2020.  This extension saved 

11          programs from closing and limited furloughs 

12          and reductions in staff.  This extension 

13          provided that safety net that we talk about 

14          for all the at-risk students during the 

15          pandemic.

16                 However, the delayed funding and the 

17          20 percent withholdings that we received and 

18          just received payment in January of 2021 

19          greatly influences our continuity and limits 

20          our ability to plan and to spend our funds in 

21          a way that's most effective for our students.  

22                 We're asking for a contract extension 

23          for program year 2020-2021 to continue to 

24          support social-emotional interventions 


 1          without interruptions.  

 2                 We provide families and community 

 3          engagement services and college prep 

 4          activities.  And if New York receives 

 5          additional federal support, we urge important 

 6          investments into our students.  Liberty 

 7          prepares students to give back academic and 

 8          economic capital in New York State.  We have 

 9          not stopped giving those services since the 

10          pandemic has begun, and we'd like to be 

11          included under the guidance of Executive 

12          Order 202.6 to qualify as essential service 

13          workers.  Item Number 8 and Item Number 12 

14          include us in that.  We're not technically 

15          DOE -- Department of Education employees, but 

16          under Priority 1b we are ready and willing to 

17          go back into the schools as soon as possible.

18                 So again, thank you.  We're hoping for 

19          an increase in budget, a contract extension, 

20          and essential worker categorization.

21                 Thank you.

22                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  We 

23          now go to APACS, Michael Molina.

24                 MR. MOLINA:  Thank you very much.  


 1          Good evening, everyone.  It's good to see you 

 2          all.  Thank you for being here, and thank you 

 3          for all that you do.  

 4                 I also want to just give particular 

 5          thanks to Higher Ed Chairs Glick and Stavisky 

 6          and to the Senate Finance chair and Ways and 

 7          Means chair, Chairs Krueger and Weinstein, 

 8          for their assistance in helping our STEP and 

 9          CSTEP programs to get their funds flowing in 

10          December.  Yes, in December, six months into 

11          the fiscal year.  So thank you for your 

12          support, and thank you for your comments.

13                 Today, again, I'm here as president of 

14          APACS, which is the professional association 

15          of CSTEP and STEP directors and staff 

16          throughout New York State.  The evening -- 

17          the day has been long, so I promise I will be 

18          brief.  

19                 What I would like to say, first and 

20          foremost, is that we are requesting a 

21          20 percent increase in our funding for STEP 

22          and CSTEP programs.  And this is in keeping 

23          with a pledge made by Speaker Heastie to 

24          double the funding of CSTEP and STEP and of 


 1          all of the opportunity programs.

 2                 I think the one thing I think that -- 

 3          I hope we can all agree about is that all of 

 4          the opportunity programs in New York State 

 5          are the crown jewels of our education system, 

 6          without doubt.  

 7                 As you all know, the COVID pandemic, 

 8          which arrived in March -- March 6th, I 

 9          remember the date well -- has 

10          disproportionately impacted Black and Brown 

11          communities.  Our students have had to endure 

12          financial instability, resulting in instances 

13          where students have been forced to work long 

14          hours to help support their families, which 

15          of course impacts on academics.  

16                 Our students have had technology 

17          shortcomings, insofar as both hardware and 

18          internet access is concerned, and this is not 

19          just in urban areas.  This is in both urban 

20          and non-urban areas.  We've had issues in 

21          Central New York where STEP students have had 

22          problems accessing WiFi.  So that's become an 

23          issue.

24                 But we have intervened, we've been 


 1          forced to intervene in the area of mental 

 2          health and wellness issues.  We have provided 

 3          support to our students to help fill the gaps 

 4          of virtual learning, and we have provided 

 5          training to our students as well in how to 

 6          learn in a virtual environment.  Everyone 

 7          thinks that you go virtual and then it just 

 8          happens.  Well, that's not the way that it 

 9          works.

10                 So I'm very proud of the work that 

11          we've done, how we have pivoted.  And I'm 

12          really proud of the 100 STEP and CSTEP 

13          programs, their staffs, the institutions that 

14          sponsor them, and the fact that we've 

15          provided stability to 20,000 students and 

16          their families.  So --

17                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank --

18                 MR. MOLINA:  Yes.  

19                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  The 

20          time has expired.

21                 MR. MOLINA:  Thank you.

22                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  We have your 

23          written testimony.

24                 MR. MOLINA:  Very good, thank you.


 1                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Next I'm going 

 2          to call on the SUNY student, Ahmat Djouma.  

 3          And Ahmat, if you would like, I'll tell you 

 4          when there's 30 seconds left so you'll know 

 5          about the time to conclude.  

 6                 But you're on.

 7                 MR. DJOUMA:  Thank you.  Good 

 8          afternoon to the members of the Legislature.  

 9          My name is Ahmat, and I am a student at 

10          University at Albany, majoring in political 

11          science with a sociology minor.  I am also a 

12          student who is blind, registered with the 

13          Office of Disability Resource Center.

14                 It is my hope that my education at 

15          University at Albany would be on a path for a 

16          career in law or government.  My achievements 

17          and academic successes are all due to the 

18          support of many like On Point and colleges -- 

19          and colleges -- and the Disabilities Offices 

20          in colleges.  

21                 With the increasing number of students 

22          with disabilities in colleges, many of these 

23          offices are underresourced, and enhancing the 

24          support funding request would help them in 


 1          providing support for equal education.  

 2                 The Disabilities Offices go above and 

 3          beyond in supporting a student.  And with 

 4          limited resources, it's become very difficult 

 5          for them to do so.  These supports include 

 6          but are not limited to providing 

 7          accommodations like Brailling services, 

 8          accessible textbooks, ASL interpretation, 

 9          making course materials accessible and 

10          providing professional training to 

11          instructors.

12                 I am hopeful this year that the 

13          budget -- that the Legislature will provide 

14          the funding that is greatly needed for 

15          college Disabilities Offices to continue 

16          providing this support.  On behalf of the 

17          students with disabilities, I strongly 

18          support the State Education Department's 

19          "Enhancing Support and Services for 

20          Postsecondary Education Success of Students 

21          with Disabilities" funding proposal of 

22          $7 million in its 2021-2022 Executive Budget 

23          request.  

24                 Thank you, and I hope you all will 


 1          support this proposal on behalf of the 

 2          students with disabilities.  Thank you.

 3                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.

 4                 Next we go to the last witness before 

 5          we have questions:  Center for Food Safety, 

 6          Jean Halloran.

 7                 MS. HALLORAN:  Hi.  And thank you all 

 8          very much for hanging in to the bitter end 

 9          here.  

10                 I'm from the Center for Food Safety, 

11          which is an organization that works -- a 

12          national organization that works for safe 

13          food and a safe environment.  And I'm here to 

14          talk to you about something completely 

15          different than what you have discussed for 

16          the rest of the day, which is our impending 

17          crisis of loss of effectiveness of 

18          antibiotics.  

19                 And the reason I'm discussing that 

20          here is because of the Higher Ed Committees' 

21          responsibilities for regulation of 

22          veterinarians.  Veterinarians are critical in 

23          this issue.  It was a surprise to me, and I 

24          think it's a surprise to many people that 


 1          two-thirds of the antibiotics produced in the 

 2          United States are given not to sick people, 

 3          but to relatively healthy animals being 

 4          raised in industrial farming conditions, in 

 5          order to prevent them from becoming sick.

 6                 This is something that has got to 

 7          change.  We are overusing antibiotics, and 

 8          the more you use them, the less effective 

 9          they are.  We already have a crisis where 

10          more than 100,000 people are dying of 

11          infections that used to be cured by 

12          antibiotics in the United States.  

13                 This is of course not matched by the 

14          COVID deaths, but this could go beyond the 

15          COVID totals.  A research outfit in the U.K.  

16          has estimated perhaps 10 million deaths a 

17          year globally if this problem isn't 

18          addressed.

19                 So Assemblywoman Rosenthal and 

20          Senator Kavanagh have developed legislation 

21          that would limit the use of antibiotics to 

22          just treating sick animals and would not 

23          allow use in New York State for disease 

24          prevention.  And we urge you to incorporate 


 1          their bill in this year's state budget, in 

 2          order to preserve the effectiveness of 

 3          antibiotics for the future.

 4                 Thank you very much.

 5                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.

 6                 We're going to go to Assemblymember 

 7          Glick.

 8                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN GLICK:  Just a couple of 

 9          comments, and then one question for Michael.  

10                 First of all, I very much support the 

11          State Education Department's attempt to 

12          increase dramatically our commitment to 

13          $7 million for students with disabilities.  

14          We have seen a growing number of students 

15          working and seeking to be professionals, and 

16          they need the education.  And the schools 

17          have not had the kind of support that they 

18          need.  So it will certainly be in my chair 

19          letter to the Speaker, and we will advocate 

20          for it as strongly as possible.

21                 But I have a question for Michael.  

22          Thank you so much for being here at the end 

23          of the day.  CSTEP and STEP programs are 

24          incredible.


 1                 I'm just wondering, you said -- now, 

 2          the withholding from the 20 percent from last 

 3          year, you finally -- did everybody actually 

 4          get that in December?  Or are there still 

 5          programs that have not had payment out of SED 

 6          because the Division of the Budget has not 

 7          released it?

 8                 MR. MOLINA:  My understanding is that 

 9          the latter, that there are still institutions 

10          that have not received their final payments.  

11          And what SED did, as you know, is to withhold 

12          20 percent of the final payment.  So that's 

13          what they've done.

14                 So it's still -- so some institutions 

15          still have payments pending, yes.

16                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN GLICK:  If there's any 

17          way that you can find out who they are or 

18          give them to us, we certainly will ask SED 

19          about that.  

20                 But if you have members who can raise 

21          their hands -- because sometimes you get 

22          different answers.  I'll ask them, I'll get 

23          the answer from you, and hopefully they'll 

24          actually look the same, and we will try to 


 1          get any of those dollars freed up as quickly 

 2          as possible.  Because that money should be 

 3          available out of -- you know, we've been told 

 4          that it's been released, so we have to be 

 5          sure that that happens.

 6                 And as far as the 20 percent increase, 

 7          it's under discussion for our one-house.  

 8          Certainly Speaker Heastie has -- we have 

 9          always been committed to increasing.  And 

10          when we have flat funding, it's a good time 

11          to go ahead and add to it.  So assuming we 

12          get money from the feds -- you know, that's 

13          the big wishing and hoping.  Without that, I 

14          think we're kind of -- it will be a little 

15          bit tough.  But if we get federal dollars 

16          coming in, we will press very hard for that.  

17                 And I want to thank you and all of 

18          your members for the great work they've been 

19          doing.

20                 MR. MOLINA:  Thank you.

21                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.

22                 We'll go to the Senate.  

23                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.  

24                 Toby Stavisky, chair of Higher Ed.


 1                 SENATOR STAVISKY:  Thank you.  

 2                 First, Michael, real quick, thank you.  

 3          Your members were very effective in 

 4          contacting us.  And if -- would you send a 

 5          copy to us too?  Because we want to be 

 6          helpful.

 7                 MR. MOLINA:  Absolutely.

 8                 SENATOR STAVISKY:  Real quick, let me 

 9          just thank the CUNY coalition for Students 

10          with Disabilities.  

11                 I am so proud to represent Queens 

12          College in my district in the State Senate.  

13          And they have a really great group of folks.  

14          And I truly miss seeing Dr. Rosa and 

15          Charmaine and Steve and all of the people 

16          from Queens College.  I know they're part of 

17          the entire group.  

18                 And I'm delighted that the Executive 

19          did not cut the CUNY LEADS program, because 

20          it is such a wonderful program.  And we too 

21          in our budget -- it will be in my 

22          recommendation that we do the best we can for 

23          the coalition.

24                 But getting back to Michael, to what 


 1          do you attribute the unfairness in that 

 2          distribution, in the 25 percent withholding?

 3                 MR. MOLINA:  You know what?  It's hard 

 4          to say.  And this is part of the problem, 

 5          Senator.  And that is that NYSED is 

 6          completely incommunicado.  They don't give 

 7          you information.  

 8                 These -- these -- you know, this 

 9          20 percent -- these 20 percent cuts are 

10          announced informally.  No one wants to put 

11          anything in writing, so it's all very 

12          mysterious.  

13                 And I was listening to the testimony 

14          throughout the day and people were talking 

15          about 5 percent cuts, and we got 20 percent?  

16          I'm a little confused by that.  So -- but 

17          seriously, we don't get much information from 

18          NYSED, very, very little information 

19          throughout this whole process -- throughout 

20          this entire fiscal year.  And by that I mean 

21          contracts and disbursements for the current 

22          year and the final payments for last year.

23                 SENATOR STAVISKY:  These are really 

24          important programs, because they work.  And 


 1          very shortsighted, I must say, because these 

 2          students -- as I said in previous testimony, 

 3          that with a degree they're going to earn more 

 4          money and they're going to stay in the 

 5          community, participate, pay more in taxes.  

 6          And we've got to do the best we can for 

 7          really all of the opportunity programs, but I 

 8          know CSTEP and STEP.  

 9                 Thank you.

10                 MR. MOLINA:  Thank you, Senator.

11                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.  

12                 Assembly.

13                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Yes, we have 

14          Assemblywoman Hyndman.

15                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN HYNDMAN:  Still here.  

16          Thank you, Chair Weinstein.  

17                 Thank you to all the participants.  To 

18          Michael Molina, I remember you when your hair 

19          was darker, as I used to run a CSTEP program 

20          out of -- a CSTEP and STEP out of NYCOM.  

21                 And so I just wanted to say that I'm 

22          sure the Speaker will work with -- make sure 

23          the Assembly does do their best in getting 

24          the additional funds that CSTEP and STEP 


 1          programs need.  And thank you to all the 

 2          panelists.  

 3                 I'm done, Chair Glick.  Thank you very 

 4          much.  I'm tired now.

 5                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.  I 

 6          don't know, Helene, should you or I take bets 

 7          on whether Harvey or Robert Jackson has 

 8          something different in their rounds?

 9                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Maybe they can, 

10          you know, merge their time.  So I think 

11          you're going to Senator Jackson, right?  

12                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  I am going to 

13          Senator Jackson.

14                 SENATOR JACKSON:  Well, thank you.  

15          Thank you.

16                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Okay, you're on 

17          mute, Robert.

18                 SENATOR JACKSON:  I'm not now, right?

19                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Not now.

20                 SENATOR JACKSON:  I can say good 

21          evening to everyone.  

22                 But let me just say I want to thank 

23          you for coming in and sticking -- even though 

24          you're the last panel, you're a very, very 


 1          important panel, especially when you talk 

 2          about students with special needs and 

 3          disabilities.  

 4                 And believe me, I do know, I do have a 

 5          relative that is now totally blind as a 

 6          result of retinitis pigmentosa.  And so, 

 7          believe me, I do understand the needs of 

 8          children with IEPs and children with 

 9          disabilities, and adults.  

10                 And so I just wanted to say to all of 

11          you that I support you.  And as far as the 

12          money that I think, Ahmat, you said 

13          $1 million -- is that what you said?

14                 MR. DJOUMA:  $7 million.

15                 SENATOR JACKSON:  How much did you say 

16          again?

17                 MR. DJOUMA:  $7 million.

18                 SENATOR JACKSON:  Seven million.  When 

19          you're talking about a $192 billion budget, 

20          $7 million is a piece of dust in that amount 

21          of money.  

22                 So let's push for that.  And Toby, I'm 

23          standing with you as the chair of Higher 

24          Education to try to do what we can do for the 


 1          children and students with disabilities.  

 2          Okay, Toby?  Let me know.

 3                 SENATOR STAVISKY:  Absolutely.

 4                 SENATOR JACKSON:  Thank you, everyone.

 5                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you, 

 6          Robert.

 7                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.  

 8          Thank you, Robert.  

 9                 And we have Harvey Epstein from the 

10          Assembly.

11                 ASSEMBLYMAN EPSTEIN:  Thank you all.  

12          And I want to thank you all for being here so 

13          late in the day.  And for all of my 

14          colleagues, Students with Disabilities 

15          Advocacy Day is February 25th.  So if you 

16          have some time that morning, we have -- we'll 

17          do a virtual press event and we're going to 

18          push for this $7 million for students with 

19          disabilities.  It's a really important issue 

20          that we haven't seen an increase in funding 

21          in so long.  So I'd love to have as much 

22          support from my colleagues.  

23                 And I want to appreciate both Chair 

24          Glick and Chair Stavisky about like pushing 


 1          this issue in their letters.  It means so 

 2          much to everyone.  

 3                 And so I just -- I just would love to 

 4          hear from one of the students or some of the 

 5          students kind of how has COVID had serious 

 6          impacts on learning and remote learning for 

 7          students with disabilities.  Are there unique 

 8          challenges that the students have faced?  And 

 9          what, as the State Legislature, should we be 

10          doing to ameliorate those issues?

11                 Ahmat, if you wanted to go or --

12                 MR. DJOUMA:  Certainly.  

13                 I want to start by saying I think that 

14          generally students who actually -- who can't 

15          say they usually have access to technology 

16          and they access online information, 

17          everything being digital -- everything being 

18          digital, so digital accessibility is very 

19          important.  

20                 And when something is not designed 

21          digitally to be accessible, that 

22          automatically, you know, kind of -- you know, 

23          it's basically -- they're not able to 

24          participate if something is not designed with 


 1          accessibility in mind.  

 2                 And then also, you know, I think that 

 3          this $7 million funding is also necessary 

 4          because if -- just because you have a 

 5          document or a textbook sent to you doesn't 

 6          make it automatically accessible.  You need 

 7          someone to be able to work that document to 

 8          make it accessible.  

 9                 So I think in terms of COVID, I think 

10          it's -- everything being online, we have to 

11          deal with digital online barriers.

12                 ASSEMBLYMAN EPSTEIN:  Well, thank you 

13          for doing that, thank you for raising that.  

14          So you think there's -- it's just a funding 

15          issue, or are there structural changes that 

16          need to be made that we could do 

17          legislatively?

18                 MR. DJOUMA:  I think that -- well, 

19          there is a funding issue where I think that 

20          funding is needed to be able to train staff 

21          or instructors that -- for teachers of 

22          students with disabilities to be able to 

23          design things that are accessible.  

24                 But I think that there are some areas 


 1          I think we can go further in.  I think also 

 2          educating our future generation when it comes 

 3          to designing websites or, you know, things 

 4          like that, they know how to design things 

 5          that are accessible.  

 6                 And I think that we can go further, 

 7          but I think we can start with that $7 million 

 8          and being able to train the staff and 

 9          instructors on how they should make the 

10          content accessible.  

11                 And, you know, also providing other 

12          services like college transition, if a 

13          student is trying to transfer to a different 

14          college, you know, getting the necessary 

15          information on what needs to be done.  

16                 But I think that there are certain 

17          things -- I think changes that need to be 

18          done, and I think the Legislature could take 

19          certain action in terms of, I think, setting 

20          guidelines for digital accessibility, I 

21          think.

22                 ASSEMBLYMAN EPSTEIN:  Thank you.  

23          Thank you so much.  

24                 And thank you all, and thank you for 


 1          being here.  Thank you, Chairs.

 2                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you.

 3                 We go to Senator Krueger, and then 

 4          back to the Assembly.

 5                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you.  

 6          Great.  So I also want to thank all of you 

 7          for being here tonight, and to voice the -- 

 8          though I usually stay pretty quiet during all 

 9          of these hearings, to say it's amazing to me 

10          that New York State is putting so little 

11          money into these programs, the STEP, CSTEP, 

12          Liberty, the opportunity programs.  

13                 Because I've been studying what works 

14          to get people out of poverty for pretty much 

15          my whole life, and the answer is education, 

16          and college in particular.  Even a couple of 

17          years of college makes a giant difference in 

18          whether their families move out of poverty 

19          forever or not.  

20                 So you look at these programs New York 

21          has developed -- and thank you, Michael, for 

22          all your advocacy to help educate everyone 

23          about the importance of specific programs for 

24          students with special needs -- you can either 


 1          invest a tiny amount of money in supporting 

 2          their ability to get into college and move 

 3          through college, or you can check off a box 

 4          somewhere that will show how many years we 

 5          will need to subsidize them and their 

 6          families because they end up in poverty.

 7                 And so the cost/benefit difference is 

 8          so radical, so radical in what these programs 

 9          do and can do, that I think it is just worth 

10          repeating for the record -- even though 

11          everybody here already knows this -- what a 

12          phenomenal set of programs we have, and yet 

13          we do starve them to death, and we get all 

14          excited when we don't start off with a cut at 

15          the beginning of budget season.  

16                 So yay, we didn't start off with a 

17          cut.  But imagine how many generations of 

18          people wouldn't have remained in poverty if 

19          we had been investing more in exactly these 

20          programs with exactly these kinds of outcomes 

21          for my lifetime.  

22                 So thank you all for the work you're 

23          doing and for being students who are brave 

24          enough to fight for your rights even in 


 1          really tough times.  Because again, a little 

 2          help will change your future, your family's 

 3          future.

 4                 Thank you for letting me go on a rant 

 5          briefly.  Thank you.  

 6                 Helene.

 7                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Yes, thank you.  

 8                 We go to Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon.

 9                 ASSEMBLYWOMAN SIMON:  Thank you.  And 

10          so I want to thank my colleagues.  I want to 

11          thank these witnesses.  It's been a very long 

12          day, and I know that you've been waiting for 

13          a chance to testify.  

14                 And I also just want to say, for those 

15          of you who are students with disabilities, I 

16          started off years ago as a disabilities 

17          services provider long before you were born.  

18                 And, you know, at that time I worked 

19          with colleagues, I was in Washington, D.C., 

20          at Gallaudet at the time, and I worked with 

21          colleagues who were in the SUNY schools.  And 

22          while there have been improvements, we still 

23          haven't come as far as we need to in SUNY.  

24                 You know, the SUNY schools and the 


 1          City University schools have just not funded 

 2          disability services enough.  So they've kept 

 3          people back, they haven't been able to 

 4          provide the support that they need.  And 

 5          with -- that $7 million could go a long way, 

 6          and it really should be just a first step in 

 7          making our schools more accessible for 

 8          students with disabilities.  

 9                 So I want to thank you very much for 

10          your testimony and to tell you that you have 

11          a friend in the Assembly.  I work very 

12          closely with Assemblymember Epstein and 

13          others to support students with disabilities, 

14          and, you know, we're here for you.  

15                 So thank you very much.

16                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  Thank you, 

17          Assemblywoman Simon.  

18                 And I just want to join my 

19          colleagues -- first of all, you have many 

20          friends in the Assembly, not just Simon and 

21          Epstein, and in the Senate --

22                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  And in the 

23          Senate.

24                 CHAIRWOMAN WEINSTEIN:  I want to join 


 1          my colleagues in thanking you for being here 

 2          and spending the day with us.  I think it is 

 3          good that you are the last panel, because 

 4          it's your comments that are going to stay 

 5          with us as we end this hearing.  

 6                 So with that, I want to announce that 

 7          the Higher Ed hearing is now concluded.  And 

 8          tomorrow morning at 9:30, please join us for 

 9          the Mental Health hearing.

10                 Thank you all.

11                 CHAIRWOMAN KRUEGER:  Thank you all 

12          very much.  

13                 (Whereupon, the budget hearing 

14          concluded at 6:23 p.m.)