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Students make trek to Albany for more SUNY aid

OBSERVER file photo Students protested cuts at SUNY Fredonia back in December.

Fifty State University of New York at Fredonia students and two professors boarded a bus Monday to make their voices heard in Albany.

“Members of students for Fredonia, a student-run organization, advocating for students, faculty and staff at SUNY Fredonia, are traveling to Albany to urge lawmakers to approve $139 million in aid that would go directly to SUNY Fredonia and 17 other financially distressed SUNY colleges,” wrote Henry Domst, media coordinator for Students for Fredonia and an art history and graphic designer major at the university in a press release. Domst stated the group will petition government leadership to fund Fredonia appropriately while trying to protect the 13 degree majors which have been added to the chopping block due to the loss of funding.

It also appears these students have garnered the support of some of the educational teaching staff at Fredonia University. “We have two professors who will be making this trip with us,” Domst said.

“The teaching professionals are part of the United University Professionals and they’re taking a stand — or ride — with us.

UUP is the nation’s largest higher education union, representing the faculty and professional staff of the SUNY system (referred to as professional faculty in the contract) according to its website, uupinfo.org.

However, Domst also pointed out the protest and lobbying effort first started back in 2023, when the college first announced the planned reductions in degreed majors and services offered and the school administrations perceived obtuse reaction to the student-led protest which preceded the announcement.

SUNY Fredonia officials previously announced program and degree cuts back in December 2023.

“Students for Fredonia formed in December, a day after campus administration announced it would cut 13 programs to save money,” said Domst in a press release. “The group was central to the student protests that erupted at SUNY Fredonia Dec. 7, the day after the cuts were announced.”

However, Domst isn’t the only student being vocal about the cuts.

“This is a ridiculous way to handle saving SUNY Fredonia. This is a liberal arts school, and slashing the arts budget, getting rid of programs, is not the right way to deal with it,” said Benjamin Evans, a major in writing and animation at the university. “We suffered from our enrollment going down after our funds were cut. We need more funds from the SUNY system so we can recover from this.”

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