SUNY FREDONIA A new course for the future

Restructuring in the public sector is never easy. Tough decisions are often met with opposition, especially from rank-and-file union members who rely on New York state and the taxpayers to bail out institutions when organizations begin to run deficits.

At the State University of New York at Fredonia it is no different. For nearly three years, outgoing President Virginia Horvath has sounded a warning regarding college finances. Today, for one of the backbones of the northern Chautauqua County economy, there is no going back.

Borrowing will have to happen from the SUNY system — and changes have to be made. For the community, we want what is best going forward. A restructuring of Academic Affairs into a new organizational model of multiple schools instead of traditional academic departments is an attempt to stem the fiscal losses. Even longtime faculty have stated the current model is “fiscally untenable.”

Opposition to the plan also is apparent from other members of the faculty. That being said, moving ahead with change in any facet of life is never unanimously embraced.

“While I realize that we have hard work ahead of us, I am looking forward to doing this creative work with our faculty,” said university Provost Terry Brown, Ph.D. “Bringing our talents and expertise as scholars and artists to this work, we will create a distinctive structure that will encourage us to work together, across our disciplines, to continue to prepare students to succeed in a complex world.”

If the plan succeeds, Fredonia becomes a model for other higher-learning institutions. But staying stubborn, and not changing the course, is undoubtedly a recipe for future destruction.


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