Senator Robert Jackson introduces legislation to support SUNY Student Assembly; bill would end decades-long cycle of underfunding SUNY student advocacy
For Immediate Release: March 5, 2021
Senator Jackson Contact: Edwin Rosario Mazara ()
Senator Robert Jackson, a SUNY New Paltz alumnus and prominent champion of education and higher education, introduced legislation to create a $1 fee to support the elected student voices of SUNY students. This bill, S5436, ameliorates the inequity that Student Assembly has faced over the last few decades as it has historically received an average $57,000 annual budget to represent students from SUNY's 64 campuses.
Senator Jackson said, "I am proud to sponsor this common-sense legislation. With just a tiny amount of money from each student—one dollar!—we can amplify the voices of all students by giving their elected peer representatives the resources to advocate on their behalf across the SUNY system. It also unlocks potential for greater student organizing at all of the individual campuses around the issues and concerns that matter most to them, and that's a good thing. I encourage my colleagues in the Senate to sign on so we can get this done."
SUNY Student Assembly President and Student Trustee Brad Hershenson stated that, "The students of SUNY are deeply grateful to Senator Jackson for his leadership in authoring legislation to support the students of SUNY and our mission to bring forward the voices of the elected student leaders of our system."
Elected student leaders have long proposed a minor fee to be assessed by SUNY to each student dating back to the year 2002. This longstanding proposal was overwhelmingly adopted in 2019 and most recently in January 2021 unanimously adopted by elected student leaders from across the system. Other system-wide and state-wide student government organizations (CUNY University Student Senate and California State Student Association) operate with similar models supporting their activities through a $1.45 and $2.00 fee respectively.
Sufficient and adequate funding would allow the SUNY Student Assembly to better advocate and lobby the interests of the SUNY student body, connect and offer resources to students and student government associations within SUNY, and provide greater engagement opportunities between the Student Assembly and the student body.
About the SUNY Student Assembly
The Student Assembly of the State University of New York (SUNY SA) is the recognized student government organization representing the nearly 1.4 million students of the State University of New York. Comprised of student leaders elected by their peers from across SUNY’s 64 campuses, SUNY SA is committed to empowering students throughout the state, and ensuring the representation of its members on the state and national level, as well as throughout the SUNY system.