By Henry Fisher | February 6, 2023
Photo Credit: Shutterstock
The University at Albany’s Student Association (SA), in their first in-person meeting of the semester on Feb. 1, passed a bill to petition the New York State Senate, Assembly, and Governor to extend COVID-era tuition freezes. Also discussed in the meeting was a report of expired food at 518 Market, the upcoming election cycle, and vacancies in the SA Supreme Court. Information was also provided regarding the frozen credit card account reported in the last session.
The bill, sponsored by Senator Dylan Klein and Senator Jeremy Zheng, was in response to Governor Kathy Hochul’s new budget plan, which includes a tuition increase across SUNY campuses of 3% – with select campuses, “SUNY’s university centers,” having a tuition increase of 6%. This includes UAlbany, as well as the University of Buffalo, Stony Brook University, and Binghamton University.
During the COVID-19 Pandemic, an SA petition helped lead to the three month tuition freeze – a freeze which is ending in a month and a half.
“It’s extremely important that we, as elected officials, advocate for an affordable higher education,” said Senator Klein. “I am certainly displeased that the governor would present a tuition hike in the middle of serious inflation and still in the back end of a pandemic.”
The petition would ask New York State officials to reauthorize the tuition freeze or to provide additional SUNY and CUNY funding to prevent the rise of tuition.
“We don’t need administrative malpractice and poor economic malpractice being passed onto the backs of students. And frankly, as students, we are tired of it,” Senator Klein said.
Due to fraud reports on SA’s credit card, it was frozen, which was reported on in the Senate last week. This week, Comptroller Kevon Burke explained that the error occurred at the last hotel SA members stayed at.
“Fiscal agents told us that the front desk staff at our last hotel failed to properly handle the credit card. All those charges were declined,” Burke said.
SA is currently looking at getting a second credit card to avoid similar situations in the future.
Senator Jalen Rose reported on UAlbany’s 518 Market, where he discovered several items that were long expired. Some were expired by 15 days, some by 25, and one item was six months old – from Aug. 15, 2022. SA is to launch their own investigation into the issue.
Bologna package with an expiration date of Aug. 15, 2022, taken on Feb. 1
Photo Credit: Henry Fisher/The ASP
“That’s a bit scary and a violation of state health codes,” Senator Klein said, regarding the issue.
Chair of the Elections Commission, Catherine Devaney, reported that she had met the incoming SA election candidates prior to the meeting. Next week, she hopes to have an election timeline ready.
“I’m impressed with the candidates that we have,” Devaney said.
In addition to the elections, Deputy Chief Justice Joshua Manu-Tawiah has said that there is currently a vacancy in the SA Supreme Court. The Supreme Court’s first meeting on Friday will also include in-person interviews for the available positions.