ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The higher education union United University Professions rallied today in Rochester alongside advocates and lawmakers to emphasize to Albany the massive projected operating deficits on multiple State University of New York (SUNY) campuses.

Institutions such as SUNY Brockport and SUNY Geneseo have reported a $9.9 million and $10 million projected deficit for the current fiscal year, respectively.

The UUP says SUNY schools the support from Albany is necessary to protect affordable public education and jobs in the Finger Lakes Region and stop an overreliance on fees for students.

“The governor’s budget, the budget that was passed by the legislature, was the first year where we were turning the corner after 15 years of austerity budgeting for SUNY, where basically campuses had to deal with flat budgets,” President of UUP Fred Kowal said. “What we’re saying is campuses are still in desperate financial situations because of COVID, along with those years of underfunding. Now is the time.”

The UUP says boosting operating aid for these campuses is the first step to protecting affordable public education and jobs in SUNY and adds they will continue to urge state lawmakers to fully fund SUNY campuses with these deficits at multiple rallies this fall.