SUNY Canton President Plans Continued Growth Despite State Budget Cuts

Joseph KennedySUNY Canton President Joseph L. Kennedy called for innovation and thoughtful planning in order to overcome the state’s budget cuts to the SUNY System and SUNY Canton during a Faculty Assembly meeting on Tuesday.

Kennedy said the College’s extraordinary growth and previous long term planning will help SUNY Canton continue to thrive despite inevitable decreases in state support. Enrollment at the college is at an all-time high with more than 3,000 students this semester.

“By expanding to four-year degrees, increasing our online abilities, and increasing our overall attendance, we’ve significantly decreased the pain that these cuts would have otherwise inflicted on us,” Kennedy said. “We’ll be able to use some of our current cash balances over the next couple of years to ease into a transition on the way we conduct business. We recognize the state’s current financial situation and we’re working to adjust to the new budget reality that exists statewide.”

Kennedy stated that his two highest priorities regarding the budgets were to not decrease the overall quality of students’ education and to not layoff any college employees. He has been meeting with groups of employees over the past few weeks and listening to suggestions on how to work smarter, more efficiently, and more environmentally proficient.

He mentioned that the solution will be found through a variety of adjustments. Small changes will include things such as mowing less grass, plowing less snow, and resetting computer systems to maximize energy efficiency. Potential larger solutions may include shifting to a four-day class schedule as early as next semester, which would reduce energy costs and create personal savings for students and employees.

“This is not a crisis, it’s a challenge,” said Kennedy. “We’ll have many solutions and they’ll come in all different sizes, but we are positioned to manage this situation successfully and should treat this as an opportunity to once again show why SUNY Canton is a leader in higher education.”

SUNY Canton currently has more than 500 employees. Kennedy said that number will decrease over the next two years to adjust to the new budget reality, but it will likely happen through natural attrition such as retirements and relocations.

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