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United University Professions, The Nation’s Largest Higher Education Union, Calls For Law Enforcement, State University Of New York, Societal Reforms

Published Thursday, June 11, 2020
by UUP News
United University Professions, The Nation’s Largest Higher Education Union, Calls For Law Enforcement, State University Of New York, Societal Reforms

(ALBANY, NEW YORK) - United University Professions (UUP), the Nation’s largest Higher Education Union, is calling on New York State and the State University of New York (SUNY) System to be the engine of transformation during a time when our state and country are facing multi-faceted crises: the Coronavirus Pandemic; an economic recession; and social upheaval caused by institutionalized violence against People of Color.

“The time for bold, wide-ranging change is now,” UUP President Frederick Kowal said. “As Martin Luther King Jr. said: ‘The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.’ However, there are moments in history when we need to step up and push or that arc won’t bend.  Now is the time that our Union and the SUNY System need to lead the way in instituting and pursuing change through legislation, SUNY Policy and Education.”

UUP applauded the State Legislature for its actions on Police Reform Bills and urged lawmakers to approve proposals backed by the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus.

Those proposals include: Repeal of the 50-A provision allowing police departments to block public access to disciplinary records; Criminalizing police choke holds; Charging 911 callers who make false accusations based on race, gender or religion with hate crimes; the banning of racial and ethnic profiling by police; and requiring State Police Officers to wear body cameras.

“The Memorial Day death of George Floyd, an unarmed, handcuffed Black man who died after a Police Officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes, has lit a fire in America that will not be extinguished until racial injustice and inequality are snuffed out,” Kowal said. “People have seen and had enough.  The time has come to make reforms across the spectrum of society that will achieve lasting, positive change.  We must seize this opportunity and send an unmistakable message that America will no longer turn away at the sight of racial inequality or shrug at the reality of climate injustice or discrimination against People of Color or those who don’t fall neatly into biased societal norms.  The passage of police reform measures by the Legislature is a good first step, but we cannot stop there.”

The Union is putting its words into action.

Kowal said that UUP will commit a substantial amount of Union resources for Inclusivity Training for its Members, their families and communities that host SUNY campuses.

UUP is also encouraging SUNY to select a Chancellor who comes from communities that, for too long, have been underrepresented.

The Union also believes the time is now to institute real, substantive change to begin to address systematic racism through changes to the health care system, addressing the climate crisis and expanding diversity and educational opportunities.

UUP has been fighting for these changes and introduced a set of policy recommendations in its NY25 Policy Proposal, released earlier this year.

Health Care Reform is part of UUP’s Social Change Agenda.

UUP represents more than 12,000 Members at SUNY’s Public Teaching Hospitals in Brooklyn, Stony Brook and Syracuse, and University at Buffalo-affiliated Teaching Hospitals, with the Brooklyn Facility - SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University- designated as a COVID-19-only hospital.

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