UB’s President John Simpson told it like it was: No punches pulled, no political rhetoric or bias. He was plainly pissed at how the state of the State of New York has impacted the University at Buffalo. The University is clearly going to be affected by its $20 million cut in state funding, helpless to generate compensating revenue because of bureaucratic laws enacted 50 years ago, and unchanged since. Staff cuts are coming.
Simpson made a couple of profound points at this morning’s State of the University speech at Asbury Hall, one of them being not so subtle: UB is not just the University at Buffalo. It’s also the University of Buffalo and the University with Buffalo. He is adamant about growing the Western New York economy by growing the University. He basically asked the state to either help or to get out of the way. He got lots of applause for that comment.
Simpson called the state short-sighted by cutting the higher-education budget, calling higher education not the problem, but the solution to New York’s economic woes.
If only the local politicians would get the message, but unless they were hiding I saw only two there: Mayor Byron Brown and Senator Alphonse Thompson. Brown’s typical political speech said nothing except that he is the mayor of Buffalo (about 3 times) and that the city of Buffalo is a great place. Some shill in the front row started a round of applause every time the mayor finished two sentences, regardless of how un-profound his statements were (and they were un-profound). Simpson got two standing ovations. I thought he deserved the second one, if for no other reason than for calling a spade a spade.
Simpson’s speech can be read in its entirety here.