March 30, 2009

Silver: Budget Will Fully Fund Medgar Evers College As Four-Year School

Agreement Ends Years Of Under-Funding At State's Only Primarily Black College

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Assembly Ways and Means Committee Chair Herman D. Farrell, Jr. and Assembly Education Committee Chair Deborah Glick announced today that the SFY 2009-2010 budget includes provisions that require the state to completely fund capital projects at Medgar Evers College, after nearly 15 years in which the state has only partially funded critical improvements at the school.

"Since my earliest days as Speaker I have pushed for Medgar Evers College to receive the full funding students and faculty deserved," said Silver (D-Manhattan). "For too long the state neglected its obligation to pick up the full share of the college's construction costs. I am especially pleased that in his twentieth and final year as president of the college, Edison O. Jackson can finally see the school funded as a four-year college. President Jackson has been a tireless advocate for full funding, by attracting prestigious faculty members which enabled the institution to become an asset to Crown Heights and the CUNY system."

"This budget agreement guarantees that going forward New York will make the necessary capital investments in its only predominately black college," said Farrell (D-Manhattan). "Especially during this challenging economic climate, we must acknowledge the tremendous economic assets higher education institutions such as Medgar Evers College are for the state."

"After more than ten years of effort, Medgar Evers College has finally achieved the status of a full-funded CUNY four-year institution," said Glick (D-Manhattan). "For years this school, an integral part of the community in Central Brooklyn, was classified as a two-year college for capital budget purposes. This held up certain necessary construction projects. Under this budget, the state will now fund capital project that will enhance the college."

Founded in 1969, the college is named after Medgar Evers, a civil rights leader from Mississippi who was assassinated 1963, after years of work registering black voters and organizing boycotts of segregated businesses. In 1994, the college was officially designated as a four-year college academic institution, but continued to be funded as a community college. Consequently due to the college's precarious designation, the city argued that it should not be required to provide 50 percent of capital costs. Under state law, New York City is required to match the state's share of capital costs at CUNY two-year institutions.