Bring Transparency to SUNY and CUNY Research Foundations!

This letter asks legislators to support a bill in the Senate and Assembly (S.6863 -Stavisky) / A.9570 - (Hyndman) that would require SUNY and CUNY to publicly post an annual report online detailing the research foundations’ activities and expenses.

It also urges legislators to raise this bill in their conferences and advocate for its passage before the end this year’s legislative session.

Since these foundations are not technically public agencies, they are not subject to the same public reporting standards as the rest of SUNY and CUNY. It is necessary to bring accountability and transparency to these foundations, which hold millions of dollars in assets. These foundations are tied to our public university system and the public has a right to know how these foundations spend their money.

The legislation would apply to the SUNY Research Foundation, the foundations of all SUNY state-operated campuses and community colleges, the CUNY Research Foundation and the foundations of each CUNY senior college and community college.

The annual reports would be published on SUNY’s and CUNY’s websites. The reports would contain audited financials; a list of all contracts, including amount, purpose, and vendor; and a list of all employees, along with their salaries, benefits, job titles, and job descriptions.

This legislation would help move New York government forward in being more transparent and accountable to the public. It is important to know how SUNY is leveraging additional funding through the foundations and to ensure it is going towards the right purposes to support students, faculty, staff, and the communities tied to SUNY.