United University Professions (UUP) represents SUNY’s academic and professional staff, so the union has a lot riding on the appointment of the new SUNY chancellor.

Dr. Jim Malatras, president of SUNY Empire State College and a product of the SUNY system himself, was named the new chancellor on Friday by the SUNY Board of Trustees. Malatras has also served in several capacities within the Cuomo administration. Among other policy initiatives, Malatras is widely credited for creating the Excelsior Scholarship program.

UUP’s Fred Kowal told Capital Tonight’s Susan Arbetter that he hopes Dr. Malatras’ long and productive relationship with Governor Cuomo will mean that SUNY’s issues will be front and center.

While Kowal is disappointed that the SUNY Board didn’t do a full nationwide search, he says that he knows Malatras, and respects his policy chops.

UUP also represents staffers at SUNY’s three teaching hospitals. Dr. Kowal has repeatedly stated that essential workers at these hospitals should be given crisis bonuses for working during the height of the pandemic. He told Capital Tonight that he will be raising that issue with Chancellor Malatras at his first opportunity.