March 5, 2010

SUNY Board of Trustees Confirms Prof. Ehrenberg

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Eleven months after his appointment by Gov. David Paterson (D-N.Y.), Prof. Ronald Ehrenberg, the Irving M. Ives Professor of industrial and labor relations and economics, was confirmed by the N.Y. State Senate to take his position as a member of the SUNY Board of Trustees. Ehrenberg is also currently a member of the Cornell Board of Trustees.

Ehrenberg’s term began on March 2, 2010, and will end in June 2013.

Because of the potential for conflicts of interest due to Ehrenberg’s connections to both Cornell and the SUNY school system, there will be certain limitations regarding the meetings he can attend and the issues upon which he can provide advice, according to The Sun’s archives.

“Whenever anything is discussed at Cornell that deals with SUNY, I can’t be present; and whenever anything is discussed at SUNY that deals with Cornell, I can’t be present,” Ehrenberg told The Sun last August.

Despite this limitation, SUNY Board of Trustees Chairman Carl Hayden recently told the University in a press release: “Ronald Ehrenberg’s training and experience as an economist, his many years of service as a member of the Cornell faculty and administration, and his research on higher education will be an invaluable asset to SUNY.”

In the same press release, Ehrenberg expressed gratitude for being extended the opportunity to serve on the board.

“I am delighted to help repay my debt to SUNY through my service on the SUNY board,” said Ehrenberg, who received a Bachelor’s Degree from SUNY’s Harpur College, which has since been renamed Binghamton University.

“Both my wife and I, and lots of my relatives, are graduates of SUNY so I have a concern for the institution which is very, very deep,” Ehrenberg told The Sun in August.

Ehrenberg is a noted expert on public higher education. He is the author of Tuition Rising: Why College Costs So Much and What’s Happening to Public Higher Education?, among other publications. He is currently the director of the Cornell Higher Education Research Institute.

Although Paterson appointed Ehrenberg last May, the State Senate delayed Ehrenberg’s confirmation for a number of reasons. When Ehrenberg was first nominated, the Senate was facing several administrative issues. According to The Sun’s archives, confirmation hearings were delayed at the time Ehrenberg was appointed because the Senate was on a temporary hiatus. At that time, two state senators, Hiram Monserrate (D-N.Y.) and Pedro Espada (D-N.Y.), began voting Republican, effectively giving the Republicans a 32-30 majority over the Democrats. Since Ehrenberg’s appointment, Monserrate has been expelled from the Senate, as a result of a a misdemeanor assault conviction. Espada is currently the State Senate Majority Leader.

Original Author: Elizabeth Manapsal