Resuscitating the College

Posted on 10 September 2010

“Honestly, after all this, I think I want to go to law school,” upcoming Stony Brook University sophomore Katie Osiecki said in this week’s front page story “Students SUNY Suit Succeeds.” The kind of courage Osiecki, her peers, and members of the Save the College organization displayed when filing a lawsuit against the state university is admirable; and we are glad to see Osiecki is not only undeterred but energized for a life of engagement and taking on “the big dogs.” No doubt the narrative of the university versus the students has played out like a David and Goliath tale. In providing a great education, the university also taught their students to question and critique. These young minds are employing this education by questioning, criticizing and taking action against the university for their brisk attitude in effectively shutting down their campus.

At best, this verdict proves the university is lousy at following procedures of law – like including their own council in a dismantling of much of their East End program, with the exception of the Marine Science and masters writing degrees. At worst, as Assemblyman Fred Thiele believes, the higher ups at Stony Brook University concocted this plan in a closed door fashion, making sweeping — and, to some, devastating changes — without a passing thought to their Southampton-based students. No matter which side of the coin you look, or however the situation is spun by their publicist, the ruling doesn’t bode well for Stony Brook University.

When analyzing the numbers we were shocked by the meager savings the univeristy’s proposed plan will effectuate — just $6.7 million. The state reportedly slashed the budget by $60 million over two years, which adds up to roughly twenty percent of their annual budget. The proposed savings appear paltry compared to the overall loss. We wonder if the university lost their will or strength to run an aggressive funding campaign. Don’t misunderstand, $60 million is a great deal of money but we think the community at large here — including those with deep pockets whom we call our neighbors — would embrace a school that actually reached out to the community and fulfilled a need.

The fall semester is fast approaching and it appears the Southampton campus’ doors will remain shuttered. In the meantime we hope local politicians will be able to come up with a solution to make the campus whole, and we, the community, will be waiting to welcome back this invaluable student body, who have no doubt become their own assets to the East End.

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3 Responses to “Resuscitating the College”

  1. NY Taxpayer says:

    Even more shocking is that the university has admitted it will take THREE YEARS before that $6.7 million it says would be saved by killing this college is even realized. disgraceful.

    Now that it is known that what the students were saying ever since April was in fact true and the university president did violate the law, the University Council must pay attention and consider other alternatives that the president never did before rushing to put this college out of existence.

    Restore the residential undergraduate college at Southampton and reinstate its exceptional environmental sustainabilities programs as soon as possible.

    There is no reason why this college cannot exist along with additional expanded uses for the campus. Its original 5 year strategic plan included some interesting ideas for additional expanded uses. Fleshing those out would be a good place to start.

    Lets also not forget that the president broke state law, harmed 800 students in the process, and must be held accountable, along with the SUNY Chancellor who allowed him to take his illegal actions. They both should be fired.

  2. Southampton Student's Mom says:

    On a recent webcast, of the Stony Brook Council, Dr. Stanley said the state budget cuts to Stony Brook were 27 million. So the 50-60 million dollar state budget cuts that appear in the news, are very debatable. Even if you thought it was true for 2009-2010, guess again. The Stony Brook Foundation helped to soften the effects of budget cuts in 2009. http://www.stonybrook.edu/budgetoffice/notes.shtml

    Dr. Stanley has never said that the state cut any funding to the Southampton campus. The southampton campus was separately funded by the state. The state did not give money to Stony Brook to fund the Southampton campus, from what I can tell from the November 2, 2009 University Senate minutes.

    “Provost Kaler: Provost Kaler spoke on the State Funds Financial Plan for SB Southampton. Administrative costs are high followed by the Academic commitments. There is 7.4 Mil in state appropriation funded by SUNY. SUNY has specifically identified this for Stony Brook Southampton. For a copy of the financial plan please email ltheobalt@notes.cc.sunysb.edu .”

    http://www.stonybrook.edu/univsenate/minutes2009Nov02.shtml

    You can try to e-mail the url for a copy of the financial plan. I did months ago, and I believe, so did Regina Calcaterra, the former Democratic candidate for State Senate. She also was unsuccessful at getting a response.

    Did you know that Stony Brook University has received more than 56 million dollars from the American Recovery Act, recently, also known as the Stimulus Bill?

    http://www.stonybrook.edu/research/news/arra/index.shtml

    Did you know that there is a 5 year plan for 2005-2010 and there are excellent ideas in it, about growing the Southampton campus, that were never implemented because The Southampton campus did not hire a PR staff person until January of 2010? See page 91 to start reading about the Southampton campus:

    http://www.stonybrook.edu/univsenate/minutes2009Nov02.shtml

    Assemblyman Fred Thiele was correct in saying that this campus has failed at being a satellite campus, and that is why a new model is needed, a separate campus that stands on its own. It seems the main campus treats the Southampton campus as a rich stepchild, to be taken advantage of whenever possible.

    No they do not have to sell the land. But they can lease it. They can do what the American Indians have been doing to generate an income. ” As part of the ground lease agreement, Stony Brook University will receive a $100,000 annual lease payment. An annual 3 percent escalation fee on the lease payment, plus a minority equity share in the hotel, will remain in the Stony Brook Foundation Realty (SBFR). All funds generated through the lease will stay on campus.”

    http://www.stonybrook.edu/sb/campushotel/faq.shtml

    Just imagine how many “educational research” buildings or “collaborative private partnerships” Stony Brook could lease out. It is very lucrative at $100,000 a year, plus

    And that Stony Brook Realty Foundation, that is a branch of the Stony Brook Foundation. The Stony Brook Foundation raised 360 million by 2009, 60 million more than they had hoped for. So it is no wonder that they could help offset the state budget cuts in 2009.

    The students of the Southampton campus have been a valuable asset to the East End, providing part-time employees, volunteer workers, unpaid and paid interns, not to mention an important economic engine. Just ask any landlord how good the rental market has been and if they would like to see the 800 students who were enrolled this fall at the Southampton campus, or the 2,000 this school will easily attract in the next few years.

    I am so proud of these students for organizing and having the heart to consistently follow peaceful protest protocols. I am proud of the people in our community who have bought raffle tickets to help raise money for the legal battle. And I am in awe of all the businesses who have stepped forward to donate items that could be raffled off, in these economically challenging times.

  3. Southampton says:

    Although constantly talking about its funding cuts, University officials never mention the $56 million that Stony Brook U received from the American Recovery Act of 2009, the Stimulus Bill. (http://www.stonybrook.edu/research/news/arra/index.shtml).

    They also don’t mention that The Stony Brook Foundation helped offset budget cuts to the campus in 2009. (http://www.stonybrook.edu/budgetoffice/notes.shtml)

    The Stony Brook Foundation raised $360 million by 2009 – millions more than they expected to raise.

    There is also a Stony Brook Realty Foundation (SBRF), a branch of the Stony Brook Foundation. When Stony Brook U acquired the Gyrodyne/Flowerfield property through the state’s eminent domain, the tenants’ rent immediately went to the SBRF, to the tune of about $50,000.00 a month.

    It is ludicrous that a university with such financial assets tried to eliminate an entire 4 year college and tell us that it all was necessary just to “save” a mere $6 million.

    The Stony Brook president got caught violating state law, deceiving the public, and sacrificing these students and the college in order to move forward his own agenda and special interests. He should be fired.


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