Tag Archive | "Stony Brook"

SUNY Board of Trustees Unanimously Approves Stony Brook-Southampton Hospital Merger

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By Mara Certic

After more than two years of negotiations, the first step was taken toward a merger between Southampton and Stony Brook University hospitals on Tuesday when the full SUNY Board of Trustees approved the long-awaited alliance.

The board unanimously approved an affiliation agreement between the two hospitals after hearing from a member of its five-member Academic Medical Centers and Hospitals Committee.

SUNY’s hospital subcommittee, which was appointed to make recommendations about the university’s health centers, unanimously supported the affiliation agreement between the two hospitals on Monday morning, finally moving it out of committee.

Trustee Cary Staller gave the presentation to his fellow board members, filling in for the committee chairman John Murad, who was watching the meeting via webcam.

Mr. Staller explained the committee is in favor of the integration and affiliation agreement, as it is formally called, on three conditions. The first is that Stony Brook University and Stony Brook University Hospital are not allowed to seek funding from the state or SUNY for capital projects related to the affiliation on the Stony Brook Southampton campus.

Southampton Hospital has shared some services with Suffolk County’s largest hospital since 2008. The two medical centers signed a letter of intent in October of 2012, which said Southampton would operate under Stony Brook’s license, in hopes that a new facility would be built on Stony Brook Southampton’s 85-acre campus.

The first condition of the merger does not in any way put a damper on those plans, according to Robert Chaloner, president and CEO of Southampton Hospital.

“We never were looking for money from the state to do that,” he said in a phone interview on Tuesday afternoon. “We always believed the hospital should be built with private philanthropy.”

The second provision is that Stony Brook University Hospital must establish sufficient cash reserves to cover Southampton Hospital’s liabilities and the final condition stipulates that Stony Brook University Hospital must come up with a comprehensive plan for the integration including specific tasks and milestones.

According to Mr. Chaloner, the merger will allow Southampton Hospital some security at a time when long-term trends for small, independent hospitals “are not great.”

Mr. Chaloner said the two hospitals hope to work side-by-side to extend healthcare teaching programs, share and improve information technology and tap into each other’s resources.

There is a chance of coordinating the Meeting House Lane practices with Stony Brook University Hospital, he said, which has a similar organization.

“We’d like to tie things together, but if anything that’ll be somewhere we need to go full speed ahead,” he said, adding that there is a huge need for more doctors on the East End. For that reason, there will be no employee cuts as a result of this merger.

“One of the major fundamentals is to ensure employees stay in place and that they retain their current union memberships,” he said.

“We don’t want people to leave, we need everybody,” Mr. Chaloner said. “This is a merger to bring two organizations together to grow, not to cut.”

All 18 members of the board voted in favor of the resolution. Trustee Eunice Lewin said she had been concerned about the merger until she visited Southampton Hospital and was “pleasantly surprised.”

Dr. Samuel Stanley, president of Stony Brook University Hospital, was at Tuesday’s meeting and thanked the board.

“It’s not completed yet, there’s still work to be done, but this is an extraordinarily important first step,” he said.

“For both Southampton Hospital and for Stony Brook, this is a win-win in every sense of the word,” he said, “We look forward to the implementation process.”

“This affiliation is a step in the right direction for expanding and improving health care on the South Fork. Both Stony Brook and Southampton Hospital officials are to be commended for their efforts,” State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. said in a press release issued on Tuesday.

“Assemblyman Thiele and I have worked hard to impress upon the SUNY system the need and benefits of bringing these two hospitals together and commend the Board of Trustees for recognizing the changing face of healthcare and advancing this initiative,” Senator Kenneth P. LaValle said in the same release.

“The possibilities are endless. This affiliation could help revitalize the Stony Brook Southampton campus by bringing in new health care based academic programs, and also a new state-of-the-art hospital at the Southampton campus. The agreement could serve as an anchor, ensuring that the college be a permanent fixture in our community,” Mr. Thiele added.


Hidden Private Gardens of the East End to Open this Spring

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The view of the pool in George Biercuk and Robert Luckey's garden in Wainscott. Photo courtesy of Garden Conservancy.

The view of the pool in George Biercuk and Robert Luckey’s garden in Wainscott. Photo courtesy of Garden Conservancy.

By Tessa Raebeck

While many East End residents lamented that winter lasted far too long this year, George Biercuk of Wainscott enjoyed his garden.

“It has something in bloom all year long,” said Mr. Biercuk, who shares his garden with his partner, Robert Luckey.

“There is enough structure in the garden that it holds together as a garden even in the winter,” Mr. Biercuk said Friday. Be it freezing or beautiful out, “there is always something in bloom.”

The four-season garden is one of six being featured in the Garden Conservancy’s Suffolk County Open Day Saturday, the first of six daylong tours across the county this summer.

On Saturday, visitors can view any or all of six private gardens in Wainscott, East Hampton and Stony Brook.

On Sayre’s Path in Wainscott, the Biercuk and Luckey garden is easy to find, with bright, yellow daffodils in full bloom lining the property along the roadside.

In designing his space, Mr. Biercuk, who grew up experimenting with planting and attended a horticultural program at Southampton College, and has a self-described natural affinity for gardening, sought “a very natural garden.”

“So that it’s low in maintenance,” he said, “that I don’t have to worry about every leaf and it’s not a pristine garden, like a very formal one. Because the garden should be fun.”

The couple planned the garden slowly, improving the soil a bed at a time, planning out every curve and season.

“I started with the plants that were supposed to be dwarf so that I could get more in,” he said. “And it’s growing better than I imagined.”

Totally designed, dug and planted by Mr. Biercuk, the garden is complemented by a pond-like pool, a waterfall and stonework designed by Mr. Biercuk and implemented by Richard Cohen and Jim Kutz of Rockwater Design & Installations in Amagansett.

The entire property is an acre, but the lush foliage tricks the eye into thinking it’s a much larger estate.

Dianne Benson's home in East Hampton, part of the Suffolk County Open Days private garden tour. Photo courtesy of Garden Conservancy.

Dianne Benson’s home in East Hampton, part of the Suffolk County Open Days private garden tour. Photo courtesy of Garden Conservancy.

“I have real estate people come in here and walk around and go in the back, which is probably a half acre, maybe a touch more, and go, ‘How many acres are in the back here?’” said Mr. Biercuk. “Because of the way its planted, you cannot see the whole thing—and that’s what I wanted.”

“Whenever I go walk some place, I always take a different route and I come back a different way, because you always see things differently,” he added.

Looking out from the kitchen, Mr. Biercuk can see the waterfall flowing into his pool, flanked by evergreens and rhododendrons.

“It’s one cohesive space,” he said. And through the crisp chill of January or the sweating sun of July, it stays that way. The plants rotate, but the greenery never fades.

Day lilies and peonies pop up in June, with the day lilies running through the summer.

“I have them staggered with different bloom times, so they pop up all over the place,” he said. “I use varying foliage also, so there’s always color.”

The azaleas come in the early summer, followed by clerodendrums trichotomum in August, “which has incredible fragrance,” an essential part of any garden, he said.

“And then when the flowers are finished, it gets this wonderful berry-like substance—red and purple—like the old fashioned juices,” he said. “That lasts through the fall.”

Fuchsias Mr. Biercuk has had for 30 years get planted out again in August, brightening the backyard with vibrant oranges.

“You can go find them and put them in the ground in May and have them blooming, but I like waiting for things,” he said.

Angel wing begonias, some of them nearly 7 feet tall, are planted in the fall, as are some perennials.  Begonia Grandis, a “hardy begonia” comes into flower in late August and lasts into the fall.

In the winter, evergreens, rhododendrons, holly and pieris fill the property, as well as hamamelis, or witch hazel.

This time of year, “we’re entering into the height,” Mr. Biercuk said, adding that his favorite rhododendron, the Taurus, blooms a deep red in the springtime.

“Hopefully, they’re going to be in full glory next Saturday,” he said.

The Suffolk County Open Day of private garden tours is Saturday, May 10, from 10 a.m. to 2 or 4 p.m., depending on the garden. Following Suffolk County Open Days are May 17, June 21, July 12, July 19 and September 6. For prices, participating gardens and more information, call 1-888-842-2442, email opendays@gardenconservancy.org or visit gardenconservancy.org/opendays.

College Suit Settled

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By Claire Walla

More than a year after students of Stony Brook Southampton College pressed charges against Stony Brook University after university president Samuel Stanley closed the satellite campus without fair warning, all litigation has come to an end.

The settlement — agreed upon by the students involved, members of grassroots organization Save the College and officials of Stony Brook University — entails four main components: the university will pay for the students’ outstanding attorneys fees, the Sustainability Program at Stony Brook’s main campus will be guaranteed through 2014, the state university system will fund a sustainability conference at the Southampton Campus in 2014 and University President Samuel Stanley will formally apologize to the students who were impacted by the closing of the campus.

“It certainly wasn’t everything everyone wanted, but it was important to ensuring the future of the college and, certainly, from a point of view of justice, it was important for the students, who were very much wronged, to bring this to court—and to win,” said Assemblyman Fred Thiele this week.

Along with Senator Ken LaValle, Thiele has been instrumental in reestablishing activity on the satellite campus, which this year has been completely shuttered, save for graduate programs in writing and marine sciences. The campus is an important issue for both legislators, both of whom played pivotal roles in getting the State University of New York (SUNY) to purchase the campus from Long Island University back in 2006.

President Stanley announced the campus’ closure last April, just three months before the start of the coming school year, citing the impact of state budget cuts. He came under fire for the move in large part because he had failed to consult the school’s University Council before coming to his decision. By university law, the president is obligated to consult with the council before making any “major plans,” such as closing a campus.

“In a perfect world we would have brought the sustainability program back to Southampton. [It is now being bolstered on Stony Brook’s main campus.] That is the one disappointment here,” Thiele continued. “But, we did get justice for the students.”

Thiele said his goals while guiding students through their lawsuit were, first and foremost, to achieve justice; but also to assure that the program will continue.

Now, with much of the controversy behind them, both Thiele and LaValle are looking to the future of the campus.

In a press release last week, he announced $6.9 million had been re-appropriated to the Southampton campus for a new marine sciences building, and Stony Brook recently issued $7.5 million for a new student center. Construction on both projects is expected to start within a year. These contributions exemplify what Thiele referred to in the press release as an “ambitious vision” on the part of he and Senator LaValle “that would make the campus a busy academic hub benefiting all of Eastern Long Island.”

“I see now the potential for a very bright future,” Thiele continued. He said the arts program will be “the keystone” of the future of the college, but expanded programs in marine sciences, the creation of a sustainability institute and construction on a new medical facility that will bridge a partnership between the college and Southampton Hospital will see the school into the future.

Championship Hopes Get Away from Lady Whalers

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By Jacob Sisson

The Pierson/Bridgehampton Lady Whalers’ girls basketball season came to an end on Tuesday in the same way it did one year ago, with a loss to top-seeded Stony Brook in the Suffolk County Class “C” championship tournament. This year, The Lady Whalers’ playoff run ended with a 43-29 defeat at Saint Joseph’s College in the Class “C” championship game.

Instead of last year’s semi-final defeat, the Lady Whalers pushed their way into the county championship game for the first time in the six years that Pierson/Bridgehampton coach Dennis Case has been at the helm. The game was a bitter pill to swallow for a team that had beaten the Bears once this season, and had the confidence and momentum to win a second time.

“We had a very successful season,” said Case. “It’s the first time we’ve been to the county final, at least in the six years I’ve been coaching. We’ve been to the playoffs those six years, but it’s the first time we’ve been to the final.

“We made a good showing. We played hard; we never gave up the whole game. We played hard from the tip-off to the very end of the game. You can’t complain at all. The kids played with a lot of intensity. That’s the way they’ve played all year.

“We lost a couple games because of a few different things, a couple times because of shooting, but overall we did fine.”

The Lady Whalers picked the wrong night to lose their shooting touch. While the Lady Whalers were successful in playing intense defense and fighting for every ball – the team had 11 steals, six of which came from senior guard Sarah Barrett – they could not match that level in their shooting.

Collectively, the team shot 11 of 58 from the field, including a paltry 20 percent from inside the arc and only hitting 1 of 8 three-point attempts. While Stony Brook was enjoying wild success from the free-throw stripe, Pierson/Bridgehampton struggled, hitting only 6 of 13 attempts.

“We had cold shooting, that’s for sure. We played very good defense, but we just couldn’t finish. We had a tough time putting the ball in the hole. On top of that, we just didn’t shoot well from the foul line. We must have missed eight or ten foul shots. But that’s the way the game goes.”

While the Lady Whalers attempted to mount a comeback in the second half, things became dire when Stony Brook was given shot after shot from the free-throw line. As a team, Stony Brook hit 10 of 12 free throws in the final quarter to put the game on ice and give them their wide winning margin.

It was a sloppy start to the game that seemed to set the tempo for the Lady Whalers. Only eight points were scored in the first quarter, with the score tied 4-4 after the first period.

The second quarter brought little relief for the Lady Whalers, as their shooting woes continued. The team went 3 of 16 from the field (the Lady Whalers shot 5 of 29 in the half), and could only add another seven points to their total. Stony Brook, on the other hand, had an explosive quarter. Driven by the efforts of forward Brannon Burke, Stony Brook scored 15 points to push their lead out to a halftime advantage of 19-11. Burke finished her night with 26 points, 11 from free-throws, and was singled out by coach Case as Pierson/Bridgehampton’s main adversary.

Sarah Barrett began to heat up in the second half, and tried to will her team back into championship consideration. Key steals and subsequent fast breaks seemed to put the wind back in the Lady Whalers’ sails for a time, and brought them back to within six with just 3:50 left in the fourth quarter.

It was not to be, however, as it began to rain Stony Brook free-throws that dug Pierson/Bridgehampton into a hole it could not climb out of.

The loss, however, was not for lack of effort, as the Lady Whalers defended doggedly to the last, and gave everything they had to break down a difficult Stony Brook defense. In the offensive half, the Stony Brook’s defense limited Barrett, Pierson/Bridgehampton’s top scorer, to eight points, while fellow seniors Amanda Busiello and Kaci Koehne finished their nights with six points each. Seniors Samantha James and Nina Hemby as well as sophomore Emily Hinz all had three points, with James hitting the team’s only three-pointer.

Koehne, Busiello and Barrett led the team in the rebounding category, with six each, on a night where Stony Brook’s height advantage left Pierson/Bridgehampton wanting. Koehne also had three blocks in an effort to disrupt Stony Brook’s shooting.

It was the end of a long road for Pierson/Bridgehampton’s five seniors who waved their final goodbyes to Lady Whalers fans. That elite group included Barrett, Busiello, Hemby, James and Koehne, who have grown and matured as a group both this season and earlier in their careers.

“We’re going to miss five seniors,” said Case of his stellar senior class. “We’re going to miss that group, that’s for sure. They’re all talented, so we’ll have to rebuild next year. But we’ll rebuild next year with four returning players, plus a bunch of kids from the JV, so hopefully we’ll be there.”

Lady Whalers Go On to Face Stony Brook for County C Championship

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By Jacob Sisson

The Pierson/Bridgehampton Lady Whalers (9-10, 8-3) moved one step closer to their goal of winning the Suffolk County Class “C” Championship by seeing off the Bishop McGann-Mercy Monarchs (9-8, 8-4) 35-32. The Lady Whalers now move on to face the Stony Brook Bears (12-5, 11-1) on Tuesday in the championship game to be played at Saint Joseph’s College in Patchogue at 5 p.m.

It was the second time this season a game between the Lady Whalers and the Monarchs came down to the wire, as the score remained tied at 30 with only 1:30 left on the clock.

Pierson/Bridgehampton managed to edge their way ahead in the final 90 seconds, and while it looked like a missed free-throw might give Mercy a way back into the game, senior forward Kaci Koehne grabbed one of her 17 rebounds to seal the win.

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It was a back-and-forth affair with both teams canceling each other out across the game’s first three quarters. After 24 minutes of play, Pierson was down 27-26, and needed a fourth quarter rally to extend their season.

Pierson/Bridgehampton eked out a nine-point quarter, and held their opponents to a mere five points, to give the Lady Whalers a big momentum boost heading into Tuesday’s county championship.

It was a defensive struggle between two teams who had their two major scoring threats mostly silenced throughout the game. On the Lady Whalers’ side, senior guard Sarah Barrett was held to well below her season average with a mere five points, while Mercy’s Amy Boden could only muster three, all from the free throw stripe. In the first meeting between the two teams, Barrett erupted for 23 while Boden led Mercy with 15.

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Stepping into the gap for Saturday’s matchup was senior forward Samantha James, who scored 13 points. Senior guard Amanda Busiello and sophomore guard Emily Hinz each had six points, with the former hitting a clutch three-pointer late in the fourth quarter, the only one of the night for the Lady Whalers, to give Pierson/Bridgehampton its winning margin.

Kaci Koehne added three points to her 17 rebounds, while freshman Kaci Gilbride hit a pair of free throws to score her only points of the game.

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Pierson/Bridgehampton’s win erased some bitter memories for the Lady Whalers, who lost their previous meeting 40-31 in a game that was played in Mercy’s home gym. Home-court advantage seemed to be key in a matchup largely even on paper, as the Lady Whalers came away victorious in both games played on their own home floor.

Home field advantage goes right out the window as Pierson/Bridgehampton heads to Saint Joseph’s to face Stony Brook on Tuesday. Stony Brook won Suffolk County’s League VIII with an 11-1 record, but lost their only league game of the year in a key home matchup against the Lady Whalers.

Pierson/Bridgehampton will be looking for revenge for not only their 40-28 road defeat on February 28 to the Bears but also for last year’s 51-28 loss to Stony Brook in the Suffolk County Class “C” semi-finals. The Lady Whalers have come a long way since last year’s playoff loss, and with five seniors leading the way, the Lady Whalers will have one goal in Tuesday’s championship game: win.

Southampton Campus Students File Suit Against Stony Brook

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By Andrew Rudansky

Students at Stony Brook Southampton College have filed suit against the SUNY Stony Brook University in response to the university’s decision to close the Stony Brook Southampton campus.  The suit, officially filed on Monday, May 24, accuses Samuel Stanley Jr., President of SBU, and the board of trustees at the university of, among other things, closing the Southampton campus down without first going to the Stony Brook Council for approval, as is required by the State Education Law.

The lawsuit is asking the courts to prevent Stanley and SBU from closing the Southampton campus. The main petitioners in the suit are Stony Brook Southampton students and the not-for-profit corporation Save the College at Southampton, Inc., “Save the College” was first created when Long Island University planned to close the school down, and before SBU purchased the campus in 2004.

The students have hired the Melville based law firm of Lazer, Aptherker, Rosella & Yedid, P.C. to take their case against Stanley and SBU. The students held demonstrations, marches and a series of grassroots student fundraisers to raise the over $18,000  in legal fees. 

The school officially announced its intentions to close down most of the campus by August 31 of this year, shuttering the residence halls and closing all but two of the academic buildings: Chancellors Hall and the Marine Sciences Research Center Complex.

The enrollment for the Spring 2009 term was approximately 500 students, and before the decision came down to close the campus Southampton accepted approximately 800 students for the Fall 2010 semester. Most of these students will be transferred to the SBU main campus in Stony Brook.

According to the court documents filed by the student’s lawyers, “SBU and the SUNY Trustees announced the decision to close Southampton without any notice to petitioners, the student body or faculty.” The court documents further claim that the school made the decision to close the school in secret to escape scrutiny from students, the press and the public. Most inflammatory of the accusations in the suit is the claim that President Stanley is closing the Southampton campus in order to sell off the “residentially zoned campus land to real estate developers in order to generate funds for SBU.”

Lauren M. Sheprow, from the Office of Media Relations at Stony Brook University refused to comment on any aspect of the pending lawsuit. Sheprow said, “The  court filings are under review and will be responded to appropriately in court.” 

Stony Brook Southampton Sophomore Katie Osiecki has helped spearhead

the lawsuit against the school. “I do think this is a credible lawsuit,” said Osiecki, “[President Stanley and Stony Brook University] did everything wrong.” Osiecki says that many members of the student body are angry how the SBU administration handled the situation. Osiecki has plans to attend school at the SBU main campus next fall, but also says that she might drop out.

Upon hearing the news of the lawsuit, New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. sent out a  press release which categorically stated, “I support the students in this lawsuit.”

Stony Brook University has until June 14 to answer the allegations before the State Supreme Court.



Unbalanced Education

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By Karl Grossman

The planned closing of most of SUNY’s Stony Brook Southampton campus represents more than an outrageous decision by the administration of Stony Brook University. It further shortchanges Long Island of seats at four-year SUNY schools.

Compared to upstate New York, Long Island for decades has been under-served in having such seats. The Southampton shuttering would worsen this inequity that has long resulted in the “out-migration” of Long Islanders to SUNY four-year schools at Oswego, Oneonta, Potsdam, Albany, Geneseo and elsewhere upstate .

The inequity is rooted in some unusual, indeed rather outrageous, history.

It was only in 1948 that New York got a state university. It was the last of the then 48 states to get one. Why?

The great state universities of the United States were largely born out of the Morrill Land Grant Act of 1862. Under it, the U.S. government provided thousands of acres of federal land to be used for campuses, or to be sold to fund these new universities.

But in New York, this “land grant” university status was grabbed by a private school: Cornell University. Ezra Cornell, who made his fortune on Western Union Telegraph Company stock, launched Cornell with Andrew White in 1865. Both were also state senators. White, in the Senate, introduced the measure to direct Morrill Act proceeds to Cornell. There was much complaining in New York educational circles, but Cornell and White got away with the move. Insider deals in the New York State Legislature have obviously been going on for a long time.

Cornell under contract with the state has offered some public education. It has operated the State College of Veterinary Medicine, a Home Economics School and a School of Industrial and Labor Relations on its campus. When Cooperative Extension was instituted, to assist farmers, although elsewhere in the nation the programs were run by state universities, Cornell ran New York’s — that’s why it’s been Cornell Cooperative Extension.

Only after a Temporary Commission on the Need for a State University, set up in 1946, called for a state university was one finally created in New York.

But the State University of New York, SUNY, was to a large degree built on the skeleton of “normal” colleges — institutions set up in the 19th Century by the state to train teachers — at places like Oswego, Oneonta, Potsdam, Albany, Geneseo, etc. There was no “normal” college on Long Island. Indeed, the only state college here had been what began in 1912 as the New York School of Agriculture, a two-year institution in Farmingdale.

Moreover, although formally organized in 1948, SUNY only got intense state energy behind it in the 1960s when Nelson Rockefeller became governor. With his characteristic drive, Rockefeller pushed for an expanded SUNY. Under Rockefeller, on Long Island SUNY Stony Brook was begun as a university center and SUNY College at Old Westbury was founded. Only in 1985 did the “Aggie” school in Farmingdale become the third four-year SUNY school here. It’s now called Farmingdale State College with a focus on technology.

But that’s it: just three four-year SUNY schools for Nassau and Suffolk counties which have a combined population of 2.9 million people. The population upstate is 8.3 million. That’s a bit less than three times Long Island’s population. New York City does not fit into the SUNY equation because it has long had its own fine public colleges, since 1991 components of the City University of New York, CUNY.

The most recent figure on the SUNY website for “headcount enrollment” at the three Long Island schools is 33,359. The total “headcount enrollment” at SUNY’s three university centers upstate, its 18 four-year colleges there, and “statutory” schools (like the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell) is 162,337. That’s five times the number on Long Island — thus the major inequity.

Stony Brook Southampton with a planned enrollment of 2,000 would help offset  the inequity a little. Its all-but closing would increase the educational shortchanging of Long Island.

These days, with the cost of private colleges astronomical, attending a SUNY college is a necessity for many in New York. But if they’re from Long Island, many will have to go upstate. SUNY has become the largest public higher education system in the nation — but geographically it is not fairly balanced.

Why We Were Forced to Streamline Southampton Operations

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By Dr. Samuel L. Stanley Jr.

President, Stony Brook University

Faced with a 20% reduction, amounting to nearly $55 million, in New York State financial support over the past two years, I announced last week that Stony Brook University has been forced to make strategic cuts and streamline operations at its various locations. Notably, we are suspending the residential program and new undergraduate admissions at Stony Brook Southampton.

I have stated publicly on many occasions, however, that the university remains steadfast in its commitment to research and teaching at the site. The Marine Station of the pioneering School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (SoMAS) will continue to serve as a critical hub for landmark discoveries and breakthroughs in such areas as the atmospheric sciences, as well all the major disciplines of oceanography – biological, chemical, geological and physical. Similarly, the world-acclaimed Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing degree program and the renowned Southampton Writers Workshop will, as always, attract Pulitzer Prize and other award-winning novelists, journalists, poets, and champions of the written word to share their insights and experiences with students and the community at large.

Moreover, we are not abandoning our commitment to the nearly 500 affected Southampton students. We have enacted a number of immediate measures to ensure that they experience minimal impact as they work towards their degrees and on-time graduation. For example, we are expanding summer academic programs at the main campus and enhancing our student advisement services to assist students at Southampton so that they can continue their studies on the main campus without losing credits. Already, nearly 200 Southampton students have been so registered for the fall semester.

Academic programs that will no longer be offered at Southampton will be available at the main campus, including those environmental studies offerings that earned such wide distinction. SoMAS students will continue to take some of their fieldwork and laboratory classes at Southampton, with the remainder of their coursework at the main campus. Bus service between Southampton and Stony Brook will continue in order to accommodate them. Prospective students who have been offered positions at Southampton will also be able to matriculate at the main campus or receive a full refund of their application fee should they choose to go elsewhere. Most of the residential students have met already with our staff representatives and are being given priority in a dorm on the main campus, where they will be clustered to preserve the sense of community they built at Southampton.

I can assure you that all these steps, while economically necessary, were never ones we wanted to make. Our hands were tied by the massive cuts in state funding and the restrictions we face in controlling our own finances. Indeed, unlike public higher institutions in other states, including the University of Michigan, University of Texas at Austin, Penn State and Rutgers, we are not able to set our own tuition rate. And long periods have gone by without the legislature authorizing any incremental rise in tuition. When tuition was finally raised for the first time in spring 2009, after six years of inactivity, it was a double digit increase followed by another large hike in the fall of last year. But, rather than us keeping the increased funds to enhance the educational experience for our students, the state took almost all of the money for itself, to help alleviate its own budget problems.

Unfortunately, the fundamental cuts in our state allocation, coupled with a higher cost structure and a business model that relied heavily on state support made it impossible for us to continue the residential component of the Southampton location. It is, however, only one part of the response to the resulting fiscal crisis. We have already reduced our budget by some $20 million to help offset the severe loss in state funding. The remaining budget cuts total about $34 million, the deficit our university is facing in the coming fiscal year. The main campus will absorb $27 million, through a variety of measures, including reductions in administrative support and academic programs. In addition, we are also closing one location in Manhattan.

Nevertheless, we are in fact moving forward, looking towards ways to ensure that Stony Brook University remains strong for the 25,000 students we serve. Ultimately, we need the state and the public to consider education from a K-16 perspective and support sustained investment in higher education accordingly. We need Albany to recognize the key role research universities like Stony Brook play in economic development, jobs creation, and generating the innovation that drives new discoveries and creates new businesses for our region. The new strategic plan for the State University of New York system unveiled this week helps spell out how much we can do for the State if our potential is truly unleashed.

A key component is the Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act (PHEEIA), a measure contained in the governor’s budget and in modified form in the Senate Budget Resolution. PHEEIA, which allows the SUNY Board of Trustees to set a fair, responsible, and equitable tuition rate, would enhance our academic programs, improve our ability to generate revenue from public/private partnerships and end some unnecessarily restrictive accounting practices. We see PHEEIA as vital to our future, a critical tool that, in one fell swoop, will strengthen public higher education across the state, save millions of taxpayers dollars, and drive economic development and improve the quality of life here on Long Island and throughout the state.

But right now, in the absence of a budget with no apparent relief from Albany, we must be fiscally responsible and live within our means. With so many millions of dollars slashed from our budget, and with passage of PHEEIA uncertain, we have to be extremely diligent and prudent, and not stray from the core elements of our missions of research and teaching. Practically, this means we will continue to target programmatic reductions, eliminate those that are relatively expensive and impact a small number of students, and can be made in the framework of tenure and unionization constraints.?In short, to make us stronger in the long run as one of the top public research universities in the country in these challenging economic times, we need to be as efficient as possible. Strategic realignment helps us achieve this goal.

Man Found Unconscious in 7-11 Parking Lot

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According to Sag Harbor Village Police, a man was found unconscious in the 7-eleven parking lot on Sunday evening at around 9:40 p.m. Police say they were called by a witness who said they saw two Hispanic males in their mid-twenties exit a green Mercury Sable and then pull a third Hispanic male – also mid-twenties out of the vehicle. Police say the victim was then knocked to the ground, before the unknown suspects sped away. The victim was later medevaced to Stony Brook University Medical Center. As of yet, the police haven’t disclosed the identity of the victim. Police say the incident is still under investigation, and anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Sag Harbor Police Department Detective Jeffrey Proctor at 725-0623. 

Whalers Win a Close One, On Track With 2-1 Victory

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By Benito Vila

“A win’s a win, no matter how it comes,” said Pierson varsity baseball coach Sean Crowley as his Whalers gathered after shaking hands with Stony Brook in Mashashimuet Park Tuesday. There was great relief in those words, Coach Crowley seeing Pierson pitchers battle out of bases-loaded jams in the both the sixth and seventh innings to send the Bears back home with a 2-1 loss.

The Pierson win was far more important than the final score, the boys having lost a league contest to Mercy on Thursday, knowing league- leaders Center Moriches, Port Jefferson and Southold are soon on the schedule. That loss makes it necessary that the boys win all of their match-ups with Stony Brook and Smithtown Christian and at least two more from the top of the league if they are to qualify for the county tournament.

It may seem a little early to think about the end of the season already with so much of the schedule remaining and the Whalers sporting a 3-1 league mark going into last night’s game at Stony Brook, but no one seems to be saying that to the opposition. Each of the three games this week has had a playoff-like intensity, Pierson winning two and losing one, each contest ending with the tying or go- ahead runs on base.

On Tuesday the Center Moriches Red Devils will likely come into the park undefeated, providing the toughest early season test yet for this year’s Whalers. The Red Devils’ series is due to continue Wednesday in Center Moriches and then come back to the park next Friday, each of the games starting at 4:30 p.m. The Stony Brook rain out Monday will be made up April 20, giving Pierson more four tough league games before non-league contests with Hampton Bays and East Hampton take them into the Port Jefferson series.

“Earned” Runs

The 2-1 Whaler win Tuesday was the kind of game coaches and players work hard in practice to avoid, but find themselves in all too often.

Both Whaler runs went into the scorebook as being unearned–that is following an error–but the Pierson runners certainly seemed to have earned their way around to score.

The first Whaler run came in the bottom of the first, lead-off batter Casey Crowley alertly taking advantage of a dropped third strike in beating the throw to first. With Gavin Kudlak at the plate, Crowley stole second and then came into score when Kudlak singled to center.

Good pitching and defense, aided by some lackluster baserunning, kept the Whalers from scoring again until the fifth. Then, with one out, Jimmy Fusco drew a walk with Dane Riva coming in to pinch run. Riva stole second and advanced to third when Crowley knocked a ground ball to the right side, scampering home on a wild pitch during a Kudlak at-bat.

The Whalers had opportunities in other innings, leaving runners at third three times, but Bear pitcher Brian Harrington held them off, scattering three hits and four walks around eight strikeouts. Pierson starting pitcher Joe Mascali matched those totals in his six innings, and kept himself out of trouble until the sixth when a bases-loaded walk forced in Stony Brook’s run and cut the Whaler lead in half.

That walk prompted a visit to the mound from a concerned Coach Crowley, who came away leaving his senior captain in control with the game on the line. Mascali made the most of the moment striking out the next batter on four pitches to close out his day.

Junior Kyle McGowin was summoned for the save and quickly took charge striking out the first batter. He overcame a misplay in the infield by cutting down that runner at second base on a sacrifice bunt attempt. A walk and another error loaded the bases with Bears and set up a dramatic last out, a sinking liner to center caught on the run by Mascali with all the Stony Brook baserunners on the move.

It’s no wonder Coach Crowley came in relieved. Afterwards, he praised both sides saying, “Harrington had a great game and pitched and hit his way through some obvious back pain, but Joe provided the same thing we got from Kyle in last week’s series opener: dominating pitching. Now we have a win against their number one pitcher and now we go there. We have to take care of business against their number two and come back after our break to take care of Center Moriches Tuesday.”


It’s Never Over

Pierson’s last two games against Mercy ended much the same way, the outcome in question until the final out. Last Wednesday, things went the Whalers way in a 5-3 win in the park and Thursday Mercy made the final out in the field to send the Whalers home with an 8-6 loss.

A four-run second put Pierson up early last Wednesday. A pair of walks to McGowin and Riva and a sacrifice bunt by Tyler Gilbride set up an RBI single by Kudlak, with the Whalers keeping the pressure on when Crowley stroked a two-run double after an infield error.

The Whaler lead went to 5-0 in the third, McGowin singling and stealing two bases before coming in on a Gilbride RBI single. Mercy made its way back into the game against Mascali, an infield error in the midst of three hits, making the score 5-3. A long fly ball to left with two runners on was flagged down by Fusco, who made over-the-shoulder catch on the run to keep the Whalers in the lead.

Ed Schall came in to relieve Mascali and earned the save, but not before a slick double-steal moved Mercy runners to second and third with two outs in the top of the seventh. A comebacker to Schall seemed to end the threat, but it was only Mascali’s quick reflexes at first that nailed down the final out, Schall’s too hard throw nearly sailing into right field.

Errant throwing was the key culprit in last Thursday’s loss at Mercy to end that three-game set. Five errors behind pitcher Brandon Kruel put Mercy up 7-1, Kruel undermining his own day further by walking three in the fourth before a bloop hit knocked him from the game.

Determined to get back in the game, Pierson scored three in the top of the fifth, a Kudlak double and walks to Crowley and Ryan Miller setting up an RBI single by Mascali and an RBI double by McGowin. Unfortunately for the Whalers, another infield throwing error gave one of those runs back in the bottom of the fifth and made for an frantic top of the seventh.

The Whalers came up for their last at-bat down 8-4, the top of the line-up set to hit, Crowley leading off with a double. A called strike three, a walk and a force play, put the pressure back on Pierson, but Gilbride came through with an RBI single, Kruel walked and Kudlak singled to drive in another run, loading the bases and putting the tying run on second. The on-field drama became ever more intense as the count grew deeper on the next Pierson batter, but a swinging strike three sent the boys back to the bus disappointed.

Beyond the never-say-die effort, the other bright spots on Thursday were the pitching of senior shortstop Ryan Miller, who relieved Kruel with two-and-a-third innings of one-hit relief, and the hitting of sophomores Kudlak (three hits) and Gilbride (two hits), the pair adding punch and speed to the Whaler offense.

It’s All Whalers

The Whaler baseball JV played a pair of one-sided contests this week, game two against Mercy last Wednesday ending 18-1 after five innings and game one against Stony Brook Tuesday finishing 15-1 after four. The rain outs against those opponents have not yet been scheduled, but will be when school re-opens next week.

JV coach Henry Meyer was happy “to see everyone in and see almost everyone hitting.” He had his team practice slow rollers during indoor sessions this week and then saw his team successfully execute those quick pick-ups and releases for outs on Tuesday.