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Story - Education

Oct 5, 2010 4:35 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

University Council supports cuts made to Stony Brook Southampton

Editor's Note:
Oct 5, 2010 4:35 PM

STONY BROOK—The Stony Brook University Council on Monday backed university administrators in their April decision to slash spending at Stony Brook Southampton, a decision made over the protests of students and elected officials who have been fighting to preserve the Shinnecock Hills campus.

The resolution supporting the cuts, which came at the end of a four-hour meeting at the university’s main campus in Stony Brook, was designed to put administrators in compliance with state education law, according to Stony Brook University Council Chairman Kevin Law.

A judge ruled last month that the university violated the law when it made the cuts without discussing them first with the council, a 10-member advisory board that is made up mostly of Long Island residents appointed by the governor. That ruling, however, did not order university officials to reopen Stony Brook Southampton.

The judge’s ruling came after a group of students and supporters sued the university over the cuts, which were announced six months ago and went into effect at the end of August. The package of spending cuts closed the dormitories and other facilities at the satellite campus and moved most of the academic programs to the main campus. Most of the 373 undergraduate students who attended Stony Brook Southampton are now taking classes at the main campus.

On Monday, seven members of the University Council voted in favor of a resolution supporting the decision to cut services at Stony Brook Southampton, and two voted against it. Diana Weir, a Wainscott resident who serves as the vice president of the Long Island Housing Partnership, left for another meeting before Monday’s vote.

The vote came after a lengthy presentation by university officials that outlined the dire fiscal situation that brought about the cuts. University officials, including President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D., said the cuts were part of an effort to close a multimillion-dollar budget gap brought about by massive cuts in state funding handed down since the economic downturn began in 2008. For the first time, university officials also said that, after three years of operation, revenue and enrollment at Stony Brook Southampton fell far short of initial projections.

Stony Brook University purchased the campus from Long Island University for $35 million in 2005, and opened it in 2007 as a small residential campus geared toward environmental sustainability.

University officials have stated that they intend to continue using the campus in some academic capacity, adding that they have no plans to sell the land to developers.

The council’s support of the cuts disappointed the handful of former Stony Brook Southampton students who stayed until the end of Monday’s meeting. Some students, along with elected officials who represent the East End, have been lobbying members of the council in recent weeks to rethink the cuts.

“I left that meeting with not the same enthusiasm that I had going into it,” said Katie Osiecki, 18, of Sag Harbor, one of six former Stony Brook Southampton students who sued the university. “But I think there is still hope.”

Scores of students rallied at the main campus last Wednesday, September 29, in an effort to influence council members, chanting “SOS SBS!” and “Who broke the law? Stanley broke the law!”

State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. of Sag Harbor, who has fought the cuts since they were first announced in April, said the resolution could bring about more skirmishing in court, adding that a judge might still have to determine whether or not the action actually puts the university in compliance with state law.

Mr. Thiele, who previously called for the council to open up discussions regarding the return of programs and student housing to Stony Brook Southampton rather than just “rubber-stamping” the cuts, expressed his disappointment with the council’s ruling in a press release issued on Monday. “I would have preferred if the University Council had deferred action on this matter in favor of a mutual effort to plan for the future of the Southampton campus,” he wrote.

Mr. Law, who is the president of the Long Island Association and the former president of the Long Island Power Authority, said at the meeting that the council supported the purchase of the Shinnecock Hills campus in 2005 on the condition that the satellite campus be somewhat financially self-sustaining, and not divert resources from academic programs at the main campus. University officials said Stony Brook Southampton has been running at a loss of about $10 million per year since it opened in 2007.

“Southampton is simply an extravagance we simply cannot afford at this time,” said Fred Walter, an astronomy professor and the president of the Stony Brook University Senate, a separate body that represents faculty, staff and students.

Mr. Law did not return calls seeking comment both before and after the meeting.

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the vitals are fading, someone administer last rites, oops, we've lost her. they did all they could. rest in pieces. now that you'll be subdivided.
By justduckey (58), artist colony on Oct 4, 10 5:08 PM
What a shame....just what we need more condos
By DJ9222 (85), southampton on Oct 4, 10 5:48 PM
Right, cuz the article says condos will be built there. Are you aware of the number of steps required to get condos on that site? All of which would be moot the minute the Town changes the zoning?
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Oct 4, 10 7:51 PM
You're depending on the town to limit development? LOL
By Noah Way (450), Southampton on Oct 5, 10 12:10 PM
A very sad lack of vision and leadership IMO.

A jewel hiding in Shinnecock Hills is not even recognized enthusiastically as a Diamond in the Rough.

Shinnecock Nation, aim for the Sun!

By PBR (4956), Southampton on Oct 4, 10 6:47 PM
Link to older article:

http://www.27east.com/story_detail.cfm?id=302068&message=posted

By PBR (4956), Southampton on Oct 4, 10 7:00 PM
Stony Brook Sam Stanley really has pilfered away an $82 million campus -- paid for by state taxpayers. What a giant ego!
By Mr Suffolk (113), Twin Forks on Oct 4, 10 8:28 PM
2 members liked this comment
Where did he "pilfer" it too?
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Oct 4, 10 9:19 PM
Stanley pilfered my taxes which was used to buy and renovate Stonybrook Southampton campus. You tell me where he pilfered it to, that remains to be seen!
By trublue (5), douglasto on Oct 7, 10 8:41 PM
Get your facts straight - the monies for SBS were obtained under Shirley Strum Kenney. Stanley simply took it over, was told by the Guv to cut $55 million, then was slapped with a $100+ million bill for the Flowerfields property that Shirley stole.
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Oct 7, 10 9:46 PM
You sound like Obama blaming Bush. You should also change your name to concrete!
By trublue (5), douglasto on Oct 7, 10 10:04 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Mr Suffolk (113), Twin Forks on Oct 4, 10 9:24 PM
And it couldn't possibly be the fault of Shirley Strum Kenney, who pushed this all through without any foresight as to how it would be paid for? And who literally pilfered Flower Fields which is now going to cost the state an EXTRA $100,000,000 PLUS 5 years interest... right?
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Oct 4, 10 10:14 PM
Was this not your quote, NATURE

"This is beyond ridiculous and absurd. The people responsible for this decision are clearly not qualified for their positions and don't understand how near-sighted this is. Aside from the students who are going to need to find a new school, the faculty and employees who are going to be laid off, etc. etc., I don't understand how this makes fiscal sense. They spent $40+ million dollars AFTER buying the property, and now they are going to let it sit and rot? ...more
By trublue (5), douglasto on Oct 7, 10 11:15 PM
It sure is. And I stand by it - but that was BEFORE I was aware of the extra $100 million that SUNY now has to pony up. I'm with the students and against the administration and would prefer for the college to stay (it's a great asset), BUT Shirley Strum Kenney was the architect of this disaster. The current Prez just happened to be the one forced to make the decision. I don't understand how that quote is in conflict with what I am saying.
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Oct 8, 10 11:37 AM
Stanley's done deal decision on closing SBS was before the court ruled on Flower Fields. The closing of SBS by Stanley was not Stanley's lone decision to make. SBS was growing and not a disaster as you are claiming. Stanley's decision to cut out a whole campus that was growing was wrong and apparently illegal.
By trublue (5), douglasto on Oct 9, 10 10:31 AM
Note that I sid before I was *aware* of it - not before it happend. I also did not state that SBS was a disaster - I stated that the current situation has been a disaster. By your logic, Obama is to blame for the recession and the war in Iraq? He certainly has a responsibility to clean up those situations, and every decision he makes is important and sould be scrutinized, but it was not his creation and the same goes for SBS. Shirley Strum wanted to take over New York with Stony Brook and leave ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Oct 12, 10 11:11 AM
I know exactly what you said, just as I know all the facts on SBS.So no need to go there. Perhaps you should feel free to once again read what I said. In fact, I will reiterate that the the court did not even rule yet on Flower Fields before Stanley made the very wrong and illegal decision to have closed SBS.
BTW, You should really try to refrain yourself from using your words on my logic.
By trublue (5), douglasto on Oct 12, 10 2:53 PM
This campus was repeatedly used as a loss leader by LIU, and now Stony Brook is doing the same. LIU used to mismanage it's Brooklyn and CW Post campuses and then charge Southampton an outrageous administrative overhead cost, that essentially drained the campus forcing it to operate in the red. Stony Brook had a exciting growing program in Southampton that was destined to be profitable, but the state cut their overall budget, and rather than hack away at the bloated mismanaged main campus, they ...more
By simon prince of light (1), Southwick, MA on Oct 4, 10 10:54 PM
3 members liked this comment
Simon,

Where is the endowment money coming from for it to be it's own institution? You need an endowment to run a college - especially a state university with such low tuition rates.
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Oct 4, 10 11:44 PM
My idea for this college? Make it a prison and close down that eyesore over in Riverhead. The dormatories can be used for incarceration, and we can finally begin the process of rehabilitating some of these people by getting them college degrees, and preparing them for life "on the outside."
By Manorville Major (16), manorville on Oct 5, 10 10:02 AM
OK, so what becomes of a $16M LEED-certified Gold-level Library in the heart of the Hamptons?
By Mr Suffolk (113), Twin Forks on Oct 5, 10 4:41 PM
It will make a beautiful casino.
By davidf (325), hampton bays on Oct 5, 10 5:34 PM
Perfect location for the Shiinecock's new casino. The Shinnecocks cliam that land as their own anyway. The State of New York should broker a deal with the Shinnecock's where they get that land for their casino if they forgive all their other land claims.
By Walt (292), Southampton on Oct 7, 10 7:41 PM
Casinos built by the Indian nations have NO zoning rules. The government has no infuluence on what they do because they are their own nation. Let's all go to Foxwoods/Mohegan Sun in the Hamptons!!! WOO! Just sayin'.
By SBS Student (5), Southampton on Oct 7, 10 8:08 PM
How about bringing back an 'All for the Sea" concert. There has to be someone out there that can bring in a catchy grassroots style big name band to help make a difference and put the school back on the map.
By reelocal (4), Southampton on Oct 5, 10 8:42 PM
Why am I not surprised! Can we get the $75,000,000 back please. We then could make the school private with plenty of money to ruyn a full university.
By North Sea Citizen (568), North Sea on Oct 8, 10 6:44 AM
theres legislation in albany that would sort of do that - not give back the money but give back the campus to the community as an independent SUNY college that the community would be involved in developing. full text of the legislation is posted at the NY Senate website for public comment at: http://open.nysenate.gov/legislation/api/1.0/html/bill/S8467
By ts (71), southampton on Oct 13, 10 10:41 PM
Breaking News... the Council's resolution is illegal. Press conference at the Southampton campus windmill on Tuesday, 10/13/10, 11:30am

this story is not finished.

for some astonsihing revelations surrounding the closure decision, see:

http://www.sbpress.com/2010/09/stony-brook-southampton-shuttered-without-council-oversight/

http://www.sbpress.com/2010/09/with-no-check-there-is-no-balance/

By ts (71), southampton on Oct 9, 10 2:16 AM
correction: Press conference Tueday Oct 12
By ts (71), southampton on Oct 9, 10 2:39 AM
Gyrodyne is a separate issue. The 100 million does not have to come from taxpayers. It can come from the Stony Brook Foundation. It had raised 360 million in 2009. It was a possible source of funds to buy Gyrodyne,
""At the appropriate time, when the value is set, the university will be there with a check," promises state Sen. Ken LaValle (R-Port Jefferson), who is playing a central role in shepherding the deal. Gyrodyne says university president Shirley Strum Kenny may tap the Stony Brook Foundation, ...more
By WarriorMom (61), Southampton on Oct 13, 10 12:09 AM
1 member liked this comment
As far as the Southampton campus is concerned, it has been treated as the abused stepchild; simply mismanaged. Because of liens from LIU on the buildings, the campus could not open in the Spring of 2006, and opened in the Fall. A masterplan was developed by the architectural firm that helped Jackie Kennedy Onnasis restore Grand Central Station. It cost $680,000. And they subcontracted to local environmental services to do the construction. They were let go on May 31, 2010. I would love to see what ...more
By WarriorMom (61), Southampton on Oct 13, 10 12:18 AM
What if they gave a press conference and nobody came?
By VOS (1240), WHB on Oct 13, 10 2:23 PM
well they did come. Southampton's College Press Conference went great. There was total representation from the East End community: politicians, officials, environmentalists, students, alumni, professors, staff, Shinnecock Nation, SAVE the College at Southampton, Inc.~ all there with ONE VOICE!"
Re-open the 4 yr college at Southampton.
By ts (71), southampton on Oct 13, 10 7:30 PM
1 member liked this comment
"“Stanley has done so much to discredit himself and SUNY that he is no longer credible or believable.”
"This is one of three lawsuits that involve SBU students suing the administration. In August, a State Supreme Court Justice ruled that the Stony Brook President Samuel Stanley’s closure of Southampton was unlawful. Earlier in the year, a group of Research Assistants, Teaching Assistants and graduate students filed a lawsuit claiming their first amendment rights had been violated when police ...more
By WarriorMom (61), Southampton on Oct 13, 10 11:45 PM
1 member liked this comment
Legislation in Albany for Independent SUNY at SOUTHAMPTON. Full text posted by NY Senate for public comment, so please everybody, comment
there!

http://open.nysenate.gov/legislation/api/1.0/html/bill/S8467
By WarriorMom (61), Southampton on Oct 14, 10 5:47 AM