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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


    Stanley’s court mandated apology

    As part of the Southampton lawsuit settlement, Stony Brook University President Samuel L. Stanley, Jr., held a meeting Sept. 12 to apologize for illegally closing the branch last year, but even that event sparked controversy and protests from students.

    The settlement agreement required Stanley to apologize for disrupting the lives of former Southampton students, but only the petitioners, two lawmakers and the students currently enrolled in the Sustainability Studies program were invited to hear his apologies, resulting in a boycott of the meeting.

    President Samuel L. Stanley, Jr. visits the Southampton campus on Apr. 7, 2010 after news that the university was planning to relocate programs leaked. (Photo credit: Erika Karp)

    “There were over 400 students at Southampton and all were affected by the closure of their campus. They were all owed that apology,” wrote Julie Semente, the mother of one the plaintiffs, in an email.

    Only a handful of about 50 students invited showed up to the closed-door meeting, which took place last Monday at the Charles B. Wang Center, and only one of the seven plaintiffs was present, according to Lauren Sheprow, a university spokeswoman.

    Both local lawmakers who supported the students in the lawsuit, New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. and State Senator Kenneth P. Lavalle, did not attend in protest of the closed meeting. The press was barred.

    “There was nothing in the settlement of the lawsuit that states the university should exclude students,” Thiele said in a press release. “The stipulation expressly states that ‘the purpose of the meeting is for the President to have the opportunity to apologize for the disruption to the lives of the student petitioners and other students caused by the transfer of the sustainability program.’”

    At the meeting, Stanley said he was sorry that the decision to relocate the programs disrupted the students’ lives, according to a press release delivered by the university after the event.

    The petitioners had asked the university to change the meeting date out of respect for a 9/11 memorial that took place on campus right before the meeting, but their request was not accepted.

    “First, the decision to close the Southampton was made behind closed doors in violation of the State Education Law,” Thiele said in a press release. “Now, Dr. Stanley wants to whisper an apology for his law-breaking actions behind closed doors where most of the people he hurt [weren’t] even able to hear it.”

    The Undergraduate Student Government has passed a resolution to request that Stanley issue a written apology. The USG and the president are set to meet soon, according to the author of the resolution, Sen. Adam Meier, who was a student at Southampton.



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