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The Statesman

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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

Newsletter

    RE: Everything We Publish

    With great expectations and angst, I arrived at the Brook the day before Labor Day. I’ve been looking forward to this day for quite some time now. You may think, ‘LOOOSER!!!’ but I’m not a freshman nor a transfer nor a returning student, I am an alumnus. With emotions running high, I was transfixed at the changes around me, yet after 20 minutes everything seemed the same. You see, I’ve not set foot on campus for almost 30 years. I am part of the class of ’78, actually class of ’77, but more on that later. For this return, I intended recreating my arrival the same way I did in years past, on the Long Island Railroad. But a friend insisted on driving us from New York City. Not wanting to miss out on the experience, I guided him from 25A to the LIRR parking lot; at least this way I could fulfill part of my yearning. At the precise moment of exiting the car, the sense of changes kicked in, but yet so familiar the surroundings were.

    You see, back then, there was no elevated train platform. You alighted and dashed across the tracks hoping the outgoing train, waiting on the side tracks, would not splatter you over (a big issue back then). Did tragedy cause this change? Once on the other side, you would wait for the shuttle bus that was never there to meet the train. Of course, 3 minutes up the hill or halfway to the SBU, the bus would show up. Sounds familiar? What amazed me at this juncture was how mature the campus had grown, flora-wise that is. You see, back then you had a clear view form the train station all the way to SBU. Now, stately trees obscure this view. This is important to me because on my first arrival at the Brook, it was like a revelation as the Land of Oz lay out before me. At the risk of boring you to death, I should digress a bit here. The summer of ’75, I met two special people who would later be instrumental to my existence. One is still here (the driver) and the other no longer with us. Not only was the latter a good friend but I was certain it was deeper than that (more on this later). At his invitation, in order to do in-person registration (is that still being done?) I arrived with no preconceived expectations. As a CUNY student living under not so good conditions with relatives, I was looking for an alternative and SUNY seemed to fit the bill quite nicely. I immediately filled out a transfer application. In typical institutional fashion, I was not aware I had been accepted until 2 weeks before the spring semester of ’76. I made what was then a long-distance call to the Brook. After several agonizing on-hold minutes, the person stated, Why yes, did you not receive the letter? (sound familiar?) I was on my way to Long Island in seconds.

    My arrival at Hand College was not without controversy. In those days housing was at a shortage (sound familiar?). And for some dumb luck, I found myself in the same suite as my benefactor, as the two-room suite had vacancies in each room. Naively, I expected the other two students to room together while I and my benefactor would share, NOT! Luckily for me, my roommate had a girlfriend elsewhere on campus and I managed some unexpected freedom. Life was good and got better after that semester when the bozos in each room decided to move out. We were now set in what was at the time, upper-classmen residence only. This notion was shattered in a split second when across my suite, horror struck. Six freshmen had been allowed to move into Hand (was it because one of them had a State senator as father?). We upper-classmen were aghast at the thought of sharing our ‘home’ with a gaggle of freshman. Turns out, they were the best fun Hand had seen in years. To this very day I’m in touch with’ four out of six.

    On the plane ride back to Oakland, CA, my home for the last 28 years, I read all the SBU rags I picked up at the bookstore. Not only did I read every single article including advertisements, I also read the names of the contributing staff for each publication. I must say that some articles were very well written and insightful, while others seemed as if remedial English was skipped by the authors (you know who you are). Nevertheless, I found the plethora of stories interesting enough to write this letter. Testimony to those current articles, the Brook was not without similar controversy back then. It seems that the same disdain for the Office of President remains. In my days it was Toll (yes, the very same one the campus street is named after) and his successor, Pond. Gripes about over-priced nasty food, housing shortages and the bookstore rip-offs are exactly the same 30 years back: nothing has changed. Back then, we only had Tabler, Roth, Kelly, H Quad and Stage XII (was that renamed to something else?). Not sure about Mendelsohn, is that a new name? The Lecture Center (now Javits center) was as ugly then as it is now. But what really is noticeably missing is the Bridge to Nowhere: the icon of our days. Without it, it feels that ‘There is no there, there.’ It was the heart and rallying point of the Brook; it now seems disjointed with the SAC having taken over from SBU. I’m not sure I like that. Meandering though campus trying to relive my past, good with bad, I eventually ended up at Hand College. My heart was racing as I got nearer and nearer, not because of what I would find but because I’m 52 years old. Still, the mess around campus is just as bad today as when I arrived in 1976. I proceeded to the front entrance trying to recreate my yester-years in 10 minutes. I was marveled and saddened by’ what I saw.’ ‘ In my days there were no locks or electronic keys or any sense of security issues. Hand College gave the appearance of the ‘projects’ in a ‘hood in any of the boroughs. I was shocked to see that Security actually carries guns.

    As an RA during my last year I:

    ‘middot; Was never put in the position to challenge security issues with my flock,

    ‘middot; Never had any attendance problems during hall meetings (I know nothing about the joints passed around during that first meeting),

    ‘middot; Take the fifth on who broke into Tabler cafeteria to use the oven to roast 2 turkeys for Thanksgiving dinner,

    ‘middot; Witnessed my suitemates get nabbed by Security for growing pot on the window sill (the plants were confiscated but no charges ever brought up, humm!),

    ‘middot; Do not know how a Christmas tree mysteriously was set up in our hall, or the tree stump sticking out in Tabler parking lot, or how it fell out the window after the holidays were over (I saw nothing, heard nothing and said nothing),

    ‘middot; Was unaware of our cleaning lady almost passed-out and came looking for me with scrub-brush in hand (I was tipped off) because some of the female students had naked men pinned on their bathroom walls,

    ‘middot; Know nothing’ of the nitrous oxide tank gone AWOL from the HSC which somehow ended up on our floor,

    ‘middot; Know anything about our college ‘warden’ sleeping around with members of the Security force,

    ‘middot; Know nothing about the water-logged carpets after a night of heavy water balloon fights between Hand 1B and Hand 3B,

    ‘middot; Know EVERTHING on who was sleeping with whom, male or female.

    Anyway, I don’t want to bore you anymore with my memory-lane stories. You may wonder, or not, who the hell am I. Well, I guess I’m one of those few people of my time who made education work, not because I’m a smart-ass fuck, but because I cherished the values I was fortunate to obtain while at SUNY-Stony Brook (yes, that is what it was called back then). Mercifully, I found and was at ease with my sexuality at Stony Brook, and have been in domestic partnership for 27+ years (get a clue you yahoos who think otherwise). I am one of several vice-presidents at a bank in San Francisco. My husband and I travel the world every chance we get, from Maui to Buenos Aires, from Seattle to Istanbul, and from cruises in the Baltic to the Caribbean. In short, I’m just an average gay guy who is thankful for the education, tolerance, acceptance and idealism Stony
    Brook offered me. I’m happy to state for the record that I’ve benefited from my Stony Brook years devoid of the stupidity, hypocrisy and screwed-up lives of assholes like Haggard, Craig, Foley, Swaggart and other bible-thumping morons.

    In reading your rag(s) articles, I laughed, I cringed, even shed half a tear. To those who have nothing better than to complain about your current status, be blessed with what you have. My worst year in life was the year I graduated and delved into the real world. Even though I had worked since high school and part-time during a semester at SB commuting to NYC three days a week, I was not prepared to confront reality. This is why I am class of ’78 and not ’77. I miss those days very much; I miss my flock, my boyfriend, my carefree days and the sense of idealism. With this visit, I close an important chapter in my life which had swirled in my mind for many years. Life goes on, and so should you.

    Please enjoy the Brook for what it is. I wish you the very best success now and in your life after the Brook.

    Victor Rosario

    Oakland, CA

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