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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


    SB Community Flocks to Albany

    Stony Brook University students, faculty and alumni showed up in droves for Albany Day to petition the New York State Legislature to increase funding for Stony Brook University.

    Official estimates of participants ranged from 1,000 to 1,200, with about 60 individual groups meeting with legislators to discuss a wide range of issues.

    The main point of contention was Spitzer’s new plan to make Stony Brook University and University at Buffalo flagship schools through the privatization of the New York Lottery, which would create a $4 billion endowment to fund SUNY.

    Adal Regis, social and spiritual chairman of the Student African American Brotherhood Organization, said one of the main reasons he attended Albany Day was to “advocate for university flagship status by talking about Stony Brook’s numerous research contributions to science.”

    As a flagship school Stony Brook University would be expected to set a standard for the rest of the SUNY schools in all areas of academic excellence, including research, facilities and faculty.

    Other universities, however, have opposed naming Buffalo and Stony Brook flagship universities.

    Several Binghamton representatives declined to comment on Binghamton’s position on Spizter’s proposal.

    The proposal, if passed, would make New York State the first state to successfully pass funding for public universities through a lottery endowment. Because this legislation is the first of its kind, it has faced tough challenges in the legislature.

    An important Republican official, Nassau County Assemblyman Tom Alfano, is on the Committee for Higher Education. He expressed his support for Stony Brook’s flagship status during the University’s trip to Albany.

    Alfano said that Stony Brook University is in a “great position” for being named a flagship university. He has served in the assembly for 12 years and is attracting support from across the aisle in a Democratic-controlled assembly.

    His committee, the Committee for Higher Education, is responsible for working out the fine details of funding the flagship through the lottery endowment, making Alfano’s support crucial in the budgeting process.

    Alfano said that the details of Spitzer’s cutting edge plan still needs to be worked out to ensure its success, but assured students that Spitzer has “worked with the most innovative and informed people” in drafting this legislation.

    “I think we have no choice but to think outside of the box. New York is the financial center of the world and we have abundant resources to enact this legislation,” Alfano said.

    Alfano believes that Stony Brook University deserves to be named a flagship school because of its contributions through research and has promised to fight for the university’s programs and funding.

    Alfano had opposed former Governor Pataki’s cuts to SUNY funding and has advocated higher education. Alfano assured students that he personally called Pataki and fought for the funding of higher education, including the funding of Stony Brook.

    “I want to make sure everyone has an equal opportunity to study,” he said.

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