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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

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    Stony Brook Council: Making the Big Decisions

    Stony Brook Council: Making the Big Decisions

    The nine-member, all-male Stony Brook Council met earlierthis month to review recent developments and events at Stony Brook University.The council held its meeting at Sunwood, the Ward Melville Estate in Old Fieldthat was rebuilt after a fire in 1987 and now serves as President Shirley StrumKenny’s home. The group meets twice a semester.

    A search of SBU’s website about the council returnslittle more then the members’ names. Little is available to the studentsabout the council’s actions and responsibilities.

    Administrators gave presentations on a range of issues,ranging from monetary matters to the hot-button issue of student government.

    Barbara Fletcher, Director of Undergraduate Scholarships,spoke about the growth trend of scholarships and grants at SBU.

    Fletcher presented the board with a history of theuniversities scholarship activity since for the past 5 years. As of October2002 the university gave $1.8 million in merit-based scholarships, which rosefrom $700,000 in 1998. Slightly more then 1.8 million went to athletics, from$595,000 in 1998.

    Fletcher said the growth in scholarships comes fromfundraising.

    ‘?The president has done a wonderful job of raisingmoney for academics,’ Fletcher said, and added that the’?Paws’ campaign and SBU’s jump to Division 1 athletics helpedathletic grants and aid swell significantly.

    Director of Judicial AffairsGary Mis stepped up to offer members an overview of the student judicialprocess, and then Frederick Preston, Vice President for Student Affairs,updated the Council on the recent turmoil within the student government.Student Polity Association (SPA) was recently de-certified as the studentgovernance body, and a configuration of interim structures has been erected inits place.

    ‘?We did hear apresentation on the Polity issue, but no action was taken,’ Kenny said.

    According to bylaws, the Stony Brook Council is required toapprove all major decisions by the university, sending recommendations to thestate university trustees in Albany. ‘ ‘

    A student representative sits on the council each year.This year’s representative, elected by SPA, is Arif Rafiq, a seniormajoring in political science.

    ‘?I appreciate having been elected by the student bodyto be their representative on our university’s highest advising board.’ Itake my position seriously,’ Rafiq said.

    Governor George E. Pataki appointed SBU alumnus and currentbusinessman Richard Nasti as chairman and also gave a seat to John C.Gallagher, the Suffolk County Police Commissioner who played an integral partin the creation of the Stony Brook University Police Department.

    Karen ‘?Bobby’ Kumar, who also sits on thecouncil, is a successful entrepreneur who received Newsday’s ‘?LongIslander of the Century’ award. He has been given many awards fromphilanthropic and business organizations.

    Kumar and other council members, said university officials,use their societal position to promote Stony Brook.

    ‘?Rick Nasti was helpful in seeking funds for thecancer center,’ said George Meyer, Assistant Vice President forPresidential Initiatives said. ‘?[Council members] use theirconnections.’

    The student representative is the only seat that is elected.All other members are appointed by the governor of New York. The councilstudent representative seat rotates each year between graduate andundergraduate students.

    Rafiq said that the student council position increasescommunication between the student body and administration.

    ‘?I’ve been impressed by George Meyer, who establishedthe student luncheons with the president after I suggested the idea tohim,’ Rafiq said.

    According to Article I of its bylaws, the council’sobjective is to ‘?promote the university’s goal of enhancing thequality of undergraduate education in a research university setting; promotethe development of the local, regional and state economics.’

    The council has the power to make a recommendation on .They review all of President Kenny’s major plans and makerecommendations. They also name buildings and structures, like the Kenneth P.LaValle stadium, and review the university’s budget.

    ‘?They review the conduct code every year,’ Meyersaid. ‘?Any changes in policy, like alcohol or drugs, they mustapprove.’

    This month’s meeting will be Rafiq’s second, andhe said he has seen results from the last meeting.

    ‘?One observations from the first meeting is that thepeople in Administration really care about the future of this university,’Rafiq said.’ ‘?They have a strategic vision for Stony Brook and arecommitted to making it a reality.’ They are also very open to listening tothe ideas and opinions of students.’

    ‘?[The council] exist[s] for the benefit of thestudents and the university,’ Meyer said.

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