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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


Southampton Cuts Ruled Illegal

Southampton students may have a difficult time transitioning to life on the main campus, but at least there’s news that it may not be a permanent change.

On Aug. 27, New York State Supreme Court Justice Paul J. Baisley Jr. ruled in favor of the six students who sued the university and sought for the re-opening of the Southampton campus.  Baisley ruled that the decision to close the campus without the Stony Brook Council’s approval violated New York State law.

“We just wanted to prove that Stanley bypassed the Stony Brook Council, because they need to discuss major issues with the school and this is obviously a major issue,” said Tara Linton, one of the students who  filed the lawsuit against the university. “They completely bypassed the correct procedures he didn’t take and we wanted to call him out on it. They aren’t above the law.”

According to Lauren Sheprow, director of media relations, President Stanley did consult the council.

“On May 11, 2010, at a regularly convened meeting of the Stony Brook Council, President Stanley apprised the Council and members of the public then in attendance, about both the budgetary impact of residential operations at Southampton, and his intention to relocate a number of academic programs from Southampton to the Stony Brook campus,” she said.

University officials say that by closing the residence halls and moving the academic programs to West Campus, the university will save $6.7 million.

“The entire process lacked transparency and openness,” said State Assemblyman Fred Thiele in a statement on the decision. “The reason is obvious. The closure of the school cannot be defended in an open discussion.”

This does not mean that the campus, which was an investment of $78 million from New York State, is officially reopening. Instead, it means that the case will have to be discussed with the council.

“They have to redo the entire case now and although we may get the same ruling, like although Southampton may be shut down legally, it’s good to know they need to take the correct process now,” Linton said.

Lawmakers, such as Thiele and State Senator Kenneth LaValle, would like to see the currently unused campus become its own SUNY campus. Thiele has sponsored legislation to establish a task force of 13 people to study the possibility of a new college where the Southampton campus currently resides.

“Let’s restore the college at Southampton, reinstate the environmental sustainability programs, bring back our students and faculty first,” said Julie Semente, Linton’s mother and an advocate of the Southampton campus.

Until then, students, such as Linton, will continue transitioning into main campus.

“This past week was one of the hardest weeks of my life,” Linton said. “Just from the class sizes to dealing with lines for a simple coffee in the morning. The volume of people here and their attitude towards everything is just completely different.”

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  • O

    Only In SUNYSep 14, 2010 at 10:08 pm

    What Stanley has done there is let the tax-payers pay for all the renovations and upgrades that increased the value, & allowed them to think they were getting a local 4 yr college for their money. Then he grabbed the newly-improved property for his own interests and told the tax-payer “thanks suckers”

    Hopefully, the judge, in his infinite wisdom, will see through all of the shenanigans & order that the college be put back the way it was BS — Before Stanley.

    Then, if there is truly any justice in this world, Stanley will not be allowed to just get past this with a slap on the wrist — true justice would be holding him to accountability by the announcement of his immediate “resignation”.

    Bigger state officials in NY & all over this country have been forced to make such announcements for far less an infraction than actually violating state law. At the very least, the same should go for those who do break the law.

    In the next round, all the affected students should sue for monetary damages, pain & suffering. Make him, SBU & SUNY pay restitution in the form of at least a years worth of their college’s cost of attendance (not just the tuition amount — the whole shabang!)

  • S

    SeabreezeSep 9, 2010 at 10:36 pm

    I believe it was Assemblymember Fred Thiele who said something to the effect of: if we offer Dr Stanley 12-20 million from the Town of Southampton’s Conmunity Preservation Funds,band he rejects it, then we will see if his real reason for closing the campus is a lack of system funds. The estimate of the money generated to buy the development rights of the Southampton campus was 12-20 million dollars.

    Dr Stanley rejected the 12-20 million dollars. So per our Assemblymember’s anaylsis, the Southampton campus was illegally closed for something other than a lack of finances.

    I believe Dr Stanley has been quoted as saying that the 82 acres in Southampton are “A very
    valuable asset.” Sounds like someone wants to benefit financially from the 78 million dollars
    Govenor Pataki and the State Legislators authorized to retain an accessible, undergraduate
    program for the East End residents.

  • S

    SOS SBSSep 9, 2010 at 6:07 pm

    it’s “completely different” – it’s not what they chose, it’s not where they expected to be – it’s not what they were sold – it’s just where they are forced to be until their college is restored – either by the courts or by the state forming an independent SUNY at Southampton.
    Somebody needs to tell SBU spokesperson, Ms Sheprow, that apprising the council on May 11 of a decision that has already been made, implemented, and announced a month earlier on April 7, is not “consulting” with the council. Consulting is to take place BEFORE decisions are implemented – not a month after the “done deal” is already in motion.

  • J

    julieSep 9, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    The president announced on April 7 that he had already decided to eliminate the Southampton undergraduate college, stating many times that “it’s a done deal” and he “will not change” his decision. His media relations director states that it wasn’t until May 11 when he apprised the university council. By that statement in the article above, Stony Brook admits that it did not go through proper procedure, did not inform the council until more than a month after the fact, & is not in compliance with the law that required the council to review, consider, recommend and approve any decisions BEFORE the president can be allowed to go ahead and implement them.