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The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


BREAKING NEWS: Southampton is back to court

Judge Paul J. Baisley, Jr. has ordered that the Southampton case be brought back to court for a hearing on Nov. 4 to determine if the Stony Brook Council’s resolution supporting President Samuel L. Stanley, Jr.’s decision to relocate students to West campus satisfied the court’s ruling, according to a Southampton parent close to the case.

Make sure to keep looking here for complete in-depth coverage of the southampton case.

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  • S

    Save SouthamptonNov 29, 2010 at 10:48 am


    Here is some more “FINANCIAL REALITY” from SUNY. Along with Cutting corners on education, SUNY wants to spend another $3,760,000 of taxpayer dollars for a parcel of property that is approximately 3.22 acres in Ronkonkoma for storage.

    Storage or Education, my bet is that storage wins this one!

  • D

    DNov 9, 2010 at 2:14 am

    To Save Southampton:

    Granted that the Stony Brook Council was only formally informed of the April decision in May, the Council still did not reverse the April decision during the May meeting. In the October meeting, the Council also did not reverse the decision. This already shows explicit agreement with the decision and compliance with the Education Law. Of course you are not satisfied by this because you want the Council to reverse the decision and reopen the residential college in Southampton. So are you now suing the Council?

    The judge’s ruling said Stanley’s decision violated the law because the decision had no formal endorsement by the Council. The judge did not immediately order the reopening of the campus. In the meantime, the University got the Council’s endorsement in October. Let’s wait and see if this satisfies the judge.

    The lawsuit dealt with technicalities behind the decision. It didn’t deal with the financial reality that was the basis of the decision.

    There were claims made here that some of the sustainability majors have been canceled. I did not hear such claims made during the October Council meeting. So I don’t know whether any majors have been canceled. They are still listed in the Spring 2011 bulletin. In any case, I would hold Stanley accountable to maintaining these programs as promised, since this was the decision endorsed by the Council. The decision was mainly to move the program to the Main Campus.

    There is no dispute to the fact that there are greater learning resources available in the Main Campus. Environmental sustainability is inherently an interdisciplinary subject involving the sciences, sociology, economic, etc. Students will have access to more diverse faculty, more courses, more library materials, and better academic support.

    Southampton had the advantage of having a close-knit environment like a small liberal arts college. Unfortunately, Stony Brook does not have the luxury to operate such a campus without proper funding from the State. Reopening the campus for the sake of having it open with limited financial resources will lead to a mediocre learning experience. In the end it would be a bigger disservice to the students.

    I’m sure Stanley, on his second year of the presidency, has learned a lesson here. It doesn’t change the fact that it was the right decision. The Stony Brook Council agreed with him, Chancellor Zimpher agreed with him, and SUNY Board of Trustees Chairman Hayden agreed with him.

    Unfortunately, Southampton became a casualty of the State’s chronic failure to fund SUNY adequately. And there will be more casualties in the future if the trend continues.

    Anyway I think I’ve said enough in all of my posts here. Whatever happens, I hope the students affected are able to successfully adapt to the main campus and make the most of the resources available to them.

  • A

    AnthonyNov 9, 2010 at 12:50 am

    @Save Southampton

    I think the ambiguity surrounding “the System Administration,” is irrelevant. The point was that this issue was brought before SUNY officials in addition to Stanley before closing the campus.

    Let me be clear before this sparks a new set of arguments:
    I dont feel that the short notice given to SH students was fair at all, I believe they should have given you guys another semester (f10) at SH to keep working while you planned your transfer to SBU or elsewhere.

    But I do feel that with the economic situation SUNY has placed in these past few years, SH should have been closed, and I dont think that suing or picketing or anything else short of massive endowment is going to reopen the campus.

    I dont feel like suing is really helping anybody, its not helping the cause of holding them accountable, as you can see they remain fairly ambivalent towards it. In fact, I feel the law suits comes off as a selfish and misguided attempt by a minority of angry SH students to claim some benefit from the closing of their campus at a cost to the remaining 25k students here.

    I feel like social action is a better approach to this, and for that to engage the students here, you need to find reasons for Stanley to be viewed as morally wrong, or inconsistent with the best interests of SBU.

    Good luck, Id like to see something positive come from all this, but I regret to say its most likely not going to be you campus reopening.

  • S

    Save SouthamptonNov 8, 2010 at 5:09 pm


    It wasn’t just convenient for me to quote from Zimpher without including another quote that says “this action was concurred with by System Administration” which immediately came after that paragraph I quoted, because the quote (“this action was concurred with by System Administration”) was irrelevant!

    Who was the “System Administration” Zimpher is referring to and when did they concurr with Pres. Stanley’s actions? As I recall it, The SB Council met in May, a full month after Pres. Stanley made his announcement. The “SYSTEM ADMINISTRATION” that needed to concurr with Pres. Stanley’s actions PRIOR to his announcement in April, should have been the Stony Brook Senate, the Stony Brook Council and the SUNY Board of Trustees.

    President Stanley did not have the right to determine that this type of “programmatic change” would not be viewed by The System Administration as a major plan under Education Law 356 and thus he never submitted his intentions to the Board.

    So exactly who is the System Administration? Pick anyone you want from SUNY’s list:

    “System Administration” covers alot of territory and is too vague to know who Zimpher is actually referring to.

    Policies and Procedures were not followed and someone has to be held accountable for that.

  • D

    DNov 5, 2010 at 10:57 am

    To Southampton Parent:

    How convenient for you to quote from Zimpher without including another quote that says “this action was concurred with by System Administration” which immediately came after that paragraph you quoted. If Zimpher and the SUNY System Administration had objections to the plan, they would have made it clear to Stanley at that time.

    Again I asked about Thiele and LaValle’s accountability and you point back towards Stanley. The accountability of state officials is real and is conveniently being disregarded. But of course you can’t sue them. You need a villain. That scapegoat is Stanley.

    What I would like to hold Stanley accountable to is his promise to keep the sustainability programs intact at the Main Campus. In this regard, you have my support.

    But to keep the Southampton campus open just for the sake of having it open without the necessary money to PROPERLY run it is irresponsible to the academic mission of the university, and to the students themselves. Even if the campus remained open, sooner or later the budget cuts will take its toll — fewer courses, limited library resources, delayed campus maintenance, etc. All of these problems are already being faced at the Main Campus. The Southampton campus would have been especially worse off since it doesn’t enjoy the economies of scale of a larger campus.

    The big picture is that the money situation is bleak. Cuts have to be made somewhere. University officials have to make decisions like this across the country, without being sued. It’s unfortunate that you have been grossly affected by such cuts. But the lawsuit will go nowhere.

  • S

    Save SouthamptonNov 5, 2010 at 8:26 am

    D says:
    The students who are suing the university are being championed by state officials like Thiele and LaValle. But I wonder if these same students asked Thiele and LaValle if they fought to provide additional money for Southampton’s operating costs. In fact the reverse happened, Stony Brook’s budget has been cut. Did these students ask Thiele and LaValle why the budget was cut? Where was the money to operate Southampton?

    The Answer to that Question is: Dr. Stanley refused to entertain any suggestions to keep the campus intact and up and running, leaving no other recourse than for the students to take legal action.

    President Stanley made a UNILATERAL decision without consulting the Stony Brook Senate, Council or the SUNY Board of Trustees. Had he followed educational law and the policies and procedures it would have allowed time to discuss a better resolution. This was a drastic move that altered the future of so many students.

    Even Chancellor Zimpher claims she was only made aware in early April 2010, that the President of Stony Brook briefed her on Stony Brook’s intention to move certain sustainability majors and all residential housing services from the Southampton Campus to the Main Campus so as not to compromise the delivery of services to the 25,000 students on Main Campus; as well as on Stony Brook s intention to retain CERTAIN unique programs at Southampton; and to work towards repurposing the Southampton Campus with the goal of economic viability;

    Having intentions and briefing the Chancellor is not following protocol. Where is the accountability?

  • A

    AnthonyNov 4, 2010 at 8:52 am

    I believe that my biggest issue with what you said is “the illegal closure of my college.” like it has been mentioned before here, this is not just YOUR college. South hampton was not a stand alone school, and was supported with money from SH, M, as well as SBU main campus students. That being said, in a good economic climate the school benefits from the SH campus because it provides a different atmosphere, and more room to have smaller classes etc. However economic times are rough, budgets effecting all programs here are being cut, certain majors on main campus are cut as well, and having a separate campus with a 20:1 student:prof ratio is not a burden the school can handle right now.

    Stanley and the board may be discussing future options of the SH campus, and they very well should be. We still own the campus, and while it isn’t financially viable now, it probably will be again sometime soon.

    I also, as a student who has double majored, transferred from a small college upstate, and has ben exposed to sustainability based courses before, highly suggest you browse the course listings under other majors. Many SH programs, including CES, have analogue courses on this campus. Business, eco, MASIC as well as the physical and life sciences offer many electives that may not mimic your old major exactly, but probably come pretty close. Chose the design your own major BachSci track, and you’ll be able to accomplish those goals.

    In the meantime, unless your lawsuits are personal, and private suits agains the person and not the organization they represent, your seriously wasting everyones time, and a lot of student and tax payer dollars. It’s not productive, its not going to really benefit you in anyway, it’s not going to help you finish you old major, or let SH reopen anytime soon.

    In fact many main campus students fear that these lawsuits are just a method of disgruntled SH students attempting to get undeserved cash back from the school. I dont see it that way because none of the cases seem to move in that direction. But financially speaking, the lawyers are taking from the tax payer, and student pocket on this one.

    Please reconsider your plan of attack. Maybe try working with USG to stand agains stanley and the board alongside west campus students. Send a non-biased message against his actions, and form a better bond between the two campuses.

  • D

    DNov 4, 2010 at 2:20 am

    TC says “So let me ask: If “there is no money” and the college at Southampton was something that SBU “can’t afford” right now, why are they planning to open other colleges there? The plan to turn it into an arts college was announced at the Oct 4 council meeting.”

    If you honestly believe that Stony Brook has the money ready to open new colleges at Southampton, then I’ve got a bridge to sell you. The operative word here is “plan”. I guarantee you nothing will happen with these plans without additional money from the State.

    Southampton could have been financially viable if it was able to attract enough students to generate the necessary tuition money. The targeted enrollment will naturally not be reached instantly, and it was expected that the State would provide the necessary money to cover expenses. Instead we have budget cuts.

    If you are interested in how the budget cuts are affecting the university, check out this link
    Unfortunately, the financial problems are REAL and not just some made-up excuse by Stanley.

    SUNY Albany president George Philip recently made the decision to cut classics, French, Italian, Russian and theater. This is definitely not a popular decision, and has been widely criticized.

    As for your Coastal Environmental Studies major, I see that it is still listed here – – and is also in the Spring 2011 Undergraduate bulletin
    so I don’t really know what to believe. To the Stony Brook Stateman — please do your job and check whether the majors have indeed been cancelled to set the record straight.

    I do think Southampton students were definitely dealt a raw deal with the forced transfer to the main campus. The administration should honor its commitment to keep the programs running. I still believe the lawsuit will go nowhere. To make villains out of the university administration who have to make prudent financial decisions faced with budget cuts from the State is convenient, but unwise.
    The real villain is primarily the economy, and secondarily, the state officials who have again and again to fund SUNY adequately.

  • T

    TCNov 3, 2010 at 10:53 pm

    Thanks for the suggestions Anthony. Problem is I’m a junior+ and finished with all my DECs. I have only the rest of my major courses to take – I can’t transfer. I didn’t ask to be here, don’t want to be here but I’m stuck here. In the meantime, I’m supporting the lawsuit against the illegal closure of my college and the tremendous injustice that has been done to me and my classmates. I have also asked my home-turf local legislators to support the bill that would make Southampton a separate SUNY college. Ranting here won’t solve anything. Write a letter to your elected state officials.

  • T

    TCNov 3, 2010 at 10:43 pm

    Some of you posters sound like administrators. So let me ask: If “there is no money” and the college at Southampton was something that SBU “can’t afford” right now, why are they planning to open other colleges there? The plan to turn it into an arts college was announced at the Oct 4 council meeting. Do we not have arts programs at the main campus too? And a couple of things to make clear: the lawsuit is against specific individuals – Stanley, SUNY’s board of trustees, namely Hayden, and the university council, namely Law. The Coastal Environment major no longer exists. It was one of the majors that suddenly disappeared in the transfer west. It was cut even though it had students who were juniors & seniors. Stanley lied when he said that Southampton majors were being transferred & the students would all be able to graduate with their majors. BTW you guys miss the point about the comparison with moving your major to another campus that is not geared for it. You can’t relate to that because you ARE on a campus that IS focused on your major. So let the argument rest – and the battle with SUNY continue. In the end, Southampton campus will be its own independent college and steer its own future.

  • D

    DNov 3, 2010 at 1:31 am

    Southampton Parent again says: “Stony Brook was sited for poor undergraduate education and too much emphasis on research. So President Shirley Strum Kenny made a deal to create a campus that was focused on education as a compromise to save Stony Brook University’s accreditation. That campus is the Southampton campus.”

    The Middle States problem was resolved way before Southampton came into the picture. Stony Brook did not need Southampton to get accreditation. That’s just absurd.

    President Kenny had a penchant for expansion, aided by Senator LaValle. You might be championing her idea for the Southampton Campus but you might find that the plan to acquire 200+ acres of neighboring property was through eminent domain, also aided by Senator LaValle, was not very popular.

    The idea behind Southampton Campus was and continues to be laudable. In an ideal economic climate, it should be pursued. Yes, the State provided millions of dollars to purchase the campus. yes the State provided millions of dollars to renovate some of the buildings. But the State did NOT — I repeat, DID NOT — provide the necessary money to operate the fledgling campus. That is not the fault of President Stanley. In hindsight, the campus should never have been acquired if the operating money was not there. In plain terms, it was like buying a car without money for gas. The car shouldn’t have been bought in the first place.

    I understand it must be a very difficult situation for you and your child. But to cast aspersions on the motives of the Stony Brook administration is unnecessary when the underlying problem is that the State failed to fund the Southampton campus. The decision definitely is not popular. But all this talk that Stanley must have ulterior motives behind closing the school is a load of crap. There was even a quote from Thiele that describes Stanley as Nixonian. If I were to pick between Stanley, a professional administrator, and Thiele, a politician running for reelection, on who is best suited to know how to run a university, I will definitely not pick Thiele.

    Thiele and LaValle has been very crafty in putting all the blame on Stanley. But Thiele and LaValle, as lawmakers, should be questioned on why the money necessary to operate Southampton wasn’t provided. Why is Stony Brook’s budget continued to be cut? Operating a residential campus for 500 students is expensive and entails a lot of overhead per student.

    Southampton campus may be the ideal environment for sustainability studies, but it’s not something Stony Brook can afford at the moment. Is it that hard to understand? There is no money. The idea of a small liberal arts campus on SUNY tuition without the necessary state support is simply, well, not sustainable.

    There are bills in the NY Assembly to make Southampton campus independent of Stony Brook. I’d like to see that happen myself as it will force the State to provide separate and hopefully sufficient budget items for Southampton that will not be dependent on Stony Brook.
    Instead of this unproductive lawsuit, I suggest you lobby Albany to fast-track this legislation. This I believe is the ideal solution.

  • A

    AnthonyNov 2, 2010 at 11:47 pm

    Southampton Parent,

    I see nothing here: indicating the university’s accreditation was at risk. I am aware that accrediting organizations re-evaluate schools regularly, but like all the schools listed here: there is no need to panic, or accuse that a university is going to lose accreditation. If that were the case, I highly doubt SH’s environmentally biased course catalogue would be the saving grace of a 25,000 member liberal arts and sciences research college 40miles away. But I’m glad you enlightened the argument by accusing scientist presidents of pushing undergraduates into research… Furthering education by critical thought and self propelled collection of novel data to reinforce previously understood ideas while simultaneously contributing to the knowledge pool and building a name for oneself…. oh god they should be burned.

    I’m sorry you personally had issues with big courses, and difficult translations, but the sciences are done like this across the board at schools. Even at SUNY Oswego (9000 students), the general bio lecture was 200 students. It is the job of the student to ask questions, consult the professors, and do the work to gain the knowledge. The profs, and grad students are simply there to help guide you along. Education is an exploration of the world and oneself, and requires making these leaps to reach any real goals.

    “”Stony Brook can never provide the learning environment for sustainability majors because it is not on the East End in a town that has a large emphasis on sustainability.””

    Give me a break. you mean to tell me that the only way to become educated about sustainability is to be in a locale that emphasizes it? By that logic, the only way to be a scientist is to be in a place that encourages science. Man, Galileo had it easy then, wait… no he didn’t at all? If someone is truly interested, they can learn anywhere.
    It takes not the newest gear, but self motivation and determination to play the game.

    Also, you mention that this type of sustainable thought is very localized to small distant regions like the east end. By that same school of thought, the jobs related to that field are also primarily in that region. How many waste management consultants does the SH region need? I hate for this to be taken the wrong way, but with the mentality shared by the majority in the country, non the less, this state, SH students are placing themselves in a small job market with only a highly specific set of skills after graduation. I argue again in favor of the more generalized majors having the advantage, even in the sustainability market.

    “I hope you understand now why Stony Brook University’s main campus is the wrong placement for the Sustainability majors.”
    To develop these majors here would be encouraging this type of thinking here westward, the problem with your thinking is that is essentially argues that only the eastbound students can be sustainability students, because only the eastern regions practice sustainability. You argue that west campus lacks those ideals, which it does, but then argue that there is no way to bring in that mentality… because it’s not already there!? I think its clear why your sustainability programs were “non-sustainable.”
    You did raise another good point, the point against research is carried in these programs. Many of these students are planning on helping the environment to “help detoxify our environment using the new federal regulations.” But without basic science training or practiced researchers, no new information about the environment will come about. Essentially, these students will be operating on principles derived from chemists, biologists, engineers, economists, marine and atmospheric scientists, etc., instead of contributing to the growing knowledge on the subject and further benefit our planet. They are being trained in how to stagnate at preservation alone. Essentially, they’re being programed to fall behind the advancing field, and become the laborers of sustainability, not the the cutting edge, rather they’re gearing towards the blunt end.
    Finally, I have to agree whole heatedly with “D,”
    “Southampton students pay the same tuition as Main Campus students, but they enjoyed lower faculty-to-student ratio. In an ideal financial climate, this should not be a problem. But Stony Brook’s budget has been cut. Classes offerings in the main campus are also being cut. It is more expensive to educate students in Southampton.
    … The closure of Southampton is an unfortunate event. In better economic times, I’m sure it would not have happened. Suing the university is waste of time and resources. Only the lawyers benefit.
    …Now that the decision has been made, the university understandably should make special accommodations for the displaced Southampton students.”
    And importantly:
    “Southampton Parent said “Whatvsaved Stony Brook from losing their amiddle Ststes Accreditation was the Sourhampton campus.”
    I know you care about Southampton, but I’m sorry that’s a stupid and ill-informed statement. You’re giving Southampton too much credit.””
    I hope you see now why SBU SH was a burden to the other 25000 students that pay taxes and tuition to go here, and why SH presented a campus sustainability issue to SBU. I’m sad to see it close, Ill admit that when I came here I always like the idea of SH being part of us. But it was a poor economic strain in our current climate, and put an unnecessary stress on the students in attendance.
    If your child honestly cannot develop their education here, than they are not trying. This school is tough, it makes the sciences difficult and can become impersonal if you let it, but a motivated, and determined person can excel and go on to do amazing things through the research, innovation, and education they can acquire here, as in anywhere.
    I hope your child finds what they’re looking for, if not here than elsewhere. But please stop punishing the students at this campus because of your misfortune. “D,” is correct, it benefits nobody but lawyers, are they going to reopen SH in the next few years? Most likely not, considering the cost, and the economy. The energy would better be spent exerted in making west campus a more sustainability friendly region.
    But maybe that would be too…. productive?

  • S

    Southampton ParentNov 2, 2010 at 9:16 pm

    Anthony, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education threatened to lift Stony Brook’s accreditation unless it paid far greater attention to teaching, as you will see documented below. No one is trying to insult you. Let me try to educate you. Stony Brook has a history of not treating undergraduate students very well.

    I attended science lectures of 200+ in my day. It was very difficult to find the professor and not easy to understand the broken English of the graduate student supervising us in the labs. I went to a university with 40,000 students, so I know my way around a big school.

    I suppose you don’t know that Stony Brook was in danger of losing their Middle States College Accreditation, which is needed for federal student loans. Stony Brook was sited for poor undergraduate education and too much emphasis on research. So President Shirley Strum Kenny made a deal to create a campus that was focused on education as a compromise to save Stony Brook University’s accreditation. That campus is the Southampton campus.

    “In the 1960s, when Stony Brook was founded, the SUNY plan was for it to become a version here of institutions like the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor or University of Wisconsin at Madison. Instead, it became a school focused on research into hard sciences. As a reporter, I covered the early years of Stony Brook U. and witnessed a succession of physicists who became its president giving it this direction.

    A big break occurred in 1994 when Dr. Shirley Strum Kenny, an English scholar and former president of Queens College, became president. She sought to change its culture, to humanize it and get the school focused far more on students. She had no choice. She related to me that the Middle States Commission on Higher Education threatened to lift Stony Brook’s accreditation unless it paid far greater attention to teaching.

    In 2005, after Long Island University decided to close its Southampton College and a drive began, led by State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. and State Senator Kenneth LaValle, to have SUNY take over the campus and have it emphasize environmental studies, Dr. Kenny embraced the idea. She worked to make it a branch of Stony Brook.

    But with Dr. Kenny’s retirement last year, Stony Brook again has a research scientist as president. “He is all about science and research,” said Mr. Thiele last week about Dr. Samuel Stanley, previously vice chancellor for research at Washington University. “Shirley’s broad view of what Stony Brook should be is no more.”

    One University, Two Cultures

    “However, across Nichols Road is the main Stony Brook campus. The university’s early presidents, physicists, focused on it becoming a research institution. Dr. Shirley Strum Kenny, who began in academia as an English professor, was president between 1994 and 2008 and endeavored to reform its undergraduate education. She told me the university was facing having the Middle States Association lift its accreditation if this wasn’t done. Dr. Kenny was succeeded by Dr. Samuel Stanley who is similar to the initial presidents.”

    My child received a $20,000 scholarship and was a Dean’s honor student, and you don’t get that from being uninvolved. My child was going to a very prestigious school in Washington DC before transferring to Southampton. One of her classmates declined admission to Yale to go to Southampton, so she did not feel so bad.

    Stony Brook can never provide the learning environment for sustainability majors because it is not on the East End in a town that has a large emphasis on sustainability.

    I lived in Three Villages for 18 years and there is not the same interest in the environment in that community, compared to the Town of Southampton. They are two very different campuses that provide very different experiences. Just like the students at the Southampton campus can make $15.00 an hour working a retail job, and that does not exist in the Three Village area.

    You just can’t compare the two campus situation because each was built with a specific goal in mind for their respective populations.

    Some of the majors created for the Southampton campus took 4 years to go through the process of approval and these majors are very unique. Not even Arizona State University, the model for Dr. Strum Kenny’s idea, has all the sustainability majors that were offered to the undergraduate students at the Southampton campus.

    That is even more reason why the residential sustainability program should be restored. These are the students who will be employed after graduation, and will help detoxify our environment using the new federal regulations.

    We need to manage our resources with less impact to the soil, water, and air.

    I hope you understand now why Stony Brook University’s main campus is the wrong placement for the Sustainability majors. You should work for a better undergraduate education so that Stony Brook does not lose it’s Middle State Accreditation.

    Good luck to you this semester.

  • E

    ElliottNov 2, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    @Anthony: Glad you liked my response. I understand what you’re saying about “standing out” and making your own education, but so far it’s been too hard to let go and “roll with the punches.” I’m not personally involved in the lawsuit as one of the plantiffs but I’m interested in the idea of a personal lawsuit vs one against the school. I’m in no way familiar with law so I’m not sure if it would actually be a viable option, but it’s noteworthy nonetheless.

  • A

    AnthonyNov 2, 2010 at 8:08 pm

    I love some of these responses, and the hostility that so many people take to me questioning their goals. Im going to break down my opinions into a few short bits that may provide insight as to why I have an issue with this.

    1. Southhampton parent: argues that the large class sizes prevent real education, and that the village of SH has more to offer, more profs know your names etc….

    Id like to thank them for personally insulting me and anyone else that attends a D1 school’s science program. Classes are big, thats a fact of life here, but not an inhibitor of education. Someone, a PhD who Im leaving out of this, once told me that it shouldn’t matter where you are, a good student can get a world class education anywhere as long as they work at it. I transferred to SBU from a small (9000 student) campus in upstate NY. I understand the small town college feel and I have a great appreciation for how easy it is for a prof to know you there. However, what truly makes a student stand out, (and leads to a much better written letter of rec) is when a student takes on the initiative to have a prof know them in a class of 600. Its very possible and every professor can tell you that the students they know best are the ones that seek them after class or during office ours, that these tend to be the top students in the class, that its the dedicated few that make these large classes beneficial. The key is obviously getting involved, which is something that SBU excels at. There are significantly many more ways to meet and interact with peers, grad students, and professors in and outside of class, on any issue or idea you can think of here and its that kind of interaction that foster real learning.

    I understand you’re a parent of a student at SH, maybe you should plead with them to be more involved, it looks a lot better to grad schools and jobs to see a student that can stand out here, versus one in a class of 20.

    I agree that the class size can be intimidating, but typically its just general courses, and recitations for those courses are typically only 20 students or less. It doesnt get much smaller at Cornell/Columbia/Harvard etc. Concerning the general requirements anyway.

    Also, keep in mind that many SH courses were part of west campus courses, often having to use video broadcasts and having much less access to course coordinators. BIO203 is an example of this with the two primary professors located at West campus, relying on the echo360 server to stream their lecture to SH kids. THAT is no way to learn.
    The downtown area? Thats not the issue here, and theres Port Jeff, Smithtown, and Huntington not too far away here. Also a train into manhattan. But this is irrelevant, as they dont contribute much to the college atmosphere or academic lifestyle.

    2. Save Southampton: argues that I’m missing the point, that the issue is Stanleys behavior and not the closing of the campus.

    This is the same argument I hear every day, and I agree. The trustees and Stanley did not act according to the law, and they should have had more public forums before they closed or acted to close the campus.
    However, the lawsuits are targeted at SUNY Stony Brook, and thus become an issue for the students and tax payers. Your not placing the blame where it belongs, your putting on the students, and the schools names. Sue Stanley and the trustees, not SBU. I do not like hearing about a campus torn asunder, when in reality many students don’t feel that way. The reality is that its individuals in the administration responsible for the issues at hand, and those individuals should personally be held responsible.

    3.TC: argues he was not provided for at SBU and that he was held hostage.

    Im truly sorry to hear that, Im not sure what type of program you were in, but there is still a sustainability studies program here (3rd floor PsyA). Additionally there exist concentrations within almost every major here that focus on the ethics, or practices geared toward the environment and the humanities. Chemistry has courses dedicated to clean energy, Engineering to sustainable development, Bio has eco/evo, Economics and other humanities offer courses as well.
    I would suggest taking courses that apply to your studies here where available, and finishing out the remainder of you credits with DECs until you transfer to SUNY ESF or another “SH like,” program.
    Theres no reason to claim you’re held hostage here, theres plenty to get done both within and in supplement to your major here. All schools are going to require some sort of DEC program, worst comes to worst, transfer out later while killing some credits on main campus.

    And god forbid some of the students petition to start their majors here, most of those courses were interdepartmental and would make for a great program on west campus. Many professors are struck down by claims of limited interest when proposing new courses for a major. Maybe having SH students organize with west campus, could initiate the opening of new environmental/sustainability geared electives within majors for all students to take.

    4.MA, see my response #2

    5. Le, see #2

    6. Hal:argues Im being ridiculous, compares what would happen if this were my situation.

    First let me ask, do you know how ridiculous YOU sound?
    You’re comparing two totally different scenarios. First, SBU and SH were under the same college administration, with many courses offered at both school BY THE SAME PROFS, under the same coordinators (gen chem, gen phys, bio201/2/3). Additionally both schools were research education centers focused in the sciences (environmental and sustainability sciences, versus traditional MAT/PHY/BIO/CHE).
    Comparing moving students from one campus of a school to another where the resources are essentially the same as before, is completely dissimilar to moving a SBU Bio student to a Purchase arts conservatory (though they do have science programs there). Regardless, if that were to happen, instead of suing over and over again, I would continue to work on my studies, and factor the transition into my personal statement when I apply for a transfer/grad school/job.

    Additionally, Ive already mentioned how a good student is capable of acquiring their educational goals regardless of their setting. I transferred from an upstate college not because of SBU’s science programs being able to offer me more, but for more personal reasons (the other campus was 6hrs away from home). I could have done just as well at the same interests in the small upstate liberal arts college I was attending, and I did. It doesn’t matter where you are, knowledge will never be just handed to you. At SH you may have had the program outlined for you, now you have the freedom to investigate your own method.

    I may have suggested that the SH students should choose a different major, yes. And I do still feel that the majority of these hyper focused environmental studies will not prepare a student as well to enter a career in that field as a traditional science program with supplemented research, or electives would. Thats not to say that Coastal Environmental Studies wont prepare someone for a real working environment, I just feel that studying more generally, covering a wider range of topics in that field would better prepare a person for real life situations, and open more doors in their interests to them. For example the Coastal Environmental Studies major could instead study ecology, or MASIC and have more exposure to a wider set of information that can aid in handling real life problems.
    The truth is the majority of jobs hire based on degree, and experience. While your major may provide you with experience in a select field within your courses, your CV will still say BS/BA, and a student with BS/BA designation with research/field/volunteer experience is considered a much better candidate. Many jobs do not consider your major, just your degree type, and experience. Hyper-focused programs like those at SH fail to expose students to a diverse set of experiences making them less beneficial to a resume. Though they do build great experience within a particular sub-field, but how many deep sea ecologist positions are there?

    Make some calls, ask companies what they think. This has just been my experience.

    Im not embarrassed by SH students, just the radical misguided few that seem to blame the school and not the people at fault. You can have the rooms, that was just a common complaint.

    7. Elliot, Thank you! you saw a great point in all of this, it seems you”re the only one. “This “grudge” between former Southampton student and West campus students should turn to collaboration and then all would be happy.”

    I agree, this must not be an easy transition, I understand many students from SH are struggling here for many reasons including the landscape and environment. I hope that will change when everyone finds a niche, theres a lot of good here. But I realize this place isn’t for everyone, it is very dreary. But this attitude may change if more collaboration was to occur between the students.
    Enacting major change at this school could break down the traditional barriers that separate this industrial campus from a more pleasant environment. Now if only we can get the SH student to stop calling us west campus kids stuck up, socially ignorant, or worse. We’ll work on not calling you guys hippies… but the tye-dye and dreadlocks make that one hard.

    Seriously though, I agree with you. We should turn this fight on the people, not the school, that hurt their students and tax payers repeatedly. Stop suing SUNY and start suing Stanley. Lets work on building that community you had at SH here at main campus. Lets work together to bring the programs you want here so more people could enjoy them. Theres a lot of good that can come from just sitting down and thinking about where the issues actually are.

    I think Ive made my point somewhat clearer. I feel for the students that lost their predetermined program guides and the campus they loved so much. But I dont feel any sympathy for a student that lacks the motivation to develop their interests on their own when the resources to do so are all around them. Like I said twice already, a good student can get a world class education anywhere they are. A good student can stand out and make a professor know a great deal about them in a class of 600, a good student can make a mark on this campus.

    Let the flow of angry responses commence 😀

  • D

    DNov 2, 2010 at 1:20 am

    Save Southampton said: “Place blame where it belongs!”

    Many of you want to blame President Stanley. Yes I guess you can blame him for making the decision to close the residential college in Southampton.

    Southampton students pay the same tuition as Main Campus students, but they enjoyed lower faculty-to-student ratio. In an ideal financial climate, this should not be a problem. But Stony Brook’s budget has been cut. Classes offerings in the main campus are also being cut. It is more expensive to educate students in Southampton.

    President Stanley had to make a decision, and I’m sure it wasn’t an easy one. Vilify him all you want but it was a decision that had to be done. All your arguments about the decision’s legality only stems from your disagreement with that decision. The truth of the mater is that the only decision that you can consider “legal” is a decision that will reopen the campus.

    The financial crunch is affecting universities nationwide. Recently, SUNY Albany cut their Italian, French, Russian, classics and theater programs. Thankfully, nobody sued the university.

    Now that the decision has been made, the university understandably should make special accommodations for the displaced Southampton students.

    The students who are suing the university are being championed by state officials like Thiele and LaValle. But I wonder if these same students asked Thiele and LaValle if they fought to provide additional money for Southampton’s operating costs. In fact the reverse happened, Stony Brook’s budget has been cut. Did these students ask Thiele and LaValle why the budget was cut? Where was the money to operate Southampton?

    The closure of Southampton is an unfortunate event. In better economic times, I’m sure it would not have happened. Suing the university is waste of time and resources. Only the lawyers benefit.

    Southampton Parent said “Whatvsaved Stony Brook from losing their amiddle Ststes Accreditation was the Sourhampton campus.”

    I know you care about Southampton, but I’m sorry that’s a stupid and ill-informed statement. You’re giving Southampton too much credit.

  • C

    CaterinaOct 31, 2010 at 6:11 pm

    I applied to both SBU and SBS…even though I got into both, I loved SBS because of the freshness it had compared to the other schools I saw. As much as I love the West Campus, Southampton was a really good part of Stony Brok and provided opportunities for students who are getting ready for jobs beyond just doctors and lawyers. I was really getting ready to be a Coastal Environmental Studies major (a major that was just cut) at SBS…and now I’m a freshman BIO major. I know it’s a really hard switch, but SBU is a good school too…I just wish that Southampton would be given another chance :/

  • S

    Southampton ParentOct 29, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    Anthony, you have lectures halls that hold 400 students, and usually gill up with 350. I don’t call that a quality education. Sounds more like herding people, not educating them. Whatvsaved Stony Brook from losing their amiddle Ststes Accreditation was the Sourhampton campus. Why should you cate? Without that accreditation, no more federal student loans. Stony Brook was criticized for focusing too much on research and not enough on educating students. Stony Brook was allowed to keep their accreditation by designing the programs at the Southampton campus. And what is really fantastic, is that you can take classes there or spend a semester there to experience a better teaching environment, too. It’s amazing what collaboration of different majors can create, when you work together to innovate, thinking about solving polygon problems.

    And Southampton has a very cool downtown area, with so much more to offer students than the charming harbor crescent at Stony Brook. Oh, you need a part-time job that is easy to get to, where cars drive 40 miles an hour or less? Try Southampton, where you will be paid twice what the businesses will offer you at Stony Brook, where there are 25,000 students to choose from.

    At Southampton the professors know your names, and see you at activities on campus. You should really try it sometime to appreciate the difference. I think all Stony Brook students should be required to take an undergraduate sustainability class, as other schools are now doing. I think Stanford or Berkley has this requirement.

    Oh and you do not need to park in a P Lot, and then wait for a bus to circle you around the campus when you come to Southampton. Okay now I think you get how lucky you are to go to a school that has so much campus diversity to get you away from the massive concrete structures at Stony Brook. Your future employer will think it’s very forward thinking that you took some sustainability courses to complete your degree. It may be the reason you get hired and your friends don’.t . I wish you the best, and may Dr. Stanley never cut your major so he can get more revenue from accepting more graduatevstudentst

  • S

    Save SouthamptonOct 29, 2010 at 8:58 am

    When Policies, procedures and even laws don’t apply.

    It appears that Anthony still is missing the point. The campus President is supposed to “lead and teach by example.” The message Stanley has given us is that he will do it his way, consciously breaking the law and having total disregard for all internal controls and policies and procedures.

    The issue is that this type of behavior should not be tolerated. In order to respect those in charge, they need to play by the rules. The administration refuses to be more transparent; leaving us to speculate that thay have their own agendas and that they are once again plotting to underhandedly do more damage.

    The students, parents, faculty and surrounding communities deserve a say in matters such as Southampton and the administration needs to be held accountable for failing to communicate and follow protocol. If anyone is responsible for putting this campus under a microscope and generating bad press; that responsibility falls on the person who single handedly broke the law.

    What is suing the school going to do? It will send a message that no one is above the law and if the law is broken you should take responsibility for your actions.

    Did it ever enter Anthony’s mind that putting the Southampton students in the new dorms was a peace offering from the administration. It was the least they could do. The administration gave Anthony the boot, not the students from Southampton!

    Place blame where it belongs!

  • T

    TCOct 29, 2010 at 2:45 am

    I certainly was kicked out when they illegally closed my college. Then I was hijacked so they could keep my tuition & fees. I’m a junior. I couldn’t transfer without starting all over & wasting 2-3 years. I have no choice but to be at & pay for a campus that I didn’t even apply to. I’m basically held hostage. What I want is the education that was assured me on a small, rural, sustainable, green campus. For the record, I am not a science major and BIO is not the kind of course I need to take to prepare me for the job market that I will be entering. This place may be the best thing in the world for what science majors plan to do with their career but it’s not that for everybody. I want what I was promised & what I enrolled at Southampton for.

  • M

    M.A.Oct 29, 2010 at 1:23 am

    Every student should be concerned over what adminstration did to Southampton students because what they did was rush to cut undergraduate academic programs and close a school without ever considering any of the many other alternatives. THAT alone should be a huge issue for every student. Stanley even admitted that he did not consider any other alternative before cutting the undergraduate college. The message is that undergraduate students are expendable. Any student who quietly sits on the sidelines without rising in protest over student programs being cut as the first choice, rather than the last resort, deserves to have it done to them instead.

  • L

    leOct 29, 2010 at 12:48 am

    To the guy wondering why certain students are ‘complaining’ about their whole undergrad college being closed, being forced to move to a college they never asked to attend, their programs being changed, and some programs even being eliminated in the middle of the students’ education, here’s something to remember…

    THE ISSUE is that the university president, acting like a dictator, made such a drastic decision as not only cutting programs but also cutting an entire school without even informing the university council or anyone involved, failed to follow the proper public process and violated state law, causing academic and financial harm to hundreds of students.
    If he is allowed to get away with that, one can only imagine what else he will try to get away with. You may think that since it’s ‘just’ the Southampton students, it’s no big deal and they all should just get over it. But THE ISSUE that you fail to see is that if one group of students is allowed to be harmed by autocratic-above-the-law administrators and spineless-lap-dog oversight councils today, it will be another group of students being harmed tomorrow. And tomorrow it may be YOUR turn. For all we know, Sam could be counting the numbers right now to see how much he can save by cutting your program or moving you 50 miles west to the Manhattan campus. Instead of moaning about the Southampton students who are fighting that kind of outrageous injustice, you should be doing all you can to stand up for all students & show the administration that such callous disregard of any of us will not be tolerated by this student body.

  • H

    halOct 29, 2010 at 12:08 am

    Hey Anthony. Are you serious, man? Do you even hear how ridiculous you sound?

    How would you feel if you were a science, engineering, or technology student that applied to attend SBU & was currently attending SBU, and Stanley suddenly told you tomorrow that he is moving your major to the Visual & Performing Arts SUNY at Purchase? What does that college have to do with what you are studying as a science major? How would you feel if he told you that your “programs” will still be the same, they just will no longer contain whatever special program component they had that made them superior over all other science, engineering, or technology colleges? The main thing that you went to SBU specifically for & was the reason you turned down scholarships from other colleges would no longer exist, but hey, you’ll be a more well-rounded student if you take a drama major instead. Sounds ridiculous, no?

    Well, thats what you’re saying & that’s what Stanley did to Southamptons students when he “transferred” their social and environmental humanities programs to your science/research center and eliminated the experiential learning component that made those programs stand out above all other environmental colleges.

    One more thing: who are you to tell any other student what major they should take? Where do you get off telling anyone what is good for them and which campus is better for them? SBU did not fit with what these students were looking for — just like the visual arts college at SUNY Purchase does not fit what you were looking for. If it did, you would have chosen to enroll there in the first place. Southampton’s students have a right to the education that was promised to them, that they were recruited for, & that they signed up for. It’s not available at the main campus.

    If youre so embarrassed by them, tell Stanley to send them back where they belong. Then maybe you can get a room in the dorm they vacate – they’ll be happy to turn it over to you. They never asked for it in the first place.

  • E

    ElliottOct 28, 2010 at 8:29 pm

    @Anthony: We did not go to stony brook west campus even though many had that option to begin with for many reasons. When you look for a college there are many criteria beyond majors offered and programs are established as you should know. Southampton was fundamentally different than West campus and for that reason we chose to go to that campus. Moving from Southampton is a huge difference and it was not a change that any of us were planning on making and it is a big adjustment. The way that the president made his decision and the way that he and the council are acting about the situation now is the reason this is an issue. Their decisions are made behind closed doors and they outrightly ignore all objections, advice, solutions and alternatives that are presented. If you’re upset about loosing the dorm space and the increased class sizes then you should be directing your rage at President Stanley. It was his decision that put us here, it is not our fault. Suing, protesting and complaining is our way of trying to move back to Southampton and trying to make the Administration more open and engaged with the community in the process. Therefore, our agenda lines up with yours.This “grudge” between former Southampton student and West campus students should turn to collaboration and then all would be happy.

  • A

    AnthonyOct 27, 2010 at 10:40 pm

    WHY! Seriously?
    You were brought to the main campus, you were given priority housing, you now have access to more materials and more professors and grad students. What is suing the school gong to do for you? Its distracting the administrators from the real issues here, it’s a burden financially, and its embarrassing for the rest of us who go here.
    Awwwwww they no longer offer deep sea cod ecology as a major? GOOD, you’re an undergraduate and shouldn’t be that specialized anyway. This is a liberal arts and sciences college and you’ll be better prepared for the job market and actual practice taking a BIO major anyway.
    Im sorry, if you feel this place isn home, but why not instead of complaining and segregating yourselves from the other students here, try bringing that feeling of college community to west campus? Of course you’re met with hostility, every day we have to hear about how you were short handed.Try and remember we’re the ones who got booted form the new building we all had to deal with being constructed, or the higher competition to get classes we need to graduate.
    Get over it, or transfer, what else do you want? They didn’t kick you out when they closed SH, they just moved you to a better established and more developed campus. I fail to see how thats an issue.