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Long Island University’s Foreshadowing

In 2004, Long Island University announced all of their students at Southampton College would be relocating to C.W. Post in Brookville.  Five years later Stony Brook University announced their students would be relocating too.  The reason: budget cuts.

According to Dan Melucci, associate vice president for strategy, planning and analysis,  tuition, the tuition for LIU was $21,000, there were 983 undergraduates at that time and at the end of the fiscal year of 2004-2005, they projected a loss of $11 million.

According to the Facts in Brief on LIU’s website, fiscal year 2004-2005 did have 983 undergraduates, but also had 218 graduates and 500 students for non-credit, totaling 1,701 students for enrollment. The next year, after the university had announced its relocation to the main campus, there were 125 graduate students. By the fiscal year of 2006-2007, Southampton was no longer a part of the budget for LIU.

Southampton College, which was acquired by the university in 1963, was home to writing and fine arts programs, the Friends World Program of global education for social change, which started in 1991, the SEAmester program, which was an educational program on ships, and of course, marine and environmental sciences. The 2004 Boilerplate, provided by LIU, showed that the campus had a strategic plan that included $100 million in capital improvements, a newly designed core curriculum and a large investment in scholarships. It was also home to WLIU-FM, Long Island University’s Public Radio Network.

The next year’s boilerplate showed that the university’s undergraduate programs at Southampton College were being relocated to C.W. Post but that the radio station and few programs not related to marine science would remain on site.

When asked what had happened between the two years for such a drastic change in tone and the students relocation, LIU did not respond.

In September 2005, the SUNY Board of Trustees approved the resolution to purchase the property for $35 million, which included the purchase of 42 buildings, and facilities including art studio buildings, residence halls, classroom and library buildings. The marine science undergraduate program at Southampton was moved to Stony Brook’s Marine Sciences Research Center. The lease of the marine science facilities were subsumed into the purchase when Stony Brook acquired the campus, according to a press release on LIU’s website from March 2006.

According to Jason Rodriguez, a LIU Southampton-turned-C.W. Post student, “the transition wasn’t hard but I really wish it didn’t happen,” he said. “I didn’t want to be at C.W. Post. I wanted to be at Southampton.”

“The transition was as smooth as it could possibly be,” he added.

Assemblyman Fred Thiele, Jr. disagrees, however. He was there when LIU decided to sell the campus. At first, the university was going to sell it to a private sector, but legislators Thiele, Congressman Tim Bishop and Senator Kenneth P. LaValle were able to reach a consensus with LIU to sell it to someone that would be able to keep its educational programs running.

Of course rallies and protests occurred before the smooth transition Rodriguez mentioned. What happened from students at Stony Brook for months, also happened with students from LIU.

“I chose Southampton for a reason and I’m not going to settle for Post,” said Haley Menard, a sophomore majoring in Environmental Chemistry at Southampton, in a C.W. Post Pioneer article entitled “Southampton Students and Faculty Rally Against Administration.”  “I’m happy with my school and I don’t think it’s right they can send me a letter telling me they’re closing [without a chance to challenge the decision].”

They, too, had a rally at their main campus against the relocation from Southampton to C.W. Post.

“We want the administration to understand that the Southampton campus is important to the East End,” said Scott Carlin, a protester and fulltime Environmental Studies professor at Southampton.  “The responsible thing for LIU to do is keep it open as a four year school until a new institution can take over the college.”

Enter Stony Brook University.

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  • D

    DNov 10, 2010 at 8:30 pm

    @Southampton Parent: Of course the $10 million allocation for capital improvements came from the State. Nobody is pretending otherwise so I don’t see what you are driving at.

    But I’m glad you brought up the role of your local politicians. Credit is definitely due to politicians like LaValle and Thiele pushing the State to fund the purchase and capital improvements. Credit is also due to politicians like LaValle and Thiele for failing to fund the necessary operating costs for a startup campus.

    Stony Brook benefited a lot from LaValle when he was head of the Higher Education committee in the state senate. But when the Republicans lost control, he also lost his sway with regards to championing Stony Brook funding. Then the economic crisis struck making everything worse.

    In the end, Stony Brook’s future should not be tied with the fortunes of its political patrons in Albany like LaValle. NY state should work to shield SUNY from Albany politics and state budget shortfall.

    Reply
  • S

    Southampton ParentNov 9, 2010 at 9:52 pm

    It was our local politicians who were able to convince Governor Pataki to give 35 million dollars to Stony Brook University for the purchase of LIU Southampton.

    Archives of the Stony Brook Independent

    “News Briefs – May 2, 2005
    Submitted by mhirschk on Thu, 05/05/2005 – 11:01.
    Money Budgeted For Southampton College Purchase
    $30 million was included in the New York State 2005-2006 budget on April 18 for SUNY to purchase Southampton College. An additional $5 million was budgeted to improve Southampton’s sewage system.”

    I would not want anyone to think that Stony Brook University purchased this campus with its’s own funds.

    Minutes of September 11, 2006
    University Senate

    ” We did not close on Southampton before the planned August 31st target date. Long Island University asked us to postpone it so that liens on some of the buildings could be taken care of and we hope to open by the end of this month. There are some courses being taught at Southampton including Marine Sciences, Masters program in Creative Writing (which existed before and the students finishing up are finishing up with us instead LIU) as well as some HSC classes. There will be special activities beginning this month – the Center for Wine Culture will be having wine tastings etc. We received a special 10 Mil allocation for Capital improvements—the library needs to be completed and the residence halls (self-supporting) need to be fixed up. The interim Dean of Southampton will be Martin Schoonen.”

    Classes, it seems, could not start until the Spring of 2007, so it delayed the development of the campus, right form the start.

    So the special 10 million dollar allocation was from SUNY, not Stony Brook? SUNY meaning the State of NY?

    Reply