clubhouse, east hampton, indoor, tennis, cornhole, bar, happy hour, bowling, mini golf

Story - Education

Apr 16, 2010 3:58 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Legislators plan fight to keep campus open

Apr 16, 2010 3:58 PM

State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle and State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. said they will explore going to court in an effort to block Stony Brook University’s cuts to its Southampton campus.

On April 6, media reports revealed that Stony Brook was planning to shut down the residential components of its satellite campus, Stony Brook Southampton, which welcomed its first students in 2007. Stony Brook University confirmed the reports the next morning, saying that it would shutter most of the buildings on the 81-acre Shinnecock Hills campus, including the dormitories, and the move the bulk of the programs over to the main campus by August 31, due to deep cuts in state aid in recent years.

In interviews since the sudden announcement last week, Mr. LaValle and Mr. Thiele have said that they will explore filing a lawsuit against the university in State Supreme Court, charging that the state would be wasting tens of millions of taxpayer dollars by cutting back at the campus.

Taxpayers, via the State University of New York, have invested $78 million in Stony Brook Southampton since Stony Brook University purchased the campus from Long Island University in 2006. That figure includes the $35 million purchase of the site, as well as renovation and construction projects throughout the campus since then.

On Tuesday, the two legislators announced that they have also contacted the offices of the state attorney general and comptroller, asking them to investigate “deceptive acts and practices” on the part of Stony Brook University. In a press release that afternoon, the legislators stated that their offices have been “deluged” with complaints by parents and students, both current and prospective, since the announcement.

“Without exception, Stony Brook made representations to these students and parents that [Stony Brook Southampton] would not be closed or its unique environmental sustainability program eliminated,” the press release said. “In some cases, these representations were made just days before the closure announcement.”

Those families made decisions, like declining scholarships from other institutions, based on the premise that the programs at Stony Brook Southampton would be maintained, according to Mr. Thiele and Mr. LaValle.

In an e-mail earlier in the day on Tuesday, Lauren Sheprow, a Stony Brook University spokeswoman, said that the programs that were unique to Stony Brook Southampton would be continued at the main campus.

“All students with sustainability majors will have the ability to graduate from Stony Brook University with the major in which they are enrolled,” she wrote. “Academic programs that will no longer be offered at the Southampton will be offered at the main campus, including those environmental studies offerings that earned such wide distinction.”

You've read 1 of 7 free articles this month.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

A lot of noise that will go nowhere. Will these 2 legislators file the suit pro bono or will the taxpayer have to pick up the tab to ....sue the taxpayer? As long as "the boss" Sheldon Silver, the Democratic Speaker of the Assembly is in power the voice of Fred & Co. is muted. Get him on board and you may have a chance. In any event, good luck students, maybe you can wake up "the boss.'
By nellie (451), sag harbor on Apr 13, 10 7:14 PM
meanwhile our US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Representative Nydia Velázquez introduced new legislation authored by Sen. Gillibrand to "invest" $1 billion through loans and grants to help build approximately 2,100 new grocery stores in high need areas across the country, including an estimated 273 stores in New York City. Yes, let's close a university but spend taxpayer money on more stores in New York City because there aren't enough stores there now.
By davidf (325), hampton bays on Apr 13, 10 7:16 PM
1 member liked this comment
Why not McDonalds too? Now that we all must have health insurance. Insane isn't this? Can't get much crazier than Velazquez, it is expected. Gillibrand?..who knows what she is thinking? Thanks davidf for bringing this to light.
By nellie (451), sag harbor on Apr 13, 10 9:19 PM
The real enemy is NYC politicians. They summer here for sure. Do they care about us? No way!!!
By nellie (451), sag harbor on Apr 13, 10 9:23 PM
1 member liked this comment
Does anyone know what precautions have been taken against sale and subsequent development of the campus real estate? It seems to me this is a likely candidate for some well connected real estate developer to swoop in and "save" Stony Brook university from the financial burden of holding the soon to be defunct campus.
By eastender32 (4), Brookhaven on Apr 13, 10 9:44 PM
Check the deed from the LIU sale.
By bailey (52), East Hampton on Apr 15, 10 7:53 AM
By uncleronk (136), southold on Apr 14, 10 8:25 AM
if they pay local taxes that's fine with me. my issue is really with Senator Gillibrand. She got that seat in the Senate because Ms. Kennedy had enough of the endless muck swim that is Albany and our default Governor found a default Senator. Why doesn't Senator Gillibrand get us ALREADY ALLOCATED university education funding for the only "Green" curriculum in the SUNY system? She's trying to expand beyond her Dartmouth pearls and cashmere sweater by cozying up to Nydia Valazquez? At least Congresswoman ...more
By davidf (325), hampton bays on Apr 14, 10 10:00 AM
I agree with you about Gillibrand but there are supermarkets on every other block on the lower east side and Brooklyn in Velazquez' district. There is a lot more to this than her just "doing right" for her constituents. Unfortunately, it is another waste of taxpayer money that could be used for education to the benefit of everyone in NYS..
By nellie (451), sag harbor on Apr 15, 10 8:41 PM
Senator LaValle, State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. and the words "deceptive acts and practices” should never, ever be used in the same sentence! That is just the funniest thing I have read in the last 10-years except for Fred Thiele being a Republican, that was also very funny.

Can't make this stuff up folks!
By BIGjimbo12 (201), East Quogue on Apr 19, 10 10:02 PM