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Story - Education

Apr 21, 2010 11:27 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Fight to save college continues to unfold

Apr 21, 2010 11:27 AM

Last Thursday, April 15, students began intensive fund-raising on behalf of the non-profit, making calls, sending mass e-mails and contacting donors using a Facebook page that was started two weeks ago to advocate for the campus. The Facebook page had 18,000 fans as of this Tuesday.

Shortly after 9 p.m. on Friday, students reached the $10,000 mark, prompting an anonymous donor to contribute an additional $10,000, according to student leaders. The money will be used to hire a law firm in order to sue Stony Brook University, according to student leaders.

Joan Tutt, a Southampton College alumnus who lives in Southampton and is one of about eight central figures in Save the College at Southampton, Inc., said Tuesday that the non-profit will make an announcement regarding the lawsuit later this week.

Also, students said they are planning a benefit at the Stephen Talkhouse in Amagansett on Wednesday, April 28, at 7 p.m. in order to raise more money for legal fees. The event, which is limited to people 21 and older, will require a $10 donation at the door, and will feature live entertainment and raffles, according to students. A separate event for people younger than 21 will likely be held in the near future, students said, although the details have not been finalized.

Shortly after the cuts to Stony Brook Southampton were announced, Mr. Thiele and Mr. LaValle said they would explore filing a lawsuit against Stony Brook University, claiming that the state school will waste taxpayer dollars by mothballing the campus, and that budget figures forwarded by Stony Brook University need to be reviewed. Last week, Mr. Thiele, who is also a leading member of Save the College at Southampton, Inc., said the legislators would instead put their support behind the students’ lawsuit.

In an interview Monday, Mr. Thiele said he suspects that Stony Brook University inflated the projected savings it would see by shutting down programs at the campus. Stony Brook University spends nearly $10 million per year on Stony Brook Southampton, according to a preliminary financial analysis of the cuts that Stony Brook University gave Mr. Thiele earlier this month. Stony Brook University said that it will reduce costs by about $3.1 million in the 2010-11 fiscal year, and by about $6.7 million every year after that by going forward with the intended cuts.

But Mr. Thiele said he was denied when he asked to see more detailed budget figures to back up the one-page analysis.

“If the savings are half what Stony Brook says they’re going to be, that would be optimistic,” Mr. Thiele said.

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Make no mistake when you read that the "evicted" Southampton students are registering for classes at the main campus. They have no choice. Either they register st Stony Brook or they dont go to school in September. Conducting a college search takes time - these students are currently gearing up for finals and do not have the time now to research other schools that might fit their needs. Besides that, transfer applicantion deadlines have long since passed, and students who are juniors and seniors ...more
By js (44), NY on Apr 22, 10 1:28 AM
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What I find incredible is that current and prospective students, the local economy and especially the taxpayer have all been screwed on this deal. The fact of this matter too is that some the degree programs that are offerred here are unique to the school and pursuit elsewhere is difficult at best!

With what's happening here why isn't anyone also targeting the possible misuse of taxpayer funds in the campus expansion that ends in the campus demise?

What is the actual cost ...more
By semi local (19), hampton bays on Apr 25, 10 8:49 AM
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