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Mar 1, 2011 6:13 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Stony Brook Announces Plans To Add Programs, Some Residency At Southampton Campus

Mar 1, 2011 6:13 PM

Seven months after budget cuts devastated Stony Brook Southampton, stripping the campus of most of its academic programs and undergraduate students, Stony Brook University officials on Monday announced plans to roll out expanded arts and marine science programs this fall.

The university will add theater, film and visual arts courses to the long-standing graduate creative writing program at the 82-acre satellite campus in Shinnecock Hills, under the banner of “Southampton Arts.” A new undergraduate residency program in the marine sciences, “Semester by the Shore,” will grant students from across the country access to the campus’s research vessels and waterfront marine lab and allow them to live on campus, according to a press release from the university.

The announcement carries the first solid plans the university has made public since last April, when it abruptly unveiled budget cuts that closed the campus’s dormitories and forced most of its undergraduate students to relocate to the university’s main campus that August. Stony Brook University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D., has said the campus had been atrophying financially since the university took it over in 2006 and began running it as a small residential college centered on undergraduate environmental sustainability studies.

In Monday’s press release, the university stressed that Southampton Arts will “leverage the successful business model” of the graduate creative writing program under director Robert Reeves. An associated undergraduate arts residency program for students from other institutions, which the university said it is looking to unveil in the fall of 2012, “will avoid the administrative costs associated with four-year undergraduate resident and academic life,” Provost Eric Kaler is quoted as saying.

“These short-term residencies are the most cost-effective way to restore an undergraduate presence and to 
build enrollment quickly,” he continued.

The announcement came days after State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle and Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. announced that the parties involved in a legal dispute over the budget cuts had put their litigation on hold for 30 days as negotiations over the future of the campus progressed.

Students who were forced to relocate and supporters of the campus filed suit last May, claiming that the cuts were illegal. As the litigation went on, university officials and local lawmakers, including Mr. LaValle, Mr. Thiele and U.S. Representative Tim Bishop, were in talks over the future of the campus. Discussions were known to have long focused on many of the ideas Stony Brook announced on Monday, including the expansion of graduate arts programs and a marine sciences residency program for outside students.

That announcement, made in the form of a press release from Mr. LaValle’s office last Friday, marked a shift in tone for the 
legislators, who lambasted the university for months after the cuts first became public last April.

“I am pleased that the administration understands the importance of the Southampton campus to the community and [the State University of New York] itself,” Mr. LaValle said in the release. “We have made important strides in the past three months.”

Although a State Supreme Court Justice ruled in favor of the students last August, stating that the university shirked a legal requirement when it failed to consult with a state-appointed advisory committee before announcing the cuts, there were still motions pending on either side of the litigation.

“With today’s agreement to adjourn all litigation for 30 days, I believe we have taken a major step forward,” Mr. Thiele said. “There are still intricate discussions remaining about the future of the Southampton campus. Any resolution must fulfill the potential of the Southampton campus. I am optimistic that we can find such a resolution.”

When reached on Monday, shortly before Stony Brook University’s announcement, Katie Osiecki, a 19-year-old Sag Harbor native who is one of the six plaintiffs in the lawsuit, said it appears unlikely that she and her fellow sustainability students would be returned to 
Stony Brook Southampton as part of the negotiations. The university, she said, is considering giving the sustainability program a permanent home at the chemistry building in Stony Brook. Still, she said, she will see victory in the revival of her former campus, whatever form it takes.

“I think the most important thing is to have a college on the East End,” said Ms. Osiecki, who is enrolled at the main campus in a major called Environmental Design, Policy and Planning.

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Conspiracy theorists and naysayers - what do you think about this? Looks like SBU's plan wasn't to sell/bulldoze/privatize SBU Southampton after all.

Here's to fiscal responsibilty and sound planning.
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Feb 25, 11 4:25 PM
SUNY Southampton
I Like the sound of that! It has a good name.
What would it take for Soutampton to be created as its own SUNY?
By SHNative (554), Southampton on Feb 26, 11 9:31 AM
2 members liked this comment
An approval by the State Legislature for one... plus a lot of dedicated funding
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Feb 27, 11 7:14 PM
There already is legislation in Albany to start the process towards creating an independent SUNY at the Southampton campus. You can read the entire text of the bill (S.3233/A.5121) at http://open.nysenate.gov/legislation/bill/S3233-2011
By ts (71), southampton on Mar 7, 11 1:33 PM
Chances are without LaValle, Thele and the litigation plaintiffs holding their feet to the fire, SBU in fact WOULD HAVE shut down Southampton and sold it off...
By rss0246 (23), East Hampton on Mar 1, 11 8:09 AM
1 member liked this comment
I still say it would make a great location for badly needed affordable housing for people working locally. If it doesn't work out financially as a college, I'd like to see our officials get hold of it for housing for our year round workforce who are hard pressed to find any, rather than have it go for more luxury housing.
By goldenrod (505), southampton on Mar 1, 11 1:19 PM
Wow. Kudos to LaValle and Thiele. I am impressed.

It's really "college lite" with short-term programs. It doesn't appear that there will actually be any degrees awarded from the Southampton campus. Clearly, SUNY is using name recognition of the college in THE HAMPTONS to attract paying students for a semester or two. But what's wrong with that?
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Mar 1, 11 2:51 PM
Actually, I understand the Southampton Campus will be offering MFA degrees in the Arts as they do presently in the Writing & Literature program.

And, the undergraduate program - Semester by the Sea - will provide credits for a semester of study.
By concerned east ender (49), Sag Harbor on Mar 1, 11 6:09 PM
Awarding MFA degrees would fit in with the plan. They can be earned, I presume, in two semesters. One assumes that they will be attended by older students with the means to fund their own private housing without needing dormitory space.

Will the semester by the sea be offered only in the summer when the beaches are open and the social scene is hot? Will the facilities for semester by the sea and the dormitories for housing the students otherwise be mothballed for the remainder of the ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Mar 1, 11 11:13 PM
its a good first step.
By pierce (4), Southampton on Mar 1, 11 4:27 PM
1 member liked this comment
and what of the sustainability students whose public efforts over the last 11 months were instrumental in these new developments? They werent fighting to reopen just any college - they were fighting for their sustainability program. Their lawsuit succeeded in stopping the university from doing whatever it wanted with the campus. Now that they helped to get the college reopened, are these students going to be wronged yet again by having the door slammed in their faces?
By ts (71), southampton on Mar 1, 11 8:14 PM
How are they being "wronged yet again" and what "door" is being "slammed in their face"?

There are no guarantees in life - at this point it would be silly to try and bring that whole program up to speed since it has been fatally fractured with students leaving the SUNY system or pursuing other majors.
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Mar 1, 11 8:30 PM
Come to Stony Brook University where we house sustainability majors in a chemistry building.
By WarriorMom (61), Southampton on Mar 1, 11 10:51 PM
1 member liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By WarriorMom (61), Southampton on Mar 1, 11 11:11 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Mar 1, 11 11:15 PM
I'd like to also see some continuing education programs - these cost a college very little (adjunct professors, no need for students to reside on campus) and the east end has a large, well-educated senior population always looking for enrichment. It also would involve another group (seniors) which would have a stake in expanding the programs offered - a group with considerable political clout.
By sunshine (47), southampton on Mar 2, 11 10:00 AM
I think that re-opening the business program as well as creating an online/distance education with the SUNYStony Brook tag would go a long way towards injecting funds into the Southampton Campus.

Undergraduate business programs at good schools are difficult to get in to. The reason being, the overwhelming number of applicants to undergraduate business programs. Schools get to be picky, in other words. The SUNY Stony Brook business program is one of the top public school business programs ...more
By cochise316 (58), southampton on Mar 3, 11 10:41 AM
Online/distance learning programs seem to be a decent way for schools to be profitable. Students pay not only regular, full tuition, but also fees to access the online content. These students don't require housing, food or anything else that comes with residency because the student takes the class from their own home.

Things like textbooks and insurances, etc. could be purchased from the Stony Brook campus, meaning that there would be very little overhead for Southampton to institute online ...more
By cochise316 (58), southampton on Mar 3, 11 10:53 AM
As a student in Sufflok (Riverhead) in the business program, let me tell you that finding schools for me to transfer to after I graduate is a tough task. I live in Hampton Bays and would prefer to communte to school rather than take residence.

SUNY Stony Brook, Adelphi and Hofstra all offer terrific 4 year business programs for me to transfer to (honorable mention to LIUand St. Joe's). The problem is, as a commuter that would be difficult for me to do, as well as expensive. I'd prefer ...more
By cochise316 (58), southampton on Mar 3, 11 11:09 AM
"Awarding MFA degrees would fit in with the plan. They can be earned, I presume, in two semesters. "

Where does one get a master's degree in two semesters? Mine took two years, which was four semesters. Everyone else I know with a master's had to go to school for a minimum of two years.
By btdt (449), water mill on Mar 6, 11 3:50 PM
You can get a Masters in Chemistry in 1 year. . . you can get a Masters in Education in 1 year as well. Getting the PhD takes significantly longer though.
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Mar 6, 11 8:34 PM