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Story - Education

Oct 5, 2010 4:35 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

University Council supports cuts made to Stony Brook Southampton

Editor's Note:
Oct 5, 2010 4:35 PM

Former Stony Brook Southampton students who addressed the board on Monday, along with Mr. Thiele, called Stony Brook University’s budget figures into question, saying that the university has provided varying financial numbers for Stony Brook Southampton while the debate over the cuts has raged over the last six months. Ms. Osiecki called for an independent audit of Stony Brook Southampton’s finances in order to determine whether or not the campus was actually losing money at the rate university officials have said it was.

“I just feel like these numbers are really being skewed in order to justify your agenda,” Ms. Osiecki told university officials.

Mark Maciulaitis, the budget director for Stony Brook University, said the university has always maintained that it would save $6.7 million per year once the cuts are fully implemented. That will take several years, while the university waits for contracts with some former Stony Brook Southampton staff to expire, according Dan Melucci, Stony Brook’s associate vice president for strategy, planning and analysis.

Stony Brook University has had to absorb “unprecedented” state funding cuts of approximately $59 million since 2008, Mr. Maciulaitis told council members, and, along with cutting Stony Brook Southampton, has closed one of its Manhattan satellite facilities. The university has also instituted a hiring freeze, trimmed maintenance costs, reduced course offerings at the main campus and instituted an early retirement incentive program.

Even after the cost-trimming efforts, a hefty deficit will likely carry over to next year’s budget, according to the budget director. “It’s a very painful situation,” Mr. Maciulaitis said.

Mr. Stanley said he convened a budget working group shortly after he took office in 2009 in order to help guide the university through the mounting state funding cuts, and the group, made up of university administrators, recommended slashing spending at Stony Brook Southampton, among other cuts. Mr. Melucci, who was part of the budget working group, said it came out with the recommendation shortly before the cuts were announced in April, although the satellite campus’s fiscal woes were well-known among administrators at that point.

Stony Brook Southampton never took off like it was supposed to, officials said. Mr. Melucci said initial projections showed the campus starting off with 200 students in 2007, and then growing to 1,600 students by the 2009-10 academic year. Instead, only 477 students, including graduate students, attended class at the campus last year. Although there were hundreds more waiting in the wings to begin as freshmen this fall, enrollment figures never came close to matching expectations, according to university officials.

Along with millions more in state support that the university was counting on, officials also planned for about $1 million in gifts from donors per year. It took three years for the campus to reach that mark, according to Mr. Melucci.

In an interview outside the meeting room, Mr. Melucci said enrollment may have fallen short because it took much longer than expected for the campus’s unique environmental sustainability programs to get approved by the State University of New York, among other reasons. Stony Brook University could not market the new majors until they were fully approved, Mr. Melucci said. “That bureaucracy really slowed us down,” he said.

In an address to council members at the meeting on Monday, Mr. Thiele said the campus did not grow as quickly as expected because Stony Brook University dragged its feet. He pointed out that the university only hired a dean to run the campus, Mary C. Pearl, in 2009. “The plan failed because Stony Brook was late in getting the plan started,” Mr. Thiele said of the projections.

People living on the South Fork may not have donated to Stony Brook Southampton because they tend to focus their philanthropic efforts on charities located near their primary homes, rather than their second homes, according to Interim Vice President for Advancement Eric Doepel, who is in charge of fundraising for the university. Furthermore, he said, building relationships with donors takes time, and Stony Brook Southampton was new. “It’s not just turning on the spigot,” he said.

Most members of the council did not return calls seeking comment. Ms. Weir, when reached after the meeting, said she did not cast a vote because she left early, but would have supported giving the council “more time” to digest the information presented on Monday. She said she sympathized with students but ultimately supported the decision to cut services at Stony Brook Southampton.

When reached on Friday, Lou Howard, a retired professor, former state assemblyman and former Suffolk County legislator from Amityville, said he did not remember when he learned about the cuts to Stony Brook Southampton or if the council even ever discussed them. “There’s so many things to discuss,” he said. “It sounds like it’s important to you at this point because you’re following it, but I don’t remember one thing from another thing.”

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the vitals are fading, someone administer last rites, oops, we've lost her. they did all they could. rest in pieces. now that you'll be subdivided.
By justduckey (58), artist colony on Oct 4, 10 5:08 PM
What a shame....just what we need more condos
By DJ9222 (85), southampton on Oct 4, 10 5:48 PM
Right, cuz the article says condos will be built there. Are you aware of the number of steps required to get condos on that site? All of which would be moot the minute the Town changes the zoning?
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Oct 4, 10 7:51 PM
You're depending on the town to limit development? LOL
By Noah Way (450), Southampton on Oct 5, 10 12:10 PM
A very sad lack of vision and leadership IMO.

A jewel hiding in Shinnecock Hills is not even recognized enthusiastically as a Diamond in the Rough.

Shinnecock Nation, aim for the Sun!

By PBR (4956), Southampton on Oct 4, 10 6:47 PM
Link to older article:

http://www.27east.com/story_detail.cfm?id=302068&message=posted

By PBR (4956), Southampton on Oct 4, 10 7:00 PM
Stony Brook Sam Stanley really has pilfered away an $82 million campus -- paid for by state taxpayers. What a giant ego!
By Mr Suffolk (113), Twin Forks on Oct 4, 10 8:28 PM
2 members liked this comment
Where did he "pilfer" it too?
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Oct 4, 10 9:19 PM
Stanley pilfered my taxes which was used to buy and renovate Stonybrook Southampton campus. You tell me where he pilfered it to, that remains to be seen!
By trublue (5), douglasto on Oct 7, 10 8:41 PM
Get your facts straight - the monies for SBS were obtained under Shirley Strum Kenney. Stanley simply took it over, was told by the Guv to cut $55 million, then was slapped with a $100+ million bill for the Flowerfields property that Shirley stole.
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Oct 7, 10 9:46 PM
You sound like Obama blaming Bush. You should also change your name to concrete!
By trublue (5), douglasto on Oct 7, 10 10:04 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Mr Suffolk (113), Twin Forks on Oct 4, 10 9:24 PM
And it couldn't possibly be the fault of Shirley Strum Kenney, who pushed this all through without any foresight as to how it would be paid for? And who literally pilfered Flower Fields which is now going to cost the state an EXTRA $100,000,000 PLUS 5 years interest... right?
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Oct 4, 10 10:14 PM
Was this not your quote, NATURE

"This is beyond ridiculous and absurd. The people responsible for this decision are clearly not qualified for their positions and don't understand how near-sighted this is. Aside from the students who are going to need to find a new school, the faculty and employees who are going to be laid off, etc. etc., I don't understand how this makes fiscal sense. They spent $40+ million dollars AFTER buying the property, and now they are going to let it sit and rot? ...more
By trublue (5), douglasto on Oct 7, 10 11:15 PM
It sure is. And I stand by it - but that was BEFORE I was aware of the extra $100 million that SUNY now has to pony up. I'm with the students and against the administration and would prefer for the college to stay (it's a great asset), BUT Shirley Strum Kenney was the architect of this disaster. The current Prez just happened to be the one forced to make the decision. I don't understand how that quote is in conflict with what I am saying.
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Oct 8, 10 11:37 AM
Stanley's done deal decision on closing SBS was before the court ruled on Flower Fields. The closing of SBS by Stanley was not Stanley's lone decision to make. SBS was growing and not a disaster as you are claiming. Stanley's decision to cut out a whole campus that was growing was wrong and apparently illegal.
By trublue (5), douglasto on Oct 9, 10 10:31 AM
Note that I sid before I was *aware* of it - not before it happend. I also did not state that SBS was a disaster - I stated that the current situation has been a disaster. By your logic, Obama is to blame for the recession and the war in Iraq? He certainly has a responsibility to clean up those situations, and every decision he makes is important and sould be scrutinized, but it was not his creation and the same goes for SBS. Shirley Strum wanted to take over New York with Stony Brook and leave ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Oct 12, 10 11:11 AM
I know exactly what you said, just as I know all the facts on SBS.So no need to go there. Perhaps you should feel free to once again read what I said. In fact, I will reiterate that the the court did not even rule yet on Flower Fields before Stanley made the very wrong and illegal decision to have closed SBS.
BTW, You should really try to refrain yourself from using your words on my logic.
By trublue (5), douglasto on Oct 12, 10 2:53 PM
This campus was repeatedly used as a loss leader by LIU, and now Stony Brook is doing the same. LIU used to mismanage it's Brooklyn and CW Post campuses and then charge Southampton an outrageous administrative overhead cost, that essentially drained the campus forcing it to operate in the red. Stony Brook had a exciting growing program in Southampton that was destined to be profitable, but the state cut their overall budget, and rather than hack away at the bloated mismanaged main campus, they ...more
By simon prince of light (1), Southwick, MA on Oct 4, 10 10:54 PM
3 members liked this comment
Simon,

Where is the endowment money coming from for it to be it's own institution? You need an endowment to run a college - especially a state university with such low tuition rates.
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Oct 4, 10 11:44 PM
My idea for this college? Make it a prison and close down that eyesore over in Riverhead. The dormatories can be used for incarceration, and we can finally begin the process of rehabilitating some of these people by getting them college degrees, and preparing them for life "on the outside."
By Manorville Major (16), manorville on Oct 5, 10 10:02 AM
OK, so what becomes of a $16M LEED-certified Gold-level Library in the heart of the Hamptons?
By Mr Suffolk (113), Twin Forks on Oct 5, 10 4:41 PM
It will make a beautiful casino.
By davidf (325), hampton bays on Oct 5, 10 5:34 PM
Perfect location for the Shiinecock's new casino. The Shinnecocks cliam that land as their own anyway. The State of New York should broker a deal with the Shinnecock's where they get that land for their casino if they forgive all their other land claims.
By Walt (292), Southampton on Oct 7, 10 7:41 PM
Casinos built by the Indian nations have NO zoning rules. The government has no infuluence on what they do because they are their own nation. Let's all go to Foxwoods/Mohegan Sun in the Hamptons!!! WOO! Just sayin'.
By SBS Student (5), Southampton on Oct 7, 10 8:08 PM
How about bringing back an 'All for the Sea" concert. There has to be someone out there that can bring in a catchy grassroots style big name band to help make a difference and put the school back on the map.
By reelocal (4), Southampton on Oct 5, 10 8:42 PM
Why am I not surprised! Can we get the $75,000,000 back please. We then could make the school private with plenty of money to ruyn a full university.
By North Sea Citizen (568), North Sea on Oct 8, 10 6:44 AM
theres legislation in albany that would sort of do that - not give back the money but give back the campus to the community as an independent SUNY college that the community would be involved in developing. full text of the legislation is posted at the NY Senate website for public comment at: http://open.nysenate.gov/legislation/api/1.0/html/bill/S8467
By ts (71), southampton on Oct 13, 10 10:41 PM
Breaking News... the Council's resolution is illegal. Press conference at the Southampton campus windmill on Tuesday, 10/13/10, 11:30am

this story is not finished.

for some astonsihing revelations surrounding the closure decision, see:

http://www.sbpress.com/2010/09/stony-brook-southampton-shuttered-without-council-oversight/

http://www.sbpress.com/2010/09/with-no-check-there-is-no-balance/

By ts (71), southampton on Oct 9, 10 2:16 AM
correction: Press conference Tueday Oct 12
By ts (71), southampton on Oct 9, 10 2:39 AM
Gyrodyne is a separate issue. The 100 million does not have to come from taxpayers. It can come from the Stony Brook Foundation. It had raised 360 million in 2009. It was a possible source of funds to buy Gyrodyne,
""At the appropriate time, when the value is set, the university will be there with a check," promises state Sen. Ken LaValle (R-Port Jefferson), who is playing a central role in shepherding the deal. Gyrodyne says university president Shirley Strum Kenny may tap the Stony Brook Foundation, ...more
By WarriorMom (61), Southampton on Oct 13, 10 12:09 AM
1 member liked this comment
As far as the Southampton campus is concerned, it has been treated as the abused stepchild; simply mismanaged. Because of liens from LIU on the buildings, the campus could not open in the Spring of 2006, and opened in the Fall. A masterplan was developed by the architectural firm that helped Jackie Kennedy Onnasis restore Grand Central Station. It cost $680,000. And they subcontracted to local environmental services to do the construction. They were let go on May 31, 2010. I would love to see what ...more
By WarriorMom (61), Southampton on Oct 13, 10 12:18 AM
What if they gave a press conference and nobody came?
By VOS (1241), WHB on Oct 13, 10 2:23 PM
well they did come. Southampton's College Press Conference went great. There was total representation from the East End community: politicians, officials, environmentalists, students, alumni, professors, staff, Shinnecock Nation, SAVE the College at Southampton, Inc.~ all there with ONE VOICE!"
Re-open the 4 yr college at Southampton.
By ts (71), southampton on Oct 13, 10 7:30 PM
1 member liked this comment
"“Stanley has done so much to discredit himself and SUNY that he is no longer credible or believable.”
"This is one of three lawsuits that involve SBU students suing the administration. In August, a State Supreme Court Justice ruled that the Stony Brook President Samuel Stanley’s closure of Southampton was unlawful. Earlier in the year, a group of Research Assistants, Teaching Assistants and graduate students filed a lawsuit claiming their first amendment rights had been violated when police ...more
By WarriorMom (61), Southampton on Oct 13, 10 11:45 PM
1 member liked this comment
Legislation in Albany for Independent SUNY at SOUTHAMPTON. Full text posted by NY Senate for public comment, so please everybody, comment
there!

http://open.nysenate.gov/legislation/api/1.0/html/bill/S8467
By WarriorMom (61), Southampton on Oct 14, 10 5:47 AM