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Southampton Parent: Campus Was Flourishing and Should be Reopened

One mother says Stony Brook is treating Southampton as a real estate asset, not as an institute of higher learning.

I am grateful for Judge Paul J. Baisley Jr.'s decision, a decision which affects hundreds of SUNY students, their families, a staff of 75 east end employees and their families, and the businesses of Southampton. I hope the judge will enforce the ruling by ordering Stony Brook to restore the campus for the spring semester.

What is most disappointing to me, as a parent of a student, is the lack of investigative reporting by the media. If I can find out that the state was separately supporting the Southampton campus with $7.4 million, why did the media fail to simply use Google? Assemblyman Fred Thiele and Senator Kenneth LaValle knew the claims Dr. Samuel Stanley made about Southampton's cost to Stony Brook were worth an investigation by the state attorney general. Just Google "university senate meeting November 2, 2009" to read it for yourself.

Now do the math on the income 800 students would have added to the $7.4 million from the state. Stony Brook never said the state was cutting aid to Southampton. Southampton was a separately-funded campus from Stony Brook. It seems to me there is a ruse taking place, learned from a famous statement: "never let a good crisis go to waste." Stony Brook may have had a budget crisis, but clearly, the Southampton campus programs were funded and flourishing.

Why destroy a funded, flourishing undergraduate program? I believe Dr. Stanley called the campus a "very valuable asset." The wonderful cutting-edge programs were not, in my opinion, making enough money to support programs on the main campus.

The Southampton campus, it seems, is being traded in as a real estate development asset, rather than the unique cutting edge college institution that was created in the five year plan from a previous committee at Stony Brook.

I thought a physician took an oath to do no harm. Dr. Stanley has perpetrated great harm on the students and the staff that supported their education.

My child declined to spend one-and-a-half hours to commute to Stony Brook and leave her job on the east end. She is going to the honors college at SCC and hopes the Southampton college will be restored.

It can be a viable state school if articulation agreements are made with SCC Riverhead. It is my understanding that there are many SCC students who would attend a local public four-year college that is only 20 minutes from the community college. Long Island University was not as inexpensive as the Stony Brook Southampton campus, so that is the difference between LIU's history and Stony Brook Southampton. In this economy, many families would rather not spend an extra $11,000 to $12,000 for room and board. People are not taking out home equity loans to put their children through college, as many had done in the past.

A SUNY Southampton, or a SUNY Shinnecock Hills, makes more sense today than it ever did!

– Marianne Klepacki

Marianne Klepacki, who has a graduate degree from Stony Brook, is the parent of a former Southampton student.

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