Dozens of former Stony Brook Southampton students rallied on Wednesday outside the university's administration building, shouting "Step down, Stanley!" and calling for the Stony Brook Council to "vote yes for SBS."
"We're just trying to show them we still want to go back," said sophomore Lilia Kolbert, one of the organizers of Wednesday's protest.
"[We're] not stopping the fight. We are all extremely passionate," she said.
Students, many wearing Southampton t-shirts and some going barefoot, marched with handmade signs with slogans like "LEED by example," referring to Southampton's LEED-certified library, and "Kevin Law, obey the law," calling out Stony Brook Council president Kevin Law.
Protesters handed out fliers to other students passing by to tell them about the university's closure of the dormitories at Southampton and the relocation of most of its programs to the main campus – actions which were recently ruled illegal by a state judge, who said the Stony Brook Council should have been involved in making the decision to shutter Southampton.
"It's just to get people aware. A lot of people don't even know about Southampton," said Katie Osiecki, one of the students who sued the university over the closing of the campus.
Osiecki and her peers are trying to get as many students as possible to attend the Oct. 4 meeting of the Stony Brook Council, the oversight body which by state law must be involved in major campus decisions.
"The more people we get there...I think just sitting in the stands will make a difference," she said.
Stony Brook released a statement on Tuesday in advance of the students' protest: "The University respects and support[s] the students' right to voice their opinion as it has throughout the duration of this entire matter. At this time, the issue is still in litigation and we are responding as such in an appropriate manner."
New York State Assemb. Fred Thiele, I-Sag Harbor, who has been an outspoken critic of the university's decision to close Southampton, joined the students toward the end of the rally and called on the Stony Brook Council to listen to the students.
"If they listen, they will see that there are alternatives out there," he said. "Our goal is to get the Southampton students back to Southampton as soon as possible...My plea to the university is work with us to reach that goal."
Kolbert said the former Southampton students remain a tight-knit group which meets often. She said despite the university's attempts to make their transition to the main campus smooth, most of the students long to return to Southampton.
"I really do appreciate what the school has done," she said, "but I still don't feel at home."
Michael Sorrentino contributed to this story.