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Thiele, Students Continue Push to Restore Stony Brook Southampton

Students organized another protest on Wednesday outside the administration building.

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.

Elliott September 30, 2010 at 01:22 AM
Thanks for the great coverage. Just for the sake of integrity I have to point out that the library has the "silver" LEED certification, not gold as is stated here.
Marianne Klepacki September 30, 2010 at 03:49 AM
Thank for reporting this story and adding the pictures for those of us who could only be at the rally in spirit. The lights are on at the Southampton campus at night, with only 4 Stony Brook vans in the parking lot. There are lights on in the empty library and in the instructional buildings. It's beautifully lush and green, but lonely looking without the 800 students who were scheduled to be there this. The state provided 7.4 miilion dollars of aid to the Southampton campus. Dr. Stanley never said that the Southampton campus was losing state aid, only Stony Brook. In the May 2, 2010 webcast of the university council meeting, Dr. Stanley is seen saying that Stony Brook's budget cut was 27 million, less than 10% of the 330 plus million dollar budget. It's not 60 million or 20% as stated in recent papers.

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