Senator Kenneth P. LaValle is outraged with the decision to close down Stony Brook Southampton and vowed to fight to keep the campus open. “I went to battle to make this campus a reality and will not stand idly by as decision-makers plan to abandon this facility,” said Senator LaValle. “I have always fought very hard for the people of my district and President Stanley will see that I will fight very hard to turn this around. The closure of Southampton will be a tremendous loss for students, the eastern Long Island economy, and the higher education community as a whole.”
Senator LaValle learned of the plan to close down the Southampton dorms and eliminate all programs except for graduate writing and marine science programs at a recent meeting with Stony Brook University President Dr. Samuel L. Stanley, Jr. Senator LaValle is upset by the decision because he worked tirelessly with former SUNY Stony Brook president Dr. Shirley Strum Kenny to make this campus a reality. “Under her leadership, the university made a commitment to expand higher education opportunities to eastern Long Island,” said Senator LaValle, “I was successful in securing $35 million in state dollars for the purchase of the campus from Long Island University and was able to obtain more than $40 million in additional state dollars for necessary renovations and improvements to the campus. If this action moves forward, I will look at the possibility of a lawsuit to protect the more than $75 million state investment.”
According to Senator LaValle, the new administration is responding to proposed state budget cuts of $500 million that would impact the 64-campus SUNY system. The Senator has been very vocal in opposing the budget cuts, which still must be negotiated by the Legislature. “I understand that the cuts have trickled down to Stony Brook University, but the campus is a sum of its parts,” said Senator LaValle. “While you may delay or trim programs, eliminating an entire part demonstrates a lack of vision, poor management and a complete disregard for the student population.” Senator LaValle suggested that SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher could have campuses talking about the drastic cuts to pressure the State Legislature into providing more funding.
“The creation of this campus was my baby and I will do everything in my power to protect and preserve what so many of us recognize as a jewel on the East End of Long Island,” concluded Senator LaValle.