The overall message at the University Senate meeting on Tuesday, March 8 reflected on a need for action as President Samuel L. Stanley, Jr. spoke to the senate about the widespread cuts to Stony Brook University resources, which have the potential to cause dramatic effects on the Stony Brook students and community.

Stanley’s address comes as New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget awaits approval in the New York state Senate. The proposed budget would remove all state funding to Stony Brook Hospital. This includes cuts of around $62 million, in addition to cuts of around $7 million to medicare and $5 million to the veteran zone.

“When approaching 2011-2012 we made two major assumptions; one that there would be an additional ten million dollar cut…. We also, optimistically, bet on a five percent increase $29 million dollar gap, which was the elimination of all state support to Stony Brook Hospital,” Stanley said.  “If you take all of those things you can see we are well in excess of $70 million.”

According to Stanley, it is disappointing that these cuts will have such a strong impact, a deprivation that exceeds any other school in the region.


“Our response has been obviously in a number of different ways, one has been to work very hard to try and get a rational tuition policy to try and raise revenue. So one thing we’ve done right from the beginning is to try and get a tuition increase,” Stanley said.  “It was very disappointing that the Governor put nothing in tuition in his executive budget… that means that relief, if it’s going to come, probably is going to have to come through bills that have to come through the senate.”

Finally he added, “We are all in agreement that action needs to be taken – what form that will be in I am still not sure about.”

While President Stanley offered this information, other speakers at the senate meeting were optimistic that these cuts only appeared in Gov. Cuomo’s proposed budget and there was still time for members to encourage others and take action themselves to pressure the government not to approve these proposed deductions. It was also assured that while these cuts would not impact on closure of Stony Brook University Hospital it would jeopardize some of the services which are offered at the hospital that are not available anywhere else in the area.

Other issues that were discussed at the meeting were the senate’s proposed establishment of a committee to focus on new teaching techniques which include technology, the Teaching and Learning Committee. The introduction of this new committee will also include a merge or reduction in the committee on computers and communication.


Electronic teacher evaluations were also discussed.  The pilot program was introduced last semester. There was mixed support for the program among senate members about whether this should be made compulsory for lecturers to complete. The change from a manual to electronic source of developing this information, however, was supported by the senate as it creates a reduction in costs and is more time effective for staff.


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