The Statesman asked students to express their concerns and opinions about the University’s current state, including administration, students and professors, for our “State of the University” special issue. This will become a Statesman tradition, and is intended to give students a voice; 84 students accepted the challenge, and the results are below.
About 55% of students said that their time at Stony Brook University has not improved since they arrived on campus, with 15% saying it did. This may be attributed to the way students feel they are treated on campus, as about 67% of respondents said they do not believe the University cares about its students, while only 6% believe they care.
Malhar Virda, a senior political science major, said the University should increase student involvement in all decision making processes. “The student and alumni voices are not being supported enough in campus decision making,” she said.
When it came to transparency within University administration, about 72% of students believe that there is none, while only 2% believe there is. In March of last year, during the beginning of COVID-19, students held a protest demanding answers from the administration about how it would handle the pandemic.
Many students felt in the dark during many of the decisions made during that time period.
“The whole mess at the beginning where they weren’t transparent with anything going on — not even an email saying they didn’t know what was going on or that they were waiting to hear from the Governor,” an anonymous senior biology and psychology double-major wrote. “They just left us in the dark.”
However, Stony Brook has not had to close since reopening campus and has been praised for how it handled the pandemic. State University of New York Chancellor Jim Malatras has commended Stony Brook University for its testing requirements and vaccination efforts.
“Personally, I felt their reaction at the time was poor due to lack of transparency,” Ryan Magill, a senior journalism major, wrote as a response. “Their rebound during the Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 semesters I believe was actually done well.”
When asked for an approval rating of how the University reacted to the pandemic, 15% of students gave the University a seven and 17% gave an eight.
The Undergraduate Student Government (USG) is a governing body representing undergraduate students at Stony Brook University. Over the past three years, the organization has held various referendums and eliminated its judicial branch. About 52% of students said they “somewhat” approve of USG; 27% disapprove.
When asked to rank University President Maurie McInnis on a scale of one to 10, McInnis typically received a five out of 10. McInnis joined Stony Brook during the height of the pandemic and officially started on July 1 of last year. When asked directly if McInnis is a good leader, about 58% said “somewhat” — about 33% of those polled said they do not think she is.
Students generally disapproved of campus conditions.
About 84% of students believe the University has poor housing conditions; only 2% approve.
“The dorm conditions are terrible,” Stacy, an undecided sophomore student said. “The dorming is definitely not worth the money you paid for.”
Campus dining was also a topic that was a concern for many students. About 74% of respondents disapproved of campus dining options, while only 4% approved.
Parking and traffic has been a topic of concern for Stony Brook this past semester as new parking maps were issued that reduced the amount of parking available to students. Weeks later, residential students were given additional space. However, parking for commuter students still remains an issue. “The parking situation is favoring faculty and punishing students, who are already paying thousands of dollars to be here,” Katie Scialabba, a junior civil engineering major said.
When asked about the University’s parking and traffic conditions, about 82% of students disapproved. Only 2% approved.
In terms of the diversity of the student population, an overwhelming majority of students said Stony Brook University has a diverse campus.
About 86% of students said that the total number of students is diverse, while only 2% disagreed. The diversity of faculty had a different outcome, as only 50% of students believe that Stony Brook faculty is diverse, while about 16% disagreed.
Campus safety received a high approval rating, as 75% of students said they feel safe on campus, while only 5% said they do not.
When asked what students thought the University could do for its students, the answers varied.