By Alan Hershkowitz
Armed with lawn chairs, guitars, signs, and outdoor games, over a hundred students sat on the grass in front of the West Campus administration building. The message “Save Southampton” could be seen on dozens of signs as many Southampton students shouted organized chants throughout the academic quad.
The protest attracted several news outlets such as News12 and Newsday. Every protestor wore a Stony Brook Southampton t-shirt or sweatshirt making their size in numbers easily noticeable. It was a peaceful but utter take-over of the main campus’ academic mall.
The march began at the Kohl’s shopping center on 346 route 25A, in Rocky Point at 7 a.m. and ended at Stony Brook University’s administration building at about 12:30 pm. Though the students were aware that this protest would prove futile, the strong will to fight the decision still existed.
After speaking with News12 and WPIX, Southampton student Nick Zanussi said in a brief interview, “My peers and I are willing to fight this until the end, but at the same time we realize we have to plan for the changes ahead and make sure we still get an education.”
When speaking to Stephanie Moracles, a sophomore at Southampton, and her teary-eyed mother Beth Moracles, both were heavily disheartened by the University’s decision. “I’ve lost my whole education, my dorm, my major, everything,” Stephanie said. “Now they’re asking me to start all over at a new school, none of it seems fair.”
University President Samuel L. Stanley made his final decision after cutting $25 million on the main campus and meeting with top administrators to cut another $33 million in the upcoming year, while inconveniencing the least number of students as possible.
Zanussi and four other student representatives met with Dr. Stanley after their arrival on the West campus to try and change his mind about closing most of the Southampton campus. But, their plea came after the university had made its final decisions.
Stanley said his administration has no choice but to shut down most of the Southampton campus, which only serves about 500 students, because it is inefficient and costs 2.5 times as much per person to run as the main campus. He said the closing would save about $6.7 million a year.
The funding cut is one of many desperate attempts made by administrators to keep costs below the new, heavily cut, budget.
Many students realize that the time to move on is now, but they vow to continue the fight against unfair budget cuts. “The situation sucks, but at this point we just want our voices heard,” added Southampton junior Thomas Faines.