SB PRESSWednesday, December 7
e Stony Brook Student Unionbuilding is scheduled to be gutted andrenovated beginning in August 2014.Until then, Stony Brook University andits facilities team must walk a delicateline between saving money and allowingthe building to deteriorate over the nextfew years.
e majority—if not all—of the students at Stony Brook now willlikely have graduated before the projectends, as is par for the course here at ourconstruction-ridden university, yet thatshould not undermine the ever-presentargument that it is unfair and unacceptableto force current students to inhabit a notonly outdated, but also partially maintainedUnion building.In the last few months, the conditionof the Union building has improvedconsiderably. At its low point over thesummer, its list of problems includedmold,
ooding and falling pieces of ceiling.
is, says Howard Gunston, a facilitiesdirector, was a result of the building beingunsta
ed from January to August.
oughthe cleanups have been greatly appreciatedby tenants, it’s scary to think the Unionbuilding could fall back into disrepair if facilities sta
s are cut even more than italready has been. A short walk across theacademic mall should be no excuse forneglecting a building, and it should not betreated as such in the future.No decisions have been made yet, anda number of nervous tenants are eagerly awaiting news about their future.
oughthere’s still plenty of time to determinetemporary and permanent locations forall of the Union building’s tenants, theuncertainty has caused stress for mostof the people we interviewed for our twofeatures on the Union. If facilities continuesto consult with tenants in meetings as they have, concerns are likely to be addressed ina timely fashion.
Stony Brook University’s history of delayed construction projects is enoughto make us uneasy about the scheduledAugust 2014 start date. Just this semestertwo projects, the Campus RecreationCenter and the improvements being madeto the North Entrance, have draggedon long a
er they were scheduled to be
at’s especially concerning becausethe Union building’s renovations arepredicated on a new dining hall that hasyet to
nd a place on campus, but will beabsolutely necessary in alleviating foodcourt tra
c now that Benedict has closedits doors.
at said, there is a very realpossibility that Union tenants will spendeven longer than expected in a state of limbo, meaning regular updates fromfacilities for tenants and the student body at large will only help to clear up any confusion about where on campus featuresof the Union will end up, or if they will stay at all.
e University Senate’s decision early this week to pass two separate resolutionse
ectively halting all implementation of shared support service centers is an exem-plary display of determination and couragefrom faculty in the face of administrativemight and insistence that this plan couldwork, despite its uncertainties and the con-sistent lack of communication.President Stanley, who grew red in theface while barely able to maintain his com-posure, lambasted members of the senatefor their refusal to go along with the sharedservice centers. From his point of view, it isunderstandable to see this as a huge hurdlein the success of Operational Excellenceand a setback in the university’s constantstruggle to cut its budget as fast as the Statecuts it for them. “
e status quo disap-peared when we took $82 million essen-tially in budget cuts,” Stanley said to thosewho opposed him. But the faculty’s defenseof their stance is one with students as the
rst priority.“Our clients ultimately are the stu-dents. Whatever we do must facilitate thestudents access to services that meet theirdemands,” said a professor in the Hu-manities familiar with the discussions whowished to remain anonymous.
is posi-tion runs parallel to the idea that many of the administrative processes targetedby these shared support centers are, inthe eyes of the University Senate, are notin need of reform, nor should they be tin-kered with for risk of doing more harmthan good. “
ere are other things that youcan jettison. Why jettison something thatworks well and helps students?” asked an-other professor in the Humanities who alsowished to remain anonymous.University faculty have now publically identi
ed the shared support service cen-ter as not just a way of coping with budgetcuts, but also a plan to alter the fundamen-tal function of the university in areas wherethose very functioning parts do not feel asif they are inadequate or in need of restruc-turing. So as tuition rises and the state’spressure on SUNY rises, the last thing weshould be doing is increasing the stress onstudents and university employees, and
-nally members of our faculty have stood upto defend that position.