Photo from stonybrook.edu
By Akanksha Kar
Several University faculty members voiced their issues with the current status of the university as well as potential changes that should be made to the campus at the Stony Brook University’s Senate meeting on September 10.
Jonathan Sanders, a professor in the School of Journalism, directly addressed President Stanley about the gun debate going on in the country.
“Stony Brook can be a tobacco free campus but not a gun free campus,” Sanders said. “Is it too expensive to put up signs for a gun free campus now?”
His concern came from the fact that not too long ago, Sanders encountered a gun related situation near campus. Among the recent school shootings that have taken place over the country, Sanders and others believe that this is one of the first things that this university and President Stanley should address before generic problems such as parking issues, budget cuts and allocation of funds. These are controllable internal issues, and gun control issues reach a far wider audience.
Some of the faculty also expressed their concerns about the university dividing its finances discreetly and not being transparent about it with public at a public university.
Peter Manning, a professor in the English department, pointed out that “Far Beyond” as a campaign strategy to re-brand this campus allegedly cost $17 million for the school. This includes the cost of re-branding buildings, cafes, walls, banners, buses and more.
“We are basically advertising ourselves to ourselves,” Manning said in the meeting. “Instead of this, we should’ve added resources to other parts of campus. Admin doesn’t share any figures. Without the figures, the faculty can’t facilitate change.”
New projects like the Faculty Commons have recently been inaugurated in the newsroom in the library. The purpose of that space is to facilitate professors with technology, resources and teaching material in a “Starbucks like space,” Nancy Tomes, a history professor said.
The faculty’s main question was why expenses were going towards ‘unnecessary’ things like the “Far Beyond” campaign and other re-branding strategies, when departments like Marine Life Sciences and Geosciences are suffering departmental cuts in their budgets, resulting in a slow down of any progress in their individual fields.
Faculty stressed upon the fact that this university should make their monetary transactions more transparent with the staff and students, so there may be better planning of resources and less rumors. Sanders’ question about gun control on campus and the rest of the University Senate’s about budget allocation may come up at the next meeting on October 1st.