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Stony Brook Calendar

Vice Provost Charles Robbins of Stony Brook University wrote (Letters, March 23) that Stewart Ain’s article was “rife with inaccuracies and, as a result, aims to stir up controversy where none exists” (“Revised Stony Brook Calendar Draws Fire,” March 16). However, anyone familiar with the situation would see that Robbins’ letter is misleading and even contains falsehoods. He is defending an unfortunate university decision, and apparently has to state untruths to do so.

Robbins says that only eight of the 29 SUNY four-year campuses cancel classes for Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur, but he does not say that all four University Centers (of which Stony Brook is one) have for many years been canceling classes on those days. More seriously he says that the newly proposed calendar was “presented to a number of campus groups, including the University Council, which is made up of deans, vice presidents and a Faculty Senate representative, and no objections were made. It was also presented at meetings of the Faculty Senate, Undergraduate Student Government, Graduate Student Organization and all clergy associated with the on-campus Interfaith Center.” 

In fact the University Senate on Feb. 6 unanimously passed a resolution objecting to the new procedure for forming the calendar. On Dec. 12, 2011, all of the chaplains of the interfaith center collectively wrote to University President Samuel Stanley objecting to the new calendar. Further objections came from students and parents. On March 21, all of the state senators of Long Island wrote to Stanley objecting to the new policy. On March 23, Newsday quoted State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver saying that the new calendar is a “hostile maneuver.”

All in all we do an excellent job of serving the diverse needs of our community. It is unfortunate that our administration may be making this more difficult in the future. Hopefully it will allow the calendar committee to reform and use the calendar that it already made for the coming year.

Professor of Mathematics Stony Brook University

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