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Plan for newest SUNY campus stirs up some controversy

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

SUNY trustees have voted to split the University of Albany and the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, to create the system's 65th SUNY campus. The founder of the college says the move will save SUNY money and help bring high tech jobs to New York state.

The plans is to have the new specialized college up and running in the 2014-2015 academic year, says Alain Kaloyeros, the school's CEO.

"What the governor and the chancellor want out of this is have  the MIT or Stanford out of SUNY.  A state of the art, scholarly hub  at an affordable tuition," he said.

Up to now, Kaloyeros says the school has been able to attract millions of dollars in grants for researchers doing cutting edge work -- proof of it's success. The move to create the new campus does have some detractors. The three out of 16 trustees who voted against the move had concerns ranging from what they said was a sub-par report that explained why the move was necessary, to concerns about increased costs. Kaloyeros dismisses both, adding that the move will actually save money by streamlining administrative costs."

"When CNSC becomes it's own entity, we're going to consolidate all those management functions, so there's going to be a reduction in the cost of doing business by 20-25 percent, which is money, we'll take and put in the program and academic scholarships and fellowships for students," he said.

University of Albany students are also concerned the split would impact them negatively, by providing them with fewer opportunities.

Kaloyeros says the new school would easily fit in with the state's new Start-Up New York program, which offers tax breaks for new businesses in the vicinity of a SUNY  campus.

In Syracuse this week, he spoke with Upstate Medical University officials  to look at possible collaborations with the new school in the future.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.