SUNY, Inc.

The Decline of Higher Ed Under Pataki

Perhaps SUNY's largest private benefactor is Computer Associates and its CEO, Wang, who in addition to funding Stony Brook's Asian American cultural center has invested millions of dollars on Long Island's SUNY campuses. Stony Brook, with two CA-funded business incubators, has undoubtedly benefited most from the relationship. In fact, Stony Brook president Shirley Strum Kenny served for years on CA's board of directors until this past July, when she resigned her seat, but kept the 14,000 shares of CA stock she owned as of the company's June quarterly report. And why wouldn't she? Fellow CA board member and Pataki kingmaker Alfonse D'Amato has been quietly buying up more than $1 million of CA stock since it was announced in February that the federal government was conducting two separate investigations into the company's pro forma accounting practices, prompting observers to wonder whether D'Amato's close ties with the Bush administration allow him to invest with unusual confidence.

Kenny's relationship with Wang is just the sort of partnership that Chancellor King is advocating. Besides, even if it turns out that CA acquired and reported its earnings in a somewhat less than honest manner, at least Stony Brook has a huge new temple to the marriage of capitalism and public higher education. Of course, the building will not house classrooms or academic departments of any kind—only cultural activities and events—but in a tight-fisted fiscal environment, where each SUNY campus fights the others for funding spoils and enrollment dollars, every little $40 million helps.

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