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SUNY Potsdam
SUNY Potsdam

SUNY consolidation plans don't seem efficient, says Potsdam union leader

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The State University of New York yesterday announced plans to create regional "Campus Alliance Networks", to "redirect existing funding to enhance learning opportunities and access for students."

SUNY's Central office says it'll be looking for ways to become more efficient by sharing services. In a conversation yesterday with North Country Public Radio, SUNY provost David Lavallee said there were no plans to merge the SUNY Canton and Potsdam campuses, as has been rumored.

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Lavallee said the consolidation would affect quote “backroom operations”, like payroll, and each campus would maintain its distinct character.

Because SUNY’s Canton and Potsdam campuses are so close, Levallee they’d be “paired” to share some administrative functions.

Laura Rhoads is president of the union that represents SUNY’s academic and professional staff.

She’s says she’s concerned about job losses as services merge. And she says while efficiencies on things like paper towels are fine, consolidation could make the schools less efficient—and affect student services.

If I need to have something performed by Human Resources, am I going to need to drive 15 miles down the road to speak to someone at SUNY Canton because my office has been closed on my campus? I don't see how that makes things more efficient. And If students need to see, perhaps, a counselor, is that counselor going to be on only one of those campuses, and does that mean they have to take a bus over to get the services they need?

Rhoads also says while the Canton and Potsdam schools may look close together on a map, that doesn’t necessarily mean they have existing relationships that will make them work together easily.

Amazingly 10 miles, you’d think it was 10,000 miles sometimes because there’s not that much interaction between the two.

SUNY provost Lavallee says his office expects job losses to be “less than zero”—and that as the university becomes more efficient, it will replace redundant positions with others that better serve students.

He also says plans for the campuses will be refined as time shows what works and what doesn’t.


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