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Last year, SUNY Officials spoke with SUNY Potsdam and Canton councils, who both expressed displeasure with a shared presidency.
Last year, SUNY Officials spoke with SUNY Potsdam and Canton councils, who both expressed displeasure with a shared presidency.

Canton town leaders to say no to SUNY consolidation at trustee meeting

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Canton town leaders were on the way to Albany at Tuesday morning to speak at the meeting of the SUNY Trustees. Town Supervisor David Button says SUNY Central may start pushing for the Canton and Potsdam colleges to hire a shared president. Button doesn't think it's a good idea.

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Reported by

Julie Grant
Reporter and Producer

"It's like trying to combine St. Lawrence University with Clarkson. Their visions and missions are different, they attract a different kind of a student, their objectives are different, and trying to pull those two kinds of institutions together has to dilute the mission of one the missions of those institutions if not both of them, and in the end we may be an ounce wise and a pound foolish."

The issue of a shared presidency came up last year, when long time Canton college president Joe Kennedy resigned. SUNY Central started pushing for Canton to share a president with the Potsdam college. But community and campus leaders in Canton and Potsdam pushed back, and SUNY Central backed off the proposal.

The issue resurfaced last week, when Potsdam college president John Schwaller announced his resignation. The Canton college still has a vacancy in its presidency. And SUNY Central has not authorized a search to replace Kennedy. Canton town development director Linda McQuinn says SUNY Central may be pushing again for a shared presidency.

"We're simply going to the meeting today to remind them that they made a promise that there would be one president for each of the campuses. And we would like to remind them that they're watching. We fully expect that they'll stick with their word, and start the search process, allow the college council to begin the search process for a replacement for President Kennedy."

At the request of Central administration, the two colleges have been trying to collaborate over the past year, including hiring a joint Chief Financial Officer. But McQuinn says the town of Canton has benefited from the college having its own president.

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