SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher met yesterday in New York City with students from SUNY Canton, who were protesting the controversial idea to have the tech college share a president with liberal arts-oriented SUNY Potsdam.
Ms. Zimpher talked a lot about "tables" — that is, getting all parties to come to the table and figure something out. While some of this was bureaucrat-speak, she actually summed up the issue quite nicely when she tabled the table discussion.
"In principle, everybody agrees with shared services," she said. "In the implementation, that's where it all breaks down."
How many times have we heard our esteemed legislators talk about the need to share services and cut costs? That mantra apparently stops when the Consolidation Axe starts pointing at thee.
"I above all understand the individual uniqueness," Ms. Zimpher said. "You're all different, wonderfully so. In our initial proposal, it was to secure the individuality of each campus. Where you disagree is that that could ever be possible with one president and two campuses."
Ms. Zimpher said that the university system was reviewing its process of hiring presidents, but said it's nowhere near "concrete."
One student asked Ms. Zimpher if she would come visit the SUNY Canton campus. She didn't commit, but noted that she has tasked SUNY with compiling information on whether a shared presidency at SUNY Canton and SUNY Potsdam would be a good idea.
"Believe me, when it comes in, I will pay very close attention," she said.
Here is the video: