Journalist: New MSU President 'Well Liked' At Stony Brook

May 28, 2019

On August first, a new era of leadership is scheduled to begin at Michigan State University. Samuel Stanley Jr., M.D. is the Board of Trustees choice for the next president. WKAR’s Reginald Hardwick talked with WSHU news Director Terry Sheridan about Stanley's leadership in New York.

Stony Brook University is 60 miles east of New York City on Long Island. 26,000 students attend the school which has been led since 2009 by Samuel Stanley, Jr., M.D. 

Terry Sheridan, News Director at WSHU public radio, the NPR member station based in Fairfield, Connecticut that covers Long Island shared some insights about Stanley's tenure at Stony Brook. Here is a transcript of their exchange:

Hardwick: Stony Brook, like MSU, is a major science research university. Could you tell us how he has lead in those areas?

Sheridan: Dr. Stanley is also a medical doctor. He is a well-respected expert on infectious diseases. The medical school and the medical center, two of his big priorities. A lot of the resources of the university have gone there. Also very big in STEM. A new engineering building was announced earlier this year in which a lot of the money was going to go into. So he put a lot of money into recruiting STEM students, into building the medical center. Basically wants to make the medical center as Long Island's hospital and also into the medical school which has become one of the most respected medical schools in the country or at least on the East Coast.

Hardwick: Did some feel that Dr. Stanley's focus on science hurt other areas? 

Sheridan: Well, again there have been changes at the university over the past 7 or 8 years in which some of the liberal arts programs have been cut: different history courses, different Spanish cultural courses have been cut. And there were protests outside his office last year when these cuts were first announced.

Hardwick: MSU is still reeling from the Larry Nassar scandal and claims by many that the administration did not pay enough attention to sexual assault victims. And Stony Brook is under investigation into how it handled campus sexual assaults. What do you know about those?

Sheridan: There have been several cases over the past few years. There were three open investigations into either sexual assault or sexual harassment. There's also several investigations into Title IX. Recently, there have been two suits. One was dismissed in federal court late last year. But even though the suit was dismissed, the university did not get a glowing review. They were not called the 'good guys' in this case. But the suit that the woman filed was dismissed. And then a suit was filed earlier this year in which a male student complained that he was sexually assaulted by a female student without his consent. And that the university basically didn't take the allegations seriously.

Hardwick: Overall, what is Dr. Stanley’s rapport with students and faculty there at Stony Brook?

Sheridan: Well for the most part, he had what I would say was a very good rapport. Again at a university the size of Stony Brook, 26,000 students, it's very hard to get a one-on-one relationship. One thing that will stand out: several years ago, when there was a walkout during the Black Lives Matter movement hit its peak here in the New York City area, he walked out with the students. [He] took them arm by arm and stood with them as they protested. And I think that had a lot to do with how he was perceived on campus. That he wasn't necessarily viewed as someone who was 'up there.' Yeah, you might not have daily contact with him but I think that overall people generally had a view of him and generally positive view.