Monday, September 26, 2016

Why So Fast?

The ink was barely dry on the charges against Alain Kaloyeros when, within 24 hours, Senator Griffo and Assemblyman Brindisi called upon SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher to fire him as president and CEO of SUNY Poly.
“It is extremely important that the primary mission of the SUNY Polytechnic Institute—the education of students—continue unimpeded."
Thank goodness they care about the institution's mission! What a change from two years ago when they precipitously ignored any concern over the Utica campus' identity, tradition, and mission to cheer the merger of SUNYIT with the glamorous (but niche oriented) College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering. Control of a Utica-centered institution was transferred to one more focused on Albany. Mr. Griffo and Mr. Brindisi need to own that... and perhaps they do, since they are now calling for the new president to be stationed at the Utica campus.

However, calling for Kaloyeros' ouster seems equally precipitous now.

It is understandable to want to remove the cloud that now hangs over the Utica campus. However, CNSE and SUNY Poly would not have existed but for Kaloyeros. There had not been this much excitement in the SUNY system since the 1960s when tons of money were spent on buildings and talent to make Stony Brook the "Cal Tech of the East." Kaloyeros brought that same kind of excitement to Albany, and made a piece of U. Albany so distinctive and important that it could stand on its own.

Let's not be too quick to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Courses and personnel are already in place at SUNY Poly, so the inertia is there to carry the institution forward on its current trajectory for awhile.  Kaloyeros is innocent until proven guilty, and he is fighting the charges. The fact that AG Schneiderman is also going after him suggests that the State charges may be politics.  Kaloyeros is neither a politician, developer, nor a "hanger-on" like the rest of the defendants seem to be, but he undoubtedly knows where all the bodies are buried. My suspicion is that he got sucked into whatever the ones with the political power were doing, and they are now throwing him under the bus to take the fall.

The record of Ms. Zimpher and the rest of the SUNY system has been rather lackluster, with a focus that seems geared to "economic development" rather than academic achievement.  If Kaloyeros is permanently replaced, it will likely be just another college administrator like we've had over the years, only now it will be one responsible for two campuses.  Kaloyeros, however, is more than an administrator.  He is a brilliant scientist in his own right, as well as a visionary.  He will be hard to replace.

Let the justice system's processes play out for awhile before throwing Dr. Kaloyeros overboard.


Greens and Beans said...

I must agree that Alain Kaloyeros may just be the Administration's sacrificial lamb attempt to take some of the limelight off of the sins of the Governor's top appointed Aides. Perhaps politics is playing a role as the NYS Republican Party on Monday released a video tying Gov. Andrew Cuomo to that scandal ( The Senator and Assemblyman may be running to take cover in an attempt to deflect any political damage if the entire SUNY Poly deal fails. On a recent radio show the Senator, in an apparent attempt to insulate him from any pending damage, has declared that his role in SUNY Poly's Economic Development in Marcy is complete. One can't help but wonder if he would have publicized his "mission complete" statement if this scandal had not come to light. And now the Oneida County Executive is calling for the NYS Economic Development Corp (a NYS department he was formerly appointed to as the Utica Assistant Director) to take over the Fort Schuyler Management Corp's role in the SUNY/Buffalo Billions scandal. Could this be a window into his future aspirations in terms of jockeying for a higher political position? Bob and weave is simply what career politicians do best.

Anonymous said...

It is too early to determine any course of action including to fire the man. The politicians, as usual, are running like the proverbial rats leaving the sinking ship. The critical questions for us relate to the status of the "Nano miracle" and the costly empty building that sits in Marcy. Are we to believe that Griffo, Brindisi, Picenti, DiMeo do not know what is going on with GE? The public certainly has a right to know considering that it is our money sitting there. By the way, Picenti is much to of a light weight to take on any other job. He will retire with his fat pension and probably work for the Oneida's.