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Local leaders denounce decision to move CNSE out of SUNY Poly

Alexis Manore
Staff writer
email / twitter
Posted 12/14/22

Officials are expressing their opposition to yesterday’s announcement that SUNY Polytechnic Institute’s College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering will be moving to the University at Albany. 

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Local leaders denounce decision to move CNSE out of SUNY Poly


MARCY  — Officials in the Mohawk Valley are expressing their opposition to yesterday’s announcement that SUNY Polytechnic Institute’s College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) will be moving to the University at Albany. 

CNSE was established at UAlbany in 2001 and received accreditation in 2004. Then, in 2014, CNSE left UAlbany and became a part of the SUNY Institute of Technology, establishing the SUNY Polytechnic Institute. 

Currently, CNSE administrative functions are run out of the campus in Marcy, while CNSE classes are taught at the Albany campus. The Bridge to Nano program allows students to pursue degrees in nanoscale engineering and nanoscale science by taking two years of classes in Marcy, and then two years of classes in Albany. 

Gov. Kathy Hochul said in a statement that the move is a step toward securing New York as a national leader in the semiconductor industry, and will help Albany be selected as the home of the National Semiconductor Technology Center.  

The National Semiconductor Technology Center is part of the CHIPS and Science Act, and will serve as the focal point for research and development in the semiconductor industry. 

In her statement, Hochul commended the SUNY Board of Trustees for approving the resolution, which she said is a “forward thinking and bold approach strengthening SUNY’s overall status as a global leader in scholarship and research.” 

“As we transition CNSE from SUNY Polytechnic Institute to UAlbany, I am committed to working with Chancellor King, the Board of Trustees and local elected leaders in exploring strategic investments in the Mohawk Valley that will create a talent pipeline for employers and build on SUNY Poly’s successful path forward,” Hochul said in the statement. 

Leaders from the Mohawk Valley are decidedly less excited about this change. 

Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. said in a statement that he is shocked that the decision would be made after the announcement of the Micron chip fab facility in Syracuse, and the success of Wolfspeed in Marcy, which is located on the SUNY Poly campus at the Marcy Nanocenter.  

​​“Without any sort of public notice, Governor Hochul has let it be known to her friends in Albany that she has hired movers to pack up SUNY Poly for a midnight move,” Picente said. “This is just the latest insult by an administration in Albany that views the Mohawk Valley as ‘fly over country.’” 

Picente called out the failure to appoint a president for SUNY Poly, which he said has negatively impacted the college’s performance and competitiveness. 

According to the Dec. 13 resolution, Andrew Russell, dean and professor of history in the College of Arts and Sciences at the Utica campus, has been appointed as Officer in Charge of SUNY Polytechnic Institute, effective Dec. 15. 

The SUNY Poly College Council is launching a national search for a permanent president for the Utica campus. 

“Moreover, this decision pits one part of the state against the other and robs our region of its only higher education science research degree program,” Picente said. “It is shocking that Governor Hochul has seemingly adopted a plan concocted by schemers who were forced from office in disgrace. The fruit of a poisonous tree will not take root in Albany.” 

State Sen. Joe Griffo said in a statement that he was frustrated and disappointed by this decision.

“Throughout conversations regarding SUNY Poly, there has been inconsistent messaging and a lack of appropriate and necessary actions to support the university by SUNY and the Governor’s office. Additionally, future plans have been inadequately addressed, causing potential adverse impacts despite our collective and regional efforts,” Griffo said. 

State Assemblyman Brian Miller expressed his dissatisfaction with SUNY leadership. 

“Taking away a pipeline of local employees for growing local companies such as Wolfspeed that have invested heavily in the Mohawk Valley and Central New York, as well as a $3.5 million investment in SUNY Poly is irresponsible,” Miller said in a statement.  

State Assemblyman Ken Blankenbush said the decision was shameful, especially as the Mohawk Valley region is going through a period of growth and economic development.  

“We should be encouraging the CNSE program at SUNY Polytechnic to continue its work right here in Marcy, not consolidating it back into SUNY Albany,” Blankenbush said in a statement. 

State Assemblyman John Salka said in a statement, “At best, this is bad governance; at worst, this reeks of dirty deals and backroom politics.”

State Assemblyman Robert Smullen said in a statment, “At a time when the Mohawk Valley is experiencing a renaissance, Albany decides to do what Albany does best: tell the people what is best for them regardless as to the outcome.”

Mohawk Valley EDGE President Steven DiMeo said in a statement that the organization intends to hold Hochul and SUNY leadership to their promises to make SUNY Poly the premier public polytechnic institution. 

“There is a tremendous level of economic momentum in the Utica-Rome and Syracuse regions with Micron, Wolfspeed, the Air Force Research Laboratory’s investment in quantum computing, the emergence of Innovare Advancement Center as a technology accelerator, and the continued growth of the UAS test site at Griffiss,” DiMeo said. “SUNY Poly should play an integral role in providing academic, research, and collaborative industry partnerships that will fuel the region’s technology based economic resurgence.”



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