CANTON Five state senators expressed concern that the State University of New York system may place local campuses at risk by requiring them to share presidents.
In an Aug. 23 letter, Senators Joseph A. Griffo, James A. Seward, David J. Valesky, Patricia A. Ritchie and Thomas W. Libous urge SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher to back off an initiative combining the presidencies of geographically-close campuses.
The letter follows concerns raised in a report by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, the agency that accredits SUNY colleges, stating that shared presidencies do not meet standards for executive leadership on each campus. The report says the accreditation of SUNY Delhi and SUNY Cobleskill, which currently share a president, and SUNY Morrisville and the SUNY Institute for Technology, may be at risk unless each college can provide an assessment of the effectiveness of institutional leadership and governance in relation to recently implemented shared services agreements.
Mrs. Zimpher has called on SUNY Canton and SUNY Potsdam to share a president in the future, a request resisted by on-campus and community groups.
SUNY Canton is in the middle of its self-evaluation period, the first step in the re-accreditation process. Earlier this year, SUNY Potsdam received a generally positive accreditation report from the Commission. A representative of the Commission said a move to a shared presidency could prompt a re-assessment of each schools accreditation status.