UTICA, N.Y. — Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente, Jr. has launched a petition on change.org opposing Gov. Kathy Hochul’s proposal to merge SUNY Polytechnic Institute’s College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering back into the University of Albany campus.
In her January State of the State Address, Hochul (D) announced plans to “revitalize” SUNY campuses in Albany and Binghamton into leading research and teaching universities. For Albany, this would mean consolidating the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) back at that campus. The CNSE expanded to the Utica area in 2014 and the former SUNY Institute of Technology was renamed SUNY Polytechnic Institute.
“Since advancing this ill-conceived proposal as part of her State of the State, we have been fighting tooth and nail to get Gov. Hochul to reconsider,” Picente (R) said in a news release. “This petition is the latest measure in a battle that we will continue until we are assured that ‘SUNY Poly Stays Put.’”
According to Picente, SUNY Poly has become an essential academic, research, and economic-development asset for the Mohawk Valley region. It is also critical to the attraction and support of the semiconductor industry. The campus is home to the Marcy Nanocenter site, a 434-acre greenfield site. Wolfspeed, formerly known as Cree, is getting ready to open its $1.2 billion, 200 mm silicon-carbide wafer fabrication facility on the site later this year, bringing up to 600 jobs to the area.
Multiple semiconductor leads are being considered at both Marcy and in White Pines in Syracuse, and area leaders fear the loss of the CNSE will drive companies to look elsewhere.
Rome Lab, the Innovare Advancement Center, and the Griffiss Institute are some of the other area organizations that have invested and are investing in joint research and workforce development programs at SUNY Poly.
The petition, available online at https://chng.it/XyHQp74N2, seeks to gather community support for keeping CNSE at SUNY Poly.
It’s the latest in a series of measures by Oneida County opposing the change. Picente first sent a letter to the governor — also signed by Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon (R), state Sen. Joseph Griffo (R), and state Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon (D) — expressing concern over the proposal.
Those leaders, along with Mohawk Valley EDGE President Steve DiMeo and Griffiss Institute President and CEO Heather Hage have continued to call and meet with members of the governor’s office.
“The notion of stripping us of SUNY Poly, a world-class research institution, and the only one in our region, is an insult to the students, professors, companies, and the organizations that have invested in its spectacular success,” Picente said. “Oneida County and much of upstate is on the road to economic revival, and education and research are key drivers of future growth. It is up to our leaders in Albany to abandon this destructive and punitive proposal.”