NY campus says it isn't shuttering Wang Center
Updated: 2013-03-14 11:25
By Caroline Berg in New York (China Daily)
State University of New York at Stony Brook said it's establishing two new programs at the Charles B. Wang Center for art and cultures of Asia, contrary to a petition signed by 1,447 people who claim the school plans to end programs at the center and convert the building to a convention center.
An "open letter" on the website Change.org dated Feb 26 to University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr that accompanies the petition asked him to "reconsider your plans to defund and dissolve Asian and Asian American culture programming at the center."
"Given that Asians and Asian Americans make up more than a quarter (27 percent) of Stony Brook's student population, do not they matter to the University?" said the letter with the names of 57 "scholars, writers, artists, students and community members." It also asked that the school reinstate Sunita Mukhi, who was the center's director for 10 years.
"All centers and academic programs in the University's department of Asian and Asian American Studies are vibrant, supported and fully funded," said Tonjanita Johnson, chief deputy to the university's president, and Nancy Squires, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, in a statement on the center's website.
One of the center's new programs is the "Dr Gujavarty Family Seminar Fund in India Studies," which will underwrite an annual seminar on developing Asian Indian leaders, according to the statement.
The other program has received a multimillion-dollar donation to establish the "Bishembar Nath and Sheela Mattoo Professorship in India Studies" to strengthen the India studies program at Stony Brook, the statement said.
The statement didn't address the letter's request that Mukhi be reinstated.
It said that leading Asian American programming at the center requires a full-time administrative employee, and that Stony Brook plans a national search for an associate director who will "devote 100 percent of his or her time to ensuring the best possible programming is delivered."
Wang, chairman emeritus of Computer Associates, presented the $40 million, 120,000-square-foot showcase for art and cultures of Asia to the university on Oct 22, 2002. It was the largest single private gift ever received by the State University of New York's 64-campus system.