Despite gift offer, SUNY is not for sale

The editorial "Finals time in Albany" refers to the offer of a $150-million gift to Stony Brook University if the legislature approves the so-called Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act.

The very notion that the future of the state university is up for sale is morally repugnant. Public policy should not be based on the demand and influence of a private benefactor.

James Simons' potential gift and that of other private individuals to SUNY is welcome, but they should not come with such dangerous strings attached.

The fate of this proposal should be decided on its merits, or lack thereof. United University Professions continues to be concerned about the threat to access if the university is allowed to set its own tuition rates, and about the lack of adequate oversight of potential public-private partnerships.

Phillip H. Smith, Albany

Editor's note: The writer is president of United University Professions.

Toward healthier bodies, communities

I couldn't agree more with a recent letter "Healthier food makes the best 'value' meal' " . Buying locally grown food across our region should be our first choice before checking out drive-through menus.

This also sheds light on the growing problem of food equity - the notion that access to fresh, healthy food is not universal and some communities are at a disadvantage. Offering fresh produce to neighborhoods across Long Island is the first step in combating this problem.

Sarah Lansdale, Bethpage

Editor's note: The writer is executive director of Sustainable Long Island.

Erstwhile Isles?

The Long Island Regional Planning Council, a nonpartisan, highly respected, economic, social, planning and educational group, has stated that the Town of Hempstead's plan for the Nassau Coliseum area would not allow for sufficient profit to renovate the Coliseum without Nassau County contributing construction and infrastructure funds, capital funds it does not remotely have .

Thus, the Islanders will have to eventually relocate away from Long Island since the primary premise of the Lighthouse Project was to financially permit renovating the facility into a viable, modern arena.

I wish the good folks of Kansas City or the city of Quebec much enjoyment and success with our Islanders in a few short years.

Peter J. Ruffner, Seaford