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Letter: Limiting SBU enrollment

The landlord of one Stony Brook house, at

The landlord of one Stony Brook house, at 150 Christian Ave., shown, was cited in 2011 for allegedly renting rooms to 14 students in a single-family house. (July 29, 2013) Credit: Newsday/Thomas A. Ferrara

Newsday's Aug. 2 editorial "SBU's student housing crunch," articulated an understanding of the issues and the progress made by the Town of Brookhaven and Stony Brook University to help keep our students safe and our neighbors confident that town housing code is enforced. However, to suggest that Stony Brook should limit its enrollment to address off-campus housing concerns misses the mark.

Stony Brook University provides top quality, affordable higher education, and our nationally recognized academic programs are addressing an unmet need for engineers, scientists, doctors, nurses and health care professionals who will make up the next generation of innovators and employees to fuel the national and regional economy.

Stony Brook's off-campus housing numbers are in line with and mostly better than those of the other three university centers in the State University of New York system; SBU has the highest number of on-campus beds in the SUNY system. The percentage of undergraduate students housed on campus is equal to or better than other Long Island colleges.

So rather than limiting enrollment, the public discourse must be about obtaining the right mix of on- and off-campus housing. Building dormitories takes time, money and state legislation. The recently added 600 beds, and the 1,100 beds slated to come on line in the next three to five years, cost approximately $200 million. And right now, Stony Brook is building campus housing consistent with current and future enrollment demands.

But not all students choose to live on campus. That is why Stony Brook is working on multiple approaches to solve the demand for housing. That includes educating students about residential options and working with the community to develop off-campus housing in an area that is zoned accordingly. We believe this is a more rational approach than limiting access to a quality, affordable education, much of it in disciplines that are most in demand.

Elaine Crosson, Stony Brook

Editor's note: The writer is the vice president of external relations for Stony Brook University.