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April 7, 2014

Proposed change to Delaware County Community College rejected in 1959

(Continued)

The State University introduced a bill on Monday to the state Senate and Assembly to let Delhi convert. “It would guarantee $3,500,000 worth of new campus buildings.”

It was also reported that five of the other Agricultural and Technical schools, after study of the proposed change, had encountered opposition and asked to drop out of the SUNY proposal.

Assemblyman Edwyn E. Mason (R-Hobart) said he hadn’t been consulted about the proposed change. “He termed the bill hasty, and urged a county-wide public referendum,” the Star said.

Mason took a survey of 17 of 19 Delaware County supervisors he could contact by phone. Mason said two were for the change, 15 opposed to action now.

“In a thing as important as this,” Mason said, “I think there ought to be a referendum so the people could vote on it. We don’t want this railroaded through in the dark. I am not against the bill, but I think the people ought to be given time to study what it means.”

G. Frank Slawson, Chairman of the Delaware County Board of Supervisors said, “I gather that this is the first step to do away with all free tuition in all units of the State University system. But whether this bill goes through or not, I think that’s coming.

“I’ve had a feeling for a long while that our education department has got in such a mess…it’s costing so much more than they anticipated…that they’re trying to unload some of it on the back of the communities, and load tuition back on the students.”

The voters in Delaware County never had the chance to vote on the change, and the community college status was never achieved, as the proposal was sent back to an Assembly committee in Albany, and never brought before the state Legislature. Members of the Assembly were unable to determine who the sponsor of the proposal had been in the first place.

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