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The Basics:
1) FSA/SBU plans are four 6-story dorms directly behind Wang - Toll Drive Residences - designed by KSQ Architects.
2) Current 4-story high trees will be removed. View from Wang garden will be brick walls 3.5 stories higher than red trellises.
UPDATE: In May KSQ Architects was asked by SBU to show what the view from the Wang Center would be. Their Photoshop version, with fuzzy green where trees will NOT be, is at this link, along with a corrected image by our staff. Even from the best angle possible in their uncorrected bending the truth image, at the best time of year with the trees in full leaf, the garden view is destroyed.  
3) In warm weather, current solitude will be replaced by mixed music from dorm windows above garden.
4) Wang's location was chosen to highlight sculptural pagoda; it is above the tree line with nothing but sky surrounding it. This is important because it is coated with holographic material that changes color with sun's rays and angle. The brick dorm walls will cut skyline in half.
5) At night, rather than the pagoda standing alone against night sky, the backdrop will be a jumble of lights in the rooms - some off, some on.
6) This was decided under the leadership of Sr VP of Operations and President of FSA Barbara Chernow without input from Asian/Asian American community. While the Wang Center's beauty effects everyone, the reason for its existence gives it special pride to persons of Asian heritage.
7) We hope that until recently informed of the dorms impact on Wang that President Stanley did not know the consequences or other option(s). Now that he knows, the decision is his.
8) It is an insult to Charles Wang, SBU's second largest donor, who spent over $60 million to construct the Wang Center. What is SBU telling future donors?   
9) There is a similar space less than a two minute walk away that would cost relatively the same amount to build these dorms on - the area behind Student Health Services near the tennis courts and LaValle Stadium. It was one of four spaces originally offered to Charles Wang to build the Wang Center on. The high heat steam pipes for that area were recently completed.
10) Like the UT at Austin San Jacinto dorms by Texas Memorial Stadium, building there would give housing near the Sports Complex to student athletes and sports enthusiasts. 
11) Since its dining facility is scheduled to be exterior to these dorms, not within one of them, it would also provide a restaurant for LaValle Stadium.
12) Bottom line: moving the dorms is a win-win situation. Wang's beauty is not destroyed. Iconic pagoda sculpture is not destroyed. There are new dorms that can be geared for the athletically inclined. LaValle Stadium gets a restaurant. Costs for new site plans are negligible since the terrain is same. There is more space for additional parking to be added. 
13) Depending on how the dorms are situated by LaValle, it might make sense to take part of the existing parking lot or move the tennis courts. Area behind Wang could then be a wide buffer of trees with parking or tennis courts. Lots of options are available without harming Wang.

Below is the AAJ / AA E-Zine letter to President Stanley (updated with info about UT's San Jacinto dorms) to give you some ideas. It was written not just to him, but to everyone via the SB Press.

Here's where to send your e-mail, fax or letter, or where to call.
Doing ALL of them would be even better!

Dr. Samuel Stanley
Office of the President
Administration 310
Stony Brook University
NY 11794-0701


Fax: 631 632 6621

631 632 6265
You will not be able to speak directly to the President but you can tie up the phone lines having long conversations with his staff.

Here's what your email, fax, letter or phone call can say:

1) Simple and direct - lucky 8:

Save Wang Center's Beauty! Move Toll Drive Dorms!

If you are a student or alumni, say the following. If President Stanley ever wants to become a Chancellor somewhere, he has to be seen as keeping his donor base happy and raising money:

"Save Wang Center's Beauty or I'll Never Donate!"


"Move Toll Drive Dorms or I'll Never Donate!"

or a little longer - double entendre on Wang

"If Wang gets screwed I'll never be a donor you can screw too!"

"Don't expect me to donate to SBU if this is how you treat donors."

Include your name and if not an email, your contact info. Without that, the University may not believe you are real.

2) A short but personal note about how you have enjoyed the Wang Center's beauty and you hope future generations will be able to have the same experience. How disappointed you are that he did not consider the community's feelings when he allowed the FSA to move forward with these dorms.

3) Expand on the thoughts above. Write a long and thoughtful letter explaining why maintaining the Wang Center's beauty is important. Why in this global and interconnected world, showcasing what has become the University's iconic structure says to the world that we are a global campus.

A Plea to President Stanley: Please Save the Beauty & Uniqueness of the Wang Center! Do Not Treat the Asian & Asian American Community As If They Did Not Matter!

The Charles B. Wang Asian /American Center was a
$60+ million gift to honor his heritage and that of all
Asians and Asian Americans and a place where Americans
could learn about Asia “simply by being in the building”.
The Toll Drive Residence Halls were planned without
telling the donor, the Asian and Asian American community,
or anyone who appreciates the Wang Center’s beauty.


Dear President Stanley,


The Wang Center’s “Tower to Heaven” modern sculptural pagoda, meant to symbolize the uniting of East and West, has become the University’s icon. Its holographic coating changes colors with the sun. At solstices, Chem faculty watch the sun’s position within its poles, our own mini-Stonehenge. It graces campus brochures, web pages, even the Alumni Association credit cards. It has made us unique. At the Gen One Reunion you said you are not allowed to call us the “flagship” of the SUNY system, but many agree with you that we are. The uniqueness of our icon is a fitting tribute to what we have become and the future we hope to be.

A pagoda was chosen because it is the one architectural feature that united Asia in antiquity and unites the world in modernity. Look at the top of the oldest stupa in India at Sanchi and you will see our pagoda. With the spread of Buddhism pagodas traveled eastward across Asia to the Pacific and eventually to the world. What is the Empire State Building but a pagoda with an elevator. Our iconic symbol represents the world, just like the world class university you want us to be.

Last fall we had heard a rumor that two 8-story dorms were to be built behind the Wang Center.  The FSA Executive Director was asked about it and he responded, “It’s all still in the planning stages, nothing has been decided yet, don’t worry about it.” This past week we saw the KSQ Architect’s plans - not two 8-story dorms but four 6-story ones! How is that “nothing to worry about”?

Look at the photo below of the Wang Center pond and garden. It is considered one of the most beautiful spots on campus. Tranquil and serene. Imagine what this will look like with 4 stories of brick rising up over the red trellis’ rather than trees and sky. Imagine on a warm spring day the quiet lost to loud music emanating from dorm room windows towering overhead.

Now look at the panoramic photo of the front of the Wang Center. The University moved the main road into campus to make the Wang Center the first thing visitors see. We wanted to impress. If these dorms are built where planned, the Wang Center’s tower will be lost against a backdrop of red brick walls almost half its height, swallowing up our iconic symbol. At night, rather than standing lit alone in the night sky, there will be a checkerboard of dorm lights around it.

With our offices in the decaying Student Union, we understand that to rebuild it, a dining facility is needed to replace it first, and it would be preferable to have one on the same side of campus. But there are better alternatives. One of the original spaces offered for the Wang Center by President Kenny was near the tennis courts by the Student Health Services. If the new dorms were located there, simply at the other end of the Stadium parking lot, they would still be within close proximity to the Union without harming the Wang Center’s aesthetics.


There was a time when there were only two cafeterias, Union and Humanities. For those living in Tabler, Roosevelt and Kelly who didn’t have time to shop, walking across campus was the norm. Now that would be seen as a healthy lifestyle.

If a new dorm is near Student Health Services, (a building also scheduled to be removed), for H Quad residents it would be closer than by Wang. For Mendelsohn it would just be the reverse of the current plans. Anyone using the Rec Center to get in shape would hardly object to another minute of walking. That area also includes more space for parking.

Who on this campus so desperately needs a new eating facility behind Wang that it is worth destroying the aesthetics of our iconic symbol and the beauty of its garden? Are the feelings of the Asian and Asian American community worth less to SBU than maybe having to move the tennis courts? A Wang Center staff person even came up with a good solution - move the tennis courts behind Wang and keep a buffer of trees!

Your daughter’s major at Stanford is Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity. Hopefully she has learned in her classes and bi-racial life to see the world through eyes that are not oblivious to white privilege. We wonder if she would be proud of her father if he allowed the destruction of the beauty of the one building on campus that has brought so much pride to the Asian and Asian American community. Nor is it only pride to those of Asian heritage. The Wang Center is the most heavily sought after event venue on campus because of its beauty. Departments have to book a year in advance to guarantee dates. Admissions wants students and parents to have their first formal introduction to the University in that building. Is the campus willing to give that up to save students a one-minute walk?

Melani Tiongson, the Asian American Journal VP, wrote about her feelings to give you a sense of the hurt that this decision will cause when it becomes known what the University intentionally did. 

“I’m an overworked, stressed-out student. I have two jobs, 18 credits, multiple leadership positions. There are countless students like me with an equal or greater workload. When I want to relax, I need a place to retreat to - somewhere serene and pristine. For me, that’s the Wang Center.

But it’s more than just a spot of relaxation – it’s a building that represents the meeting of cultures. It represents our school, which has one of the most diverse faculty and student bodies on the East Coast. I chose Stony Brook because I believed that I would feel welcome within a school that wasn’t known as Vanillanova (Villanova) or some other derogatory nickname indicative of its demographics. As an Asian American, I believed Stony Brook would facilitate intrinsic growth without imposing on my heritage.

In my opinion, putting four 6-story dorms that would pollute the harmony and pervert the aesthetics of the Wang Center is like a slap in the face to my culture. It may be a bit of a stretch, but it’s not too far detached from the days when people of color like me were shafted for the benefit of something allegedly “greater.””

Please Dr. Stanley, listen to her feelings. She is not atypical. Tremendous thought was put into creating something that truly represents who we are and aspire to be. Please do not destroy that.

The Union has been in disrepair for years. A short delay to work out an alternative to destroying Wang is worth what will be lost. It is not only aesthetics. You will create negative feelings from those of Asian heritage for your lack of consideration for them. Why is SBU planning to build a dorm that was created without any input from those who will feel the most hurt from what you doing?   


Hao ‘Oliver’ Li, AAJ Editor-in-Chief
Joe Damiani, AAJ Sports Editor
Chenjun Feng, AAJ Culture Editor
Wilson Jiang, AAJ Copy Editor
BLoo, AA E-Zine VP
Adam Sue, AA E-Zine Editor-in-Chief
Hao ‘May’ Wang, AAJ Layout Editor
Ja Young, AA E-Zine Alumni Editor

Meaning behind the architecture of the Wang Center:

Revised 5/14/2012


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