The President sat in a green leather chair, on Monday, September 26, as the afternoon sun poured through the damask curtains illuminating his office at University Center. Asian artifacts littered the room, along with pictures of his family. Yoda, and three monkey statues sat on a bookshelf: hear no evil, speak no evil, and see no evil. He invited us to sit down and gestured towards a cozy-looking couch with several pillows containing images of cocker spaniels. This would be his first interview with the Pioneer in several years. He graciously agreed to sit down with Jacqueline Favaloro and Anne Winberry, the Co-Editors-in-Chief of the student newspaper.
Dr. Steinberg: “So are these questions about the strike?”
The Pioneer: “They’re more of a mix.”
The Pioneer: “Tell us a little about yourself.”
Dr. Steinberg: “I have been president of Long Island University since 1985. I kept the position so long because this is a wonderful place. There are very exciting things here.”
Editor’s Note: Before Dr. Steinberg became President of Long Island University, he taught in the Department of History at the University of Michigan. In 1973, he joined the administration of Brandeis University as executive assistant to the president, becoming vice president and university secretary in 1977.
The Pioneer: “What do you enjoy most about the position?”
Dr. Steinberg: “Watching students graduate. It is miraculous to see the transformation from high school to college seniors.”
The Pioneer: “What is your biggest accomplishment?”
Dr. Steinberg: “Keeping the Brooklyn campus from closing and making sure it fulfills it’s own destiny.”
The Pioneer: “And biggest failure?”
Dr. Steinberg: “Making South Hampton a success. If we didn’t close it, the university would have gone into bankruptcy.”
The Pioneer: “Do you think the strike could have been avoided?”
Dr. Steinberg: “I can’t speak about the faculty, but yes. If we threw money we didn’t have at them, it could have been avoided. If we raised their salary, however, it would have meant an increase in tuition for students. To avoid tuition increases in the past, I’ve cut my own salary 15%, and the secretaries haven’t had an increase in salary in several years.”
Editor’s Note: Since Dr. Steinberg’s presidency, there have been 13 strikes, seven at C.W. Post, and six at the Brooklyn campus.
The Pioneer: “Where do you see the university in the future?”
Dr. Steinberg: “Students come first. Our first priority is to educate students, and help them find themselves, and become mature thinking adults. We want to get out of the ill will that gets in the way. We would like to bring in new faculty that will provide new energy and direction. We want to show that our budget follows our priorities and our mission statement. We want to deliver education in the ways you and other generations are going to take it in. Lastly, we want to improve and cement our relationship with the communities around us.”