Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Photonics institute partners vow to play nice

Posted By on Wed, Aug 19, 2015 at 1:36 PM

Sometimes, things have to get worse before they can get better. And for the week-long photonics institute skirmish that blew up yesterday, that cliché may hold true.

University of Rochester President Joel Seligman says that he, Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle, SUNY Polytechnic Institute CEO Alain Kaloyeros, and an unnamed senior official with Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office will meet to hammer out just how the Department of Defense-backed institute will be run from this point forward.

“Yesterday, we turned a page,” Seligman said, just before the start of a previously scheduled Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council meeting.

Morelle, too, said he’s received assurances that SUNY Polytechnic will work collaboratively with UR going forward.

The whole brouhaha looked like a fight over where to put the recently announced institute’s headquarters, but local leaders say it was about preventing a SUNY Polytechnic power grab. Officials with the Albany-based school stated that they were going to put the photonics institute’s headquarters in Legacy Tower, the former Bausch + Lomb headquarters. But local leaders said the decision was invalid, since SUNY Polytechnic made it unilaterally, without support from the other key partners in the institute, chiefly UR and RIT. Kaloyeros and Seligman had previously signed an agreement laying out how the institute would be governed, which was intended to avoid this sort of conflict.

“This is one of the first major issues that’s come up where the question of how these decisions will be made has become a focus,” Destler told reporters prior to today’s Finger Lakes Regional Council meeting.

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