"I don't have inside information on it," Cuomo said in a news conference Thursday evening. "I haven't studied it, so I don't have a firm opinion."
It was the first public confirmation of the major proposal kept tightly under wraps by SUNY and state government since it was revealed Wednesday by The Associated Press. The proposal shows SUNY is considering turning its College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering into a campus separate from the University at Albany.
According to the proposal obtained by the AP, the new campus would have its own president, budget and board dominated by the governor's appointees. The board would include the lieutenant governor as a non-voting member, the SUNY chancellor, and 11 other members -- all gubernatorial appointees.
The new campus president would report directly to SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher, bypassing the University at Albany administration, and gain greater freedom to operate. The SUNY College of Forestry in Syracuse would serve as a model.
The proposal would "re-emphasize the mission of CNSE as a statewide innovation and economic development resource." The new college would be authorized to maintain "regional campuses and field stations" to provide students "hands-on field and lab activities in locations where state-of-the-art technology is as much at home as it is on the main campus," according to the proposal. In the second of two phases, the new college would create "additional partnerships" with other SUNY campuses.
The idea, however, comes as SUNY is trying to cut costs and consolidate services, including having one college president for two campuses.