ALBANY, N.Y. – The University at Albany is known as a premier research institution, employing more than 3,100 people and credited with helping attract billions of dollars to the area with companies like GlobalFoundries.
But now the university's College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering may break off from UAlbany.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's office tells NEWS10 there are discussions underway to make the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering a specialized college with its own campus. The proposal is said to re-emphasize the mission of Nanocollege. It would have to be approved by the SUNY board of trustees, the governor and legislature -- but students and local legislators NEWS10 spoke with had mixed opinions about the plan.
"The school would lose a lot because it does bring a lot of attention like since they had Obama and they have a lot, do a lot for the community," said junior Erica Elston.
"It would be pretty surprising because it's in campus," said junior Ashley Lam.
"I understand why they would want to branch off, but I don't think it's really that necessary," said sophomore Toni Ann Warren.
"If they want to separate and become a completely different university because I guess of the higher academic standards they should go for it," said freshman Albert Foo.
Students and local lawmakers tell NEWS10 rumors about such a move have been around for years. Back in 2008 the SUNY board put the Nanocolleges CEO Alain Kaloyeros on equal footing with a SUNY university president.
Assembly members on both sides of the aisle though say they're open to the possibility.
"I want to do what's best for both entities. Clearly the Nanocollege has been an economic engine in this area and this could make it, allow it to have even more on a statewide presence," said Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy.
"It wouldn't surprise me because they do have a common core mission. They have an amicable relationship. I've talked with both leaderships there. By the same token if there's an opportunity and we need to evaluate -- If there's an opportunity to unleash more economic development with nanotech it's incumbent upon us to evaluate and research it," said Assemblyman John McDonald.