AUBURN | Cayuga Community College President Daniel Larson took exception to actions made by Auburn City Councilor Peter Ruzicka during last week's council meeting.

Ruzicka read a letter dated Aug. 19 from CCC Faculty Association President Eric Zizza toward the end of last week's public-to-be-heard session. Zizza states in his letter that the Schwartz Family Performing Arts Center will be "a tremendous burden on the resources of the college" that is not being built for educational purposes.

Also in the letter, Zizza alleges that Larson forgets to mention, "conveniently" at some points, certain aspects of the theater project such as a number of costs that may be incurred.

Larson's four-page response was read by City Clerk Debra McCormick on Thursday before City Manager Doug Selby gave his report.

Larson lodged a "formal protest" about the reading of Zizza's letter for three reasons: the letter was read by Ruzicka, not Zizza, and was not "submitted as correspondence to the Council;" Larson believed the letter did not follow council procedures referenced by Mayor Michael Quill "that prohibit personal attacks by name" and the statement was originally addressed to the media, not city councilors.

"It is curious that Mr. Ruzicka, who by virtue of public office should be objective in his review of the court-ordered (State Environmental Quality Review) process, clearly is opposed to this project and doing as much as possible to delay and thwart it," Larson stated.

In addition, Larson questions the leadership of the Faculty Association in their "adversarial stance" against a project that would, Larson stated, lead to more revenue for the college's gain.

During last week's council meeting, councilors were briefed on parts two and three of the SEQR for the theater project. Ruzicka was consistent in his concerns about soil and groundwater testing on the project site which would be done, he said, to ensure its safety.

On reading the letter, Ruzicka said the council, including Quill, did not object to reading the letter when he brought it to council's attention.

"My thoughts are I support the Faculty Association," Ruzicka said. "The college didn't get in the shape it's in by anything other than (Larson's) leadership."

Ruzicka filed a request via the Freedom of Information Act to find out the amount of legal fees the college has incurred for the performing arts center project, which he said was more than $100,000.

The Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival, Ruzicka said, should be paying those fees in accordance to the county Legislature.

"I can file a formal protest against (Larson) for his lack of leadership," he said, shrugging. "It's all because of the unhappiness he has with the Faculty Association. If someone happens to agree with the Faculty Association, he takes a stance against them."

Staff writer Greg Mason can be reached at (315) 282-2239 or greg.mason@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @CitizenMason.

(9) comments

summerbreeze

Who is gaining from this project. You build a theater for a colege that does not have a course for it. Also you have a theater on Campus that has not been used for a educational purpose. Then we have Ed Sayles and the MTF. Who benefits there. A look at the payroll could tell us that.There is not any sales tax generated. We have a larger theater at Emerson Park and a retaurant that never could sustain itself off the theater patrons. Something smells in this whole thing.Why is Larson is so pationate for building this theater? Always follow the money.

Givemeabreak

That's patently absurd.

patchwork

Interesting how Larson plugs the Hilton Hotel in his letter, yet no mention of the Holiday Inn or any of the other hotels. Seems I remember another key player doing the same thing at a meeting that I viewed on Auburnpub. Of course we weren't allowed to know who all the investors in the hotel actually are, even though we gave them all million$ in tax breaks. Sure would be interesting to know if any of the investors have familiar names.

JS1813

FINALLY! someone who's actually trying to take a stance against him, and is willing to call him out on all of his out of control spending and convenient omissions of what the "real cost" is.

fallenangel

Where there is one, there are hundreds more. Eric Zizza created an invitation for all, "To take a stance against him". I for one, will follow.

patchwork

Mr Larson, "overwhelming" community support for the new theater? He doesn't know that to be a fact yet puts it in his letter like it is. One would think that he has enough problems without going into a council meeting looking for more trouble. If there is overwhelming support of anything, it might be to find a new leader for the college.

Sage

3 out of for unions are for it!

fallenangel

Mr. Zizza is simply protecting the future of Cayuga Community College for the students, and the faculty. It sounds to me he feels an obligation to do so. I would think this would be the job of the president. I can certainly see why the Union submitted a letter of "No Confidence" to the board last spring asking President Larson to resign. I believe now may be the time for students to submit a letter of "No Confidence" to the board. We can only hope they (the board) will get the hint. We all know Larson isn't getting it.

Sage

If they get 40 students it will work! How long does it take a new degree program to take off? How long would it take to build it to 40 students? Who pays until then? How many of the kids who enjoyed a free theater camp are really going into the musical theater field as their chosen career? If we build it they will come! Another example of why 3 out of 4 unions at the college voted no confidence in Dr. Larson. And stop whining about the faculty, you wont have much of a college without them will you? Maybe working in education is not such a great idea for you!

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.