UConn should close Torrington campus

A building on UConn Torrington's campus in Torrington, Connecticut. (UConn Torrington)

UConn is considering closing its regional campus in Torrington. As noted by NBC Connecticut, “UConn officials met with lawmakers about the Torrington campus on Thursday and Friday.”

The proposed closing has been prompted by the state legislature’s recent decisions to cut UConn’s budget. Though the small number of students and professors at the Torrington branch - as well as the town of Torrington itself - might understandably oppose the closing, UConn and the State’s fiscal woes support such action.

The costs in maintenance and professor salaries at Torrington appear to be an unnecessary expense without significant benefits in the current economic climate. The Torrington campus is remarkably dependent upon other regional campuses and offers students little in itself.

As described on the UConn website, students can earn a bachelor’s degree at Torrington in only four majors: English, General Studies, Human Development & Family Studies, and Psychology. Furthermore, they would do so “by taking many of the needed courses here and others at the Waterbury or Hartford campuses.” Even within the majors it offers, Torrington is not self-sufficient, relying in part on other regional campuses.

Students could also complete two years toward a major in either Business Administration or Business Data Analytics, but would have to transfer to either Waterbury or Hartford to complete the degree. Students could also transfer to the Storrs campus.

Given the high amount of dependence on other regional campuses, one must ask whether the interests of both Torrington students and the university would be better served by having these students simply enroll at either the Waterbury or Hartford campuses.

Given the current fiscal situation of the university, continuing to spend money on the Torrington campus would be an inefficient allocation of scarce resources. While Torrington students and faculty may not desire a closure, UConn must do what is best for the university community as a whole.

The budget crisis facing the state and university recommends the closure of a branch campus that offers little appreciable benefits. It is better that cuts be made as opposed to an alternative of a tuition increase. Given the small size of Torrington enrollment, it would not be difficult to absorb students at other campuses.

When facing a revenue shortfall, institutions must make difficult decisions that will negatively impact some members of the community.

While closing the Torrington campus may unfortunately be a burden to some, it is in the interest of the UConn community.