Letter to the Editor: The future of UConn Torrington

To the Editor,

I contacted your organization earlier today because of my concerns about the factual inaccuracies in the 3/9/2016 opinion piece which advocated the closing of the UConn Torrington campus. The reply I received only addressed my possible emotional reaction to the piece but did not address my claims that the editorial included factual errors and was not adequately researched. Beyond the numbers, it appears no effort was made to contact faculty, staff, or students from the campus.

I am currently serving as President of the ASG here at the Torrington Campus. I have been a student here since my freshman year and expect to graduate in May. The facts and realities that I would have expected to see in the opinion piece, no matter what the author's conclusion, include the following. The Torrington Campus is a minor, perhaps even insignificant, drain on the University's total finances. There have been no numbers released to the public regarding the savings that would be realized by closing the Torrington campus. The administrators here run a lean campus. Torrington currently has only two full time, non-tenured, faculty members supplemented by many valuable adjuncts, so the author's point that faculty salaries are a "unnecessary expense" is absurd. Two salaries do not make an impact on the University's budget. Also why question the Torrington campus' small size? The city of Torrington and the surrounding towns are small, so it should not come as a shock that the campus is small as well. The piece also ignored the reality of how far many students must travel to get to this campus and how great a burden it would be for them to have to go to Waterbury or West Hartford if the Torrington campus closed. There was no mention either of the fact that the substantial savings for students at regional campuses (who pay for tuition but not room and board) make college affordable to many. 

I believe the editorial supporting the closure of the Torrington campus, which has been open for 50 years, reflects the distorted agenda of the University at large, ignorance of regional campus life, and the distribution of resources among the university's many campuses. It is essential for anyone who wants to responsibly weigh-in on this important issue to understand the facts and recognize that UConn Torrington is still UConn. We are all a part of the same University and I think is unfortunate that this editorial was printed without having confirmed facts and assumptions with even one leader at the campus. Finally, how fair is it to recommend the closure of one tiny campus, under the guise of concern for the university's fiscal health, without recommending or suggesting substantial cuts to the Storrs campus?

Very sincerely,

Macie Pellegren