The University of Connecticut’s Torrington campus is in its final days. The proposal to close it, originally made in March, is now in full swing.
The process has taken roughly eight weeks to complete. The UConn Board of Trustees voted on April 27 to close the branch after the spring semester.
“Recommending the closure of the Torrington campus is not something we take any pleasure in doing, but it is a reflection of the reality we face,” UConn President Susan Herbst said. “The state’s financial situation and its effect on UConn means that we have to think very strategically about where we devote our resources over the long term.”
Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Sally Reis said the main reasons for closing the campus are its declining enrollment and low graduation numbers. She added that UConn’s Waterbury campus is in close proximity.
Enrollment at the campus has decreased by roughly 44 percent since 2011 to spring 2016. UConn Torrington lost 17 students since just last semester, and the campus’s total undergraduate headcount for spring 2016 was 136 students. Only 88 undergraduates and three faculty members are full-time, according to UConn spokeswoman Stephanie Reitz.
During the April 27 Board of Trustees meeting, Reis referenced university records that showed only six students have graduated from the Torrington campus within six years, beginning in 2008. Forty-six percent of Torrington students take classes at other regional campuses or Storrs, Reis said.
Although low graduation and enrollment rates are indeed decreasing, Torrington’s mayor, Elinor C. Carbone, does not agree that the campus should be closed.
“We feel over that over the last two decades there has been a benign neglect… an attempt to set the stage for the failure of this campus,” Carbone said.
Former mayor Mike Conway agreed.
“I think the [UConn Foundation] has shown more initiative for basketball than the university has shown for the Torrington campus,” Conway said.
Eighth-semester economics major and Torrington transfer student Thomas Binghi also said he is worried about the effect the closing of the campus will have on the city.
“I think it will ultimately hurt the city as it provided a convenient way for many local high school graduates to pursue a great quality education at an affordable price. Not only will future students have more limited options when it comes to education but so will the citizens of Torrington,” Binghi said.
He commended the faculty and stated that his favorite UConn professors teach at the Torrington campus.
“It’s a shame to see the campus being shut down,” Binghi said. “I hope they make an effort to help the faculty there find jobs at the other UConn campuses because they were a quality group committed to helping students and the university."
Megan Krementowski is associate life editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.