To the Editor,
The number $300 million is a lie. UConn is not losing $300 million if the budget gets passed. It’s still losing money, but nowhere near that amount. The real number that’s been proposed as a cut to the university’s state aid by the Republicans is $186 million.
The complete and total overreaction by President Herbst is political, deceitful, and disgusting. Since Dan Malloy took the Governor’s office in 2011 and Herbst became the university president in 2010, they have fallen lock-and-step with each other, and this is just another perfect example of that happening. A Republican budget, whether it’s fiscally responsible or not, is 100 percent unacceptable by the Governor simply because it has a big red “R” stamped on its cover, even if it increased taxes astronomically again (like the Governor did several times, after he said it would not happen). Herbst came up with the number $300 million as an impractical, worst case scenario for the university.
Will we see a hit? Yes, and we would have seen a hit anyway. The Democrats and the Governor both proposed a cut of $100 million to the university’s state aid. This would have impacted financial aid, class sizes, student-to-faculty ratio, the employment of professors, maybe even some planned construction and the expansion of STEM initiatives.
The $186 million cut will impact all of the things I listed above, but understand this. We will not lose D1 sports. Regional campuses will not close. Schools and colleges will not close “en masse.” UConn Health may take a whack, but the facility will not shut down. The University of Connecticut, you mark my words, will not be “decimated,” as Herbst said, by a cut of $186 million. If it happens, it’s because the administration and union professors are unwilling to look at what they themselves take in for benefits and salaries and make sacrifices, instead putting it all on the shoulders of hard-working students, many of whom will have to pay it all back for the rest of their lives.
It’s awesome that students care enough about UConn to go to a rally in defense of a cut they believed was $300 million, but the truth must come out in all forms. If anyone should be angry at anything, they should be angry at President Herbst for misleading everyone. My point is this: seek the truth in all shapes and forms, even if it hurts you or it’s the last thing you do. It’s better to live in a bit of pain knowing reality than to be misled because it feels better.
Michael L.P. LaPorte
Senior, Political Science major
PS: If you have doubts about my findings, Jacqueline Rabe Thomas wrote a fantastic piece about the budget for the CT Mirror. It includes interactive graphics, PDFs provided by legislators, and focuses on the situation holistically, instead of hyper-focusing on UConn. Her piece can be found here.