Letter to the Editor: Towers is treasure 4

To whom it may concern,

My name is Sean Rose (CLAS ‘09), and I must say, I read the previous letter written by Stephen Winchell (CLAS ‘08) with a sense of confusion. For a moment, it seemed as if Mr. Winchell had accidentally mailed in a rough draft of one of his many bizarre, poorly written fiction novels. I mean, when you get rejected by every reputable publisher out there, I guess mailing it into the Daily Campus would be your next best option! Why not!

But upon close examination, an even darker truth emerged: this was, in fact, Mr. Winchell’s sincere response to my previous letter. The man was apparently so badly eviscerated he couldn’t reply with anything but a bunch of whiny lies. I was hoping my last letter would force him to at least take a stab at something coherent, but of course I was expecting too much from a former West resident. My bad!

I will not respond to Mr. Winchell’s ludicrous, mean-spirited lies about chauffeurs and caviar and buying grades. I guess when you never wash your clothes, eat nothing but Flamin Hot Cheetos, and sleep through almost all of your classes, you’ll assume pretty much anyone with a modicum of hygiene as being “rich enough to buy anything [they] want.”

No, Mr. Winchell, its simply called taking care of yourself. Its called taking showers, eating well, and studying. You had the money and resources to do all of these things, and you didn’t take it. Instead you holed up in filthy West all day and all night, dedicating yourself to becoming one of the most repulsive creeps Storrs Mansfield has ever witnessed. And you take pride, in this! Good lord.

As for your claim about Towers residents “weeping and wailing” that night in 2008 - what kind of nonsense is this? Perhaps those voices you heard were inside of you, Mr. Winchell. Perhaps it was your soul, crying out, begging for a more desirable vessel. A vessel that had the good sense to brush its teeth once in a while, or ingest something besides Dubra and Monster Energy Drinks.

Or, how about this - one that could admit, once and for all, that Towers beats West.

Take a hike, Winchell. Towers Rules.

Sean Rose

CLAS, 09

Letter to the Editor: Don't want higher taxes? Don't be mislead by 'tax talk'

Stefanowski says he’d ‘cut taxes’ and Lamont would ‘raise taxes.’ That’s earned him some voters’ support and has pushed others from Lamont to Oz. But Stefanowski’s narrative grossly oversimplifies how public finance works, and it can easily lead us to vote against our own interests. If we understand a few basics about public finance, we can see that even if Stefanowski ‘cut state taxes,’ it would not necessarily save us any money in the end.

Here’s the reality. States get their revenue from a few sources: about one half comes from state taxes on income, sales, and property and one third comes from federal grants. Recently, there have been dramatic reductions in federal grants to states for both education and transportation.[i] States have to make up those funds in some way, regardless of who’s in office. When states get less federal funding, they generally consider two options. The first option is to increase the state’s total tax revenue in some way. There are various ways to do this, only some of which reduce the state tax burden on working- and middle-class residents. The other option that states usually consider—and which Stefanowski seems to favor—is to cut state spending so that we ‘need’ less money. This could mean spending less state funds on education, infrastructure, and other social services. It could also mean sending less state money to municipalities. Both options put more pressure on municipalities who are often left with little choice but to raise local property tax rates in order to keep their communities afloat.

So, even if Stefanowski gives the average resident a state ‘tax cut,’ we might just face higher municipal property taxes or the indirect costs of decreased services, like car expenses (for damages caused by our poorly maintained roads) and much more. In either case, CT’s working- and middle-class residents would pay the price. In that sense, saying he’ll ‘cut taxes’ is like a salesperson saying “Here’s a great deal: you pay nothing and I’ll give you nothing!”

The average CT resident doesn’t need just any ‘tax cut.’ We need specific kinds of reforms that shift the total tax burden off working- and middle-class residents without sacrificing things like education, transportation, health, and other social services. The phrases ‘tax cut’ and ‘tax increase’ say nothing of substance. They don’t tell us anything about who will or won’t be paying or how they’ll be doing so. They conceal more than they reveal and they rely on our fear to fill in the details. We can’t let them mislead us.

Rachael D. Stephens

Ph.D. Student, University of Pennsylvania, Anthropology & Education

M.A., Teachers College, Columbia University, Anthropology & Education

Email: rstep@upenn.edu

[i] https://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/fact-sheets/2017/12/federal-spending-priorities-shifted-toward-health-over-past-decade, https://www.cbpp.org/research/state-budget-and-tax/federal-aid-to-state-and-local-governments

[ii] https://www.pgpf.org/chart-archive/0053_defense-comparison


Letter to the Editor: Re: "Lamont is a labor union lapdog, and this should concern you"

To the Editor of the Daily Campus,

Jacob Marie’s opinion piece (Oct 29), smearing both unions and gubernatorial nominee Ned Lamont as “a labor union lapdog”, is both misleading and misinformed. Marie blames Connecticut’s fiscal problems on an “unholy marriage” between labor and the Democratic Party while failing to identify himself as Director of Political Engagement for the UConn College Republicans. Nor does he reveal that his “facts” come from the anti-union, libertarian Yankee Institute. Marie says unions have “poured huge amounts of money” into Lamont’s campaign, but he ignores the far greater amount the Republican Governor’s Association (with unlimited corporate donations) is spending for Lamont’s opponent.

To their credit, Democrats like Lamont understand that unions, though collective bargaining, built the American middle class and are essential for preserving it. And that – not some phony conspiracy or imagined corruption – is the reason union members tend to vote Democratic.

Let’s set the record straight. First, Connecticut’s fiscal woes don’t stem from “unsustainable salaries and benefits given to state employees”. The real problem is debt. For decades, Connecticut promised retirement benefits to public employees without saving a dime to cover them; when it finally did start saving, it raided the pension fund. The result is a legacy of $100 billion in unfunded pension obligations. The current cost of benefits has nothing to do with it.

Marie also fails to explain that state employees have, through collective bargaining, bailed Connecticut out of three budget crises since 2008. Concessions negotiated in 2017 will save Connecticut $1.57 billion in the current biennium alone and $25 billion over 20 years. In the current biennium, state employees on average gave up $30,000 each. Yet Marie calls the 2017 agreement “irresponsible”.

Third, Marie’s claim that “state employees make anywhere from $25,000 to $40,000 more than their private sector counterparts” is false or seriously misleading. If we’re talking salaries, then it’s just false; private sector salaries are higher, especially for employees with advanced degrees. State jobs do tend to come with better benefits, but that difference has narrowed as state benefits have been “leveled down” (through negotiations).

The real issue isn’t whether public sector benefits are too high; its whether private sector benefits are too low. Big corporations, eager to please shareholders, have been reducing benefits for years; many small employers offer none at all. Jobs that used to provide excellent benefits no longer do, and the reason is that corporations have nearly destroyed collective bargaining.

Sincerely,

Thomas Bontly

President, UConn-AAUP,

Michael Bailey,

Executive Director, UConn-AAUP

Letter to the Editor: Towers is Treasured 3

To whom it may concern,

My name is Sean Rose, and I’m an alumnus of the University of Connecticut (CLAS ‘09). Once again, I would like to register my disappointment with the Daily Campus for publishing the most recent letter by Stephen Winchell (CLAS ‘08). I was hoping my last letter would put and end to this nonsense once and for all. It did not. Instead the fine young students of UConn were all treated to one of Mr. Winchell’s notorious anti-grab ‘n go screeds. I could debunk his last letter point by point, but instead, I’d like to address the man directly.

Mr. Winchell, is this what you want? Ok. Sure. I’ll play your game.

Here’s something Mr. Winchell won’t tell you: for every year he lived on the Storrs campus, Towers was his first choice. Quite frankly, he LOVED Towers. Often I’d spot him stalking near Vinton Hall in the evenings, staring up at the lights coming out of the windows with awe and envy. And every year, when it came time to request dorms for the next semester, he’d request Towers first. And when he inevitably was rejected, year in and year out, he’d go to his second choice: South. And then down the list: Alumni, North, McMahon, East, Hilltop… down and down he’d go, until he finally hit the bottom of the barrel, the absolute last on his (and everyone’s) list. West Campus.

Why would this happen? Why would Mr. Winchell get rejected from Towers - and every other dorm on campus - year after year? Simply put: he wasn’t good enough. He was a notorious boor, a layabout, a poor student. His beliefs were strange and - I’m being as charitable as I can be here - his personal hygiene was questionable. He was not liked by anybody on campus, and he only lived in West because they were the only dorm foolish enough to accept him. I guess when you’re already a disgusting stink pit, accepting one more piece of trash doesn’t make much of a difference!

Mr. Winchell, if you want to continue this correspondence, be warned: this isn’t the last story I’ve got on you. I’ve got enough dirt to last me for weeks and weeks to come. You want a war? You’ve got one.

Thank you for your time,

Sean Rose
CLAS, 09

Letter to the Editor: The case for Dave Coderre for State Senate

Dear Editor,

I met Dave Coderre at his campaign kickoff event back in February and I was so inspired by his speech that I decided to get involved in his campaign. Since that time I’ve attended campaign events, put out signs and talked about him with friends and colleagues whenever possible. Dave is a small business owner and knows first hand how excessive taxes and government regulations are hurting the business climate in CT. Dave Coderre wants to represent all of us in Hartford and bring common sense solutions to the problems facing the 29th district. I’m voting for Dave Coderre for State Senate and I would ask you to do the same. Thank you.

Scott Antonson

Thompson, CT

860-933-9861


Letter to the Editor: UConn commits itself to Hartford with the Urban Semester

Dear Editorial Board:

As Director of UConn Hartford, I was pleased to see an editorial written by the Editorial Board in The Daily Campus highlighting the Urban Semester: an immersion opportunity available to UConn students to live and learn in Hartford and closely connect to city life for a full semester. I appreciate how the authors applauded the program and the Hartford campus as representative of UConn’s efforts to partner with the state of Connecticut and its capital city.

However, I feel compelled to also share my disappointment at the negative and monolithic characterization of Hartford in one particularly offensive statement: “Hartford is the natural choice for the state university, but its [sic] such a drab, impoverished city. In a way, though, this is to the benefit of the program. The Urban Semester does not shy away from the fact that Hartford is in dire straits.” To counter this mistaken representation of Hartford, I welcome the authors to avoid negative stereotyping and habitual fallback representations with deficit depictions of doom, gloom, and hopelessness. Instead, I invite them to appreciate our state capital as a historical and global city rich in wide ranging human stories and economic and cultural resources. UConn Hartford and the Urban Semester emerge from and are part of these assets and our students greatly benefit from them.

Hartford’s many nonprofits, businesses, and governmental agencies enrich our student and faculty learning through the service opportunities, internship experiences, and career options available all around us. Lively neighborhoods throughout the city bring a diverse world to the center of our state. Just recently, as an example of many similar accolades, a nationwide healthcare blog post lauded Hartford as among the “Best Cities in the Northeast for a Career in Healthcare.”

Furthermore, despite your assertion to the contrary, the University of Connecticut is an urban school: we have thousands of graduate and undergraduate students attending vibrant downtown campuses in Stamford, Waterbury, and Hartford. These locations along with UConn Avery Point deepen and broaden the university’s academic opportunities and commitments across the state.

I invite you to visit and experience the vibrancy and energy of the city and of UConn Hartford.

Sincerely,

Mark Overmyer-Velázquez, Ph.D.
Director, UConn Hartford
Professor of History and Latinx Studies
mark.velazquez@uconn.edu


Letter to the Editor: Yale Law Students underscore their intellectual intelligence

Of the many articles I have read about the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court of the United States, among the most dismaying are those that document the willingness of Yale Law School students opposed to the nomination to ignore bedrock principles of American jurisprudence, specifically due process and the presumption of innocence.

Even worse, the students have been abetted in their cavalier dismissal of these principles by spineless faculty canceling classes so these students can participate in manifestly non-academic, political demonstrations, where, if what one sees in television and reads in newspapers is accurate, the malevolent notion that Judge Kavanaugh should be presumed guilty until proven innocent is proclaimed to be the guiding principle by which disputes involving the most heinous allegations are resolved.

In graduate school at Yale many years ago, I learned from my teachers in the history department, most notably the late Henry A. Turner Jr., that to be considered seriously, arguments that are testable empirically must be corroborated by empirical evidence.

In the case of the Kavanaugh nomination, all of the evidence that exists not only fails to substantiate the allegation of rape made publicly on national television by Christine Ford; it contradicts it. But the Yale Law School students ostentatiously proclaiming their moral piety, have obviously ignored this undeniable fact, which only underscores their intellectual arrogance.

The most charitable explanation I can come up with is that they missed the classes in their courses in which these principles were taught. A less charitable interpretation is that their professors do not consider these principles applicable when Republicans and conservatives are the objects of unsubstantiated accusations.

That Senator Richard Blumenthal, himself a Yale Law School alumnus, managed to appear at a meeting of such students is especially repugnant in light of the senator's serial lies about his non-existent military service in Vietnam.

One has no choice, really, but to draw from this lamentable series of events the conclusion that these students have learned little or nothing since enrolling in Yale Law School. Should I ever need legal representation, I will make certain not to choose any of them.


Jay Bergman is Professor of History at Central Connecticut State University and a member of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Scholar. He received his M. A. in 1972, M. Phil. in 1973, and Ph.D. in 1977, all from Yale.

Letter to the Editor: A message from the Humphrey Clinic

Dear Editor,

The Humphrey Clinic for Individual, Couple and Family Therapy closed on August 15, 2018.

Humphrey Clinic Marriage and Family Therapy students, staff and faculty members would like to thank our clients, the UConn community and the local community for learning with us and sharing over 30 years of healing and hope. We’ve had the privilege of fostering new possibilities and change with a special focus on strength-based, whole family treatment models. We cherish having witnessed our clients grow and flourish along with us. We are proud that throughout our history and even through the closing process, that we endeavored to provide the utmost care to our clients and students.

As society gains more understanding of the importance of supporting mental health and well-being, it will be important for all of us, as we disperse and move to new locations, to advocate for continued awareness, action and intervention for individuals across family and community systems. We have faith that the Humphrey Clinic will continue its impact and legacy on a local, national and international level through its web of former faculty, students and clients. We encourage the UConn community to care for themselves using the variety of quality services available in the area. Former clients of the clinic seeking records from the Humphrey Clinic should contact 860-486-3692 and leave a message detailing what information you would like and your phone number.

UConn students in need of counseling services or referrals should contact Counseling and Mental Health Services at 860-486-4705.

Community members can find information through their insurance for therapists who are paneled with their provider.

Thank you again,

Kevin Hynes

Ph.D., Marriage and Family Therapy

The Humphrey Clinic and the UConn Marriage and Family Therapy Program


Letter to the Editor: Towers is treasured 2

To whom it may concern:

My name is Sean Rose, and I’m an alumnus of the University of Connecticut (CLAS ‘09). With all due respect, I’m going to have to forgo the usual introductory pleasantries and get down to brass tacks here: I’m writing to you, with grave concern, about the letter you published by a Mr. Stephen Winchell (CLAS ‘08) the other week.

Mr. Winchell went out of his way to applaud the Daily Campus editorial staff for publishing my last letter, which he memorably deemed a “screed” (very ironic, considering his boorish, clunky writing, but I digress). Unfortunately, I can’t extend the same courtesy. In my view, the Daily Campus committed an act of grave irresponsibility in publishing Mr. Winchell’s last two letters. You are enabling the views of a man who is delusional beyond hope.

I mean, what else can you say about a man arguing that West is better than Towers? Anyone with any objective sense will tell you that pristine Towers is far, far superior to the trashy hole that is West. Mr. Winchell himself even admits as much, saying: ”Towers is no doubt an ornament on the crown of UConn.” Yet even after copping to this - and going on to admit that West has no dining hall or grab ‘n go, all but confessing that Towers is a better dorm - he somehow still comes to the ludicrous conclusion that West is better because “it has heart.” Hilarious, considering that I can’t imagine any better evidence against West residents having heart - or good sense! - than Mr. Winchell’s awful letters.

I want to make this clear: there is no “war” between the dorms of Towers and West, except for inside the twisted mind of Mr. Winchell. His signing of his last letter with “West Wins” should tell you as much. Why is there no rivalry? Because Towers is a better dorm than West. This is accepted fact, as anyone on the Storrs campus can attest. To continue to give Mr. Winchell a platform in your editorial page is massively irresponsible, and I urge you, Daily Campus editorial team, to put a stop to this once and for all. Do not publish any more of Mr. Winchell’s nonsense. Let the Truth Win.

With warm regards-

Sean Rose
CLAS ‘09


Letter To The Editor: The administration's side of the parking debate

Dear Editor: 

Many students are aware that UConn adjusted its parking structure and shuttle bus routes for the fall semester.  

Although it might seem like these changes were made randomly, a number of considerations were factored in, including employment contracts, student safety, vehicle congestion and construction. 

We now realize that the way these changes were communicated to our students could have and should have been better.  However, we are confident that these adjustments have improved parking and transportation services for the student body as a whole. 

We will be meeting with students this week to further discuss the issues, as well as holding few more meetings though this semester with a group of students as mechanisms to improve communication.   

Graduate assistants were allowed to buy staff parking permits for the first time this year as part of their new labor contract with the University. This prompted the need to adjust some areas that were previously used for student parking to be reassigned for other uses. 

However, there was no loss in the number of student parking spaces on campus. 

The perception that there was a decrease in student parking comes from the reassignment of spaces and the restriction of overnight parking in commuter lots, which was done to ensure parking access to students who truly travel to and from campus each day. 

In terms of the new bus routes, we are evaluating ridership counts and bus tracking technologies to improve the experiences of our customers and the accuracy of our data.  

Another element in determining the new bus routes was to minimize traffic in the area of Jim Calhoun Way and Hillside Road, which can be a very congested and dangerous intersection. In addition to having fewer buses in that area, we also encourage all Facilities Operations employees not to drive vehicles in that area. 

Finally, it’s important to understand the long-range traffic planning that has taken place. We have eliminated the left turn from North Eagleville Road onto Glenbrook Road with exceptions for emergency vehicles and service deliveries. In the future, the entrance/exit of the North Garage also needs to be reconfigured along with the intersection of Alumni Drive and Hillside Road to allow for better traffic flow. 

Thank you for your patience and understanding. If you have any questions or comments relating to this topic, please feel free to contact us. 

Sincerely, 

Michael Jednak 

Associate Vice President of Facilities Operations

USG Letter To The Editor: Transportation Services

Dear Editor,

The first two weeks of the semester have been overtaken by discussion among students regarding parking and on-campus transportation concerns.

The shuttle bus service has had its routes altered and on-campus parking has been redesigned/reallocated. All shuttle bus routes were altered in one way or another – these changes were made in accordance with the reduction of commuter spots in some parking lots and the increase of commuter spots in other areas. The primary student concerns regarding the bus system include: bus availability to commuter lots, the lack of routes connecting highly populated residential areas to distinct parts of campus, and the reliability of the bus schedules/timeliness.

On-campus parking was also altered in one way or another – these changes were made to address anticipated construction and road closures on campus, the overnight use of commuter lots by residents living on and off campus, and the changes in faculty, staff, administration, and graduate student parking privileges.

As students, we have every right to be frustrated with something, vocalize concerns regarding that something, and act to change that something – this is what is so great about the democratic process. It is clear that the University made a series of mistakes that began with changing the transportation on campus without consulting the undergraduate student population and ended with neglecting to adequately inform us of these changes.

All is not critical however; I would like to emphasize the fact that it is very clear that UConn administrators did not make these decisions with the intent of wreaking havoc on the lives of students - even someone as radical as myself can understand why such an assumption would be illogical. These changes were made with good intentions and it is our responsibility as students to vocalize why we see the changes as flawed.

According to a survey of UConn undergraduate and graduate students conducted by USG over the course of two days (n=390), 97.4% of respondents either agree or strongly agree that there is a need for a comprehensive transportation services reform on campus. In response to data presented, the USG Senate has agreed upon “A Joint Resolution Concerning UConn Transportation Services” to advocate students vocalizing their concerns regarding UConn Transportation Services.

Moving forward, USG will host a Transportation Services public forum on Wednesday, September 12th in McHugh 101 at 6:00 PM. Administrators, including the VP of Facilities Operations and the Director of Parking Services will be present to field questions by students.

Sincerely,

Omar Taweh

Public Relations Director

Undergraduate Student Government

SU Rm. 219 2110 Hillside Rd Unit 3008 Storrs, CT 06269-3008


The demands of the student body to Transportation Services are two-fold: transparency in all operations executed by Transportation Services and improved access to transportation services needed by students.

1. The student body demands full transparency for the work done by Transportation Services. This includes, but is not limited to:

a. Data collected by Transportation Services, used to influence decisions that will in turn, affect the student body.

b. Finances associated with parking services, specifically with regards to parking tickets and parking permits.

c. Factors leading to the decisions made by Transportation Services.

d. Information collected using survey’s, research, and other internal investigations.

2. The student body demands the following adjustments, revisions, and/or corrections be made to the current Transportation Services plans.

a. Review and revise the allocation of Area 1, Area 2, and Commuter parking lots. WHY? There should be a fair distribution of the parking lot types throughout campus. Enforcing some lots as only Area 2 shows a preference for a specific UConn demographic (i.e. professor, graduate student, undergraduate) – if UConn truly is a “walking campus”, there should be few exceptions made for priority parking. Creating lots with half Area 2 and half Commuter complicates traffic patterns and statistically increases the amount of time needed to look for a parking spot.

b. Reduce time restrictions on non-residential parking spots in accordance with peak traffic hours, late night traffic, and other traffic patterns. WHY? Students are unable to keep their cars on campus for occasional use such as going home or shopping.

c. Review and revise the bus lines in accordance with student feedback (collected transparently). WHY? The bus lines do not adequately connect points of campus frequently traversed by students.

d. Enforce rigidly followed bus schedules that meet the criteria outlined on the Transportation Services website (e.g. bus comes every 10 minutes). WHY? An overwhelming number of students have reported giving up waiting for a bus and being late for class as a result of buses not showing up when they should.

e. Reintroduce Husky Rides program (or analogous initiative) for on-campus rides late at night. WHY? Many students report feeling unsafe walking across campus late at night – students have a right to have resources that will allow them to feel safe on their University campus.

f. Expand the quantity of UPASS’s made available for students, in accordance with state plans for improving inter-state transportation services. WHY? Many students are reporting that Transportation Services has run out of UPASS’s to give out to students – every student pays a transportation fee and as part of CT’s initiative to reduce pollution and increase accessibility, they all have a right to a UPASS.

g. Create short-term (1-2 years) and long-term (3-5 years) plan for increasing commuter, A2, and resident parking. WHY? Soon to begin construction projects that will take away parking need to be preemptively addressed to prevent additional parking issues in the future.

These demands will be addressed during the forum on Wednesday, September 12th at 6:00 PM in McHugh Hall 101. They will subsequently be discussed and worked on in a smaller group setting with Transportation Services throughout the semester.


Letter to the Editor: LGBTSTEM Day

To the editor:

July 5, 2018 was the first international celebration of LGBTQI individuals in STEM. You probably didn’t get to celebrate. In fact, you probably didn’t hear about it at all unless you happened to notice that it was trending on twitter for most of the day on Thursday.

Regrettably, it was not observed at UConn or recognized through any official university communications (so far as I am aware). It was celebrated elsewhere – by numerous professional societies (e.g. American Society for Molecular Biology and Biochemistry), top tier scientific journals (e.g. Science), and even popular magazines (e.g. Scientific American).

If you are curious to know why LGBTSTEM day is a big deal or worthy of celebration– Jon Freeman, an Associate Professor of Psychology at NYU did the research for you and published an editorial in the journal Nature on July 3 – it is a sobering read.

Here’s the short version: Individuals who identify as sexual minorities are underrepresented overall in STEM. As students, they are almost 15 percent more likely to switch out of STEM majors and at a faster rate than women. Of those who finish their degree and find jobs in STEM, over two thirds feel uncomfortable being open about their sexuality at work – especially if their employer doesn’t offer same-sex benefits. 

There is no data about people who aren’t “out”.  Despite many funding agencies (NSF), universities (ehem), and STEM employers having diversity initiatives, as they absolutely should, very few of these programs specifically target LGBTQI individuals or even consider them to be a minority.

We are lucky to be in Connecticut and at UConn - to live, work, and study in an environment where there are resources and support networks available.  The future is bright. I’m here and I’m happy! But it would be incredibly naive, regardless of where we are, to pretend that these issues don’t exist.  The numbers don’t lie. And even supportive communities are still riddled with microaggressions and implicit bias.

Visibility and representation matter 365 days a year, not just on July 5. But next year on LGBTSTEM day, I hope that we can give a visible affirmation to our LGBTQI students, staff, and faculty who work in STEM.

We see you. We welcome you. We want you here. We need the diversity that you bring to be the best. 

Sincerely,

 John M. Redden, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor-in-Residence

Physiology and Neurobiology

Letter to the Editor: 20 Suggestions for career, personal and leadership success

It seems like yesterday, but it’s now been more than 40 years since I received my undergraduate degree from UConn. Seniors, you are about to step over that same threshold, and if your experiences are anything like mine have been so far, hold on tight! It’s a wild and crazy ride.  

Sometime after I completed college, Jay Rothberg, one of my Zeta Psi brothers who was a few years ahead of me, shared a list of suggestions for career, personal and leadership success that I reread each year. They have truly helped me avoid many “life-traps” along the way. Let me share them with you.


 

1. Postpone specialization. While it is in your employer’s best interest to have you specialize, it’s in your best interest to delay specialization. Gain knowledge and experience in as many areas as you can.

2. Be flexible. Too many people are unwilling to be flexible. Don’t complain about occasional drudge work, and don’t reject a relocation offer out-of-hand. Remember, as Calvin Coolidge said, “The winning edge is not in a gifted birth — or a high IQ — or in talent. The winning edge is in attitude, not aptitude.”

3. Go into work a little early, stay a little late, but remember to stay healthy and sharp. Sadly, there are too many clock watchers. Your boss won’t be one, and you shouldn’t. You should also stay healthy, by eating right, getting regular exercise, and doing stress relief exercises. Some years ago, John Malloy wrote “Dress for Success,” which I found very helpful in terms of what to and what not to wear at work.

4. Keep up professionally. Set aside one evening a week to keep up-to-date in your chosen field (or fields you are still seriously considering).

5. Continue perfecting your writing skills. Your speaking and oral communication skills may be excellent, but the first time the top people in your company will know of your existence will be through a report you will have written.

(Added note: Never send out sloppy, grammatically incorrect, or cutesy e-mails at work. And be especially careful with social media.)

6. Work for climbers, not conservers.

7. Make your boss’s surprises pleasant ones. Keep him/her informed. Strive to produce. As Peter Drucker says, “Nobody wants to hear of your labor pains, they just want to see the baby.”

8. Hone your selling skills. You’re always selling a new product, a new idea or yourself.

9. Become a problem-solver. Our country is full of problem identifiers, but precious few have the ability and guts to solve problems. In memos to your boss, always provide a recommendation.

10. Paraphrasing Wayne Gretzky, “Don’t skate to where the puck is now — skate to where it’s going to be.”

11. Embrace technological change. It’s going to keep changing the way we live and work. As soon as you leave college, your technology skill set will begin to become obsolete.

12. The biggest risk in your career is taking no risk at all. If opportunity is there, take it. This includes starting your own business.

13. Success comes to those who are persistent, focused, and organized. No matter what the endeavor, you can only be successful once you clarify your objectives and focus on achieving them. The link between goals and success is well established. (I recommend preparing written, definitive goals once a year: People who set goals accomplish more.) It’s important to remember:

  • Nothing is as easy as it appears.
  • Everything takes longer than expected.
  • As Murphy said, if anything can go wrong, it will — and at the worst possible moment.  And remember O’Toole’s corollary: Murphy was an optimist!
  • Any time things seem to be getting better, something has been overlooked.
  • People have the right answers to all problems — but those answers disappear when those people are put in a position where they can really understand the problem, and can do something about it.
  • Whatever happens, there is always someone who knew it would.

14. Be prepared to enjoy several careers. Be attentive and flexible. In the first 10 years, the average person has six to seven jobs.

15. Save at least 10 percent of your annual income for retirement.

16. Buy a house and pay It off in 10 years.

17. Recognize that effectively balancing family and career is close to impossible, but you’ve got to do the best you can.

18. Make a difference in a young person’s life.

19. Be supportive of your parents. They’ll say they don’t want to be a burden on you, but they probably will be. Always keep in mind how much they gave to you as you grew up.

20. Be happy with what you’ve got. You’ve got so much already. Don’t waste your life feeling like you have to have more and more.

Congratulations on your soon to be realized achievement. And most importantly, "ENJOY LIFE, THIS IS NOT A DRESS REHEARSAL."


Steve Rogers is the president of Subway Development Corp. of New England. He is a Leadership Legacy mentor, was a founding board member of the Mansfield Downtown Partnership and was a former national president of the University of Connecticut Alumni Association.

Letter to the Editor: UConn should bargain an agreement that achieves our "common goal"

Dear Editor,

As part of the majority of 2200 teaching and research assistants that approved our bargaining agenda earlier this year, we have deep concerns about the University’s slow pace negotiating with our union, GEU-UAW Local 6950, and its resistance to some of our key goals, such as stronger protections against sexual harassment. The University needs to commit more time and move much more quickly so that we can agree on a fair contract for next fall that enhances our ability to provide the critical research and teaching at the heart of UConn’s core missions.

We have read with disappointment about the University’s reluctance so far to embrace our efforts to enhance protections against sexual assault and harassment. Apparently, UConn took over 100 days to respond to our Union’s initial proposal on this important topic, a proposal aimed at making our University community more inclusive and just.

Given the worrisome results of UConn’s own 2016 Campus Climate Survey, we find UConn’s response to our proposals unacceptable. We urge UConn to channel the spirit of Women’s History Month to work harder with our Union to achieve what Women’s March organizer Linda Sarsour recently called “a fair agreement with GAs that enhances protections against sexual harassment and promotes gender equity.”

We are also deeply worried about our economic situation next year. With an average gross annual stipend around $20,000--nearly $1400 of which we pay in student fees --, many of us barely make ends meet, but we provide tremendous value to UConn and the State. Building on the improvements in our first contract will help us more easily focus on providing the best possible teaching and research through these hard times.

And while we appreciate the need for careful consideration of budgetary proposals at a time of fiscal crisis in our state, we have been troubled by UConn’s decision to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to an out-of-state law firm to negotiate with our union and the faculty union in recent years.  This is a sign of seriously warped priorities.

Recently, UConn spokesperson Stephanie Reitz, spoke of the “common goal of ensuring that our graduate assistants are treated fairly...with regard to pay, health care, workload and opportunity.” We demand that the Administration adhere to the spirit of this statement, by negotiating with our Union more frequently and reach a fair agreement promptly.


Roxanne Lebenzon, Anthropology Graduate Student

Sean Ooi, Natural Resources and the Environment Graduate Student

Letter to the Editor: Money in Politics

Dear Editor,

Contrary to popular belief, it is not the American people that have the greatest say in the political sphere. In reality, special interest groups with vast sums of money have a variety of ways to give their candidate or policy the edge to win. These interest groups can use their money in two different ways, donating money to PACs (Political Action Committees) or super PACs, as well as directly giving money to lobbyists. The point of a PAC is to raise money for a political candidate’s campaign. The funds are used for many things, such as television ads. PACs can receive up to $5000 in donations in a given year, while super PACs can accept unlimited funding. If a candidate has extra funds remaining by the end of their campaign, there are restrictions on how they can spend it. After operating costs are covered, they cannot pocket the extra cash, but what they can do is spend money on another candidate’s campaign. This practice benefits incumbents with established influence and may be against the original wishes of the donors. Lobbyists are paid to contact candidates directly and convince them to make one decision or another. This system lessens the candidate’s autonomy, and ensures they are constantly being persuaded by those with the deepest pockets. Why should the founders of corporations be able to use lobbyists as investments, by paying their way to getting legislation they want passed? Politics that can be influence by money creates an innately unfair system, as no society in the world has been able to solve the problem of wealth inequality. These practices must be abolished if fair representation is desired.

  - Henri Serkosky