Last night, the University of Connecticut Trustee Town Hall discussed the impact of Connecticut’s state budget, updates on construction projects and ways to assist students transferring from regional campuses.
“[UConn was] preparing for a $100 million budget cut, so a lot of the cutting has already been done in advance. But obviously they didn’t plan for the $43 million extra, so they are going to need to make some extra cuts in order to cover that,” USG member Josh Wojtyna said.
Wojtyna said to cope with the cuts, the university is planning on implementing a hiring freeze and is hoping to stop buying “unnecessary things.”
Undergraduate Trustee Christine Savino said it is not possible to cope with the budget cuts by halting construction.
“A lot of students have been asking why we were spending so much on construction if we’re so much in debt and have such a limited revenue,” Savino said. “The thing is that expenses are agreed upon by the state government in the beginning of the year, so there’s not much we can do about it now. That’s the big reason why the administration was saying this is a difficult position for us to be in.”
Wojtyna said road work construction and repairs aren’t funded from UConn’s budget but rather from the state.
“All the maintenance and repairs for things like piping isn’t optional,” Wojtyna said. “When something does break, we either have to fix it or replace it.”
USG member Michael LaPorte said the schedule for construction on North Eagleville Road is expanding and the completion deadline is being postponed, but the budget cuts aren’t entirely to blame for that.
“An extra $43 million [budget cut] isn’t going to create a perpetual construction project and make the road a one way for decades because the university can’t manage money,” LaPorte said.
Savino said the construction on North Eagleville Road won’t cause a tuition hike because it isn’t funded by students’ tuition.
The student representatives at the Trustee Town Hall spoke on their frustration over the amount of bus lines that aren’t running this year.
“I think I speak for a lot of people when I say that we want yellow line back,” LaPorte said. “Yellow line is basically the express route for people that park in C Lot and just want to get to campus. It’s just C Lot, tennis courts, foundation, skipping everything else. If they can bring red line back, they can bring yellow line back, if North Eagleville (Road) was the concern.”
The Trustee Town Hall concluded with suggestions on how to improve the transition for regional campus students.
“Sometimes when students transfer from regional campuses to the Storrs campus they have academic issues. They don’t join any clubs, they basically shut down—not all regional students of course, but statistically it’s a lot,” Savino said. “So, we’re going to start holding welcome back events and creating ways for those students to get involved.”
Wojtyna spoke on his idea for a survey where students and clubs and organizations fill out a questionnaire.
“It’s essentially a matchmaking system where both students and clubs and organizations can fill out a questionnaire. Both sides fill out the form so they can get personalized results as to which students would be a good fit for which clubs,” Wojtyna said.
Other ideas considered to help improve the transition for regional campus students to Storrs included an initiative where students travel to Storrs once a month to “see how things are set up” and a longer orientation for transfer students.
Gabriella Debenedictis is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.