Reading the #SAVEUCONN page I was immediately astounded by the resources that were being given to the effort. Buses. Lunch boxes. For a person who thoroughly enjoys people coming together, I thought it was an amazing thing to see students banding together to stand up for their school. Unfortunately, it wasn’t soon before I discovered for myself and through discussions with others that there was more to the announcement than met the eye.
In response to the “budgets cuts” the University of Connecticut announced a “$3,000 tuition increase” as stated on the Undergraduate Student Government’s #SAVEUCONN page and President Radenka Maric’s email. The #SAVEUCONN page also describes possible cuts from “vital on campus services, including mental health resources.” Rather than cut spending in other areas and endeavor to find ways to adjust for the budget cuts it seemed the university’s first reaction was to place the burden on their students by hiking tuition and potentially even taking away from resources that are indeed vital to students. The “budget cuts” did not need to be a students’ fight. It seemed like the university, or more likely its administration, was willing to use students for their own means rather than stand by them when it came to tuition. I could not understand why a university that has the 15 highest paid state government employees would need to raise tuition to such a degree that some of its students would no longer be able to afford it. Were there truly no other options? And perhaps, it was all said to raise this anger and create unity but for me any anger towards the governor was also joined with a sense of suspicion regarding the university I called home.
The governor’s response shocked students. It feels as though we’ve been pulled into a political tug of war and I frankly don’t know whose word to take as truth, or if one truth even exists. What I do know is that I would greatly appreciate more transparency regarding budgets when it comes to UConn. This is not the first time confusion has caused protest. In 2022, there were rumors about cutting spending to cultural centers at the time. UConn later issued a statement explaining that certain allocation changes had lowered the operating budget for certain cultural centers and programs. Such information would prove helpful in not only keeping students within the loop but also in giving students information that helps them better understand the workings of resources that are vital to them on campus.
Along with transparency, I would love to see UConn’s administration take arms in this same way against other problems across campus. This would require its very own article but it is important to add. Should another problem arise I hope UConn and its administration are willing to go to such lengths to fight again.
I care about this school. I have found some of my closest friends here. But the administration of UConn should not forget that their responsibility is to maintain a college that provides students — all students — with resources they need and a fair chance to remain at school. UConn’s strength is its students. That is blatantly obvious from the ongoings of this week. But this strength is misused if it is not also accompanied with transparency from the administration.