How to get to know your university


How does one get to know their university? And, more importantly, why should people get to know their university? 

Because the University of Connecticut has campuses around the state and academic opportunities throughout the world, its truly global scale makes UConn a lofty subject to “get to know.” Decidedly more complicated than friends, acquaintances, first dates, neighbors or coworkers, UConn can neither be summarized or abstracted through a few short conversations, nor by annual reports and misleading UConn Today profiles. The size and structure of UConn along with the bodies upon bodies of scholarly work that it sponsors are large beyond comprehension. Students may clear their senior year before they even hear the words “board of trustees” or “UConn Foundation” uttered by their peers — knowing what these bodies do is a task unto itself.  

A core responsibility of The Daily Campus Editorial Board is to do the grunt work for readers — that is, by synthesizing the variety of current events, reports, features and events taking place beneath the UConn banner — and the past year has allowed us to do this unlike any other. For the Board, getting to know UConn has been a function of investigating and criticizing what it gets wrong and being candid about what it gets right. This has allowed us to amass innumerable editorials piecing together a picture of UConn as a capitalist, undemocratic institution that is somewhat paradoxically rife with amazing communities and promising initiatives. The secret to understanding UConn is actually quite uncomplicated; to demonstrate, let The Daily Campus Editorial Board walk through this academic year. 

This year’s Editorial Board successfully combined both criticism and activism to help better the UConn community. Political tensions appeared in mid-September as students and workers coalesced to address dwindling funding for campus cultural centers and programs. The Editorial Board stood and continues to stand with marginalized students demanding more support for cultural centers and the workers staffing them, while also drawing attention to the exorbitant cost of funding the UConn Police Department at the expense of meaningful services for the university.  

The Editorial Board routinely applied scrutiny to UCPD and its practices, which include participating in exercises simulating protest suppression to the surveillance of students on social media. We have remained vocal about the student movement in solidarity with survivors of sexual violence, which has been routinely stymied by bureaucracy and institutional unwillingness. A similar problem plagues UConn’s uncertain efforts on sustainability, which the Editorial Board has chronicled this year as grassroots pressure to transition to zero carbon infrastructure intensifies. 

We have also been able to zoom out and view UConn from a structural lens with more rigor than previous years, shining a light on UConn’s problematic ties to the violent and destructive military-industrial complex, complicity with Israeli oppression of Palestinians and contribution to college-area gentrification. These issues are foregrounded on the local level by the university and board of trustees’ ultimate alignment with capitalist austerity and revenue maximization and against the democratic inclusion of students and workers in decision-making, a tendency that became overtly clear in the lead up and aftermath to the #SaveUConn protest in early March. 

The Editorial Board has not shied away from breaking down the compliant relationship between Undergraduate Student Government and the exponentially more powerful administration and board of trustees, noting how real change is most palpable from the grassroots. We nonetheless recognized the importance and potential of USG and university-sponsored events addressing food insecurity — such as Husky Harvest — and resources for the LGBTQIA+ community in a national environment that is becoming increasingly hostile to them.  

This has been a banner year for The Daily Campus Editorial Board and the student movements we have followed, setting a standard as a body that has fought and will continue to fight for students. We are committed to helping you get to know UConn the way we have — a contradiction, a landmark, a community, a site of struggle.  

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