UConn Year in Review: Getting back to normal 

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This past year has seen much of the campus return to normal. It is the first year in which the university, state and nation largely dropped any substantial COVID-19 guidelines, with masking, distancing and testing regiments being almost completely dropped. Many classrooms and buildings became maskless for the first time since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic three years ago and President Biden publicly declared an end to the pandemic in September of 2022.  

Additionally during this time, President Biden announced his plan to cancel significant amounts of student debt in August of 2022. The plan called to cancel up to $10,000 for everyone in the United States making less than $125,000 a year and $20,000 for those who received federal Pell Grants. Biden also announced that those in public service jobs, such as teachers and police officers, who pay their student loans for more than 10 years, would have the ability to have their federal student loans totally forgiven. This plan was blocked in November of 2022, when a district court judge blocked the plan as unconstitutional. Now the fate of 43 million American student debt is in the hands of the Supreme Court, which has already heard arguments for the case and will release a decision likely in June of this year.  

Additionally, the UConn board of trustees selected a new permanent president, of which the university had been without for over two years. It was a spot that had been open since former President Thomas Katsouleas resigned in the summer of 2021 due to personal conflicts with the board of trustees. The board decided to select the then serving Interim President Radenka Maric, a choice that was not particularly popular among students, but nonetheless received the endorsements of both student trustees.  

The end of the fall semester of 2022 was marked by the moral triumph of new head coach Jim Mora’s “revolution,” in which the UConn football team was able to generate a 6-6 record, beat an AP top-25 team and played in a bowl game. The year prior, the Huskies only won one singular game against Connecticut rival Yale. It was a triumphant season for a team that many analysts believed was one of the worst teams in the nation.  

At the end of the year the national 2022 midterm elections saw Connecticut re-elect both of its congressional representatives, Senator Richard Blumenthal and Governor Ned Lamont. Nationally, Democrats were able to stave off a red wave by outperforming expectations in key races, leading to a narrow loss in the House of Representatives and victory in the U.S. Senate.  

As the spring semester began, things continued to move towards normalcy. The university held its first in-person spring involvement fair since the beginning of the pandemic. As national COVID-19 era funding ended and the university’s budget shrank, new University President Radenka Maric, in conjunction with the Undergraduate Student Government, organized students into one of the largest rallies for additional funding since before the pandemic. The #SAVEUCONN initiative began in February of 2023 after students received an email from President Maric claiming that UConn’s funding was being cut by $160 million and that if that budget were to pass as proposed, students may have to pay more in tuition to make up for the difference. On the same day, students received an email from then USG President Mason Holland about organizing a protest at the Connecticut Capitol Building in Hartford. In all, about 700 students and the marching band participated in the #SAVEUCONN protest.  

A few weeks later, UConn entered a familiar March Madness with high hopes. The UConn men’s basketball team entered March consistently ranked top-25 in the AP’s ranking. Both the men and womens teams were champions of the Phil Knight invitational tournament. In the end, UConn’s men’s team rolled past nearly every opponent, winning by double digits in every tournament game. Led by forward Adama Sanogo along with guards Jordan Hawkins and Andre Jackson Jr., the Huskies beat San Diego State in the national championship game 76-59. Many analysts described the championship run as one of the most dominant ever.  

Chaos erupted at the UConn Storrs campus after the national championship victory, with scenes reminiscent of the 2014 championship riots. Students destroyed multiple light posts, smashed multiple windows in addition to flipping a car. That night, 15 students were arrested and 16 were hospitalized, but as time has gone by the number of students under arrest has grown while those in the hospital have lowered. President Maric and UConn Safety announced an investigation looking through both security footage and footage posted to social media in order to make more arrests. At the time of this article these investigations are still ongoing.  

There were many other events that defined the 2022-2023 school year. Queen Elizabeth II died in early September shortly before Elon Musk officially bought Twitter. In December, Lionel Messi and Argentina won the World Cup and there were 15 rounds of voting to elect the United States Speaker of the House. NASA announced that it will be returning to the moon and former President Donald Trump was charged with 34 felony charges.  

Overall, the 2022-2023 year was chaotic and saw many ups and downs. UConn campus and the world inched towards a sense of normalcy, perhaps even a new normal, as the restrictions put in place due to the devastating pandemic began to be lifted. 

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