How dogs and cats can get their day in court

In 2016, the FBI started to track animal cruelty, including neglect, torture and sexual abuse, because of disturbing connections.
“If somebody is harming an animal, there is a good chance they also are hurting a human,” said John Thompson, the deputy executive director of the National Sheriffs’ Association. “If we see patterns of animal abuse, the odds are that something else is going on.”
In response to longstanding failures to aggressively prosecute and sentence perpetrators of animal cruelty, I developed a way for lawyers and law students to advocate for animal victims. I believe this approach can solve the problem of under-enforcement of anti-cruelty laws and achieve justice for animals.

In undertaking tax reform, lawmakers must prioritize college affordability

As student debt mounts nationally, with the $1.4 trillion in U.S. student loans now surpassing credit card debt, it’s critical to ensure Connecticut parents and students have smart college financing options. A little-known mechanism — tax-exempt Qualified Student Loan Bonds — provides Connecticut families an important pathway to finance their college dreams.

But as Congressional leaders tackle tax reform this fall, that tool could be on the chopping block.

Making the same case for community colleges — proudly

During my nearly 40-year association with higher education, I have made the same equity case about the value of community colleges. Their history is rooted in the public good. Their mission embraces the community. Their vision points to a stronger future. Their core values demand respect. They are the embodiment of the Civil Rights Movement. They are splendid institutions.

Republican budget shoots Connecticut’s economy in the foot

The Republican budget passed by the legislature had some terrible things in it: the elimination of the Citizens Election Program and the absorption of commissions that speak for the less fortunate into larger departments.  One of the worst parts of the budget is the micromanaging of the University of Connecticut.

At UConn, a case of slamming the door shut behind you

In times of need every university turns to its alumni for help and support. But what is a university like the University of Connecticut to do when among its alumni are state senators and representatives who would vote for a budget that cuts over $300 million from their own Alma Mater, a cut that, quite simply, amounts to the dismantling of a major public university?

State plans to change teacher certification requirements are ‘misguided’

Last week’s CT Mirror reporting concerning the State Department of Education’s plans to once again change the teacher certification regulations to allow more “non-traditional” pathways is both deeply frustrating and sadly misguided. The public indictment of higher education institutions in this article speaks volumes about the “blame game” that the State Department of Education, and particularly the Chairman of the Board of Education, continues to promote towards the very institutions working to provide the high quality, well-trained teachers Connecticut needs.

Connecticut’s budget needs to encourage more higher ed, not hamper it

Connecticut is not getting the message sent by General Electric, Aetna and other corporations who have either left the state for greener pastures or are contemplating a move. GE pulled up stakes and relocated its corporate facilities from Fairfield to Boston, where it felt there was a far more robust “innovation pipeline,” a greater talent pool and stronger incubation opportunities. Aetna is also moving its corporate office, a bastion in Hartford for more than a century, to seek better opportunities in Manhattan.
In light of these losses, you would think we would be doing everything in our power to convince companies that Connecticut has the talent to support the needs of its employers by prioritizing funding for higher education and financial aid.

Community colleges move the people and can move the state

I am not forgetting about or unsympathetic to the state’s demanding financial situation and the complex challenges of addressing the projected shortfalls in the next biennial budget. At Naugatuck Valley Community College (NVCC), we know about increasing pressures to meet the needs of our constituencies while available funds keep decreasing. I say proudly that NVCC has remained in the black during each of the past nine years.

Seeking a debt-free college education

Attending a college is something most of us dream about as teenagers. We look forward to becoming doctors, police officers, artists, nurses, etc. When the time comes to enroll in a college, the last thing on our minds is the price and how much it’ll all cost in the end. All we are excited for is this new journey and becoming young adults.
When I first started college in the fall of 2012 at Central Connecticut State University, financial aid covered my yearly tuition in its entirety. Today, however, five years later, I maxed out of the money I can borrow from financial aid, and now all my stress comes from figuring out how to pay for college.

Dismantling access to Connecticut’s higher education

I woke up recently to the headline that the governor of Nevada had signed into law the Nevada Promise Scholarship which would provide tuition-free community college to eligible students. Thus Nevada joins Massachusetts, New York and Tennessee in providing increased access to higher education for low income students through a robust community college system. Connecticut has taken the opposite route. Instead of looking at ways to increase access, the solution that is being proposed is dismantling the community college system by centralizing and creating a hierarchy with one president overseeing 12 colleges.