As a student at the University of Connecticut, it breaks my heart to see the non-faculty professional employees being disrespected by state political leaders and the news media. It is shameful that some legislators are taking a “victory lap” after members of the University of Connecticut Professional Employees Association (UCPEA) decided to withdraw their contract due to a clerical error.
The reported expulsion of a former Yale men’s basketball captain for alleged sexual misconduct that he disputes — and the team’s apology as teammates balance personal loyalty with support for “a healthy, safe and respectful campus climate”— can raise awareness at universities and beyond.
The staunch advocates for public higher education and stewards of the state’s future – UConn-AAUP- should have a strong role in influencing university decisions that impact the common and public good.
Unfortunately we have witnessed exclusionary praxis from the UConn administration in recent months – dismissing the role of UConn-AAUP and leaving them out of vital decision-making. If this pattern continues where educators don’t have a voice in student learning conditions, scholarly work, or university direction, then the quality of education at the University of Connecticut will suffer immensely.
The University of Connecticut provides Connecticut’s knowledge infrastructure. As with our underfunded transportation infrastructure, failing to provide base adequacy funding now will not only have immediate harm but will produce cascading consequences. Deep cuts in the current biennial budget (and perhaps the next) will impair UConn for the next decade. To the taxpayers and General Assembly of Connecticut, I urge: Maintain UConn’s state funding.
If the University of Connecticut can afford to pay more in administration costs than almost any other university, surely it can afford to reduce graduate student fees to a level comparable with peer universities. Graduate students at UConn want a fair contract, including a fee reduction, so they can afford the local cost of living and continue to provide the university with the quality education and research we’ve all come to expect.