By Kassondra Granata
At it’s last meeting, the Student Government Association agreed to allocate $6,500 towards hiring a nationally recognized scholar who specializes in student attainment.
President Eric Bergenn, who made the motion, passed the chair over to Vice President Liz Braun during New Business. Vincent Tinto is a professor at Syracuse University and a recent chair of the Higher Education Program. He has carried out research and has written about higher education revolving around student success, student growth and attainment.
“He is a specialist in retainment and he has done a lot working with different schools around the country to help them improve those things,” Bergenn said. “The school [CCSU] was planning to bring him in but with all of the recisions the Provost office wasn’t able to afford it.”
According to his faculty website, Tinto has received numerous awards. In 2008, he was awarded the Council of Independent Colleges Academic Leadership Award, the National Institute for Staff Development International Award in 2008 and was recently named Distinguished Fellow in the Council of Learning Assistance and Developmental Education Associates.
“This is something that I think is very important and it is something that I think the school has been suffering with, especially recently. I would really hate to see something like this not happen for it would really help the school in finding the right direction to go,” Bergenn said. “This isn’t an event this is a study we are paying for. He [Tinto] is going to take a lot of time doing a critical analysis of the university and it’s objectives and the current status quo and seeing if there might be room for improvement.”
Bergenn said that some of the money would be used this year and then another would be used next year. The total amount would be about $10,000. According to Bergenn, the University would pay Tinto around $8,000 to make the assessments, about $2,000 for airfare and $3,000 for food and other necessary items.
Sen. Bepin McGushi said that he was against the motion as “a whole.” McGushi questioned CCSU’s Institutional Advancement Office and asked the senate what the purpose would be for hiring Tinto if the University already has this sort of office.
Bergenn said that the Institutional Advancement Office assess data based on the guidance of the University President and the Provost. Bergenn said that CCSU wants to bring in a professional.
Sen. Bobby Berriault, unlike McGushi, said that he was “100 percent in favor” of Bergenn’s motion.
“A lot of the things that come to our student government are short-term programs or short-term projects and what we have here is a long term program that if approved we will benefit from,” said Berriault. “We need to get our numbers up. As the school continues to grow in both size and in students we need to get our retention rate statistics up. This motion is not just a study, the outcome is so much more. The possibilities are endless.”
Bergenn’s motion passed with 23 yes votes, eight no votes and three abstentions.
Earlier in the meeting during Public Hearing, Inter Residence Council President Ian Mangione came to speak to the senate regarding the denial of a resolution commending IRC’s Food Committee.
At the Jan. 16 meeting, Sen. Bobby Berriault proposed a resolution to commemorate the Food Committee’s efforts. After debate, the resolution failed.
Mangione said that he was disappointed in the senate not passing the resolution and said that the committee “earned it.”
“Though food committee operates under IRC, there is no executive power held over the committee. In other words it functions at the word of the students, not elective representatives,” said Mangione. “To reject this is to reject the students that you represent.”