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Faculty Senate

By Acadia Otlowski

There will be no Vance Lecture this semester.

It was announced, by the Faculty Senate’s Ad Hoc Committee on the Vance Lecture’s Nicholas Pettinico, that there would not be a lecture during the Fall 2014 semester, due to it and the Vance Foundation’s inability to agree on a lecturer. The senate applauded the decision.

“We took the lecture off the table for this academic year,” said Pettinico, who stated that after the committee submitted a large number of options for the Vance Foundation to choose from; they were unable to decide on one person.

The committee submitted a list of approximately 30 suggestions based off of recommendations from the Faculty Senate. These were not accepted by the Vance Foundation, which produced a candidate of its own: senior reporter, Bob Shieffer, who the committee rejected as a suggestion.

“There needs to be more diversity in the lecture series. We need to revisit this with them again,” said Pettinco, who reflected the senate’s sentiments that the Vance Foundation picked candidates that fit into a specific demographic group.

Past speakers have been primarily journalists and government figures. Speakers have included Bob Woodward, Rudolph Guliani, George H. W. Bush and Gerald Ford. The senate feels that there have too many white males as the speakers. There has only been one female speaker in the Vance Lecture series, Jeane Kirkpatrick, former U.S. ambassador and anticommunist.

“We hope to resume those discussions later on in the spring,” said Pettinco who said that it has been hard to communicate with the Vance Foundation because one members was in Florida for the winter.

According to Pettinco, there was one candidate that the two groups were able to agree on. Maya Angelou is a poet, author, actress and civil rights activist. Both the committee and the Vance Foundation agreed on Angelou as a speaker. But when she was extended an invitation, Angelou declined due to poor health.

Additionally, the senate discussed the ongoing, system-wide project proposed by the Connecticut State University President Gregory Gray. What was formerly known as Excel CT has been rebranded to Transform CSCU 2020. In the governor’s budget proposal, he allocates $134 million in new dollars, money that the system did not have before.

“President Gray refers to this money as a down payment,” said Stephen Cohen, Faculty Senate president. “It is less than President Gray had in mind.”  But despite this, Gray expects to get more money to implement his plans for the system.

The new plan includes $60 million in operating funds, $24 million of which will go to tuition support.

“This will allow us to have a much smaller tuition hike,” said Cohen.

There is also $74 million in bonded funds. This is for on-campus classroom technology. Gray has plans to have what he calls “genius classroom.” These classrooms not only include the newest technology and the ability to network. Gray has the hope that this will allow classes with low enrollment to meet virtually, using these classrooms.

The bonded funds will also go towards investigating possible options for uniting the entire system with registration, financial aid and admissions among other things. This is being used to make the CSU system into one complete system, where students apply to the system and can take credits in multiple institutions.