by Jennifer Sanguano
Central Connecticut State University students and Student Government Association members spoke out against state budget cuts that may impact the price tag of going to CCSU.
The students shared their testimonies at the Legislative office building in an Appropriation Committee hearing last Thursday.
About 10 CCSU representatives attended the event. Two of them had their names on the list to testify. The rest of Central’s representatives had to wait for the lottery at the end of the hearing to be able to share their testimonies, including SGA’s president, Brendan Kruh.
“[This] is really important for Central students. We’re the largest state university other than UConn to be out here advocating for the value of our education, and if we are not doing that, we are making an injustice not only for our students, but our state’s economy,” Kruh said.
Kruh recalled last year’s hearing when he was invited to testify; he was surprised by the small amount of representation CCSU had. This year, as president of the SGA and member of the External Affairs Committee, Kruh focused his efforts to bring in more students.
“That’s why External Affairs was founded, with the intent of being able to rally that support from the students. It’s hard to get that translation to occur,” Kruh said.
Dante Solano, member of the SGA and the EAC, explained the role of the new committee on the SGA to Central students.
“We found it necessary for the SGA to create a committee who will be dedicated towards dealing with problems at the state and local level with our politicians and elected representatives,” Solano said.
Kruh and Solano are very aware of the state’s budget issues that could affect CCSU students.
“The state is in poor shape, and as its been indicated, we are going to be adding another $500 million to the deficit,” Kruh said.
Solano emphasized he wants to gather more representation from CCSU to address the state budget’s difficulties.
“In general, we are going to see cuts. That’s inevitable because of the rising deficit and debt we have,” Solano said. “It’s the severity of the cuts that we can affect by testifying and making our stories heard and by being active and involved in the political ground. That’s really what we are aiming for, giving a face to what the cuts mean and how they affect us as students, and how it will affect the future workforce of the state.”
Considering Central’s contribution to the state’s workforce, both Kruh and Solano agree that cuts to higher education will eventually affect the state’s economy.
“Roughly 92 percent of Central Connecticut graduates are retained within the Connecticut workforce,” Kruh informed.
“Central gives a lot back to the community. Many of the students live in the state and work in that workforce, so cutting will be detrimental for them and the state,” Solano said.
Kruh urges students who are concerned about the price tag of their education to become more informed and involved in this cause. He also advises students to reach out to legislators to voice their concerns.
“The challenge is not to only read [about] it and not only find out about it, but to go and take it a step further. Come and talk to the SGA [and] come and talk to the External Affairs Committee to see how [you] can get involved in order to fight rises on higher education,” Kruh said.
“Even if we are not able to get a bus-load of people to come to an event like this, we are only 15 minutes away from Hartford,” Kruh continued. “If we have a constant presence in terms of talking to the legislators who serve on [the] higher education committee, and having that active relationship with them, we are going to be much more memorable than that person who shows up once a year.”