by Angela Fortuna
Central Connecticut State University’s President Dr. Zulma Toro, just announced that she will be postponing all inaugural events to aid ailing family members in Puerto Rico, after Category 4 Hurricane Maria destroyed many areas of the island.
In an email sent to all actively enrolled students on Friday night, Associate Vice President of Marketing and Communications Mark Warren McLaughlin, informed that Toro’s decision to help her family and friends in Puerto Rico compelled Central to cancel all activities related to her inauguration.
“Out of respect for President Toro, and in solidarity with the people of Puerto Rico, the university is also cancelling the events of Inauguration Week intended to be a celebration of the university’s engagement with its communities,” McLaughlin informed in the email. “President Toro has decided she must put all her immediate time and energies into relief efforts for her family members who are still in Puerto Rico, some of them with health issues, in the hopes of bringing them back to the States.”
According to CNN, Puerto Rico is not receiving nearly as much aid as they need at this point in time. The devastation in Puerto Rico has been described as “apocolyptic” according to officials and residents.
Toro arrived in Miami late yesterday afternoon to meet her mother, who had just arrived from Puerto Rico, according to the email.
“Puerto Rico is facing formidable and dire conditions throughout the aftermath of Hurricane Maria,” Student Government Association President Brendan Kruh said. “Dr. Toro, who has family and friends in Puerto Rico, holds a level of fortitude and commitment to her community which we as Blue Devils should aspire to achieve.”
“The situation in Puerto Rico is so dire,” Toro said. “The need for help – my help and the help of others – is so great that I cannot turn my back on my family and friends and others I may be able to help.”
“I admire President Toro and her decision. While I am sure most will be bummed that the festivities are going to postponed, she is putting her family and friends before her own celebration,” SGA Senator Gabriella Bierwirth said.
“Dr. Toro made a decision to help aid family members who are in need,” SGA Vice President Marissa Cusano said. “I stand with Dr. Toro and her decision, family is extremely important. I hope Dr. Toro is able to help her family.”
CCSU tweeted about their decision to postpone all inaugural events and received positive feedback.
One Central student responded to the tweet saying “Go save lives, Madam President. You are doing more than 45 is. Godspeed.”
Another Twitter user replied to the tweet saying “Wishing her and her family well.”
“Her inauguration is an extremely important day for her, but she is willing to put all that aside in order to give help and support to those who need it,” Bierwirth said. “The destruction that is impacting Puerto Rico is terrible, and I am proud and honored to have a President who is ready to take action and who values her family.”
“Dr. Toro said that she deeply regrets the inconvenience and disappointment her decision may cause, but that she hopes people will understand that this is a decision she was compelled to make by the conditions in her native Puerto Rico,” according to McLaughlin’s email.
The date of Toro’s inauguration and events leading up to it are yet to be determined.