All posts by lorenzo burgio

Professor, Catholic, Father, Grandfather and Social Activist

by Sophie Contreras

Many people spend the majority of their lives searching for their passion. Luckily for Professor Christopher Doucot, he found his passion early.

Doucot was inspired by Jesuit priest Daniel Berrigan, who lived his life as a contemporary of Christ by actively practicing his faith and anti-war activism.

Doucot decided to live life in a similar way, by promoting nonviolence, peace and helping the less fortunate.

As a college student, Doucot spent his free time volunteering at his local Catholic Worker, in Worcester. He eventually moved into the Catholic Worker home to further contribute to the organization upon graduating.

Doucot then married his wife, Jackie Allen Doucot, and moved to Hartford where he began some of his most impactful work.

Doucot is not only a professor at several universities, but also helps the less fortunate.

Around the early 1990s, Doucot and Jackie decided they wanted to practice their faith in a more serious way. Doucot used a football analogy to describe how he felt and why him and his wife decided to become “players of God’s Kingdom.”

“All around the country on Sunday morning, people gather in a stadium or in their homes to watch football, but that doesn’t make them football players, they are fans of football but the guys on the field are the players because they study and practice it,” said Doucot.

In 1993, Doucot began to live his passion by working with his wife and friend Brian Cavanaugh to open a branch of the Catholic Worker in the north end of Hartford. Their branch is commonly known among locals as the green house.

“We [the green house] try to practice the works of mercy in a daily matter; we share our home, food and clothes with people who need it,” said Doucot. This was evident at the green house, which was filled with children seeking after-school help and volunteers preparing snacks and aiding with homework.

In addition to providing a safe place to get help with homework and an after-school snack, the green house hosts a holiday party and a week at a summer camp. Their goal is to keep the kids of the north end of Hartford out of the streets and gangs.

Richard, a young boy who was been going to the green house for two years, shared some of his favorite things about it,

“My favorite part of the green house is playing basketball with the older kids and circle,” said Richard.

Doucot explained that everyone will hold hands to form a circle and share something they are grateful for. Richard said he was thankful for the green house.

Besides local work, Doucot does humanitarian work abroad. Doucot and his family have traveled to Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Mexico, Palestine and Darfur to provide aid to people America has called enemies. During the Bush, Clinton and Obama administrations, Doucot and his family actively protested against the war in Iraq and still promote peace among nations.

Doucot is originally from Boston and during his early life he attended a private Catholic school, then Holy Cross College in Worcester, where he graduated with a degree in religious studies in 1989.

Doucot later went on to graduate from Yale University with a master’s in religion and is now a professor at Central Connecticut State University and several other universities.

“People ask me about the hardest thing I’ve done, and I think it’s been raising our children in a society that values greed and violence, while we try to instill values of sharing and non-violence and communal living,” said Doucot.

Doucot has always kept his family and faith on the top of his priorities through his life, and having these values is what makes Doucot inspirational.

Phi Delta Theta and Student Government Build Relationship

by Lorenzo Burgio

Members of Phi Delta Theta and the Student Government Association at Central Connecticut State University are working together to lessen stereotypes about Greek life and continue to develop their previously shaky relationship by organizing the third annual ALS Walk.

 “Our relationship was on the rocks clearly due to stereotypes of Greek life in the news and that there has never been a Greek life representation in the SGA before,” said Jake Goulas, SGA Senator and PDT member.

“However, Marissa Cusano is a member of a sorority and also the SGA. We both joined SGA because we both felt that Greek life on campus was misunderstood and the SGA did show signs of discrimination towards Greek life in its past,” said Goulas.

Senator Marissa Cusano explained it was argued in the past that PDT members were not eligible to run for SGA because it is not a club, but a separate organization that collects large amounts of dues.

“It was argued that because they pay a large amount of money per semester in dues, it was unfair for them to ask SGA for money because they had plenty of it,” said Cusano, adding that this came up when the SGA denied PDT $300 last semester, requested for an alcohol awareness fair.

“In reality, the dues of the fraternity were mostly for national dues, meaning that almost all the money went to the national chapter and the local CCSU chapter was only able to keep a very small percentage of their dues,” said Cusano, explaining it was not enough to support all the events they hoped to hold on campus.

Another reason their relationship was tense in the past was due to lack of planning and organizing of the ALS Walk, explained Goulas.

PDT member Tum Souriyamath explained that other members and SGA senators were not able to meet to organize the ALS Walk in the past, something that is being worked on this semester.

“We started a committee formed of both members from SGA and PDT, and it allowed us to use everybody’s input and the minds of each other and push forward a common goal,” said Souriyamath.

“This year, we made a big leap in working the PDT. Last year when PDT requested funding for the walk, many senators argued against it. This year, it was a decision of the SGA Executive Board to form a joint committee with PDT to sponsor the annual ALS walk,” said Cusano, who explained she is the vice chair of the committee and Goulas the chair.

The SGA wants to continue building a relationship with PDT as they have this semester, explained Cusano.

“All the brothers in PDT are full-time undergraduates. Therefore, they pay into the student activity fee and have every right to those funds just like clubs and organizations,” said Cusano.

“We hope moving forward, the SGA can remove stereotypes towards all clubs and organizations and give everyone an equal right for funding,” added Cusano.

The ALS Walk is set for April 23, from noon to 3 p.m. in the Quad, and the walk will take place along campus.

“We currently do not work directly with the ALS Walk foundations; however, they are the national philanthropy of PDT. They don’t have any direct say in how we run our walk, but we do take suggestions and we are in the works of having some people from the ALS association to show representation at the walk and speak,” said Goulas.

Connecticut Police Show Little Interest In Body Cameras

by Lorenzo Burgio

As a student who has worked multiple retail, labor and customer service jobs throughout college, it’s baffling when police officers oppose the use of body cameras.

It is difficult to remember a job where security cameras were not running around the clock to make certain that employees did their jobs correctly.

Nearly everyone employed in the labor, retail and customer service fields are constantly being monitored to ensure their jobs are performed correctly; it’s trivial to think this does not apply to armed law enforcement.

It’s not a sufficient argument that “no one want to be monitored on the job,” when everyone is except police officers.

Across the nation, many law enforcement agencies have begun issuing body cameras to officers willing to comply, but there has been an alarming number that oppose the idea.

Coming from someone who has spent the last five and a half years being recorded at multiple jobs, only one reason comes to mind when an officer resists: they are not doing their job correctly.

It’s the only reason that lingers each time it is reported that an officer tried to prevent someone from filming them, or covered their badges from being seen.

An Act Concerning Excessive Use of Force was signed by Governor Dannel P. Malloy last October, to encourage the use of body cameras and use-of-force investigations in the state of Connecticut, but has received little response from state law enforcement.

Earlier this month, The Hartford Courant reported 12 out of the over 100 law enforcement agencies in the state have reached out to the Office of Police and Management regarding the act to receive reimbursement for body cameras; a $15 million program.

More interest in this program needs to be showed by law enforcement across the state, particularly to align with the beliefs of officers and the public.

A Pew Research study showed 93 percent of the public and 66 percent of police favor the use of body cameras to record interactions between officers and the public. About six-in-ten Americans said they would likely be more cooperative with officers if they wore body cameras, while only one-third of police agreed.

The study also showed two-thirds of the public and half of officers believe police are more likely to act appropriately when wearing a body camera.

It appears the actions taken by law enforcement agencies across the state regarding the use of body cameras do not match the beliefs of the public, or the majority of officers.

It is difficult to comprehend how nearly every employee in the retail, administration, labor and customer service industries are constantly monitored, but this does not apply to armed law enforcement, when statistics clearly show the public and many police feel body cameras will help protect and serve.

Four Jumped On Fastrak Near CCSU

Four individuals were mugged at the Cedar Street CTFastrak station on the night of St. Patrick’s Day when coming back from downtown Hartford; two were Central Connecticut State University students. Photo credit:

by Lorenzo Burgio

One person was jumped, one had a phone stolen and another got punched in the face at the Cedar Street CTfastrak station on the night of St. Patrick’s Day.

A trip back to New Britain from downtown Hartford resulted in two Central Connecticut State University students and two friends getting mugged.

Two minors, who are not CCSU students, were charged with sixth-degree larceny, breach of peace and interfering with an emergency call. They were later given juvenile summonses and released.

After parking at the East Street station in New Britain and getting on the CTfastrak, three females and one male arrived in downtown Hartford at approximately 10:30 p.m.

“Since what happened at Angry Bull, all the bars are strict. My friends’ fakes wouldn’t work anywhere, so we decided to leave,” said one of the three females, unwilling to be named, citing concerns for safety.

Half an hour later, the four friends got back on a Hartford CTfastrak bus to go back to New Britain. About 15 minors allegedly entered the bus at the next stop also in Hartford, said the woman.

The woman allegedly knew one of the individuals and he greeted her with a hug. The group of girls he was with, who were allegedly under the influence of alcohol, then became aggressive towards her.

“They started throwing glass bottles at us inside the bus while the bus was moving,” the woman alleged. She relocated to the front of the bus as her friends held the aggressive group of juveniles back. “The bus driver was doing nothing. She was letting it happen and continued driving.”
After approximately ten minutes, the bus stopped at the Cedar Street station in Newington, one stop away from their car at the East Street station. The woman said the group decided to get off because it was closer to the CCSU Police Department.

“The bus driver gave us a head start. She opened the doors for us and then shut them right after, but then [the bus] sat there,” the woman alleged, adding that as she was running away from the bus, the group of juveniles were banging on the bus’ windows.

The woman said she and another friend were approaching the Newington side of Fenn Road near Starbucks, and their two friends were on the New Britain side of the road, when she realized the group of juveniles were following them.
“The first two girls came running at me, and I’m trying to get away from them. Then three more girls came; they just surrounded me,” alleged the woman, who was thrown to the ground and hit until a friend pulled her up, according to the police report.
The minors then ran up to the other two friends across the street and punched the male in the face, pushing him into the snow, the woman alleged.
The woman was mugged in Newington and the male friend was punched in New Britain, alleged the woman, explaining that she and a friend were on the phone with police at this point.

When one of the juveniles realized the police were being called, they allegedly stole her friend’s cell phone and ran away, said the woman.

According to the police report, Sgt. Ramon Baez had just finished his shift and was exiting the building when he noticed several young females running into the lobby of CCSU Police Department.

The women informed Officer Rafael Rodriguez and one other officer they were victims of a robbery that occurred on the CTfastrak terminal on Fenn Road when Baez noticed two suspects behind the Dollar General, stated the report.
He watched the suspects as they began walking westbound on Wells Street, until they saw the cruiser and began running eastbound, at which point Baez pursued them on foot, ordering them to stop and identifying himself as a CCSU police officer, according to the police report.
As one suspect was being detained by Baez outside the East Hall Parking Lot until New Britain Police arrived, Rodriguez got to the scene, according to the report.

New Britain officers apprehended the second suspect in the front entrance of James Hall on Paul Manafort Drive, according to the report. The juveniles were placed under the custody of state police who are conducting further investigations.

“They caught the two males involved and put everything on them, because they didn’t catch any of the girls,” alleged the woman.

CTfastrak buses and stations are well lit with cameras and usually crime-free, other than problems associated with large groups of college students on certain nights, CTtransit general manager David Lee told The Hartford Courant.

Letter To The Editor: Teacher furlough days are harmful to helping state budget

Teacher furlough days are harmful to helping state budget

by Drew Michael McWeeney

After speaking with Connecticut State Colleges and Universities President Mark E. Ojakian last month, it is positively sinful that he and Governor Malloy are continuing to support the idea that state teachers in the state should voluntarily use unpaid leave as a kind of “furlough day,” in order to close the budget gap for our state’s economic crisis.

This is fantastic when some people, like Ojakian, get a free car, car insurance, an over $300,000 salary and free vehicle repairs.

Ask a teacher who makes under $90,000 a year, has $500 a month in student loans, pays for their own car and insurance, to take unpaid “days off” – and see what they have to say.

Furlough days do not work for state teachers; classes need to be taught. Students need feedback and help with material that is being taught. Teaching positions are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. generally, but that is only part of a teacher’s workday.

When I become a teacher, would I even dare to furlough the almost countless hours I spend after my students have left school and I am planning for the weeks and months ahead? Would I take a furlough day when my papers are due to journals on tight deadlines? Would I furlough the hours when I sneak out of bed the next day at 5 a.m. to squeeze in another hour or two of work? What about when I have to give up my time on weekends to work on writing IEPs, 504s, behavior modification plans and lesson plans? (Which teachers currently do, and are not paid for.)

Teachers in this state donate hundreds of hours a year beyond what their contract requires, and now CSCU President Ojakian and Governor Malloy want more. They both need to stop calling this situation a “budget crisis.” It has been this way since I entered college four years ago. A crisis cannot be permanent by definition, and the budget cannot be fixed by having all state teachers work for free. They do enough of that already.

I love how some, such as Governor Malloy and President Ojakian, assume that shared sacrifice means simply getting just a little bit more out of those who cannot afford it. Teachers in this state already donate a large portion of their salary to pay for retirement health benefits they might never see. Literally, teachers have to fork over cash twice a month because the state made promises they knew they could never afford.

Not to mention, President Ojakian and Governor Malloy forgot to say how much of their earnings they will give back to the state. How many furlough days for you, Mark Ojakian and Dannel Malloy? Check your privileges, for your salaries are too high for the work you both do.

No wonder why people – especially teachers – want out of Connecticut.

Drew Michael McWeeney, 21, of Wolcott is majoring in early childhood education and music performance and is a teacher candidate at Southern Connecticut State University. His website is

There is Little Proof Citizens are a Concern

by Lorenzo Burgio


Faceboook Begins Fighting Fake News


Major steps have recently been taken by Facebook to combat the spread of fake news and ultimately help decrease the amount of misinformation the public is exposed to.

The new feature on the social media sight flags stories that are disputed by the Associated Press and

When someone tries to share an article that is disputed, Facebook displays a warning that informs about the user that the information is disputed. Then a second pop-up that lets the user know Facebook is adhering to Poynter’s non-partisan code to distinguish that the article may have false information.

Facebook then links the user to pages on or on the AP website that explain why the article is labeled as disputed.

Individuals are able to ignore these messages and still post the article on their timeline, but directly below is a warning that says, “Disputed by and Associated Press.”

This feature apparently began a few months ago, but recently is making its appearance on social media where users are noticing it.

The model that Facebook chose to inform the public about fake news, and to tame the spread of fake news throughout social media, could be what the country needs.

Individuals who want to share questionable articles could be deterred if they are repeatedly informed that it is disputed by reputable fact-checkers.

This combats the spread of fake news from two angles; by informing the individual sharing the news and anyone who may come across in on Facebook.

This lessens the possibilities for people to become misinformed or play a part in the spread of fake news.

As it is a progressive step in the fight against fake news, this model of sifting out misinformation needs to be seen on other social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram.

This model could even be seen going as far as flagging memes that spread made-up facts and ideas.

Among the most recent flagged articles that was seen and shared on Facebook was a fictionalized story: “Trump’s Android Device Believed To Be The Source of Recent White House Leaks,” from “The Seattle Tribune.”

The story carried the disputed label with the links to AP and explaining why the story was not real.

According to USA Today, the articles that do end up getting flagged not only have the label, but they also get pushed down on people’s newsfeed.

As sharing regardless of the disputed label is a personal preference and there is no clear solution to stopping that in the near future, hopefully more and more Facebook users will get the hint to just not share it at all.

If Facebook users respond the right way, only then should other social media platforms follow Facebook’s lead.

We Need New Jobs in Renewable Energy

by Lorenzo Burgio

The beliefs and actions of the presidential administration regarding climate change are not aligning with those of the citizens.

Yale University recently performed a study that maps out how people view climate change throughout the country. The results show how opinions differ across regions, but overall there are more people who believe in climate change than those who do not.

The study revealed that seven out of 10 registered voters said the U.S. should remain a participant in the international agreement to limit climate change.

It was also found that two-thirds of registered voters want the U.S. to limit green house emissions, even if other countries are not.

Some other key findings were, 70 percent of Americans think global warming will hurt future generations, and 69 percent want stricter limits on carbon dioxide from coal plants.

The recent actions by President Donald Trump have not aligned with the stance of our country. According to the study, more Americans want to combat climate change than not.

Trump aims to increase mining jobs by lifting the Clean Power Plan put forth by Barack Obama in 2015, which requires states to limit the emission of carbon dioxide.

The argument against the Clean Power Plan is the same as when Trump repealed the Obama administration’s Stream Protection Rule, which allegedly left companies stagnant, unable to develop and losing jobs.

“Trump has already rolled back some Obama-era green regulations, including the Stream Protection Rule limiting coal mining waste dumping, and the Waters of the U.S. rule that expands the waterways under federal protection,” according to Reuters.

“An analysis found that the job impact would be minimal: repealing the rule [SPR] will only boost annual mining employment by 124 jobs,” said Vox.

The study showed that 75 percent of Americans want to regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant and 82 percent of adults think more research should be conducted on renewable energy sources, but the presidential administration is doing the opposite by decreasing regulations.

Generating new jobs in areas where employment has decreased is something that needs to be taken seriously; but climate change must be considered as well. The efforts need to be used in a different industry, and not one that contributed to 24.5 percent of greenhouse emissions in 2012, according to the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions.

However, an alternative approach needs to be taken because climate change should not fall victim when attempting to increase employment.

New jobs in renewable energy should be created in order to combat climate change and decrease employment.

“The renewable energy industry is more labor-intensive, this means that, on average, more jobs are created for each unit of electricity generated from renewable sources than from fossil fuels,” said the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Solar and wind energy are accessible throughout the entire country, and are sources of energy that should be used.

With the beliefs of the presidential administration not aligning with the majority of the population’s, states will be playing an important roll. They need to fight against attempts to loosen regulations and begin to enforce their own.

Many states have reduced greenhouse gas emission by promoting renewable energy and energy efficiency. This effort needs to be continued and strengthened to align with the population’s beliefs.

Sodexo Workers Seek Revised Contract


by Sophia Contreras

Sodexo Management and headquarters at Central Connecticut State University have failed to provide workers with revised contracts. Instead, employees have had the previous contracts extended, according to Sodexo employees Billy Serrano and Kenneth Caraballo.

A revised contract has been requested since March of 2016. Employees have voiced their dissatisfaction through internal disputes with management, in addition to public and silent protest. Their biggest fears are not knowing whether or not they have jobs in the summer, potential health care benefits, contract violations and stagnant wages, explained Serrano.

“The current collective bargaining agreement at CCSU expires on May 31. Typically, bargaining for a renewal agreement begins about a month or two before the expiration, our labor relations team is currently in discussions with the union representatives to schedule dates to meet and negotiate the renewal agreement,” said John Smalls, managing director of Sodexo.

Discussion for a new contract should be taking place this month, but an official date has not been set. This has made many employees nervous, because until a new agreement is made, they do not know if they will have a job to come back to, explained Caraballo, who has worked for Sodexo for six years.

These concerns derived from an incident this past summer when Sodexo threatened to walk away from their agreement with CCSU, and employees were going to be left without a secure job with short notice, explained Serrano.

Through a series of disputes, protests, phone calls and emails, employees have expressed their concerns. They have worn stickers on their uniforms that say “I support food service workers, unite local 217,” their labor union number.

Sodexo management at CCSU has acknowledged the employees’ protest and concerns but have not taken the employees request to the necessary higher-ups, explained Serrano.

“They [management] want to stop hearing the noise and we respect that they have a business to run, but we have families we have to take care of as well,” said Serrano.

Employees also feel their contract has been violated, by management not respecting certain protocols such as grievance procedures and applying favoritism over seniority, explained Caraballo.

“When we have an issue with management we fill out paperwork and we are able mediate the issue. However, they haven’t followed the certain guidelines that we have, and favoritism within the company is very present when it comes to some of these guidelines outlined in the contract,” said Carabello.

“There are rumors that they want to switch us from plan A to plan B, because it’s cheaper for the company,” said Carabello.

The majority of employees haven’t seen a raise in two years either, according to Caraballo. They feel that, as union members, they have a right to voice their concerns.

“Right now we have a voice, so by us not having a contract it would destroy the little guy and take away our voice. A lot of us have families that depend on our health insurance, so by reducing our plans, a lot of lives outside of the employees will also be affected,” said Carabello.

Serrano and Caraballo expressed the love they have for their job, and how much they enjoy serving the students of CCSU. “We really do appreciate the support we get from the students workers, and the students who ask us about our silent protest. We just hope they’ll stand with us in our concern for a new contract,” said Serrano.

SGA Fails To Promote Upcoming E-Board Elections

by Analisa Novak

The first campaign posters for the Student Government Association executive board elections were posted online four weeks before the official deadline for applications. A historic total of 12 candidates will be running for SGA President, Vice President and Treasurer. All the candidates differ from experience and background, but 11 of them knew of this election, while one was left in the dark.

Student Victor Constanza had no idea an election was even happening until his friend, a former SGA senator, told him about it.

“I actually heard about the election through a friend. I did not even know an election was going on until he told me. He was a former SGA member and he just knows because of his connections, “said Constanza.

Through word of mouth, Constanza found out about the election last Wednesday and hardly made the deadline two days later.

“I had two days to come up with a good application. The applications require a short statement, biography, and reasons why people show vote for me. I wanted to make them good,” said Constanza.

Constanza is the only executive board candidate that is not involved in SGA. According to Constanza, had his friend not told him about the election, he would not have known.

“I did not hear of these elections through e-mail or anything. Maybe I did not check my email well, but with what I observe SGA did not advertise this opening position that well. Even when you sign on to The Link, the application was not on the home page,” said Constanza.

He is not alone; unlike past elections, there was no student body announcement, email or even tweet, making this election completely unknown to the majority of the student body. The very first and only  public announcement of the election was done during the SGA senate meeting on Feb. 8.

“E-board and general elections packets for the next academic year will be released the 13. E-board packets will be due March 3, and general elections packets are due April 5,” said SGA Vice President Cappiello.

The responsibility of promoting SGA elections falls on the Public Affairs Committee run by SGA senator Kassandra Fruin.

“According to the bylaws of the SGA, the elections committee is charged with planning the dates and guidelines of the elections. The bylaws do not spell anything out for when it comes to elections committee’s involvement in promoting the elections, that falls under the public affairs committee,” said Cappiello.

The previous year Public Affairs committee announced it to the public through a series of tweets, as well as during the SGA senate meetings.

This year, the SGA Public Affairs committee has posted 23 tweets since the official announcement, not one of them informing students about the executive elections.

Fruin, said that the reason why this election was not promoted was due to the SGA Senator special elections that happened. Fruin said that committee got overwhelmed with the special elections and due to that reason alone, they did not actively promote the executive elections.

However Fruin, who is running for vice president was one of the first people to submit her election packets. She is running with the current E-Board members; Vice President Cappiello and Treasurer Brendan Kruh. They announced their candidacy on Feb. 14, the day after packets were released.

Fruin, who received the position as Public Affairs Committee Chair after a sudden resignation, has also dealt with a personal family mater  that has had her leaning on the support of the senate. She acknowledged due to this she has not been able to preform to the best of her ability, but is proud of the work and committee and will focus on the upcoming E-board debate.

“I know the struggles of my personal life are not an excuse, and I acknowledge this was a mistake made by myself reflecting onto the committee as a whole. With the Special Election being on the forefront, we neglected to promote the election packets. However, I am proud of the Public Affairs Committee for their work this semester and I hope in the future we will not make a similar error. We are currently in the works of promoting the E-board Debate and voting dates, along with the General Election,” said Fruin.

Constanza believes though that these actions make SGA appear to only favor those who are on the senate, he hopes if he is elected he would change this.

“These elections should be open to everyone. SGA is creating an image of inclusiveness and that image will turn off students. SGA is ruining a connection with the students, and I truly want to change that,” said Constanza.

Constanza realizes he is not on the SGA, but believes he is as qualified as any other candidate. He is not discouraged from this and is excited to run.

“I always love helping people and I try to take the opportunity when positions open up. If SGA is trying to not publicly announce these elections, maybe they are trying to stop people like me who are running. However, I understand that concern, but I do feel like I am highly qualified for this position,” said Constanza.

To be eligible to run for an E-board position, individuals must be a full-time undergraduate student in good standing and do not have to previously be a SGA senator. Current SGA President Jahmil Effend hopes no student feels discouraged to not run.

“Joining the SGA has changed my life in so many ways and I’d never want to prevent or discourage anyone from running for any position on the Senate. The great thing about the Student Government is that it is not an exclusive organization. It doesn’t matter your experience level or who you know, SGA is an organization you can be a part of,” Effend said.

Elections will take place from March 27 to 30. All eligible students can be vote via