Category Archives: News

Free STD and HIV Testing on Wednesday, April 22

Matt Kiernan / News Editor

Free testing for sexually transmitted diseases and HIV will be provided by the university and the state on April 22 for students looking to be tested for either or both.

University Health Services and the State Department of Public Health will be holding a Get Yourself Tested day that will be available to students without the need for an appointment from 9 – 4 p.m. in the University Health Services office next to Marcus White.

The testing will check for Gonorrhea and Chlamydia using a urine sample and H.I.V. using a mouth swab. The drawing of blood and use of shots will not be used during the testing.

“The testing is painless,” says Associate Director of Health Service Patricia Zapatka.

The tests will be sent to the Department of Public Health and will take a few weeks to be sent back with results. The rest of the year the testing for STD and HIV diseases has a fee at the university.

The push to start the day for testing was made by the federal government because of an increase in the number of people with the diseases from ages 14 – 24 years old.

People who have an STD are 50 percent more likely to contract HIV. Out of the 169 towns in CT, New Britain is ranked no. 5 on the list for populations with STDs.

Walk-ins will be accepted for anyone looking to be tested.

Students Fight to Decriminalize Pot

 Jason Cunningham / Entertainment Editor

If students were walking on campus last Thursday outside of Memorial Hall, they may have seen several students displaying a giant sign supporting the marijuana decriminalization bill, SB 349, as well as the complete legalization of the drug. 

The activists, some of which have previously attended demonstrations in support of the bill, said they wanted to spread awareness to the student body about what they feel are injustices found within our current marijuana laws. 

“We’re doing this because nothing is ever done. The prohibition of marijuana is a waste of time. People shouldn’t get arrested for the possession of it because so many people smoke it,” said CCSU student Brendan Meehan, a pro-marijuana activist.

The bill, which recently passed 24-14 in the legislature’s Joint Judiciary Committee after being amended to exclude minors, will ensure that anyone caught with one half ounce or less of the drug will only be punished with a maximum $121 fine. Some supporters of the bill say that decriminalization isn’t enough.

“It’s ridiculous that pot is illegal today,” said CCSU student Sarah Ford. “Historically, it only continued racism. It was meant to criminalize people. Prior to its illegalization it was perfectly acceptable. It was used in various religious ceremonies, as a medicine sold in pharmacies – even one of our first flags was made from it.”

The activists also expressed anger towards Gov. M. Jodi Rell for her opposition to the decriminalization bill, as well as he opposition to the medical marijuana bill that she vetoed in 2007.  

“Regardless of whether or not the bill passes we need to continue to fight the good fight. Drinking alcohol is worse than smoking pot, but that’s still legal, so why not pot?” Ford asked. 

Under current law, possession of marijuana in Connecticut of under four ounces can lead up to one year in jail and up to a $1,000 fine for a first offense, up to five years in jail and a $3,000 fine for a second offense. 

The protesting student argued that they don’t want to be arrested for possession of marijuana, when they believe that the drug should be legal to begin with. 

The group encouraged all who were interested to join them and others on April 20 for a peaceful demonstration at Bushnell Park in support of the bill.

The group NORML Connecticut, who was recently featured on several local news broadcasts earlier this month for a small demonstration, is organizing the event.

Ted Turner Speaks, Preaches Optimism

 Jason Cunningham / Entertainment Editor

The man known as “Captain Outrageous” seemed to make a lot of sense to the students and faculty of Central Connecticut State University.

Business mogul Ted Turner received a generally positive response from the audience of almost 300 who came to see him speak last Tuesday at Alumni Hall. 

The man responsible for founding CNN, the United Nations Foundation and the Goodwill Games spread his message of environmental protection, world peace and his philosophies on the role of the media in our world during his conversational lecture at CCSU. 

“I was Time’s Man of the Year and they let me go,” joked Turner with the audience. 

He answered question after question, as Ned Lamont, who introduced the speaker, helped moderate the curious audience members who formed a line behind the microphone in the center isle. 

Questions ranged from topics of his personal history, his contributions to society and the worlds of business and media, and his views about the future of man’s existence. 

“If humanity’s struggle for existence was a baseball game, we’d be about in the seventh inning and down by two runs,” Turner said. “But the game’s not over with.” 

The topic of global warming was repeatedly addressed, Turner advised the audience to invest and consider careers in clean, renewable energy, often times repeating the advise jokingly to the audience. 

“We’ve got to change over our energy system from a fossil fuel based system to clean, renewable, locally produced energy. It’ll help bring us out of this recession,” Turner said. 

He also focused on the importance of world communication through the media, stating that we’re more connected now as a world than ever. He also expressed dissatisfactions with his old network, CNN. 

“I liked CNN better when I was running it… They cut back on international coverage, which I think is a mistake…When I was running CNN we tried to play down personalities rather than play them up… I think the news should come first, not the personality,” Turner said. 

Turner touched on politics quite a few times, often poking fun at the Bush administration and praising President Obama for his intelligence and ability to deal with difficult situations. In addition, he discussed his adverse feelings towards war, addressing the war in Iraq as a waste of time. 

“Wars cost a lot, you don’t get anything done. You know, when you go and bomb the libraries and the schools, and then you’ve got to go rebuild them… And it’s not good for tourism… Who wants to go to a war zone,” he said. 

Though most of the questions he received learned towards dark topics, including nuclear threat and human suffering, Turner remained optimistic throughout.

“You’ve gotta have hope…I can’t prove anything, except that, that we’re trying. There was a little song, sung by a little girl that most people didn’t hear, but I heard it on the radio years ago…The little girl’s song said, ‘if you take all the good in the world, and subtract all the hate and the pain, there’d still be some good leftover, and that’s what gives us hope,” Turner said. 

Hope aside, Turner acknowledged that humanity’s future is everyone’s responsibility, preaching that awareness is key to fixing the problems of the world. 

“I believe that social responsibility goes along with being in business… I have a strong sense of social responsibility and I’ve made lots of money,” Turner said.

Students Come Together to Take Back the Night

Ginny Winters-Troche / Special to The Recorder

People from all parts of the CCSU community came together in support of victims of sexual assault as the university hosted its nineteenth annual Take Back the Night last Wednesday night in Semesters.

An event that first took place in 1877 England as a protest against the sexual violence, Take Back the Night made its first appearance in America in 1978 when a group of people began to chant the event’s slogan after an anti-pornography conference. 

“I came to support the cause, and brought along members of [the Latin American Student Organization] because abuse affects everyone,” said Inez Vera, sophomore, who is on LASO’s executive board.  

Over 55 Take Back the Night events were scheduled on campuses throughout the country during the month of April.

“We’ve come every year to support this cause,” said Nicole Cylkowski of Phi Sigma Sigma.  

Attendees crowded around quilts displayed across the room that had been put together by different groups during the years that CCSU has hosted the event. Each piece of the colorful quilts held a different message such as “Stop Violence”, “Shatter the Silence” or “No more Rape”.  

“We saw the date for it on Facebook, and recently, a girl we knew suffered from abuse,” said CCSU senior Jessica Velardi.

Appearances were made by CCSU President Jack Miller, Student Affairs Vice President Laura Tordenti, Connecticut State Victim Advocate Michelle Cruz and other anti-abuse activists such as Evelyn Miller, who also detailed her lifelong experience with sexual abuse.

Miller said she had dealt with molestation, beatings and incest that began when she was a child and lasted until she had her own daughter and finally said no to her molesters.

“I will never be a victim again, because I will never be silent again,” Miller said to conclude her speech.

Such was the mood of the night: that speaking up turns victims into survivors. Student coordinator Amy Howard began the forum portion of the evening by opening the stage, podium and microphone as an invitation for those who have also suffered from sexual abuse to share their stories, speak up, and be heard. 

After minutes of the audience staring in pin-drop silence at the empty podium, a girl got up to speak.  She wanted to give advice for those who were “secondhand survivors”, also known as people who had victimized loved ones.  Her advice was to be patient and be present in the person’s life.

After over an hour of open podium the audience was none the thinner, with people sitting in scarcely placed chairs, squatting on the floor, standing around the room, while victims stood up and turned themselves into survivors by telling their stories and “shattering the silence” in honor of the night’s theme.

Amy Howard, the Ruthe Boyea Women’s Center, and all else who were involved in the Take Back the Night event would like everyone to understand that there is help available.  

Ruthe Boyea Women’s Centre is located in the Student Center, 215, 860-832-1655. 

Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services, 24 hours hotline – 1-888-999-5545.

Displaying Empty Holsters on Campus

Tonya Malinowski / News Editor

Days after the two-year anniversary of the Virginia Tech massacre, students at CCSU and hundreds of other college campuses will be seen carrying empty gun holsters.

The students, mostly members of the Riflery and Marksmanship Club, will be carrying the empty holsters between April 20-25 as part of a protest for the right to carry concealed weapons on college campuses. 

“We really hope people notice and ask questions,” Club President Sara Adler said.

“We just want to educate the campus and try to break the stigma that guns are bad and people who own them are criminals.”

The protest was organized nationally by Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, a group of students, professors, parents and citizens who founded the organization following the Virginia Tech shootings. 

The group currently has chapters at 363 campuses in 48 states and the District of Columbia. 

“There’s really no difference between people carrying [concealed weapons] here than at the supermarket or the mall,” Adler said. “It wouldn’t change anything because really you wouldn’t even know.”

According to the NRA, one out of every 50 American adults, or 1.3 percent of the Connecticut population, have a concealed carry permit. 

The Riflery and Marksmanship Club has already seen opposition to the protest by having their posters torn down.

Adler said she hopes the protest will help change the policy and allow students with permits, to carry firearms on campus.

“I don’t believe in handing over my personal safety to anyone else,” Riflery and Marksmanship Vice-President Steve Khemthong said.

“It’s not like the old West where people are just shooting everything that moves; it’s just about personal safety.”

To obtain a permit to legally carry a firearm in the state of Connecticut, one must be 21 or over, complete an 8-10 hour training course and pass a written exam. 

Fifteen states currently leave concealed weapon decisions entirely up to the university, but Utah is the only state allowing concealed weapons on all public universities.

Adler said she doesn’t believe that concealed carry on campus will result in an escalation of violence or a culture of fear, but rather a better sense of safety.

“I see gun-free zones as disarmed victim zones,” Adler said. “Making laws against law-abiding citizens doesn’t affect those who already don’t follow the law.”

The protest, now in its third year, will take place over Spring Week, with around 30 participants anticipated.

The Riflery and Marksmanship Club has over 50 active members.

 Khemthong, who carries a concealed weapon in places that allow him to do so, said he hopes the protest changes the way people see weapons on campus.

“I like to know I’d be able to protect myself if I need to,” Khemthong said.

“When seconds matter, the police are only minutes away.”

Tuition Increase Set for 5.3 Percent

By Matt Kiernan

Students will see a 5.3 percent increase in their tuition in the fall 2009 semester to balance out the decrease in the state budget and what’s being given to the university.

In an interview with University President jack Miller, he discussed the cost rise of 5.3 percent in the university’s tuition. With a decrease in state funding, undergraduate in-state students will see their tuition increase by $372.

“Even though there’s an increase in the school’s tuition, we’re still cheaper than the CSU schools and UConn,” said Miller.

The main objective of the university is to make sure the tuition stays below the CSU schools’ average.

Although there will be an increase in the tuition, students will see some of the funds spent on them with 15 percent of those dollars spent on financial aid to help students who need it.

“We’re committed to a minimum of 15 percent to student financial aid per year and we’ve put more than 15 percent every year,” said Miller.

“We didn’t know how much people were going to pay,” said Miller.

Until now, there has been an examination of how much the school would have to raise the tuition for students and raise was announced last Thursday.

As indicated earlier in the semester by the CSU Board of Trustees, for jobs held by faculty members, lay-offs are still an unknown since there needs to be a concession of salaries. Management positions will have a reduction of 10 percent in total.

Miller said that as the bigger picture comes into view, the future for faculty members will become clear. He said that if his plans work out the way he expects for upcoming semester, he will let no one go.

Salary negotiations are being conducted to determine how much of a raise in a faculty member’s salary will be added. The university has already determined that there will be no raises for management position salaries.

Hiring for new faculty is being conducted through interviews and the university is still accepting applications for positions that are open. The university is careful to make sure the person coming to fill the job is the right candidate, and is paying close attention to how its money is spent on each individual.

Miller doesn’t believe that the amount of students enrolling at CCSU will have a big increase. He estimates the figure at a couple hundred students more or less.

Many of the students that would have normally been accepted under better economic conditions are now going to be put on a waiting list for admittance.

A projected increase in student population is also believed to not have an effect on the amount of housing that will be available to students.

Although obtaining on-campus housing is already difficult, it’s predicted that the process of securing dorms will not become more difficult than the current conditions.

The university plans to increase places for housing on-campus by more than 50 percent within the coming years. The plans are being conducted already but will take some years to be taken underway.

Negotiations for all of the subjects are still underway.

SGA Finance Chair Stipend Dispute Remains Unsettled

Colette Gallacher / Copy Editor

Jason Cunningham / Entertainment Editor

Recent disputes within the Student Government Association regarding Senator and finance committee chair Christina Liudvinaitis’ $1,000 stipend have still not been resolved.

Regarding what her exact role is, whether she has performed treasurer responsibilities correctly and how much she should be awarded, the Senate still remains divided. 

The SGA meeting on April 1 proved to be highly charged with much of the meeting centering on the issue of Liudvinaitis’ stipend.

Two senators expressed wishes that $100 of their stipends would be issued to Liudvinaitis if she was not rewarded with the full $1000.

Another senator put forth a motion that SGA pay $600 as compensation to Liudvinaitis, while also issuing her the $400, which every senator is eligible for, depending on their SGA commitment throughout the semester.  

“The plan of action depends on who you talk to. Some want to give her partial compensation instead of her stipend. As a senator she’s eligible for $400, as treasurer she’s eligible for $1,000,” said SGA President Alexander Estrom.

He said that he and Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Laura Tordenti are closely going through the Senate minutes in hopes to accomplish a good understanding of Liudvinaitis’ role and responsibilities in the Senate.

They’d also like to find out what she believed she was being paid for her work. 

“Based on the recommendation and the grounds that she had been given, she can’t technically be on the finance committee, she wasn’t elected as a treasurer. She was elected as the chair of the finance committee and then it turned into intern, now it’s treasurer,’ said Sen. Milan Rasheed Taylor.

Sources within the SGA have also made the claim that Liudvinaitis wasn’t fulfilling her responsibilities as the finance chairperson.

They said that she was unable to provide them with an accurate account balance to allocate funds. An assessment of the accounts is a factor in order to appropriate money to club budgets. 

“I’ve treated her no differently than the past three treasurers. I truly believe the Senate as a whole asked her to fulfill the responsibilities of treasurer. We even called her treasurer during meetings with no objection from the Senate. I don’t ever recall anyone rejecting her title while holding the position.”

The other arguments against Liudvinaitis receiving the full $1,000 for her duties this semester include the fact that she is a part-time student and does not pay activity fees herself,  and has not fully completed the responsibilities of an SGA treasurer.

“I don’t want to see her to step down, but in the case that she did step down, I’m fully confident in my constituents to allocate money to the clubs successfully,” Taylor said.

“We’re pretty well versed in allocating money; the senate isn’t going to fall apart. Not to put her down, she’s a nice person to have around, but I’m confident we could go on without her as of now.”

The debate over the finance chair and treasurer stipend and responsibilities has also sparked a discussion about loopholes in the Senate’s constitution.

“Yes there are loopholes in our constitution and right now we actually forming an ad hoc committee, or a separate committee to just evaluate, pretty much, the loopholes and problems and holes in our constitution,” Taylor said.

Although the Senate has not yet approved the minutes from almost two weeks ago and is still split over the final decision of the total of Liudvinaitis’ stipend, it is hoped that a conclusion will be reached at the next SGA meeting on April 8 at 3:30 p.m.

Author Gets Personal as Way to Reach Out to Listeners, Readers

Matt Kiernan / News Editor

Michelle Pranger discussed her book A Child’s Voice and the troubles of growing up with financial and personal disadvantages last Tuesday, and how she overcame such difficulties.

Pranger, a 5th grade teacher and author, grew up with physically and mentally abusive parents. She was subject to sexual assault at a young age by her father and was regularly beaten with a belt while growing up in her home in Jamaica. 

“We have to forge ahead with our life to triumph,” said Pranger during her discussion in the Center for Africana Studies.

Living with abusive parents was something Pranger thought all children went through until she reached college. At college she realized she had to deal with problems that had been kept secret.

One of the most important factors of improving how you deal with daily living is finding a person you can trust. Pranger found that in college with her guidance counselor.

She says that if people need to revisit what has happened in the past then they should do it – if they cry it’s perfectly natural. 

Pranger said, “Learn from it, but don’t be ashamed of it.”

Pranger said that even in a person’s darkest hour there is still a flicker of light that keeps them strong. She advised that people should write down good qualities about themselves as a reminder of who they are.

Growing up she thought she lacked talent in anything and would wonder why her other friends were successful at their hobbies. Pranger came to realize that her talents were cooking and taking care of her grandparents.

She thinks that society promotes personal privacy, which is in some ways good, but in others it can promote an atmosphere whereby people are unable to be open. For many years she had to keep her parent’s secret. After releasing her thoughts, Pranger stopped contact with her sister and parents, feeling that the most important thing to take care of in life is yourself.

Pranger believes that people need to learn love themselves for who they are and realize that they don’t need to be someone else . 

“What you see as imperfection, other people will find unique,” Pranger said.

Pranger said that she believes in self-concentration. Everyone should set aside time twice a week for an hour to reflect, she said, and think about themselves – if there isn’t enough time during the day to do it, it should be rescheduled. This time should be without distractions such as television or music, therefore the person is solely concentrating on their thoughts.

“You’re canceling the most important person and that’s yourself,” Pranger said in regards to not giving yourself time to reflect during the day.

Pranger, who has now moved o the United States, received her undergraduate degree from Queens College and graduate degree from Hofstra University. She used education and her studies as an escape from the pain she was feeling following her parents’ abuse.

Pranger promotes education as very important and believes that it all goes back to the parents in reinforcing that for their children.

University Receives $600,000 Gift for New Britain Students

Tonya Malinowski / News Editor

Central Connecticut State University received a substantial gift from a private donor to provide scholarship support to students from the greater New Britain area. 

Anthony Bichum, 93, founded the Helen G. Bichum fund in his late wife’s name and donated $600,000 to the University on March 31. Bichum, a lifelong New Britain resident, previously made the largest donation ever by a private citizen last spring. 

“I believe highly in education because I never had it,” Bichum said when presenting the gift last year. “Maybe my giving will inspire others to do the same, because those who benefit from education have an obligation to help those who follow.”

The fund is specifically for students from New Britain and surrounding areas, with 20 percent earmarked for those with disabilities. The previous donation was made to the School of Engineering and Technology, who memorialized a laboratory in honor of the Bichums’ generosity.

“[Mr. Bichum] has already been extremely generous,” University President Jack Miller said. “This really couldn’t come at a better time.”

Bichum, a lifelong New Britain resident, is the son of Russian immigrants and spent most of his life working in the tool- and die-making industry. His formal education ended at age 13, and he later served in the U.S. Army in Europe during World War II. 

“He never went to school, so to give other students the opportunity is something he feels really strongly about,” Fund Executor Paul Gianaris said. 

Gianaris, a CCSU graduate of the class of 1970, said he encouraged Bichum to donate the money to CCSU.

From his humble beginnings as a shoeshine boy at a New Britain brokerage firm, Bichum overheard the men discussing investment and stock market tips and decided to begin investing himself at age 18.

His unprecedented success in the stock market is what allowed Bichum the opportunity to give back to the community of New Britain and eventually travel extensively through Europe and the United States. 

“We really just can’t thank him enough,” Miller said. “It’s really incredible.”

Women’s Center to Hold Self-Defense, Rape Prevention Education Session

Tonya Malinowski / News Editor

Sexual assault has been a persistent problem on college campuses for several decades, but together the CCSU Police Department and the Ruthe Boyea Women’s Center are hoping to prepare women to face potential attackers.

The Rape Aggression Defense program is being held this month to help teach participants risk reduction, avoidance measures and basic self-defense tactics. A 14-hour program broken into four parts, RAD aims to help prevent women from being the one-in-four who statistically will be raped in their college career.  

“It really teaches you how to handle all different kinds of scenarios,” Coordinator of Women’s Programs Jacqueline Cobbina-Boivin said. “It’s important for young women to recognize they may be in a situation like this and know how to handle it.”

According to the American Association of University Women, 32 percent of rape victims are between the ages of 18 and 25 years old. RAD offers basic awareness tactics, such as not talking on the phone while walking and always looking under your car as you approach it, to help women avoid being the victim of a violent crime.

“I still remember everything I learned and all the techniques,” said Cobbina-Boivin, who has taken the class three times. “It has definitely stayed with me.”

The sessions will be held Saturday, April 18 and 25 in the Marcus White Living Room and are free of charge for all female students, faculty and administration. The program is offered at eight different locations around Connecticut and over 500 nationwide.

CCSU senior Heather Reney thinks the program is a great idea and can really help women learn valuable lessons.

“This is stuff every woman should know,” she said. “Unfortunately, it’s a scary world we live in and you never know when you’ll be faced with a situation like that.”

The course includes lecture and discussion followed by simulated attack situations. Students suit up in protective gear and learn how to defend themselves from various angles and eventually to break through and be able to run for help.

Some forms of the program also offer instruction on properly using pepper spray and what to do if the defense should fail.

“I hope [the program] will be a success,” Cobbina-Boivin said. “The women who take it always come away with knowledge they will have the rest of their lives.”

Peter Collin contributed to this article.