Category Archives: Columns

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.

Farewell: My Turn to Say Goodbye

by Jacqueline Stoughton

I’ve always known that being a journalist is what I’m meant to do in my life. I had been active on my high school paper, further assuring me that I was making the right choice of what I wanted to study in college. When I arrived at Central Connecticut as a freshman, getting involved with The Recorder was a top priority.

I will never forget sending an email to Kassondra Granata, who was Editor-in-Chief at the time and is now one of my best friends, inquiring about getting involved as a staff writer. I was nervous, but knew if I was serious about journalism and wanted to be successful in the field, this was something I had to be overly involved in.

Under Granata, I wrote opinions and covered various events for the Arts & Entertainment section. With her guidance, I was able to develop my writing style as a reporter, eventually discovering my true passion for news writing.

My sophomore year under Amanda Webster, I continued to write news. She trained and prepared me for when I was promoted to assistant news editor the following semester, where I worked closely with Acadia Otlowski as she ran the news section. Together we were the “journalism dream team.” Under Otlowski, I took over as news editor.

My senior year I was elected Editor-in-Chief. This was an experience I grew from as a journalist and as a leader. I faced many challenges this year and experienced for the first time the major disrespect that frequently comes with being a woman leader. Overall this paper has grown and is on a path towards developing into a true multimedia publication. A lot of great initiatives were started this year, such as paying staff writers for their hard work and bringing video packages onto our newly renovated website. These are projects I’m confident my staff will continue to work on following my departure from this paper.

When I think about how far I’ve come not only as a journalist, but as a person, I’ve grown and matured and am now ready to be a full-fledged adult taking on the real world. It’s inspiring to think about how much I was able to accomplish in four short years – imagine what’s possible throughout the rest of my career.

I want to thank my amazing and inspiring mother, my insanely comical sister, my father and all my other family and friends who have stuck by my side throughout the past four years. Thank you to Kassondra for being an incredible best friend, who has not only guided me and provided me with advice throughout my four years as I worked my way up to Editor-in-Chief, but also for just being there to listen to me vent, paper related or otherwise. Thank you to Acadia and Sean Begin for preparing me to take on this role, as well as being there to provide guidance throughout the year when I needed it. Thank you to Sean Ferris for coming back and helping me when I needed it most and for always making Monday nights an enjoyable yet slightly annoying and loud experience.

Most importantly thank you to all the professors in the CCSU Department of Journalism. Everyone of you has had a hand in molding me to be the journalist I am today. Specifically, thank you to Dr. Vivian Martin for always being available to provide professional advice whether with the paper, internships or just to chit-chat. CCSU journalism has given me the experiences and contacts needed in order to receive opportunities I don’t believe I would’ve gotten elsewhere. Because of this department, I was able to partake on three incredible adventures abroad. These are all opportunities that contributed to my growth as a journalist and are memories I’ll carry with me forever.

Thank you to my staff writers; you’re all incredible, hard workers and there would be no paper without you. Thank you to my news editors Nick Leahey and Analisa Novak for stepping up and taking over the section when it needed you most. You two brought this section to the best state it has been in for a long time, I’m incredibly proud of you both and am confident you both will go far in this field. Thank you to my copy editors, Lorenzo Burgio and Nicole Gagnon for helping me with the tedious task of editing. The quality of this paper wouldn’t have reached the level it’s at without both of your hard work.

The Recorder has put out a consistent product that is something to be proud of. Good luck to my staff next year as they carry on and continue to make The Recorder a high quality and professional publication. Thank you so much for not only this year, but also for the amazing experiences and adventures I’ve had with this paper all four years.

The Curse of Leading

by Jacqueline Stoughton

Over the past year I’ve had experiences in my personal life that I never imagined I would find myself having to endure. Those experiences inspired me to try and become a more ‘positive thinker.’ Every genuinely happy person I know in my life always advises positive thinking; that one positive thought in the morning can make such an impact on your entire day if you start it out on a good note.

I gave positive thinking a solid effort. I downloaded all the positive affirmation memes and even changed my cell phone background to say “focus on the good.” I found that the people who surround you really have an influence on how well positive thinking works. Being around negative people has much more of an effect on your attitude and outlook than many may realize.

This year especially, my positive outlook was tested being in the position I am in. Being in the Editor-in-Chief position, I receive emails criticizing my writing, I have people who call me a “bitch” just for doing my job and I have people who work for me who don’t respect me as a leader because I’m also a peer of the same age and still a student – they don’t respect my position and the decisions I have to make daily.

As a woman, I hadn’t experienced the disrespect, and at times cruelty, that men extend to women in powerful leadership positions until I became Editor-in-Chief. Sadly, I expected to experience this at some point in my career and doubt this will be the last time. What was especially sad was I was experiencing this same treatment from women on my staff as well. Just because I do my job as expected, give direction and hold my editors to high standards shouldn’t be a legitimate reason to classify me as a “bitch.”

Especially as women, we should be building each other up instead of going out of our way to knock each other down with hateful language. Men and women in a field as competitive as journalism should be supporting and encouraging each other to set ambitious goals. Competition doesn’t give you an excuse to be a hateful, cruel and negative person to others.

As someone who spent the majority of my young life with the “shy girl” as my identifier, college was the new environment I needed to pull myself out of my shell and gave me the confidence to be myself – someone who isn’t shy.

It’s unfortunate for people like me, who built themselves up from being a shy and vulnerable person who people used to walk all over, to someone that’s confident, has opinions and is strong, assertive and knows how I want to lead, is then knocked down by people misinterpreting my strongest qualities as being bitchy, unapproachable, bossy and aggressive. If I were a man in the same position, I wouldn’t be treated the way I have been as a woman leader.

Cosmopolitan Magazine stated studies confirm women have a tendency to avoid leadership positions out of fear of being labeled as bossy. As more success comes to a woman climbing the corporate ladder, other men and women like her less. Their negative language towards her changes the perception everyone else has of her.

This is similar to what I’ve been experiencing. Just because some may be jealous of my success, they feel inclined to refer to me as a bitch to everyone else in the office, now establishing that as my office identifier. I definitely didn’t work tirelessly for three year to get this position, just to be mislabeled as a bitch.

Going out of my way to tear someone down and break their confidence never makes me feel better about myself, and it certainly doesn’t feel good being on the other end of that. We should all practice supporting other instead of using hurtful language to try and set them up for failure.

Not everyone you meet will like you, just as you won’t like everyone you meet either, and that’s okay. We all need to work on respecting those in leadership positions, men and women, regardless of what our personal feelings towards them may be. Words hurt, we need to be more aware of our word choices about others because you never know what kind of battle that person is fighting.

Women are just as capable of being leaders as men are; fueling the stereotype with degrading language choices isn’t solving any of our societal problems or perception of women leaders. Change can only be made when everyone realizes that even what they say behind others backs has an effect.

Hopefully this message comes across to those who have inflicted this negative treatment on me all year. This type of treatment isn’t going to get you anywhere in life once you leave the college environment. Starting now, we need to be more aware of the effect our words have and start appreciating and recognizing the hard work people like myself, in leadership positions go through daily, instead of doing whatever you can to bring that person down. Does inflicting such negativity on others really make you feel better about yourself? I’m guessing not so much.

Mississippi Needs to Move Back into the 21st Century

by Jacqueline Stoughton

Despite the fact it’s now 2016, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) signed a bill last week allowing businesses to refuse their services to gay couples based on their religious beliefs and objections.

Many have expressed opposition due to concerns that this could effect the success of their businesses and distort future potential economic opportunities for the state – which is a genuine concern, but what about the concern that this bill is infringing upon basic human rights?

This new Mississippi state law says it is to “sincerely help religious beliefs or moral convictions.” This includes defining marriage as to be only between a man and a woman and that sexual relations should be reserved for marriage only. The new law, set to go into effect on July 1st of this year, goes on to define gender as being “determined by anatomy and genetics at time of birth.” Giving the right to businesses to determine who can have access to bathrooms, dressing and locker rooms.

“This bill does not limit any constitutionally protected rights or actions of any citizens of this state under federal or state laws,” said Bryant to the Washington Post. “The legislation is designed in the most targeted manner possible to prevent government interference in the lives of the people from which all power to the state is derived.”

Last year we finally saw the Supreme Court rule marriage equality in all 50 states, with growing acceptance as a new generation takes over. It’s sad to think we still live in a world where people have to use their religion to mask their inhuman prejudices, and use as a loophole to take away basic human rights from others.

“This is a sad day for the state of Mississippi and for the thousands of Mississippians who can now be turned away from businesses, refused marriage licenses, or denied housing, essential services and needed care based on who they are,” said Jennifer Riley-Collins, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi, in a statement to The Washington Post. “This bill flies in the face of the basic American principles of fairness, justice and equality and will not protect anyone’s religious liberty.”

This goes against the separation of church and state. We should never involve this much religion as a basis for creating a law that will only effect others. Forcing a religion on someone, that not everyone follows is beyond wrong. When it comes to LGBTQ and basic human rights in general, this country has come a long way – but Mississippi is seriously disrupting that progress.

This is similar to the Supreme Court ruling in 2014 that gave justice to Hobby Lobby and other family owned companies to opt out of the Affordable Care Act provision that covers prescription contraception, on the grounds of religious objections and freedom. This put many women’s health at risk – because believe it or not, women go on birth control for many other reason than to have pre-marital sex.

It’s time for governments to stop using religion as an excuse for creating audacious laws. Preventing women from getting contraceptions they need, or denying basic human needs based on who someone else loves, is nothing any state or national government should be proud of.

New Security Bill to Give Internet Abusers a Lesson in Online Etiquette

by Jacqueline Stoughton

Online privacy and security has been a political issue for some time now, but it seems Congress is finally beginning to make some move on a bill requiring a search warrant from a judge before law enforcements are allowed to freely search through a persons email, photos and other online documents.

The internet, while it’s advanced and innovative capabilities has surged Americans into the great technological era, has proved to be just as dangerous when used irresponsibly. Americans have definitely taken the powers of the internet for granted and most of the time, abuse them.

The hope is maybe this bill will act as a reality check for some abusive Americans who take advantage of what the internet has to offer and teach them how to use it in a responsible manner.

The older version of this bill passed in 1986 under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act required government agents to obtain a search warrant to search through emails on servers such as Yahoo and Google. The warrant would only allow them to search messages less than 180 days old, messages older than that would require issuing subpoenas to technology companies.

This updated bill, introduced by Kevin Yoder (R-KS.) in the House now has 300 co-sponsors, making it very likely to pass. The bill requires a warrant for all online information of any type of file regardless of how old it is. There’s also an exception clause in the legislation that allows civil enforcement agencies to obtain subpoena messages sent by employees on their companies or corporate computers.

Although at the time it made sense for the original version of this law to have it the way it was, it’s definitely overdue for some improvements. So many shady deals go down on the internet – something that was supposed to technologically advance us and be used as a helpful tool in everyday life, is being abused beyond belief by irresponsible users.

It’s rare for me to agree with a bill proposed by a Republican – but this is something that is an absolute necessity in today’s society. It’s a seamless process for law enforcement to obtain such search warrants, according to most legal experts it’s a very rare occasion where a judge denies a warrant as long as probable cause is clearly displayed.

Hopefully this provides internet abusers with the lesson so desperately needed, not everything can be hidden on the internet. Once it’s posted, it’s out there forever and can’t be taken back regardless of how advanced your security measures are.