Category Archives: Editorials

Editorial: Regents Put Higher Ed First

Corruption in Government is as just about as cliché as you can get. It should come as no surprise to anyone that two state officials resigned on Friday due to unapproved raises that were granted.

We’ve heard so many stories similar to this that the media coverage surrounding the scandal was minimal. The lack of reaction by the public shows just how old this type of story is.

We’ve seen and heard it all before. An official comes under criticism and before he or she can be fired they resign.

But what’s commendable about this situation is the Board of Regents’ abruptness in finding an interim President to replace Robert A. Kennedy. The board made it clear several times in its emergency meeting Friday that the higher education reform must take precedence over internal issues that it had with unapproved raises.

While Lewis Robinson, chairman, expressed his regret for Kennedy’s actions and acknowledged all the good work that he has done, it didn’t cause him to bat an eyelash when the board replaced him only hours after word of his resignation.

The Board of Regents has done far too much work for it to be temporarily stalled because of your stock-standard political scandal. The most significant measure that the board has taken involves creating a system-wide curriculum that will apply to all CSU schools and the community colleges. If all goes well, within a few years a student entering a community college will have their General Education and Major pathway all mapped out for them, a luxury that students today aren’t afforded.

What the board is trying to do could significantly improve the state’s graduation and retention rate that would get students out into the workforce much quicker. This would presumably also allow more students to outright graduate. Producing a simpler system would more than likely also decrease the amount of college drop-outs. It would be a win-win for all parties involved.

The entire board shouldn’t be punished for what happened with Kennedy. As far as the public knows, not a single board member had any knowledge of what happened. In response, the board distanced itself from the situation by naming an interim President the very same week that the scandal was revealed.

The fact that the board acted immediately and endorsed Phillip Austin is admirable. Michael Fraser, a student elect said that he and a lot of other board members were not surprised by Kennedy’s resignation, and knew that they needed to take action. The board should be applauded for taking the initiative to move on and continue with their role towards the state’s higher education system putting the students first.

 

 

 

Ordinance Well-Intended, But Has Its Flaws

College culture has long been coined as a juvenile, alcohol-filled lifestyle that is mostly made up of partying with the occasional class sprinkled in. In some cases these generalizations are accurate.

Anyone who believes otherwise is being far too naïve and foolishly optimistic about college students’ priorities. This conception about how students act has recently been the hot topic in the City of New Britain.

During a Town and Gown meeting in September, dozens of disgruntled New Britain residents voiced their concerns over the blight and noise problems that have been plaguing their Belvedere neighborhood for over a decade.

Some were elderly citizens, complaining that they would wake to find their property covered in beer bottles and other party related trash. Others were concerned that their kids couldn’t get a decent nights’ sleep on any given Wednesday or Thursday because of the commotions that came with the pack of students walking around at all hours of the night.

These problems would result in numerous calls to the New Britain police department, costing what is estimated to be thousands of dollars from New Britain’s budget.

On Tuesday, the City of New Britain’s Town Council voted to pass an ordinance that will create a “hot spot” fee to target owners of properties that emergency personnel are called to between five and nine times a year, depending on the type of dwelling. Violators will be fined around $500 for a typical call, in which just one police cruiser is dispatched. This fee is expected to generate about $1.1 million in revenue for the city, according to the New Britain Herald.

The idea behind this new ordinance is well-intended. College kids have a tendency to get out of control and disrespect the property owners around them. Students have to remember that CCSU is located within New Britain, not the other way around. We as a University have to abide by its rules; the city shouldn’t have to adjust to us. If students from CCSU are causing problems for local residents then it is the city’s responsibility to look into the issue and attempt to resolve it.

In theory, if you’re not causing trouble then this ordinance will not affect you. This issue can be avoided if off campus residents abide by the rules. As college students, it is expected that we act like adults, and it will not be a concern if you respect your neighborhood.

But one of the problems is that it is left entirely to up to the discretion of the police. This opens up the door for discrimination and other issues of biases. This could cause financial problems for students who are wrongly accused, who cannot afford to pay the fee.

Setbacks like this will also arise when residents will find a way to avoid paying the ordinance by using these outlets.

What many have not realized is that although the city’s intentions are good, there could be some serious side effects to this ordinance. If students feel singled out or discriminated against, this could push them to look for housing in surrounding towns like Newington and West Hartford.  Although some would surely be cheering if that was the end result, this would be bad news for New Britain’s economy.

The students of CCSU provide a constant source of revenue for landlords and local retailers. Many have said that CCSU is the gem of New Britain, and it would be a shame to drive away reasonably behaved student over a budgetary issue. What people need to remember is that not all CCSU students are the cause of this problem; rather it is a very small portion of our school population.

Broadcast Journalists Aren’t At Fault

Broadcasting live breaking news is a very sensitive task. On one hand, a news organization is doing its job by showing the public all that there is to see at the site of a story. On the other, you’re always at risk to air something horrendous when you don’t adopt some sort of delay on the news feed.

For the most part, live news is generally accepted as the standard form for broadcast when something breaking happens. Occasionally though, a news organization comes under fire for something that isn’t necessarily its fault.

The most recent case like this came last week when Fox News was following a car chase in which Jodon Romero, the driver of the car, exited the vehicle and began running aimlessly off the road path. Fox News host Shep Smith commentated as Romero made it clear that he was about to harm himself. Smith called to the production team to cut the feed, but Romero’s suicide was shown for all the viewers to see.

It was an obvious misstep by Fox News, but it was a mistake that is going to happen from time to time as long as news is broadcasted live. It is just the price you pay for viewing things in real-time. Every now and then something like this will happen. The only reason that this was such a big issue that has drawn Fox so much scrutiny was because it involved a suicide.

Sometimes disturbing things are part of the news and whether or not everyone agrees that they be shown, under the first amendment, Fox had every right to broadcast it. It is also important to remember that Fox did apologize for the incident afterwards. Instead of standing by what happened it did admit that it was not the network’s intent to show Romero’s suicide. The network labeled what happened as “severe human error.” This is just a fact of life in the news industry. It just so happens that in broadcast you only get a split second sometimes to decide whether or not to cut away.

This is a burden that the print side of Journalism does not have to deal with on the same level that the broadcast side does. Tough decisions need to be made, but are more carefully planned and thought out in print. Multiple people voice their perspectives about difficult issues that a newspaper faces when deciding if it is ethical to run something controversial.

Broadcasts news is not allowed this luxury and the public needs to understand that real news can sometimes carry depressing images. When the Twin Towers in New York City were attacked on Sept. 11, 2001, there weren’t masses of people criticizing the networks that aired the burning buildings despite inadvertently showing some victims plunge to their death rather than burning alive at the top of the building.

News happens everywhere at all hours of the day and in the bat of an eyelash it can change from a standard car chase to a suicide that is accidentally broadcasted. There was no gross negligence on the part of Fox. What occurred could have happened to any media organization. Networks should certainly do everything they can to avoid mishaps like one that happened to Fox, but when a media outlet is serving the public by bringing it the news day-in and day-out, it deserves some slack when it commits an error like this.

Chicago Teacher’s Union Should Be Admired

On September 10, the Chicago Teacher’s Union went on strike leaving 400,000 students in the citywide school system out of class. This was the city’s first strike in a quarter of a century.

The teachers were striking over an evaluation that the teachers deemed to be unfair. They also were fighting for a significant raise in the first year of a new contract because of a longer school day. A Chicago Public Schools spokesperson said that they offered the teachers a 16 percent increase over four years, as well as “step increases for performance,” according to Time Magazine. The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) also aimed to recall teachers when new job openings rise.

Another issue that the CTU rose was their dissatisfaction with the work conditions. According to Time Magazine, Chicago teachers teach in large classrooms that ration to about 25.1 students per teacher in high schools. According to the CTU, the amount of students in a classroom at a time usually goes over the limit. The last issue that the CTU addressed was Emanuel’s lack to repair underperforming schools, one of the main reasons as to why this strike occurred.

According to an article in he New York Times, last Tuesday, the Chicago Teachers Union agreed to end the strike. At a private meeting 800 union delegates voted to end the strike after students missed one week of school. Under the contract, it was decided that there would be an annual raise for teachers, the school day would be lengthened, and the teachers will be evaluated with test scores. The Chicago School system will also lead laid-off teachers to job openings.

The block of the teacher’s strike is considered to end the fight over pay, working conditions and job security. According to the New York Times, the city said that the case would not be dropped entirely.

As serious as the education crisis is in this country, we can’t skimp on paying teachers what they deserve. If you don’t create enough financial reasons for people to become an instructor, then you’ll end up with the bottom of the barrel. There is an obvious correlation between how much a job pays and how good the talent pool is for that particular occupation. It is simple: If you want good teachers then you have to make it worth their while.

The other hot topic that was being debated during this strike was regarding merit based pay. While it sounds good in theory, it would create too many problems and the cons would outweigh the pros. If you start paying teachers more based on their students’ performance you’ll run into some serious ethical dilemmas. Some teachers will sacrifice education for the sake of their students’ test scores.

Instead of teaching the subject matter, it will become a priority to prepare students for the test even if means you end up teaching simple memorization. There will no longer be a need for a student to understand a concept as long as they can fill out a multiple-choice reciting basic definitions that were rammed into their head since the first day of school.

The Chicago Teachers Union stood up for what they believe in and as a result they were able to side-step this sudden urge to transcend incentive-based pay into our education system. The sacrifice that the students made by missing the first couple of weeks of school will be more than made up for in the future when school systems don’t turn into competitions between fellow instructors for a bigger paycheck.

The University Needs To Be Met Halfway

CCSU is constantly saturated with empty complaints by students who refuse to take advantage of all the resources that the University provides. It is hard to navigate the campus without hearing part of a conversation condemning the school and how few of things there are to do.

In a Twitter account called, @CCSUProblems, students utilize it to point out everything that is deemed to be wrong at this University. It has died down since last year, but at the time it was very active. If the same effort that went into exploring all the downsides to CCSU was put into examining everything it has to offer, then the students would find more positives than negatives.

Various administrators are continuously trying to improve campus quality, but are halted by students who are unwilling to meet them in the middle. There are many outlets on campus that students can turn to in order to fill their void on the weekends.

Student Activities is searching for ways to bring students back to campus. The organization is collaborating with ResLife to ensure that beds will be filled in the residence halls and students will be satisfied. Top student leaders are forming a group called, Weekend Central, where they will meet and find fun activities for students to do on the weekends.

CAN, IRC, and other organizations strive to achieve this goal. They put a lot of time into this project. On Thursday nights, to avoid the sighs from students in regards to the dry campus, the University holds the “Devil’s Den at 10” with a mission to create fun, alternative activities for students to participate in. Devil’s Den also encourages other clubs to host their events during that slot.

In terms of clubs on campus, the list is ongoing. If there is a certain hobby or sport that a student is interested in, then it is certain that the University has a club pertaining to that interest. If you are interested in Politics, join the Student government, the College Republicans or Democrats. If you are interested in taking photos, join the photography club. There are many different outlets one can turn to in order to find something to do on this campus.

ResLife does their best to ensure that students will be occupied throughout the week and on weekends. RA’s are required to host programs that will bring in students and promote student life on campus. The intention is there, but what is lacking is student response.

The onus has to be placed on the students and their unwillingness to get involved. There is only so much that the University can do, after that it is all up to the students.

CCSU has provided the tools to get a good education and enjoy the process while doing it. The next time you hear someone complain about nothing to do on campus, send them to the student center where they will be overwhelmed with a plethora of options that they can either choose to participate in or continue their grumbling.