Category Archives: Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor may be sent to the same email address or mailed to 1615 Stanley Street, New Britain, Conn. 06050. For those who would like their letters to be printed in the newspaper, letters must be signed, accompanied by valid contact information and must be 300 words or less. The Recorder reserves the right to edit length

Letter To The Editor: Smoking Ban Infringes on Student Rights

By David deHaas

The beginning of this fall’s semester has been tainted with an injustice. As human beings, we endure life, it is a complicated and fascinating experience, yet we have no real choice in the matter. We strive for happiness, but our existence is all there is, regardless of an individual’s happiness one still must endure. An infringement on life is not only atrocious, but artificial and meaningless; for in the words of Jean Paul Sartre, “We are condemned to be free.”

It has been announced through e-mail that a policy restricting tobacco use is in effect. There are currently four designated areas on campus where students and faculty are allowed to smoke.

The intent behind this policy is to provide a healthier environment for students, but how effective will this policy be towards achieving such honorable goals? Will the students directly benefit from such restrictions? The air quality on campus will certainly improve, resulting in a fresher experience while walking to and from classes. But what is the extent of this improvement? I am no scientist, but a quick venture into the realm of reason leads me to conclude that, due to the vastness of the outdoors, an absence of burning tobacco will only result in a small impact to air quality, only those with a keen sense of smell will be able to notice a difference.

Another hefty issue is the displeasure associated with tobacco use. First one must ask themselves, how common were such unpleasant encounters to begin with? A tobacco-smoking friend would naturally respect the wishes of a health-conscious individual — walking by tobacco smokers might cause displeasure, but only for a few moments.

A smoker is no less a human being then someone who does not smoke; the issue, it seems, is that non-smokers are bothered by the act of smoking. This constant worrying for one’s health can result in obscure thinking, distracting one from their goals and dreams. To worry about smokers and their potential impact on the health of the people around them is a far worse deficiency then smoking itself. One must keep their thoughts within the rational realm, or fall victim to the obscurity of pettiness. A certain level of acceptance between both parties must be obliged.

Tobacco is neither a good nor bad thing. It is merely a plant that the human race has historically used for recreational purposes. It is not an activity that will unravel the fabric of our university, or provide substantive distractions to students. The issue is simply insignificant, one masquerading its own tyranny.

The stigma our society has against tobacco use is caused by heavy-weight tobacco industries. If the nature of the industry was not so grotesque, if useless chemicals and additives were not included in a majority of tobacco products, the map-receptivity would not be as amplified as it is.

The issue is not one of smoking, but of freedom. Regardless of what anyone has to say about tobacco use, it is never proper course to force particular behaviors upon a population. The noblest intentions could be at the heart of such tyranny, but in order to achieve authentic harmony, the people must reach these conclusions naturally. They must cohere within the bounds of proper conduct and respect, and instead of being forced to behave in such a way, it should be the result of such freedom.

Constraints, even trivial, are dangerous endeavors. To show complete compliance supports the notion to our administrators that their reach of influence has no bounds. What will they do next? Imagine the restriction of all outside food on campus; would you comply with such a silly idea? Enforcing this current change seems to be a rigorous task; imagine the extra funding needed to compel our campus police to go out of their way to find these smoking delinquents. The purpose of law enforcement is to protect the people, but now they have an added responsibility — that of harassment.

Another issue to contemplate is of the student body, the patrons of this institution. Without the presence and tuition of the student body, there is no institution; the people are products of the functionality of the university. Treating intelligent adults in this way is beyond my scope of thinking, it’s so incomprehensible the only action I find suitable is to smoke even more tobacco then I am accustomed to, and smoking in one of the four designated areas is not the only option. Regardless of consequences, I still have the freedom to make decisions, and nothing can change that.

Fundamentally, our sense of self is synonymous with freedom. There is nothing that will change this. A fascist government’s incarceration, even death does not change the nature of our being. In order for civilization to actualize it must be done naturally, we should look at the chaos throughout our history in order to rationalize this way of thinking.

I now open the discussion to the students and faculty of CCSU. In order to understand the nature of these issues, we must partake in active dialogue with each other. I encourage everyone to question my thoughts and to give counter arguments to my reasoning. This does not mean that any of us should ever attack each other as human beings; we must only attack ideas. Chivalry is key. Arguments are not only meant to be civil, but there occurrence is entirely natural. Despite these wonders, passion tends to overwhelm reasoning, but the cure for such brutal thinking is simple enough.

Conflict is the result of misunderstandings, and I feel that the people can find solutions through their own wills by discussion — as a result, these regulations will be seen as unnecessary and a waste of efforts that could have gone towards more useful ventures.

Pulitzer Prizes Validate Role of Journalism

The Washington Post and The Guardian were awarded the Pulitzer Prize for public service on Monday for their work reporting the National Security Agency spying scandal that rocked the country. Based on documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden, both papers revealed the widespread effort undertaking by the NSA and US government to spy on American citizens in an attempt to prevent future 9/11-esque threats.

The award echoes the one given to The New York Times in 1971 for its publication of the Pentagon Papers leaked by Daniel Ellsberg that revealed the secret history of the Vietnam War and the false information fed to the public by the government.

The Post’s Barton Gellman, who had previously won a Pulitzer for his reporting on former Vice President Dick Cheney’s power within the Bush Administration, and Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras and Ewan MacAskill writing for The Guardian were the journalists given the award for their reporting.

The documents leaked by Snowden caused him to be labeled as a traitor by some and a national hero by others. The revelations of the NSA’s practices were near-instantly deemed suspicious by the American public and highlighted the need to debate the balance between governmental surveillance/national security and personal privacy. This spurred President Obama to order an investigation into governmental data surveillance, and a handful of reform bills to pass through Congress, in an attempt to safeguard users’ data and bring peace of mind to those with privacy concerns.

Columbia University in New York awards the prizes every year. They were administered this year by Sig Gissler who said the reporting by Greenwald, Poitras, MacAskill and Gellman “helped stimulate the very important discussion about the balance between privacy and security and that discussion is still going on.”

The very name of the award given to The Post and The Guardian encompasses everything journalism represents. Joseph Pulitzer was the first publisher to require university training for his journalists. He set a new standard for journalism, encouraging those who wrote for him to dig deeper. It was at Pulitzer’s newspapers that the modern responsibilities of journalism took root.

Historically, journalism has played the watch dog for big corporations and big government. Early 1900s reporters like Nellie Bly and Upton Sinclair revealed horrid conditions in a psych ward or meat packing plants. And Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein exposed Nixon’s corruption with their coverage of the Watergate Scandal.

The awards given Monday acknowledge the importance that reporting stories like the NSA spying scandal are to educating the public. They celebrate the spirit of legendary cases like that of Woodward and Bernstein.

“Public service feels like a validation of our belief in the face of some pretty strong criticism that the people have a right to take part in drawing the boundaries of secret intelligence in a democracy,” said Gellman of the distinction of the award.

Without the perseverance of journalists, activists and whistleblowers alike, these secrets would remain as such; unknown to the general public. Both the Post and the Guardian are well-deserving of these awards. In a world where journalism is constantly taking new forms, there will always be doubts that the industry will fade but stories like the NSA scandal will keep it around for generations to come.

The industry will exist as long as injustice exists. And if history is indicative of what is to come, journalism will always play an imperative role in serving the people.

Letter to the Editor

To The Editor:

A previous edition of this paper included a letter to the editor from senator on the Student Government. In this letter, the senator was upset with the “blatant waste” that has been occurring within our Student Government. This senator has failed to mention several key details.

Our Student Government Association is not in the business to “blatantly waste” student activity fees. Throughout this semester each committee, including the Finance Committee, has been hard at work helping improve our wonderful school. No senator joins SGA for personal gain or benefit. We all work hard to resolve issues, and make better our school.

The letter to the editor being referenced, has failed to mention that both of the retreats held by the SGA this year, combined, came in at a total cost that is less than the retreats of the previous year. This year the SGA spent a total of $18,093.60 ($4,549 on the Summer retreat, and $13,544 on the Winter retreat) on retreats. This points to the commitment of the Student Government in ensuring the best interest of the students whom we represent. In an attempt to keep costs as low as possible, the SGA teamed up with another on campus organization.

While yes, on this second retreat we spent a weekend at a hotel in Rhode Island, it was not all fun and games. The majority of the weekend was spent at the hotel in meetings, and in team bonding, and diversity-training activities to allow us to function better as an organization. Throughout this meeting several key changes to our Student Government was implemented. For instance, at this retreat, the Finance Committee reworked its structure to allow us to provide student organizations with more money throughout the year. The Finance Committee also changed the percentages it uses to allocate the money it is provided with each year. This reallocation of percentages makes it so that the SGA spends less money itself, and more money on the student organizations we represent. More specifically, the SGA will be spending at the very least, $30,000 more in base budgets for next year. This is not including the amount that Treasurer Kory Mills, and the Finance committee plan to move from the SGA Reserve account to our Base Budget account. Similarly, this year the finance committee has already spent $35,000 in Contingency Requests, compared to last year’s $16,000. Treasurer Kory Mills and the Finance Committee have continuously been working to ensure that more money gets spent externally, on student organizations, and less internally.

The senator who penned the previous article has also failed to mention that after the retreat, a majority of senators were outraged at the amount that was spent on that weekend. Although, the combined amounts of both the summer and winter retreats this year is less than the previous year, senators were still outraged. Out of this outrage came the desire to change the way the retreats were held. Changes to the SGA bylaws have been proposed and are being discussed to ensure that we spend less in the upcoming years. Several executive board candidates who ran in the election held before spring break even ran on the platform that they would reform SGA spending.

I agree with the senator, we need to continue to work towards the betterment of the Student Government Association; I encourage all students to get involved whether they are on the SGA or not. However, I wanted to make sure that hard work, and commitment of this year’s senate was brought to light. Yes, we spent money on a retreat, however, we spent significantly less than previous years, and we continue to work to spend more money on student organizations.

Sincerely,

Abdallah Alsaqri
SGA Commuter Senator

Letter to the Editor #2

To Whom It May Concern:

As a Central Connecticut State University student, it was an honor to welcome the President of the United States to our campus community. CCSU is at the center of our state and the center of the lives of its students. Our campus is filled with diverse individuals who strive to go above and beyond to achieve success.

CCSU may be small, but the students here are connected by strong social and academic bonds. Unfortunately, actions of many students who express passion and devotion to CCSU were unnoticed when President Obama came to speak on March 5, 2014.

At CCSU, no matter how much you put into making this university a center of community engagement, it all comes down to who you know.

This is the sad reality many students had to come to terms with on the days prior to Obama’s speech at CCSU. Apparently, special tickets were given out to “Student Leaders,” which included special seating and close accessibility to the President. There was a rumored meet and greet for these specific ticket holders.

So the logical questions are asked: What exactly constitutes an extraordinary leader? Who had the authority to determine this criteria? The answers are unknown. However, the opinions of several students suggest the answers are that it was based on pure, unadulterated, bias.

Students with grades not up to par, who do not work to make their way through school, or are not even heavily involved, were some of the few selected to have this privileged ticket. Of course these characteristics do not define all special ticket holders, but there were students of this nature.

What about the student like myself who identify as Orientation Leaders, Peer Leaders, tutors,  club Presidents and part-time workers? What about the students that strive for success with many obstacles in their way, but manage to persevere?

There is an aspect of a good leader in each and every one of us at CCSU. However, the term “leader” is subjective. Being humble about your active engagement in CCSU affairs is not an appropriate approach.

The lesson from this Presidential visit to CCSU was simply to do as little as possible. But get into the right crowd of “prominent” student leaders, and you will reach the highest level of success.

Time for a change – Letter to the Editor

As a student senator, I recognize that all 105 clubs and organizations that rely on us for funding are all financially stressed. Over the past few years, our student government has continuously demanded that student organizations find more ways to do things with less funding and fewer resources. This year, every club had received funding cuts across the board. I remember on my first year on the senate we had funded club base budgets at $408,000 for the 2012-2013 academic year. However, this year we have only spent $355,000 on clubs based budgets. Our SGA has spent $55,000 less on clubs this year than we spent in the previous year.

                  I want to say that I completely understand the financial struggles that each and every club is going through. As a member of the finance committee, I have firsthand knowledge of the everyday struggles that clubs on our college campus face. As a President of a club myself, I know how frustrating it can get when dealing with all of the financial regulations, requirements, and conditions that our student government places on clubs.

No particular person is to blame. Nobody is at fault. I personally feel there is enough blame to go around – myself included. I am willing to admit that as a member of the finance committee I made mistakes. However, I want to make things better for everyone. I want to make sure that every club’s needs are met. That is why I am speaking out today.

I have been upset for some time at the blatant waste that has been occurring within our student government. When I was growing up, I learned that we should treat others the way we would like to be treated. Overall, I don’t feel that our student government has done such a good job of living up to that moral standard.

Over winter break, the student government held its annual retreat. One of my requirements as a senator is to attend the retreat. I could see the ocean from my hotel room. We stayed on an island in Rhode Island. However, I was told over and over again that our retreat would be relatively inexpensive. However, I learned a month after the retreat that the true cost of the retreat was over $13,000. This was paid for with your student activity fees.

A few weeks later, at the winter club fair – my clubs table was right next to the SGA table. At the SGA table they were handing out tee shirts, hats, scarves and other promotional items. My club had no promotional items to hand out. My club was denied funding for promotional items because ‘it was a luxury.’ I am not making this up – this is what we were told. Why it is considered a luxury for my club to have promotional items, but not the SGA?

Last year, over 20 organizations asked for funding for tee shirts in their base budget requests. Every club was denied. However, everybody elected to the senate received a free tee shirt (I refuse to wear my SGA shirt around campus because I feel it is wrong to tell every club that they can’t have clothing for their members even though SGA members received free tee shirts for our organization).

It is time for a change. Our SGA has given itself many luxuries that we’ve denied to everyone else. JFK once said, “if a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.” It is in that spirit that I am writing this letter. This week marks the start of the base budgeting process. Reach out to your elected representatives. Tell them that the 105 clubs and organizations deserve better. I write this letter to the editor in the hope that I can change things for the better. However, I can’t do this alone. I need your help and your support.

 

Bobby Berriault

SGA Senator

The Future of Student Activity Fees

By: SGA Senator Bobby Berriault

January 26, 2014

 

Last week, I had presented my plan to the Student Government to change the current Student Activity Fee rate that each student pays. Currently, every full time student pays $70 dollars per semester in Student Activity fees. Part time students currently do not pay student activity fees.

My proposal calls for reducing student activity fees for full time students by $4, and having matriculated part time students pay $25 per semester. I strongly feel that, since every student (part time and full time) benefits from the many events and activities held on our campus each year–such as our spring concert–and considering the fact that every student has an equal opportunity in becoming more involved by joining a club or organization, every student should contribute their fair share towards funding these events and campus organizations.

I recognize and empathize with the fact that financial burden is high for all students. Tuition has increased by 5.3% within the past year alone. New fees have been instituted. And many of my friends and classmates are working a full-time job while taking classes here just to make ends meet.

Our student government is currently experiencing a funding crisis. We do not have enough funds to adequately meet the needs of every club and organization. In this year’s base budget, for example, we were only able to fund 43% of all requests submitted to us by the 105 organizations that we normally provide funding for. A lot of those requests made to us were denied purely due to constraints on budget. We must be proactative in correcting this problem that we currently face. My proposal will increase our budget by over $34,000 per year, which can be used to fund our clubs and organizations.

We can compete with other regional schools, like the University of Connecticut, by providing the same opportunities as our other rival schools provide at a more affordable price. My plan would allow for long-term financial sustainably as our college is set to double in size and in population within the next 10 years. With the construction of a 634-bed residence hall currently underway (and other large scale construction projects being planned for the near future), it is necessary for us to take the correct action now in order to ensure that we can continue to meet the future needs of all of our clubs and organizations. If my plan is enacted, we should experience a boost in enrollment at our great university, but only if we are diligent in advertising the fact that we have lowered fees at our school in opposition to the nationwide trend. While colleges around our country are raising fees and tuition, let us be the first in our state to lower fees for our students.