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Faculty Senate Stands in Solidarity With Student Protests

By Acadia Otlowski

The Faculty Senate passed a joint resolution which stands in solidarity with students supporting their efforts to protest against the proposed tuition hikes by the ConnCSU Board of Regents.

“We endorse student protests against tuition hikes and encourage faculty participation in the rally planned for March 21, 2013 at 61 Woodland Street in Hartford,” said the resolution.

“To that end, we also ask faculty to raise awareness of this issue in their classes and allow students to exercise their democratic rights of free speech by accommodating their participation in the March 21 rally,” it also said, encouraging faculty members to allow students to miss classes to participate.

“Our students continue to amaze me, you have my full support,” said James Mulrooney                                                                                   to Eric Bergenn, SGA president, who was present at the meeting.

The Senate spoke in support of the proposal.

“It’s only the ethical thing to do,” said Briann Greenfield of the proposal. Greenfield was also an active participant at the rally, helping to organize students and hand out signs.

There were concerns that the money had to come from somewhere. Some were concerned that without the tuition hikes, the quality of the students’ education would suffer.

“Our student-faculty ratio is very high and after long discussion we had to expose the other side of the coin,” said Edward Sarisley from the manufacturing and construction management department.

“The department asked me to vote not in favor of increasing tuition in favor of quality faculty. After all, if we don’t have quality faculty and have quality programs, what is the point?” said Sarisley, who was one of the few that voted against the joint resolution.

“We are standing behind the students… We could delay this, but it won’t do any good for the 21st” said Mulrooney, addressing concerns with the wording and the logistical issues.

Greenfield explained the importance of the resolution and supporting the students.

“It asks us to not just stand behind, but with our students,” said Greenfield.

The Faculty Senate also reiterated its disapproval with the choice of the Vance Lecturer. One Senate member described Rudy Giuliani and his associates as “a couple of thugs.”

“I never really understood the relationship between the school and the Vance Foundation,” said Cindy White, reflecting the similar sentiments of her colleagues.

The Senate demanded clarification on this relationship and Mulrooney offered to have a representative come down and explain this relationship to the group.

Other members of the Senate wished to take action on the lack of class cancellation during Friday’s snow storm.  Several members complained of low attendance and dangerous conditions. One member described several students falling, while another noticed a student who was stuck in their wheelchair because the paths hadn’t been cleared.

The Senate took no action on these complaints, but plans to in the future.