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Regents’ Subpar Strategy Will Ostracize Connecticut Residents

The Connecticut Board of Regents for Higher Education was scheduled to vote yesterday on whether or not to approve a 5.1 percent tuition increase for in-state students and a decrease for out-of-state students by 2.6 percent. When this publication went out for print (Monday), our editorial staff was not aware if this proposal was approved or not. Nonetheless, the fact that this was considered did not sit well with our staff.

The idea that in-state residents, who pay taxes to the state, will have to pay more to attend a state school is disappointing. Most students in high school in Connecticut have been in this state for most of their lives. Their parents have paid taxes year in and year out. A chunk of every paycheck that they earned was taken away before they ever got their hands on it. Part of that money went towards education and now it’s not going to benefit them at all.

Regardless of what happened at the Regents’ meeting Tuesday, state school tuition will still cost less for in-state residents, as it should, but decreasing the cost for those who don’t contribute to the state while increasing the price for those that do cannot be expected to be taken well.

Under this proposal, loyalty is the last thing that comes to mind. If the state is dealing with declining enrollment then the last thing it should do is ask its residents to pay more for a college education. In-state students are the CSU system’s bread and butter. Most people that attend state schools do so with the inkling that it costs less to do so.

Not only is the tuition cheaper than private schools, but a lot of students commute from home to save on room-and-board costs. The amount of money that students can save is the main reason why they stay in state. To be quite frank, there’s not much that draws students from other states into the CSU system.

But that is exactly what the board voted on; a second-rate strategy that attempts to lure students from out-of-state into Connecticut. The message that is being sent to prospective Connecticut college students doesn’t exhibit any allegiance whatsoever.

People should feel like their state is behind them, but this proposal throws Connecticut residents to the side for the potential market that is out-of-state students. It’s just like when a company offers new customers a slew of benefits while ignoring the faithful ones that have been with it through thick and thin.

If this proposal was approved Tuesday, as many expect it to be, it will do nothing more to the declining enrollment issue that the state faces than to blindly throw a lousy solution at one of the many problems that Connecticut must deal with in the future.

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University Finds Solution To Enrollment Issues

Declined enrollment has been a hot topic as of late in Connecticut. The state schools are seeing fewer and fewer students, undergraduates and graduates. CCSU President Jack Miller has said that of the four CSU schools, Central has been affected the least by this. Still though, University officials have admitted that they are facing a problem and they are exploring ways to handle it.

Carl Lovitt, provost and vice president of academic affairs, said in a recent article featured in the Hartford Courant that the current trajectory that higher education is on isn’t sustainable. He addressed the recent news that a statewide tuition increase is inevitable and certainly won’t help the enrollment situation.

“That’s the model that is unsustainable,” Lovitt said, according to the courant. “At some point our market will not be able to bear the increase. Who’s to say we aren’t losing students because tuition has gone up beyond their means?”

It is clear that CCSU, as well as the other state schools, aren’t exactly sure how to handle this issue. Anyone with even half a brain knows that if something isn’t selling (college enrollment in this case) the last thing you should do is raise the price of it. However, given the state’s economic crisis, as addressed in last week’s Recorder editorial, there really is no way around a tuition hike.

That leaves a very tricky situation for state officials. On one hand, the cost of running a college certainly isn’t going down, but on the other, raising the price of an education isn’t going to give high school graduates any motivation to come to a state school.

To the University’s credit, it has somewhat admitted that it doesn’t have the answers to this conundrum. As a result, the school has decided to hire an expert. Vincent Tinto, a professor at Syracuse University, specializes in student attainment. The SGA recently allocated $6,500 for the purpose of funding Tinto’s $10,000 fee. President Eric Bergenn says that the University has agreed to pay the rest.

Some have questioned whether or not the school should keep this as an in-house process citing the student success team as a reason not to bring in Tinto. One of the team’s primary responsibilities is student attainment. But as several SGA senators pointed out at its last meeting, the team even acknowledges that Tinto is the University’s best option.

Arguments against hiring an expert are extremely short-sided. Desperate times call for desperate measures and CCSU recognizes that this is indeed a desperate time for higher education. It takes a lot to confess that you don’t have a solution to your own problem. Before things get any worse, University officials have decided to take the bull by the horns and fix this crisis.

$10,000 is a small price to pay to repair an issue as big as declined enrollment. In the long run this investment could pay dividends and provide the school with something worth much more than $10,000.

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Editor’s Column: West Side Story: Remembering Old Passions

By Kassondra Granata

From the age of ten until my senior year of high school, musical theatre was my absolute passion. The moment I stepped on stage for my first production, I was hooked. The lights and the delighted faces in the crowd bewitched me. I took pleasure in performing, whether it was making them laugh or cry. If I touched their lives in any way, I was content.

I would spend my days putting a show together accompanied with jazz squares, songs, dances, etc.  to plunging into different musicals at home, learning different songs and singing throughout the night. My life was theater.

I participated in over twelve productions. Les Miserables, Fame, The Boyfriend, Grease, Oliver!, and Carousel were just a few that I remember off hand. Participating in these plays was beyond rewarding. I acquired a great amount of confidence, self discipline and leadership qualities, as well as independence. Being involved in something so pivotal in my hometown was very beneficial.

When I graduated high school, I found a new passion in journalism. I grew up enjoying writing, but never had the real opportunity to work on my writing skills, plus, I was engrossed in theatre. Early freshman year, I decided that musical theatre would be my “extreme hobby”, and it has been.

This weekend, I had the privilege to attend West Side Story with my significant other and his family at the Palace Theater in Waterbury, CT. I will openly admit that for being such a theater buff I never attended a Broadway production or any show of that standing. This was phenomenal.

West Side Story is based off of a book written by Arthur Laurents. It’s music is written by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. It also happens to be a film, which is where I first discovered the play.

Set in the Upper West Side in New York City in the mid-1950s, West Side Story tells a tale of a rivalry between the Jets and the Sharks, two teenage street gangs of different ethnic backgrounds. The Sharks, a group from Puerto Rico, and the Jets, a group from the Polish-American working class, antagonize each other throughout the play and their animosity result in a rumble, resulting in the death of the group’s two leaders. Tony, one of the Jets, falls in love with Maria, the sister of Bernardo, the leader of the Sharks. Because of their racial differences along with the rivalry, all trouble breaks loose. It’s very Romeo and Juliet-esque, except more modern.

The moment I stepped into the theater I was mesmerized. The beauty of the inside of the theater was overwhelming. The ceiling was absolutely breathtaking, with contrasting patterns and colors with chandeliers hanging down sending a sparkling light flickering on the floors. The Palace interior also accommodated to the approaching holiday season with wreaths, lights, and a gigantic christmas tree above the lobby entrance.

Many distinct themes were presented in West Side Story. Gang violence, racial differences, and social classes were addressed throughout the play. The mixing of Spanish in the lyrics as well as the dialogue was intriguing, and added a different excitement to the play. The cast was excellent and the choreography was phenomenal. It was fascinating to see a play from a viewers point of view, for I always was on stage looking at the audience. It is a different feeling. Knowing all of the hard work that is put into a production, it was gratifying to see that from the other end.

Seeing West Side Story at the Palace Theater made me miss doing theater. I love journalism, and I know I will continue to sing and have an interest in theater. Hopefully I can make a trip this winter to New York City for my first broadway show.

Editorial: It’s Time To Make Your General Education Concerns Heard

There’s a lot of hoopla surrounding the general education program in the CSU system. Faculty members are up in arms about what programs to cut and which to keep. They’re mulling over different proposals to try to figure out what works best for the school and are hard at work doing so. They want to get this done in time to make changes for the next fall semester.

SGA President Eric Bergenn is now trying to get himself, and the student body he represents, involved in the process. Beyond voting at last week’s SGA meeting whether or not to approve his proposal to the Faculty Senate, he’s had little to no support. That’s baffling.

One of the biggest things that students complain about here at CCSU are the requirements for general education. It contributes to students having to stay longer, study longer and pay more tuition. The fact that no one is lining up to help the SGA try to get student input into the discussion is a sign of weakness on behalf of us all.

It’s frustrating that we can complain to our friends that a biology lab is keeping us from graduating, but when the opportunity is presented for us to say something to the faculty who will be making an overhaul of the system, we’re silent. Student turn-out at all of the General Education open forums has been poor at best.

There was a time when a college campus was a soapbox to stand on for issues to be challenged. Now we hide behind our Twitter handles and complain about #CCSU, but we don’t have the gall to say it out loud. Have we become weak? No, it goes beyond that.

If you peruse the social networks and look at comments about this University, we have no shortage of opinions. Unfortunately, these are not making their way to any administrators in any fashion that holds a speck of validity.

The problem lies in what our generation views as acceptable forms of communication. At this publication, we stress the importance of the well-crafted and edited written word. We have an obvious outlet to do so where some do not, but our opinions can only enter this editorial box on a given week.

As students, we have great power. Our opinions should be prevalent instead of hidden. Whether or not the administrators here would ever admit it, they work for us. We pay for our education and we are employing them to teach us. Without completely throwing aside the respect we should have for all of them, we should remember that we have numbers on our side.

We’re not advocating a riot here in any way, but if we’re not expressing to the faculty and administration what our desires are, then we are wasting time. At no point in our working careers should we be quiet and go with the flow if we don’t agree with what’s happening around us.

College should be a proving ground for the rest of our lives. This is no place to be apathetic. If something is worth complaining about, then it is worth changing. By showing the administration that we care about decisions they are making, we will also demonstrate to them that we take ourselves and our futures seriously.

Editorial: Is General Education A Scapegoat?

There’s been a lot of debate over what the University should do to fix our general education system. Some parties are saying that we should eliminate various courses that seem unnecessary to further a student’s education.

The SGA President at this University has presented his ideas to the general education ad hoc committee. He seems to think that it needs to be broadened to give students more options. That is the opposite of most of the drafts from the committee itself. They seem to agree on the fact that the system should be reduced slightly to keep students moving through their education and out into the real world.

It seems that the major talking point for a system overhaul is the graduation rate. The concern makes sense. We should be pushing for students to get through the University in four years. Instead, some of us are struggling to get out of here in six. Adding two years of student loans to the pile of debt that a graduate has already accumulated is nothing to take lightly, but we might not be looking at the whole picture.

Is the general education program really to blame? Have we settled on that as a definitive cause or is that our scapegoat? The system might need a small tweak, but only if we are addressing the closely related issues, which assist in holding back students, as well.

Take, for example, our advising system. Too many students have no idea what they should be taking when the add/drop period rolls around. This isn’t due to the fact that they haven’t had a meeting with their advisor, but it seems that some of those doing the guidance might not have all the answers either.

The degree evaluation system is too screwy. It’s complicated enough to figure out that you’re supposed to be taking a course when you are, but telling whether or not you’ve fulfilled an entire study area is another. Then what happens when the advisor is correct in their suggestions, but the student cannot get into the desired class?

Block scheduling. This was supposed to happen a long time ago, but we’re still stuck. For some reason, people cannot get what they want when it comes time for them to register. Where that problem stems from is irrelevant; it needs to be fixed. Students still have courses during the “university hour”and classes are over booked. With a fix to an online system that controls scheduling, this could easily be avoided.

Even with all the systems in place, the students should be held responsible completely. It’s their education and if they want to get out of here, it would behoove them to research what it takes to do so.

General education has opened a lot of doors for many students at this University and a scalping of the system would certainly take away from the exposure that someone gets to a new major. It’s a program that can turn a communication major into a business major. Letting a student experience a new discipline should always be a priority.

A well-rounded education is what differentiates a college from a trade school. Before we are quick to point the finger at general education, and subsequently wait to see if its reform changes anything, let’s make sure that we tackle any other existing issues as well. When the committees meet to decide what our programs should be, we hope that they take into account all sides. We should not just do what makes more sense financially, or somehow visually, for our university.

Editorial: Worth The Price Of Admission

Last week the Connecticut Board of Regents approved a tution hike of almost four percent for the CSU Schools, which includes our university, as well as the 12 community colleges in the state. The increase may currently seem like a hassle for some students, but our institution can only benefit from these changes.

If you take a look at our campus, you can already see where the money is going. With a new academic building on the way for 2013 as well as future plans for a new residence hall, cafeteria and police station, it is evident that our money is being put to good use. It is not being spent in ways that will not benefit the entire student body or being funneled to a certain department.

Some may argue that they will not be here to set foot into any of these new buildings, but one must remember the welfare of this university will follow you after graduation. When asked what university you attended in the near future, one should feel a sense of pride that you graduated from CCSU. That pride can grow over the years as you continue to see CCSU prosper. If one were to discuss the state that this university was in 30 years ago, you would be astonished to see the improvements that  have been made. Alumni continue to come back to take part in the CCSU community and events because they are proud of the accomplishments the university has made.

Taking a look at other universities in Connecticut that do not fall under the CSU schools’ jusrisdiction, the amount that students have to pay in order to receive an education is well above what the average student here has to pay. A commuter student at Quinnipiac University pays $36,000 per year, where at CCSU an in-state resident pays approximately $18,000. The difference between the two is significant, and should be enough to convince CSU students that an extra $600-700 is really nothing in comparison.

UConn will raise its tuition by six percent for the fall semester and in-state undergraduates will pay $22,430, while also facing a steady climb to an almost seven percent increase by 2016. These hikes were unanimously approved in December and also adds to the fact that our tuition could be more expensive if the Board was to use UConn as a benchmark.

Students at CCSU enjoy looking down on this university for countless reasons, but they need to realize that the fact the university is making an effort to improve itself and its facilities is commendable. Education is an industry in the U.S., unlike most other countries, and we should all feel priveleged and want to contribute towards improvment. Thinking about all that a student can do with their time at CCSU, it seems like a 3.7 percent increase is a small sacrifice when looking at the big picture.

Our university has a plethora of clubs, committees and sponsored events that students can take advantage of and, even though there are many that do not jump at these opportunities, that is no reason to say that one should not want to pay a small increase in tuition. There are many at this school that want to take full advantage of what the university has to offer, and we should not forfeit that because of a lack of state funding.

Editorial: Should Candidates Expect Voters To Back Rivals?

The recent behavior by the Republican Party is sure to have pitted their voters against each other in searching for a GOP nominee. The sizeable amount of media coverage has only contributed to the mess that the republicans have gotten themselves into during recent debates. After the official withdrawal of Jon Huntsman many voters may find themselves at a loss as to who to vote for.

After what was, to say the least, a fiery string of debates between all of the candidates that led up to the New Hampshire and Iowa primaries, one can’t help but wonder what is going to happen when all of these opposing “cliques” of voters have to finally vote for one official Republican candidate.

During the New Hampshire, debate Huntsman claimed that Romney has a tendency to “flip-flop” and that “He doesn’t have what it takes to beat President Obama”, which we all know is the party’s main interest. Now that Huntsman has announced that he is endorsing Romney, how can voters trust his most recent pledge, when just last week he was condemning Romney? Is this a last-ditch effort to gain a Vice Presidential seat?

With the approaching South Carolina Primary, and some of the most vicious lines of attacks yet seen in this race, we can only assume that the tensions will rise further and worsen the already crumbling foundation the party has built themselves on.

What Republicans need to be worried about (if they aren’t already), is the idea of disjointed voters and the chance that they may lose their vote because they are still pent up and passionate about what they were spoon-fed during the primaries.

The conservative party can’t expect the voters to drop their own values and political ideologies at the drop of a hat just for the sake of the Republicans gaining control in the White House.

For many college students who are unsure of what party to affiliate themselves with, or who to vote for, hearing a candidate change gears that quickly and support the same person who they claimed was incapable of getting Obama out of office does not instill a vote of confidence in the candidates’ values and policies.

The candidates are supposed to be a reflection of the people they represent. In this case they are not. They are being naive to the fact that their followers have loyalties and biases against the other candidates. The voters that they are looking for will be looking for a reason to not vote for Obama, but first the former candidates will need to be convincing in the fact that we should vote for their former enemies after months of berating them.

If party members can change their views so abruptly in the primaries, what’s stopping them from doing it again once they are in Office?

Editorial: Cain Should Have Known This Was Coming

The news from Herman Cain’s camp this past weekend shouldn’t have surprised anyone, at least not someone who has seen the way the media treats political figures.

Today’s news coverage, which is driven by ratings, has become a key component to a heavily-scrutinized industry. Cain and the supporters around him have found out how berating those organizations can be.

The ‘24-hour news cycle’ can put the spotlight on an issue for a once-unimaginable amount of time. Cain found that out the hard way. It was a lesson he should have known he was going to get.

The fact that John Edwards couldn’t get a haircut in 2007 without the public knowing should have been an obvious indicator of what he was getting himself into, but he didn’t hesitate.

At his peak, Cain was a major contender in the race to represent the Republican Party in next year’s Presidential election. Now he is, more than likely, backing out after allowing the accusations against him to pile high for all to see.

It’s nearly impossible for a publication with our limited size, and therefore  limited access to national sources, to gain any information that hasn’t already been made mainstream. However, if the sexual misconduct claims against him are true, then no one should question whether or not he should have ran. He shouldn’t have.

Cain claims that he is only “suspending” his bid for the nomination, but he should now know that he cannot resurrect this failed attempt. He would be foolish to even try.

There are two things that the media does especially well; one is that it informs the people of scandals involving anyone in the public spotlight. That ranges from political figures to reality television stars. The other strength is its ability to get that message into our homes with overwhelming force.

Cain should be seen by others contemplating their candidacy as the poster boy for what they can expect to face. They should have been paying attention to the missteps he’s made this year. The first of which, in hindsight, may have been his decision to run at all.

He must have known that something like this would happen. It’s the media’s self-imposed job, and some would argue duty, to find dirt on these candidates. They once again have shown that their consistency is unmatched.

It’s possible he thought he was an untouchable asset. He could have believed that the Republican Party would protect him from any onslaught against his moral and criminal record.

This wasn’t the best time for him to underestimate news media’s collective power.

His image will be forever tarnished. A formal resignation is nothing but an admittance of guilt in the public’s mind and the networks will help to reiterate that.

While it’s easy to point out the holes in our coverage of foreign affairs, the media has left no doubts that they are well-versed in domestic muckraking.

The question isn’t whether or not he should have run, but why did he think he could hide any information from the trained journalists who would be methodically probing into his past?

We can’t afford to have a person with that level of naiveté running our country.

For any prospective candidate with a messy past, let Herman Cain be a lesson that you cannot outrun any actions. You’re better off keeping your less-examined seat in Congress than destroying your image altogether.

Editorial: The Media Needs To Stay Consistent With Scandals

The Sandusky case at Penn. State, if true, is tragic. The fact that it took so long to come to light is troubling and will certainly change the culture at many universities around the country.

It also gives others in the same position enough confidence to come forward and that is not exclusive to cases of this nature. When a woman claimed that Republican Candidate Herman Cain had sexually harassed her, the accusations started to pour in.

Last week, Syracuse was faced with a scandal of its own. Three different men accused Assistant Basketball Head Coach Bernie Fine of molesting them.

Jim Boeheim originally stated that these accusations were false, but has quickly backed off from those comments. This is partly due to Fine’s wife saying that Fine, “needs help” in a taped phone conversation which was released on major networks.

More information needs to be gathered in both cases, but the allegations are nothing to take lightly. These are people’s lives and careers that are now being put in jeopardy. That goes for both the accusers and accused.

Even if Fine or Sandusky aren’t found guilty in any court of law, they’ve already lost in the public’s opinion. The alleged victims will be criticized if they are found to be falsely accusing these men. However, if that were to happen, those coaches will not get their jobs back. That will also extend beyond the schools in which they were employed. They’ve been blacklisted. That’s irreversible.

We don’t have any reason to not believe the victims in this case, but that could change. It’s hard not to think about the case at Duke several years ago when lacrosse players were accused of rape. As the court proceedings came to an end, and they were found not guilty, they went from villains to martyrs. The damage had been done. Their reputations shattered.

As media consumers we cannot forget to keep checking facts and updates on the evolving stories. They will change and new information will come out. It should be our responsibility to stay informed before we make up our minds. It may be too late for that.

Those who are controlling the media have an even more daunting task. Who do you take seriously? How do you make a judgment on what is a real accusation and what is someone after individual monetary gain? That’s not saying that these cases are either valid or not, time will tell in that regard.

The media has made the decision, and this is true only based upon past practices, that they will cover any and all accusations of this ilk. That is both good and bad. In cases where the accusers are telling the truth, they are being given a voice that they normally wouldn’t have.

On the other hand, when it is a lie they will have aided in destroying the defendant’s career, social life and potentially their family. What should they do?

A responsible media, coupled with a sensible and honest citizen, can do great things. Together they can show society the truth on a number of issues. We cannot take that resource away from anyone. Unfortunately we may have a few victims along the way, who were falsely accused, but the overall good of covering this type of story far exceeds the negatives.

We do not have enough information to comment on whether or not these men are guilty, but we do agree with the coverage of their cases. If the media is going to show one story, they must certainly show them all.

Editorial: Another Missed Opportunity For Student Body

We don’t agree with everything that is seen on TV, heard on the radio and read on the Internet. It’s impossible to agree with it all. Just because we don’t agree with something, no matter what it is, doesn’t mean we can’t give it a shot.

Some may not have liked Dan Choi, a former Army Lieutenant and West Point graduate discharged for revealing his sexual orientation, coming to campus. Some may not have liked former Defense Secretary Robert Gates speaking to the campus about his time in office and views on current affairs.

There are about 2,000 of you living on campus, never mind roughly 10,000 of you that commute to this campus. Where were you? What was more important?

Do we want to turn this into a habit for ourselves? This paper won’t begin to go into how the lack of student participation for anything on campus is silly and, unfortunately, has come to be expected.

The number of students that attended the Gates lecture, courtesy of the Robert C. Vance Foundation, was less than 40. That’s pathetic. Most of the people in attendance were not students, proven by all the grey and white hair spread around Welte Auditorium. The same goes for the Dan Choi lecture, which should have had better attendance. We ask, ‘Why?’

These lectures are for our benefit. They should ignite something within us. If that emotion is anger, great, talk about it. If that emotion is happiness, great, talk about it. These lectures are here for people to start discussions about the views they have. Sparking debates and conversations people normally wouldn’t have is what should have happened.

When we don’t attend these lectures we are missing the point. Stop ignoring these opportunities.

Why not take advantage of those opportunities? Bringing someone like Dr. Gates to campus, whether you agree with him or not, is arguably something that may never happen again. The CCSU Foundation did us a favor. We don’t think students understand that.

If you went to see Dr. Gates, which was free and open to the public, you would have gotten insight from a man who served under two different presidencies, a man who has a unique view of the world we live in. The enormity of his former position shouldn’t be overlooked, whether you agree with his decisions or not. If anything, disagreeing with him should give you more of a reason to take the opportunity to hear his thought process on sending our country to war. The article on his lecture, which many of you didn’t attend, reflects on something that we at The Recorder know was special.

With federal charges still over his head from when he handcuffed himself to the fence surrounding the White House in protest, Choi gave an insight to a part of war that we normally wouldn’t hear from. His lecture, also free and open to the public, was something special.

If we miss events like this now, what will we miss in the future? What are we setting ourselves up for? Shouldn’t we want to understand the other side’s point of view or even care to listen?

The CCSU mission statement states that we should be preparing ourselves to be “thoughtful, responsible and successful citizens,” yet, we fail to do that.

Isn’t that what higher education is all about, experiencing and doing things we wouldn’t normally do? If we don’t think these kinds of things are important then why are any of us in college? We need to think about that. If we don’t find these things important how are we well rounded individuals?

The lack of attendance to these lectures baffled us. So if you chose not to go, please tell us why. Try to convince us that these opportunities are not worth your time.