Tag Archives: featured

Students And Administrators Attend CSU Day At Capital Building

by Nicholas Leahey

A handful of students and administrative faculty attended Connecticut State University (CSU) Day at the state capital building in Hartford last Tuesday, March 19, along with other students and faculty from other schools in the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU) system, amid a backdrop of the state’s ongoing budget crisis.

Representatives from each school lobbied for the system in the Old Judiciary Room, talking with a mixture of fellow CSCU students and administrative faculty, as well as members of the CSCU Board of Regents (BOR), and state representatives.

“I feel that it is important that the legislators in this building hear directly from students as to why our system of public higher education is important, and why they should invest in it, which is investing in our state’s future,” said BOR President Mark Ojakian at the event, who hopes to obtain as much funding for the system as possible, while mitigating any cuts which may come towards it. “Having students interact with legislators, and relay to them their personal stories, I think will be critical as we move forward with the budget in the next few weeks.”

The event, which saw a larger than normal turnout, also featured several student and faculty speakers, including three students and two system administrators, and President Okajian. All spoke about favorable experiences during their time in the CSCU system, and why it was important to maintain and continue to fund the state’s largest public education system.

The annual lobbying event comes amid a backdrop of the ongoing state budget crisis, which has spurred cuts in state funding towards certain programs, and resulted in numerous layoffs of state workers.

Some budget cuts have been made directly to higher education, including the CSCU system. This has prompted concerns about the funding for schools in the system, many of which, including CCSU, are known for providing higher education at an affordable cost.

“You have to be concerned with the level of support services available to a student,” said Director of Research and System Effectiveness William Gammell, who voiced concern especially for community college students, who normally have a full time job and family to provide for in addition to doing school work.

“Higher education is not an expense, it’s an investment,” he added.

While many possess the same opinion as Gammell, state lawmakers still insist that they must first address with the nearly one billion dollar hole which currently exists in the state budget. As a result, as legislators try to close the gap, many have not ruled out cutting funding and spending for higher education in the state to fix finance issues.

“This type of event puts you in front of us, so that we look at you very clearly when we make these decisions,” said State Representative Toni walker, who is the Chair of the Appropriations Committee, and also serves on the Committee for Higher Education and Employment Advancement. “And that is the most important part that we have – is to try and make sure that we don’t forget the faces of the students that work in this state and live in this state, and how important they are to protect when moving forward.”

While there is uncertainty if whether or not lawmakers can pass a budget by the set May 1 deadline, they still have until July 1 at the latest. That is when the new fiscal year begins.

Blue Devils Show Progress With Annual Blue-White Game

by Dillon Meehan

With only a handful of months before Central Connecticut’s football season kicks off, the team gathered for their annual Blue-White game. The game that featured the Blue team (offense) against the White team (defense) is less for the players’ benefit than it is a chance for the fans to get excited about the upcoming season.

After spending the past month and a half practicing, the team was able to show off their progress made since last November.

“We made a lot of progress,” said Head Coach Pete Rossomando after the game.

The Blue team was able to defeat the White team 47-25 in a game that awarded each side points for unusual reasons, such as quarterback sacks or first downs.

“Overall, we’re good. Jake has had a really great camp, he has established himself as a starter and we think going forward that he is going to be a guy that is going to help us,” said Rossomando of his starting quarterback.

It has been an interesting year and a half for Jake Dolegala. An injury to fellow freshman Tavion Pauldo gave him the opportunity to split time as the starting quarterback, a position he has since solidified as his own after Pauldo left the team this spring.

“Knowing that the job is mine now, it has settled me down. Allowing me to be myself out there, and not be as nervous,” said Dolegala of winning the position as starting quarterback.

In 11 games last season, Dolegala showed improvements in nearly every game, moving from a quarterback who barely had a grasp of offense to someone who could be relied on to win games.

“It was there in the spring [last year] but a freshman quarterback is a freshman quarterback. It’s still a lot to learn. He did a great job,” said Rossomando. “He got us our first win against Bowie and played every game, valuable experience that you can’t put a price tag on. You can see it in his leadership and his comfort with the offense.”

Dolegala completed 13-20 passes for 174 yards and a touchdown. The highlight of the game was his 52-yard throw to classmate Trey Hodge on a deep post. The following play, Dolegala found sophomore Joey Fields wide open in the end zone for an 18-yard touchdown.

“When I first got out here, the game was so fast. But now playing against our defense, which is one of the best in the conference, it has really slowed down for me,” said Dolegala of his ability to read a defense.

Apart from the improvements on offense, the Blue Devils continue to improve on their stellar defense that is retuning seven players who received All-Conference honors.

“Defensively, we’re really strong right now,“ said Rossomando.

The secondary has been the strongpoint for the Blue Devils during Rossomando’s tenure, and next fall looks as though it may be the best in the conference.

Jevon Elmore, who is entering his senior year, was one of two Blue Devils named to the NEC’s first team All-Conference list. However there is another member of the Blue Devils’ secondary that is challenging for a spot as CCSU’s best defensive back.

Najae Brown, a sophomore safety, was named to the NEC second team last fall, and Rossomando believes he can become the best player in the conference.

Two years ago, Brown was named the Division II Defensive Freshman of the Year while playing for New Haven. When Rossomando left New Haven for CCSU in January 2014, Brown followed and has continued to become a standout player.

“We have a lot of experience coming back this year,” said Brown. “This should be the year where we make that big jump forward. I’m looking forward to the challenge and making that leap.”

CCSU’s season starts out Friday, September 2 when they take on Lafayette at 6:00 p.m.

Victims of Abuse Share Trauma, Evoke Change

by Joshua Quintana

Semesters in Devil’s Den was transformed last Tuesday into a space where survivors of sexual, physical and mental abuse were welcomed to share their struggles, experiences and stories of survival.

Take Back the Night is an event that brings awareness to sexual assault as well as physical and emotional abuse. The event not only focuses on creating awareness but also providing a safe space for those who have fallen victim to these evils. It offers a place for them to share their stories of abuse, empowering them to move forward in a positive direction.

The Central Connecticut community showed commitment and support to Take Back the Night’s cause with help from the Women’s Center.

Alyssa Cornwall, the director of the ACABellas, certainly feels that the issue deserves to be in the forefront of discussion. She and the ACABellas performed a stirring rendition of Lady Gaga’s “Til It Happens to You.”

“Rape culture is prevalent in our society. I’m glad that we could bring light to this issue on campus and in our society,” said Cornwall. “Everyone in the ACABellas is happy to use the fame that we’ve earned to bring this issue out in the open.”

Also showing commitment to the cause of Take Back the Night was Residence Life, all of the resident halls and their councils, Student Wellness and Conduct, Student Activities and Leadership, the CCSU Police Department and the Women’s Center.

The event also garnered the participation of Natasha M. Pierre, Attorney at Law for the Office of the Victim Advocate. Pierre has been involved since the first Take Back the Night at the University of Connecticut 20 years ago.

“Every campus always has room for improvement and we live in a culture where rape is acceptable,” said Pierre. “We are beginning to move forward as a culture and as a campus. Central has a climate to start fixing that problem.”

Present at Take Back the Night was the University’s Director of Student Conduct Christopher Dukes as well as Sgt. Jerry Erwin representing the CCSU Police.

“There is a lot that CCSU has done before the legislature decided to act,” said Dukes. “We started back in 2003 and since then we’ve been fully funded in regards to Crisis Training and Counseling. We continue to train to be better to handle this very serious issue.”

“You know, it might not seem like it sometimes, but under this uniform we’re fathers, we’re mothers, we’re average people. We care about this community and we want everyone to know that they shouldn’t be afraid to come forward,” said Erwin.

Sgt. Erwin recounted a tale of when he first started, “There was this girl who had an abusive boyfriend. He made her feel like scum. Thanks to her coming forward, we were able to get the strength to leave. She got the counseling she needed, and now she teaches here at CCSU and got her Master’s degree.”

“It was amazing,” said Gretchen Marino, who helped organize the event. “The amount of survivors who got up and told their stories were amazing people.”

What made the night all the more compelling was listening to the stories. The tales of abuse from loved ones and strangers alike made Take Back the Night as real as it it could possibly be.

The daunting thing about sexual assault is that it can happen to anyone. It is not something one can expect or look out for often times until it’s too late.

“The event went really well,” said Zoe Grant, SGA Senator At-Large who is also currently running for Resident Senator. “It was important for people to share their stories so people can understand the different ways that sexual assault can occur.”

When Grant took the stage to tell those in attendance about how she was assaulted, she spared no details. She described how she was powerless to stop what was happening and how people made excuses for the assault. She was blamed for being a white girl in the wrong part of town, with accusers saying that she was, in essence, asking for it. She concluded her nightmare tale by saying that even though it was by far the worst thing that had happened to her, she feels empowered.

“For me, it’s a healing process. The more I get it out, the more I’m a survivor. It helps people to stop feeling like victims and start feeling like survivors,” said Grant.

Take Back the Night is one of the most important events that occurs on campus. This event and others like it bring everyday people out of the shadows, making themselves advocates who transcend the word “survivor.” The courage it takes to recount the traumas that these people had to endure makes them into the best examples of what this campus has to offer.

If you or anyone you know is involved in an abusive relationship on campus, call the CCSU Police or go to the Women’s’ Center located on the second floor of the Student Center. You deserve better. You are better. Get the help you need to be free of abuse.


Welcome, Donyell

by Dillon Meehan

After days of speculations and rumors, Central Connecticut officially announced the hiring of Donyell Marshall last Wednesday.

The following day, CCSU held a press conference in Founder’s Hall to formally introduce Marshall as the tenth coach in the programs history.

After landing a job as an assistant at the University of Buffalo, Marshall will be taking his first job as a head coach.

Marshall will be replacing Howie Dickenman, who is not only the man who coached him at UConn, but recruited him out of high school.

“You look at the career he has had, and the money he has made, and he is still one of the most humble, thankful and appreciative people you will ever meet,” said Dickenman about his former player.

It will be a tough situation for Marshall, who is being brought in to turn around a program that has been stagnant for the past few years. Luckily enough, he has the experience of playing under not only coach Jim Calhoun, but also under Jerry Sloan and with Lebron James.

“When you have a guy like that in your corner who has won three national championships, to be able to pick up the phone and call a guy like that is relaxing,” said Marshall following his press conference. “I’ve learned a lot from the greats that I played with and sometimes being able to call those guys and giving them a chance to talk to those guys in front of the team has always been helpful.”

Calhoun attended the press conference with his son, Jeffery, who roomed with Marshall while at UConn.

“When [Stephen] Curry hit those 12 three pointers last week who’s record did he tie? Donyell Marshall’s. When the Cavs drafted Lebron James number one overall in 2003, who did they have him live with? Donyell Marshall, because of his mature approach to the game. I think Central is getting a really special guy,” said Calhoun of his former player.

Marshall said he told players on Wednesday that the season has already begun. With seven months until the season opener, many expect this team to learn from his high basketball IQ.

“It felt great, I had a one-on-one talk with him and it was awesome. He told me about how excited he was for the future and everything he intends to do for us, and I think he’s going to do a great job at it,” said freshman forward Evan Phoenix.

The hope is that Marshall’s 15-year NBA experience will help bring in recruits. Marshall was the recruiting coordinator and helped with player development while helping lead Buffalo to consecutive NCAA tournament appearances and the first team to win back-to-back Mid-American Conference titles in 14-years.

Sanders the Projected Winner for Many CCSU Voters


Video by Taylor Jacobs

by Jacqueline Stoughton

As Connecticut primary night looms near, many Central Connecticut students have plans to cast their votes for Bernie Sanders. The vast majority, however, either don’t plan on voting or know what the purpose of the primary election is.

“I’m voting for Bernie Sanders. I know a lot of people say his policies are unrealistic, but I want to see some sort of change in the political system because clearly it’s not really working that well,” said Conner Henry, 20, CCSU social work major. “I feel like he’s the only person who could really change things and everyone else is just going with what everyone else has been doing and it’s not working.”

Despite the primaries now being two weeks away, polls open on April 26th. Students feel as though CCSU isn’t doing enough to promote and educate why it’s important to vote in primary elections, what they are and how to do it.

“It’s a big deal and it’s going to affect everyone on this campus so they’re [CCSU] obviously not doing enough as far as promoting to vote in the primaries. No one knows that the primaries are coming up,” said Henry.

Unlike many other American voters who plan to vote for Sanders but would also support Hillary Clinton if she were to win the nomination, many CCSU students are reluctant to give her their vote, even if it came down to choosing between Clinton or Donald Trump.

“I would want to vote because this year’s the first time I get to vote and I want my voice to be heard,” said Zoey Grant, 20, CCSU psychology major, explaining she would prefer to cast a write-in vote. “I don’t want to have to vote for someone just because I don’t want to vote for Donald Trump. I’m not just going to vote for someone because I don’t like the other person.”

Grant explained that she believes the university could be doing more to educate and encourage students to vote in the primary elections.

“I think the university in general needs to start doing stuff, maybe like holding parties for the primaries and really talking about it in classes because I think that’s really important, but I know so many people who don’t know what a primary is,” said Grant. “They don’t know anything about what the candidates have said. Most of these students are eligible to vote now, they should be aware of whom they’re voting for.”

In the midst of a Sanders-supportive campus environment, there are few at CCSU who would rather give their vote to Trump.

“I feel like a lot of Bernie Sanders supporters and pretty much all of the other supporters have a very negative view on the people who support Trump, not just Trump himself,” said Jason Coffin, 19, CCSU computer science major. “He’s not the typical politician. Ted Cruz has been a senator and done a bunch of useless things, whereas here’s a guy with real life executive experience and it’s like, how is this a hard choice?”

Coffin explained despite being the most controversial of the candidates, he feels as though the media builds up the negativity surrounding Trump.

“I’m the type of person that usually sees the news then goes, ‘what a bunch of lies.’ The media over blows things,” said Coffin. “They build a straw man against Trump, he’s racist, he’s all these things but he’s just not. Other countries build walls and they’re not racist. The arguments against Trump aren’t very logical they’re more emotional.”

Other than some outliers, many students give their support to Sanders, because they believe he will be able to provide the best, most cost effective educational options. Students tend to choose Sanders over Clinton mainly due to severed trust.

“I feel Hillary is very dubious,” said Paul Chowaniec, 24, CCSU communications major. “If it was between Hillary and Trump, maybe I would vote for Hillary because at least she has decent foreign relations and experience and credentials with that.”

According to David Perkarski, 26, CCSU sociology major, he’s giving his support to Sanders because he supports the working middle-class.

“I’m going to be a middle working class type person. With Bernie, he’s trying to keep people from falling out of the middle class. The biggest reason why I’m not supporting Senator Clinton besides Benghazi, is she’s outsourcing jobs. Bernie wants to keep jobs in America and has a good plan for students,” said Perkarski. “Given the two Democratic choices, I think Bernie is the way to go.”

So far for Republicans, Trump holds the lead with 743 delegates, Cruz with 545 and John Kasich with 143 with 854 still to be claimed before naming the GOP presidential nominee. For Democrats, Clinton is in the lead with 1,756 followed by Sanders with 1,068 with 1,941 delegates still to be won, according to AP.

The primary elections, when parties vote for who they want their presidential nominee to be, happening in Connecticut in a short two weeks will be closed elections. Meaning, if you’re a registered Independent, you must switch to either a Democrat affiliation if you wish to vote for Clinton or Sanders or a Republican affiliation if you plan to cast a vote for any of the GOP candidates. Voters have until primary day to make the change.

Contributed reporting by Taylor Jacobs.

Men’s Ice Hockey Beat Rivals William Patterson

by Nicholas Leahey

The Central Connecticut Men’s Ice Hockey Club Team (7-6-0) beat conference rivals William Patterson University (8-2-0) 2-0 Saturday in a tight and physical game at Newington Ice Arena.

After a slow first period for the Blue Devils, the first goal was scored just 3:04 into the second period, when Captain Matthew Lis scored unassisted from the hash marks to beat William Patterson goalie Jordan Hulahan high on the blocker side.

“I was pumped,” said Lis in an interview after the game. “It’s a great feeling. I can’t explain it.”

CCSU was then able to cement their lead when forward Jack Johnson scored a power play goal at 6:11 of the third period off a rebound, beating Hulahan on the glove side.

“Going into the game we knew what was on the line,” said CCSU Head Coach Joseph Dabowski after the game. “They came out really hard and threw some big hits. It was a turning point when we decided not to shy away.”

The Blue Devils were outshot in the game, unofficially 63 to 33. Despite WPU’s onslaught, especially during the remaining 1:30 of the game when WPU pulled their goalie, CCSU was able to hold on, giving goalie Zach Gosselin the shutout.

“I mean, I think the whole team played really well,” said Gosselin after the game. “To come out and beat a team like William Patterson is a very big thing.”

Tensions were high during the game, which was very physical from the beginning on both sides. The opening minute especially saw two big hits, including one 25 seconds in, when CCSU forward Adam Mink was hit up high.

Scuffles broke out during numerous points during the game, as both teams exchanged words with one another. Multiple penalties for roughing and unsportsman-like conduct were given throughout the game as a result.

The most notable instances came in the remaining minute of the game when Lis exchanged words with William Patterson’s Kyle Garlasco, resulting in matching roughing penalties. Soon thereafter, CCSU left wing Kyle Leyerzapf got into a physical confrontation with WPU defender Shawn Lacorte during the last five seconds of the game. Both were subsequently given matching roughing penalties, and sent off the ice.

In all, 16 penalties were given during the game, with each team receiving eight penalties respectively.

Despite game statistics, most of which heavily favored William Patterson, CCSU earned a much-needed victory, adding to their 6-1 record this semester.

“They matched their intensity,” said Coach Dabowski. “They kind of rose to the challenge, and they didn’t back down.”

The Blue Devils play their next game Friday, Feb. 12th against Eastern Connecticut State University at Newington Ice Arena as a part of a weekend double-header. They also play Bryant on Saturday, also at home.

Going into the weekend double-header, the Blue Devil’s plan to maintain their energy level.

“We’re doing a lot of things right, and keeping things consistent. If we’re doing a lot of things right, then keep it going,” said Coach Dabowski.

University of New Hampshire Students Prepare for Primaries

by Jacqueline Stoughton

NASHUA, NEW HAMPSHIRE — Students at the University of New Hampshire are rallying their support for Bernie Sanders the weekend before the primary voting event in their swing state.

With the most recent Democratic debate last Thursday hosted right on campus, students were able to get involved in the election season experience in full.

“There was a good turnout at the Democratic debate. There was a lot of interest in getting a ticket which was done by a lottery system,” said Sam Rabuck, the executive editor of the The New Hampshire, UNH student-run campus newspaper. “There’s a lot of political interest on this campus.”

Students showed up with overwhelming amounts of support for Sanders, but not so much for Clinton.

“He [Sanders] did a good job in the debate catering to what college students want to hear, a reformed education system, someone they believe in to promote fairness, people tend to trust and believe in him,” said Rabuck.

Similar to Central Connecticut State University, a lot of those who are for Sanders would also be okay with supporting Hillary Clinton if she were to win the Democratic nomination.

“The fact that she’s a woman is big we want to see a woman win, but that shouldn’t be only what they vote on. She has a realistic plan for education and stays within the reality of what’s possible,” said Sam Barrett, 19-year-old UNH economics student.

Rabuck explains many political figures this election year have showed up for events at the UNH campus, including Sanders, Clinton, Rand Paul, Ben Carson, Martin O’Malley and Jeb Bush – all of their events were very well attended by students.

“They’re different [in some policies] but they’re both Democrats. If you like one you like the other, there’s similarities,” said Sarah Novia, 19-year-old UNH Human and Family Development student.

During the fall 2012 elections, Rabuck said UNH provided its students with buses to transport voters to polling stations. Classes were also cancelled for the day in an attempt to encourage everyone to place their vote.

“For national politics, students voice their opinions quite a bit,” Rabuck said.

“Everyone likes him [Sanders], he has a lot to say we want to hear,” said Barrett. “Like reduced education. I don’t know how well they’ll work out but he has a lot of good ideas.”

Barrett explained that the quality and cost of education are very important for young voters with the thought of student loan debt always looming in the back of every students’ mind. She said for a politician to say he’ll help with that, grabs every student voters attention.

“[Sanders] has done a good job playing to what students want. UNH is the most expensive state schools for in-state tuition, so a lot [of students] buy into education reform and reconstructing the economy,” said Rabuck.

“[Students] want someone untraditional and will give it to them not like it’s just political rhetoric and someone that breaks the status quo,” said Rabuck. “I think people have been unhappy with the past eight to 12 years, [Sanders] makes change seem possible; he’s progressive.”

Of course education reform is what proves to be the most important policy for college students, others like Kaleena Gulledge, 19-year-old UNH environmental conservation major, said students also want someone they can connect with and understand where they came from and where they want to go.

“To me, environment issues [are important], taxes are important for post college,” Gulledge said.

For Novia, policy issues such as environmentalism and foreign policies are most important to her.

“I care about economic policies too, but I don’t understand them. Bernie is likable and makes it easier to understand these issues,” she said.

“[Sanders] is doing a lot by focusing on what we care about, he’s in-tuned and invested, talking and advocating for college students,” said Novia. She explained that compared to the other candidates, it seems as though Sanders is out there the most meeting students and finding out what they want and what’s important to them directly from the source.

Although New Hampshire is a swing state that typically leans Democratic, according to current primary polls for the Republican side, Donald Trump is trailing ahead in New Hampshire.

“He’s the number one Republican in New Hampshire. Half the students here say no to Trump, they hear a lot of BS from him,” said Barrett. “For now, what he’s saying is doing a great job of getting our attention, but it doesn’t seem realistic.”

“The name and what’s associated with him make him popular. People know Trump as a celebrity. He has good ideas, but doesn’t know how to deliver,” said Gulledge. “He has to show that he’ll do what he says he’ll do. He can’t just talk the talk he has to walk the walk too.”

“[Trump is] someone different than the same names, it makes me want to listen,” said Novia. Although Novia pays attention to what he has to say, she said this differentiating quality doesn’t necessarily make him better than the average candidates.


BOR President Ojakian Visits CCSU, Addresses Student and Faculty Concerns

by Jacqueline Stoughton

After delaying his original visit, Board of Regents (BOR) President Mark Ojakian came to Central Connecticut last week to hold an open forum for both students and faculty to ask any pressing questions they have concerning contracts and other concerns regarding the future of the Connecticut State College & University (CSCU) system.

“The few short months I’ve been in this position, I’ve spent a great deal of my time going out to campuses talking to students, faculty, union leaders and administrators about their institutions and what they think some of the challenges that they face are and some of the things they want me to know about the system and think about how we can move forward together and I’ve had so far a fairly good response,” said Ojakian.

Ojakian has been plagued with constant negativity surrounding him since becoming president, as well as the system due to the recent budget cuts, tuition rises and faculty contract proposals.

As expected the faculty forum was in full attendance, however, the student forum couldn’t attract enough students to fill even half of Alumni Hall. Those in attendance were able to present the president with many challenging questions.

When asked about increasing the faculty in the Department of Theatre, Ojakian responded that he didn’t have enough information regarding that department to give an honest answer, explaining he will consult with President Jack Miller on this matter later on. “I won’t commit or make a promise about anything I know I can’t deliver.”

“We need to do more to get more full-time faculty on our campuses, I really value the dedication and hard work that our faculty do here at our institutions. Given the recent budget we’re going to have to have a serious conversation about what we can afford to do and how we can afford to do it,” said Ojakian. “I understand the need to have more full-time faculty on our campuses, we need to take a look at what our final budget numbers are going to be.”

Knowing how the Gov. Malloy’s recent budget cuts will effect the CSCU system was one of the more passionately asked questions, demanding answers regarding the issue, from Ojakian.

“You always have to hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. I have been advocating to the general assembly as why our colleges and university should be seen as a priority, I don’t think anyone whose led the system before was able to make that argument,” said Ojakian. “I’m not going to balance the states financial burdens on the backs of the students. We’re not going to cover all of our costs on tuition and fees.”

Ojakian explained his unwillingness to sacrifice the quality, accessibility and affordability of the universities – promising to be at the capital each day fighting for the CSCU system while working to get the deserved money restored in the CSCU budget.

The biggest topic of discussion was the call by both faculty and students to take the union budget proposals off the table.

“I believe these things should be done in good faith and in a private setting where you could really negotiate this,” said Ojakian. “I want to get a fair and balanced agreement, because I think that’s important. We’re going to have to have conversations about the budget and see what we can afford.”

Although Ojakian provided no clear plan on how to go about the proposed contracts, but continued to promise that with honest conversation in a private setting, a fair agreement will be reached. “I want a fair contract, I believe there should be a fair contract and I’m committed to getting a fair contract.”

Many have been quick to doubt Ojakian and his capability to fix a broken system. Although he doesn’t come from an academic background, he has about 35 years of public service experience – which may be exactly what the system needs during this time.

“I’m going to be the kind of leader that will actually listen to people, that will look to work with everybody in our system to make sure that the education we provide is the best, first-class and continues to move forward in a positive way,” said Ojakian. “I want to make a difference for this system, it’s going to take awhile for people to understand that what I say is what I mean and that my actions bear out my words and I intend to be a strong advocate for this system, for your college and for you. I know how to get things done.”

The Snoball in Wonderland

by Joshua Quintana

A line of well-dressed students waited in line for the dance of the semester in Alumni Hall, Friday Jan. 29th. As students waited with their dates for doors to open, Students voiced their excitement to finally be able to enjoy the Snoball.

The doors haven’t opened around around eight. Ten minutes after, the excitement is clear. The balloon arch placed in front of the doors started to sag, the clock-shaped cut outs hanging from the arch seemed to mock the tardiness of the event.

When the doors opened, the Alice in Wonderland themed masterpiece Central Activities Network (CAN) put on is noticed. Five dollars has never provided such a wonderful and rapturous first impression. The Student Government Association (SGA) chambers are gone and instead a sumptuous feast of fruits, vegetables, cupcakes and marshmallows set beside a mini lake of smooth creamy chocolate fondue is set up. Beside that, a mashed potato bar with all the tea time fixings are set for everyone to come and enjoy.

By 9 p.m. the room is filled and the DJ played songs that got everybody in the partying mood. By 9:30, the entire room is up and dancing, taking requests and couples out on the dance floor slow dancing. It is clear that CAN has out-done themselves with this event.

SGA Vice Chair of Public Affairs Committee and CAN Program Director Jahmil Effend was taking tickets at the door, and he explained the late opening was due to, “Sodexo setting up everything just right.” He also said that the vaunted VIP tickets on sale sold out entirely. Clearly the time was well spent.

Freshman Dana Brianti attended with her friend Kayla Walsh and clearly enjoyed themselves. “I like it so much and the DJ is great,” Brianti said while she and Walsh wait in line to get their picture taken. Scott Hazen, Director of the Office of Student Activities and Leadership Development (SA/LD) said, “I’m glad to see the students coming out and having a good time.”

Later in the evening an announcement regarding the artists for the Spring Concert was supposed to be made. However, upon speaking with Julie Koivisto, program adviser for CAN, the announcement won’t be made for another couple of weeks. Instead it will be announced over the new social text CAN is setting up  and promoting. For more information, be sure to sign up for the CAN text system and check their Facebook page.

Effend was happy with the event’s turnout. “The decorations in the room were awesome and it looked like everyone who came enjoyed themselves.” On the announcement of the Spring concert lineup, Effend offered, “I know a lot of people were disappointed that we didn’t reveal the spring concert acts, but it definitely built anticipation about who it may be!”

If you were wondering about whether you missed an opportunity to have one of the most memorable times of your life at CCSU, the answer is yes and a helpful hint to not miss out next year.

Reflecting on President’s Influence on Central, Announces Retirement

by Jacqueline Stoughton

Following a long and successful career in education, Central Connecticut President Jack Miller announced his retirement to begin in September, after 12 years of involvement with this campus and its community.

Originating from Chicago, Miller initially had different intentions for his career path. Starting as a freshman at University of Tulsa, unsure of the academic direction he’d go in over the next four years. At the end of his freshman year, Miller transferred to Ohio University on a football scholarship where he studied journalism. Following his undergraduate graduation with plans to write for an Idaho newspaper, a complicated turn of events brought Miller back home to Chicago where he would be an assistant high school football coach while teaching third grade at Paderewski Elementary.

Miller continued taking classes in order to keep his “emergency teaching certificate,” eventually attending graduate school to obtain his masters degree from Purdue University. Throughout his teaching experiences, Miller developed a passion for literacy education. He became a professor at Wichita University in Kansas where he taught future teachers how to teach children to read.

Miller arrived at CCSU as president in 2005, after making the switch from professor to administrator in higher education. While each day, Miller says, has its good and bad moments, the memories that stick with him the most are having to share in the sadness and grief of watching young students pass away, whether due to natural causes or accidents – it’s a reoccurring tragedy each year.

“Watching the sadness when a young person losses their life, that’s what makes the biggest impact on me,” said Miller. “There’s plenty of great times and fun times, but if you want to say what’s the single thing that just hits you right in the face, it’s every year losing a few students. Seeing their parents losing children that are 20-years-old, it’s sad.”

Miller explained seeing students create memorials, helping out others in the neighborhood and participating in plays and sports games have been some of his most memorable moments during his time as president. “Every week there’s something good.”

During the first year of his presidency, Miller created a list of 40 goals he wanted to accomplish throughout his time at CCSU. Although he was successful in the majority of those goals, one he wishes he had more time for was his efforts in increasing the amount of students who partake in study abroad courses up to at least 1,000 students traveling each year. According to Miller, “We’re about half way there.”

Overall, Miller says he has no regrets regarding unpopular decisions he may have made during his presidency.

“When you try to make the right decisions for the right reasons it doesn’t always work out, but you don’t necessarily regret it because you did it based on what you knew when you did it. I can’t really say there’s something where I have terrible regrets,” said Miller.

Miller has many notable accomplishments over the past 12 years, all which played a part in bringing the university up to the high status that it currently stands at. Such as adding more academic space, which is still a goal in process with the renovations of Willard and DiLoreto, the completion of a new dining hall, the renovation of the bubble and addition of a new stem building – all happening within the next few years.

However, Miller’s biggest accomplishment is the drastic increase in graduation rates. Bringing the 40 percent graduation rate in 2005, which is in the lowest quartile, up to 57 percent by 2015.

“My goal was 52 percent. Over ten years, over 1,100 students have graduated who otherwise wouldn’t have,” said Miller. “Those are people who have a college degree who wouldn’t otherwise have a college degree.”

Provost Carl Lovitt explains he believes Millers success as a leader to be attributed to his establishment of clear goals, setting budget priorities and maintaining high standards.

“President Miller is perhaps the most intelligent man I’ve ever worked with. No matter what I proposed to do, he could always think of objectives I hadn’t considered – not necessarily because he didn’t agree with me but because he wanted me to be able to defend my position. But once the discussion was over, he trusted me to make my own decisions,” said Lovitt. “He earned the respect of his colleagues for being a leader of the university and not a micromanager. He also knows more about sports than anyone I’ve ever met, and I was always amused that he could identify the sports mascot of any college or university I mentioned. I will also remember him as someone who could surprise you with his thoughtfulness and generosity.”

Lovitt recalls a time when Miller brought his son down onto the field at a CCSU football half-time show. “It made a huge impression on my son, and it’s something I’ll never forget. I wish him the very best in his retirement, but I know that a lot of us are going to miss having him here at CCSU.”

According to Miller, the biggest challenge every administrator will face and something that will always present itself as a challenge, is trying to balance the decreasing percentage of money for college paid by the state, causing the increase paid by students to rise at alarming rates.

“Trying to balance a high quality education program without charging the students so much that it gets out of reach for the majority of young people while the states are decreasing the amount that they spend is, I think, the number one challenge,” said Miller. “Cost containment, maintain quality, try to contain costs. And it’s not going to get better, it was a challenge when I started, it’s a challenge now, it’ll be a challenge for the next person, and it’s a challenge all over the country in public education.”

According to Laura Tordenti, Vice President of Student Affairs who reports directly to President Miller, explains that his wise council has assisted her in many challenging matters.

“He listens very carefully and then provides a perspective, insight, or possible solutions that I may not have fully considered. He gets to the heart of a matter very quickly and often challenges my assumptions or thinking on a particular issue. I have made better decisions, or have approached a situation in another fashion, as a result of having talked with him,” said Tordenti.

Miller has continuously made himself available for students and faculty throughout the CCSU community as an ally, particularly for the journalism department in 2012 following the scandal involving soccer Coach Shaun Green throwing away 150 copies of The Recorder in the Student Center over an unfavorable article highlighting the disqualification of the soccer team from the following years postseason because of NCAA academic sanctions.

“If there’s one thing I believe in about education, in particular post-secondary education, it’s that it’s a place where people should come and be challenged and experience different thoughts and ideas; I think that’s what education is,” said Miller. “I’ve had the opportunity on many occasions to defend that principle and I defend it because I believe in it. The printed word and the spoken word is what education is based on.”

Miller has many goals that he’s set in motion that he hopes to see accomplished following his departure. Including, doubling the endowment, which he’s increased already to about $18 to $62 million. He would like to see an increase in the student population by another 50 percent.

“I think there’s a lot of great potential here; you look at the way this place looks and the way it’s going to look,” said Miller. “I think that Central can be one of the better regional public comprehensive universities in the country. I believed that 11 years ago, and I still believe it. There’s a lot that needs to be done to get to that level.”

According to Christopher Galligan, Vice President of Institutional Advancement, explains as president, Miller has done a remarkable job by all constituents by raising the stature of CCSU within his 12 years here.

“His presence in the community, with alumni and friends has helped raise dollars and connect people back to the university,” said Galligan. “He’s an effective leader and focuses on what’s important and allows us to be creative and innovative in a hands-off approach.”

Galligan recalls Miller telling him to embrace failure, to stretch yourself – and that if you’re not failing then you’re not trying. Galligan says he’ll remember Miller most for his sense of humor and his unsuccessful attempts at convincing him that Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band is the best band of all time. “He takes his job seriously but not himself seriously. He created a fun environment for all of us to work in,” said Galligan.

Miller has many exciting plans as he nears retirement life. So far he looks forward to doing some selective public speaking events regarding his new world literacy book set to be published in three weeks, as well as getting his strong golf game back, becoming more aggressively involved in the horse racing business and volunteering at a school to teach young children to read.

“What I will miss about CCSU is what I will miss about being involved in the education of students; I’m gonna miss seeing those students succeed,” said Miller. “I’m going to miss seeing 200 more students a year succeeding than would have. But mostly, I don’t know what I’m going to miss before I miss it.”