Op-Ed: Stop the ‘slow wreck’ of the Connecticut college system
Dear Gov. Malloy,
I am a senior at Southern Connecticut State University and during my time at SCSU have experienced positives and negatives. The constant positive is that the students here and at the other state universities and community colleges continue to enjoy the college experience.
We study hard, socialize with classmates, attend events, and continue to be taught by excellent faculty who teach us, mentor us, advise us, support us, and mold the minds of the young, the middle age, and the elderly in preparation for a myriad of career opportunities and leadership roles. Thanks to them, those who graduate will do so prepared for whatever life throws at us.
On the negative side are CSCU president Gregory Gray and the Board of Regents. In my time at SCSU the molehill of problems presented by the previous Board of Trustees has turned into mountains ever since the reorganization that combined the universities and community colleges.
The problem, as we students see it, is simple. President Gregory Gray cares not a bit for the educational institutions or the people who inhabit them. Most students are not aware of Dr. Gray’s Transform 2020, but those of us who are dislike what we know of it. In the short time Dr. Gray has been the BOR president, students have built up a lack of respect for him and simply do not trust him. His constant contradictions certainly back up our feelings.
Dr. Gray has insulted you and the state of Connecticut by implying that we are backward. Saying that New Englanders are slow to change shows a lack of understanding and caring about one of the more progressive regions in the country. Admittedly, Connecticut is not California, but having spent most of my life here, I understand that we do not like change for the sake of unnecessary change. And the changes Dr. Gray wants regarding higher education are unnecessary.
Students across the country pay too much tuition. But I am aware that rising costs are mainly due to HVAC, technology, the rising numbers of unnecessary administrators and less state funding for education.
Dr. Gray’s desire for education on the cheap by cutting large numbers of faculty, departments, and staff (and this is his goal) will leave students without the well-rounded education needed to compete in this world. Honestly, students cannot receive the complete college experience by learning, say, math on an interactive computer program. Students learn best through interaction with faculty.
I will graduate in a few months and the one thing I, like anyone else, wants is a legacy. I want to return in the future, look up my old professors, enjoy reunions, and recall with fondness my times at SCSU. I do not want to return and see a shell of my old school that was dismantled and turned into the University of Phoenix light.
Gov. Malloy, we have never met but I believe you have the best interests of the state at heart. I also know that politicians do not like to oppose their own ideas. But for the sake of the Connecticut State University and the State of Connecticut I am asking that you remove Dr. Gray and the BOR from their positions, dismantle the reorganization by giving the CSCU’s and community colleges their independence, and give them substantial roles in forming their own boards.
You are the only one who can put a stop to the slow motion train wreck that is taking place before the eyes of every Connecticut citizen. It is time for you to take action.
I believe the future of Connecticut depends on this. If you reverse the reorganization, my respect for you, already high, will increase. If you do not carry out your singular responsibility for what the reorganization and a series of incapable, misguided leaders have done to higher education in Connecticut, that respect will be irreparably harmed.
I truly believe that many others feel exactly the same way.
Eric Wulf is a senior at Southern State Connecticut University.
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