President Bertolino holds “Town Hall” meeting
Josh LaBella – General Assignment Reporter
Southern Connecticut State University President Joe Bertolino opened his town hall style meeting by saying he had no set agenda.
“I wanted to offer an opportunity for students to come by and ask any question they have,” said Bertolino.
The event, which took place last Wednesday at 1 p.m., was held in Engleman Hall.
“How many of you registered for classes?” Bertolino asked. “You could come to me for help but I would not know what I was doing.”
President Bertolino reminded those in attendance of his inauguration, which is on Friday, April 28. A student asked him if he could miss class to attend and he said he was working on it.
“I’m going to authorize the closing of all offices and encourage the deans to tell the faculty to let students out of class,” Bertolino said.
Next, Bertolino asked students of their opinion on what is and what is not working with the LEP program.
“My sense is that the LEP and the opportunity to take a variety of different classes help you learn the soft skills which employers are looking for,” said Bertolino.
He also asked that students attend an event, on April 19, where the president of the CSU system will be holding a forum in the student center.
“It would be good for student leaders to have some representation there to ask him questions,” said Bertolino.
Then, Bertolino talked more about the budget problems the school and the state are facing, how it is affecting the CSU system and how students can get involved and effect change.
“You should continue to contact your legislatures as much as possible,” said Bertolino. “We don’t want to see any more additional cuts.”
Bertolino also recommended that southern students go back to their high schools and “talk up” Southern so that the school can achieve higher enrollment.
“An extra 100 students is a million dollars,” said Bertolino. “Adding 1 percent of our population each year will put us in a great position.”
One major development is a plan is in the works to consolidate all the community colleges into one institution with one administration.
“The state schools are not being consolidated in the same way,” he said. “They will end up saving about 45 million dollars and there will be a series of teams created to see how the consolidation will affect day-to-day operations.”
According to Bertolino, Southern is working on creating eight new advising centers to better address the problems students have getting the proper classes and graduating on time.
“I’m hoping the new advising structure will make things easier,” said Bertolino.
Becky Kucmich, a junior communications major, said she thought the event went well.
“It was really nice to see a diverse group of students come and interact with our president,” said Kucmich.
Michele Rodriguez, a junior political science major, said she was impressed with how President Bertolino handled himself.
“I think the event went really well,” said Rodriguez. “He was really responsive and he even had a notepad and was taking down ideas that the students gave him.”
President Bertolino said he is finishing up his first year and is having a great time.
“As long as the budget situation doesn’t get any worse,” said Bertolino, “I’ll continue to have a great time.”
Photo Credit: Palmer Piana