October 14, 2020
Honorable Ned Lamont, Governor of Connecticut Office of Governor
210 Capitol Avenue
Hartford, CT 06106 Dear Governor Lamont:
We are writing to urgently ask the administration to make state or federal funds available to protect Connecticut’s public higher education institutions from the short-term but profound financial impacts of the pandemic. The state’s public higher education systems – Connecticut State Colleges and Universities, the University of Connecticut, and the University of Connecticut Health Center – all depend on operating funds which have been sharply curtailed as a result of the crisis. At the colleges and universities, tuition and room and board payments are understandably far down. At the Health Center, payments for elective medical procedures are also reduced. In addition, there have been further losses at all of these institutions due to federal or state responses to the pandemic that were also outside of the education institutions ’control. The result is a temporary revenue shortfall from the crisis; and the response to that temporary shortfall, and the larger crisis, should not be borne by these institutions, the students and communities they serve, or their faculty and staff. They are more than stressed enough already.
These institutions are critical to the well-being and futures of Connecticut families, and we cannot allow the quality or quantity of their services to suffer as the effects of the pandemic linger. In fact, we need them to be more effective than ever in providing the services people need. The primary reason they are so vulnerable is that general fund support for their services has declined for decades, making them ever more dependent on short-term operating funds. Simultaneously, the need for such services has grown. We can do better.
We know there are a number of potential funding sources to weather the short-term crisis, whether it be currently available federal funds, funds that the federal government may make available if those irresponsibly holding up the Hero’s Act are finally willing to relent, state rainy day funds, or others. We are not urging your choice of any particular option – just that you act and act quickly to avoid further harm.
We thank you for your consideration of this letter and hope you are able to respond positively in this time of crisis.
Very truly yours,
Daniel E. Livingston
On Behalf of SEBAC Leadership