Eastern a Top 25 Public Regional University in U.S. News and World Report

The class of 2023 gathered for a group photo during the Fall 2019 Warrior Welcome weekend–Eastern draws students from 160 of Connecticut’s 169 towns

 Eastern Connecticut State University is again the highest ranked institution among Connecticut’s four state universities in this year’s U.S. News and World Report’s edition of “Best Colleges.” The 2020 rankings were released on Sept. 9.

This is Eastern’s highest ranking ever as it was ranked 21st among public universities in the North Region. Eastern moved up five spots among public institutions over last year’s rankings and moved up 13 spots when both public and private institutions were considered.

Under the mentorship of Biology Professor Vijaykumar Veerappan, Roshani Budhathoki ’19 was selected for an undergraduate fellowship by the American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB).

.The North Region includes colleges and universities from New England, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland, and is known as the most competitive among the four regions that make up the U.S. News and World Report ranking system.

Regional universities such as Eastern are ranked based on 15 criteria that include peer assessment, graduation and retention rates, class size, faculty resources, admissions selectivity, financial resources and alumni giving.

“Given the uncertain times facing the higher education community, I am delighted to see Eastern achieving its highest ranking ever,” said Eastern President Elsa Nunez. “This is a testament to our commitment to high standards and the faculty and staff’s focus on providing students with personal attention. Our improved ranking this year is due to our rising graduation and retention rates as well as the continued quality of our incoming classes.

 Environmental earth science students traveled to the mountains of Wyoming and Idaho this summer for a geology field course led by Eastern faculty.:

“Students and their families turn to the Best Colleges rankings to help decide where to attend college. These newest rankings reaffirm that Eastern is providing a relevant and high-quality education on our beautiful residential campus.”

This year’s U.S. News and World Report rankings included reviews of upwards of 1,400 schools nationwide and are available at www.usnews.com/colleges. They will also be published in the Best Colleges 2020 Guidebook, published by U.S. News & World Report and available on newsstands on Oct. 15.

For the past 35 years, the U.S. News and World Report rankings, which group colleges based on categories created by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, have grown to be the most comprehensive research tool for students and parents considering higher education opportunities.

Written by Ed Osborn

Tip-A-Cop Raises $1,650 for Special Olympics

Left to right: Eastern Police Sergeant Lisa Hamilton; Angelo Simoni of the Board of Regents; Eastern Buildings and Grounds Officer Corrina Thompson; Tip-A-Cop supporter Nathan Botting; and Eastern Police Sergeant Lawrence Botting.

The Eastern Connecticut State University police department joined the Willimantic and Middletown police departments for the sixth annual Tip-A-Cop on July 25 at Amici Italian Grill in Middletown. All tips earned at the fundraising event went to the Special Olympics of Connecticut, the designated charity of law enforcement in the state.

Public safety officers traded in their uniforms for aprons and waited tables at the restaurant. All tips went to the fundraiser in addition to Amici donating 10 percent of all sales that day, contributing to a grand total of $1,650 for the Special Olympics of Connecticut.

Angelo Simoni, executive director of student relations and compliance for the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities System and a Tip-A-Cop event organizer, said, “The Special Olympics is a great organization that does a lot of great work for the people of Connecticut. More than 13,000 people benefit across the state from this partnership!” Tip-A-Cop has raised more than $15,000 over the last six years, according to Simoni.

Eastern’s police department is a long-time supporter of the Special Olympics of Connecticut. Another annual fundraiser is Jail-N-Bail, in which officers ‘arrest’ members of Eastern’s campus community who are then ‘bailed’ out of a fake jail. All proceeds go to the Connecticut Special Olympics. Eastern police also participate in the Law Enforcement Torch Run, which kicks off the local Special Olympics games every year.

Written by Vania Galicia

Citizen’s Police Academy Exposes Eastern to World of Policing

Christopher Ambrosio, interim director of the Office of Student Conduct, is trained in breaching a door during the program’s “SWAT Week.”

Written by Jordan Corey

WILLIMANTIC, CT (12/13/2018) Eastern Connecticut State University students and staff recently expanded their law enforcement knowledge through an extensive program offered by the Willimantic Police Department (WPD). Eight students as well as Christopher Ambrosio, interim director of the Office of Student Conduct, completed the WPD’s Citizen’s Police Academy this past November.

Student Lucian Afragola is trained in using a Taser during “Use of Force Week.”

The nine-week course covered a variety of topics centered on police officer training. Each week focused on a different component, including traffic stops, the use of force, drug searches and more. Those in the program were able to assess mock crime scenes and practice firing non-lethal weapons. Three-hour classes were facilitated by officers each week.

“It was a pleasure having Eastern students in the class each week,” said WPD Detective Lt. Douglas Glode. “Most were interested in a career in law enforcement, and I hope this influenced them in some way. I think the class opened their eyes to the inner workings of a police department, which, for the most part, not many citizens get to see.”

Citizen’s Police Academy participants train in a WPD tactical space in Willimantic.

Criminology major Lucian Afragola ’20 agreed: “I gained much more insight into what it’s like to be a police officer. The course ranged from working with K-9 Units to riding in the department’s military vehicle. We were told at the beginning of the class it was going to be hands-on, and it did not disappoint.” Afragola hopes to become a police officer.

Ambrosio added: “Since the Office of Student Conduct works closely with law enforcement, the Citizen’s Police Academy was a great opportunity to see how they examine critical incidents that may involve our students.”

“This is such a wonderful accomplishment,” said Eastern President Elsa Núñez. “It really binds Eastern to the law enforcement community in a positive way. These efforts show initiative and motivation.”

“For me, the most important takeaway from this program is that the police really do want to help the community and show people how law enforcement operations run,” concluded Afragola. “I highly recommend applying.”

The Citizen’s Police Academy is free, and applicants must be at least 17 years old when the course begins. Willimantic residents are given precedence. More information can be found at http://www.willimanticpolice.org/citizens-police-academy/.

Eastern’s Police Department Named Among Top 25 in Nation

Eastern’s Department of Public Safety.

Written by Ed Osborn

The Department of Public Safety at Eastern Connecticut State University has been named one of the top 25 college and university police departments in the United States for its efforts to improve campus safety. Eastern was ranked fourth on the list of 25, which included such institutions as Oregon State University, Indiana University and the University of Houston. Brown University in Rhode Island, ranked 19th, was the only other New England institution that made the top 25 list.

“Each department on the list has shown outstanding dedication to the improvement of campus and student safety at their institution,” said Linda Shaw, director of Safe Campus, the organization conducting the recognition program.

The Safe Campus list recognizes outstanding achievement by administrative departments on college and university campuses. Each department was nominated based on its efforts to improve campus safety. All 4,706 U.S. accredited higher-education institutions were eligible.

Officers from Eastern’s police department host a table at the University’s health expo.

Safe Campus’s mission is to improve the overall safety and security of U.S. college and university students. Selection to the “Top 25” list was made by the Safe Campus Advisory Board, a committee of senior-level university administrators from around the nation. Criteria included creation of major programs to improve campus safety, especially those that can be replicated on other campuses; development of department procedures that contribute to campus safety and security; implementation of safety policies that are promoted across campus; and the demonstration of quantitative results that demonstrate improvements in campus safety.

“The safety of our students, faculty and staff is our top priority,” said Eastern Connecticut State University President Elsa Núñez, “so I am gratified to see our campus police department recognized as a national leader in promoting and improving campus safety. The leadership provided by the Department of Public Safety to ensure security and safety on our campus has ranged from collaborations with local authorities to improving campus security systems to educating our students on how to support a ‘safe campus culture.’ Not only have we seen a reduction in campus crime statistics, members of our campus community clearly understand that maintaining a safe campus is everyone’s responsibility. It starts with the excellent relationship our campus police department has built with Eastern students, faculty and staff.”

Officer David DeNunzio leads a student through a drunk-driving simulation.

One example of a program initiated by Eastern’s Department of Public Safety to improve campus safety was its initiative to address underage drinking, which educates freshmen on the risks involved. From 2009 to 2016, alcohol-related incidents on Eastern’s campus referred for disciplinary action declined by 89 percent. The Eastern campus is also equipped with 386 high-resolution surveillance cameras, which have helped reduce potential criminal activity; statistics show that there have been no robberies or burglaries on Eastern’s campus the past three years.

Eastern is a member of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities System, which received a $750,000 grant in 2015 from the U.S. Department of Justice to combat violence against women. Eastern’s public safety officers received training in a number of areas related to sexual and domestic violence as part of the grant. Eastern was also one of six schools in the nation selected by the Department of Homeland Security in 2013 to participate in its Campus Resilience Program, which vastly improved the campus’ emergency-response tools and resources. Eastern has since established a Campus Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), composed of campus personnel who are trained to be first responders.

Within the local Willimantic community, Eastern’s police department was a partner with other organizations on two important initiatives – the Community Life Improvement Project (CLIP) and the Windham/Eastern Community Action Network (W/E CAN) – to improve student relationships with residents in local neighborhoods.

Earlier this year, Eastern’s hometown of Willimantic was named to the list of the 50 safest college towns in America, based on crime statistics. The list was composed of towns of more than 15,000 residents that are home to a four-year college or university, and was compiled by Safewise.com, a security and safety analytics company.

New Program Forges Pathway from Police Academy to Eastern

Manchester Police Officer Danielle Hebert ’20 is among the first Eastern students to articulate her law enforcement training into college credit.

Written by Jordan Corey

New this fall semester, graduates of the Connecticut Police Academy may now enroll at Eastern Connecticut State University with 12 credits applied toward a criminology degree or other major. Credits are granted for academy training.

“Eastern is an institution that recognizes there are experiential learning opportunities outside of a traditional university classroom through which students may gain college-level learning,” said June Dunn, assistant dean of the Office of Continuing Studies and Enhanced Learning.

“Connecticut Police Academy graduates will have 12 criminology credits automatically applied to their transcripts when they matriculate at Eastern,” she continued. “This is a semester’s worth of credits directly applicable to the criminology major should the student wish to pursue that plan of study – or applicable to fulfilling general education or elective credits for other majors. With a full semester’s credits, students save time and money toward completing their degrees.”

The credit value for training completion was determined by Professor Theresa Severance, director of Eastern’s criminology program. “I tried to balance what’s relevant and appropriate in the context of our major with the skills and knowledge officers received through their academy training, in addition to what they’ve learned on the job,” said Severance.

Danielle Hebert ’20, a Manchester police officer, is one student who has seized this opportunity following her law enforcement training. “I currently have an associate’s degree in business, so switching my focus to criminology would have extended the time it takes to obtain my bachelor’s degree,” she said. “Because of the program, it should only take me one and a half years to finish.”

Chief Roberto Rosado of the Willimantic Police Department, who graduated from Eastern in 2016, has also found value in traditional education to compliment his insight as an officer. “My personal life was challenged with a full-time job, family and my goal to obtain a bachelor’s degree from Eastern,” he said. “Britt Rothauser and June Dunn of the Office of Continuing Studies and Enhanced Learning helped me out tremendously with selecting courses and transferring credits from the Police Academy, FBI Academy and other colleges to help me graduate.”

Willimantic Police Chief Roberto Rosado ’16 is an Eastern graduate who encourages his officers to expand their expertise with a bachelor’s degree.

Rosado has worked to expand this impact beyond his individual benefit, encouraging his fellow officers to pursue their education as well. He arranged for Rothauser to visit police headquarters and present an overview of how officers can enroll at Eastern with previously earned credits and experience.

“It was at that point that the officers asked about whether they could get credit for their police academy training,” said Dunn. “I then presented the idea to Dr. Severance, who articulated their training into criminology credits.” According to Rosado, many of the officers have begun seriously looking into it.

Severance noted, “Many students are interested in law enforcement, so having police officers as fellow students provides them with contacts and insight into the process.”

“I’ve noticed that I’m able to give a different perspective to the discussions in the classroom based on my experience,” said Hebert. “My time in the academy and my time as a police officer has given me knowledge of criminal statutes along with how the criminal justice system is formatted, which has helped me in my classes so far.”

Chief Rosado points out the importance of education within the realm of law enforcement. “Having highly educated officers adds credibility to an agency, reduces liability and overall improves effectiveness by building communication and critical thinking skills. It helps to ensure more well-rounded officers on the street delivering quality service to a very diverse community.”

Severance concluded, “I hope departments and officers in the area will find this program beneficial. While some police departments offer tuition reimbursement, completing a four-year degree while working a demanding, full-time job is obviously a challenge. Eastern has the only criminology bachelor’s program in this region of the state, so I anticipate this will appeal to nearby officers seeking to further their education.”

Academy graduates who matriculated prior to this fall should contact the Office of Continuing Studies and Enhanced Learning at 860-465-0206 or rothauserb@easternct.edu for assistance with getting credits for their training applied to their transcripts. For those interested in becoming future students, winter session classes start at the end of December.

 

Eastern Named a 2018 College of Distinction

WILLIMANTIC, CT (06/18/2018) Eastern Connecticut State University has been recognized as a 2018-19 College of Distinction by the college-guide/ranking organization Colleges of Distinction.

The organization praised Eastern for its student-centered approaches and high-impact educational practices. High-impact practices of note include Eastern’s community-based learning programs, intensive writing courses, living-learning communities for residents, undergraduate research, internships and other hands-on learning experiences.

“We are absolutely thrilled to recognize Eastern Connecticut State University as a College of Distinction for its effective dedication to student success,” said Tyson Schritter, CEO for Colleges of Distinction. “Colleges of Distinction is so impressed with Eastern’s curriculum, which is enriched with the kind of high-impact educational practices that are most crucial for student development. Such innovative engagement is preparing the next generation of young adults to thrive after college.”

Colleges of Distinction’s selection process consists of a review of each institution’s freshman experience and retention efforts alongside its general education programs, alumni success, strategic plan, student satisfaction and more. Schools are accepted on the basis that they adhere to the Four Distinctions: Engaged Students, Great Teaching, Vibrant Community and Successful Outcomes.

“Colleges of Distinction is far more than a ranking list of colleges and universities,” said Schritter. “We seek out the schools that are wholly focused on the student experience, constantly working to produce graduates who are prepared for a rapidly changing global society. Again recognized as a College of Distinction, Eastern Connecticut State University stands out in the way it strives to help its students to learn, grow and succeed.”

Top U.S. Mental Health Official Speaks at Eastern’s 128th Commencement

                                                                            Eastern Graduates 1,200 Students at XL Center

Written by Ed Osborn

Elinore McCance-Katz

Hartford, CT — Eastern Connecticut State University alumna Elinore McCance-Katz, assistant secretary for mental health and substance use in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), told the graduates and their families at Eastern Connecticut State University’s 128th Commencement exercises that the current opioid crisis facing the United States is “the nation’s greatest medical challenge since the AIDS epidemic of the 1990s. It is a tragedy of major proportions, and we need to work together to help those addicted get treatment and recover from this disease.”

Eastern’s annual graduation ceremony was held at the XL Center in Hartford on May 15, with more than 12,000 family members and friends cheering on their sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, as 1,105 undergraduates and 85 graduate students received their diplomas.

McCance-Katz told the audience that Eastern had grown from a small college when she attended Eastern Connecticut State College in the 1970s to become “a comprehensive university that has flourished.”

The commencement speaker also received an honorary doctor of science degree from Eastern in a special hooding ceremony during the graduation exercises.  She graduated magna cum laude from Eastern in 1978 with a degree in biology. Following a sterling career in medicine, psychiatry, academic achievement and public administration, McCance-Katz’s DHHS appointment in August 2017 made her the first assistant secretary-level director of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

After earning her degree from Eastern, Dr. McCance-Katz went on to earn a Ph.D. at Yale University in Infectious Disease Epidemiology in 1984, and then received her M.D. from the University of Connecticut in 1987. 

After completing a residency in psychiatry, she held teaching positions at the Yale School of Medicine, Brown University, Virginia Commonwealth University, the University of California in San Francisco, the University of Texas and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Prior to her HHS appointment, McCance-Katz was Chief Medical Officer of the Rhode Island Department of Behavioral Health, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals from 2015 to 2017, and served as professor of psychiatry and human behavior and professor of behavioral and social sciences at the Alpert Medical School at Brown University.

Describing how her professional journey had taken her from treating AIDS patients in the 1990s to her current national leadership role in treating substance abuse and mental illness, McCance-Katz described federal and state efforts to develop new recovery services and support services.  “We will turn the tide on this epidemic,” she said, urging graduates to get involved as medical professionals, nurses, counselors and social workers.

 “Be adventurous. Take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way. Be an advocate for those who have not had the advantages you have had.  There is no greater satisfaction than helping others.”

Eastern President Elsa Núñez

Other speakers at the Commencement Exercises included Eastern President Elsa Núñez; Yvette Meléndez, vice-chairof the Board of Regents for Higher Education; and Mark Ojakian, president of the Connecticut State College and Universities System. Additional members of the platform party included Justin Murphy ’98, president of the ECSU Foundation; Father Laurence LaPointe; and other Eastern officials.

Núñez told the graduates their liberal arts education at Eastern was highly prized by American employers.  “In five separate surveys conducted by the Association of American Colleges and Universities over the past decade, the vast majority of employers — over 90 percent! — say they are less interested in specialized job proficiencies, favoring instead analytical thinking, teamwork and communication skills — the wide-ranging academic and social competencies available through a liberal arts education.”

Núñez also urged the graduates to give back to their communities, saying, “I know that the majority of our seniors have found ways to donate their time and good will to making our community a better place to live.  Wherever you end up — in Connecticut or beyond — make sure you continue to give a portion of your time to make a difference in your community.” 

Lastly, Núñez encouraged the Eastern seniors to be active citizens as they participate in the American democratic system of self-governance. She quoted New York Times columnist Bret Stephens, who has written that disagreement is “the most vital ingredient of any decent society. It defines our individuality, gives us our freedom, enjoins our tolerance, enlarges our perspectives, makes our democracies real, and gives hope and courage to oppressed people everywhere.”

“So never abdicate your responsibilities as a citizen to someone else,” said Núñez. “Be willing to question the status quo.  And stand up for the values you believe in.”

More than 40 percent of the graduates were the first in their families to earn a bachelor’s degree. As Connecticut’s only public liberal arts university, Eastern draws students from 163 of the state’s 169 towns. Approximately 85 percent of graduates stay in Connecticut to launch their careers, contribute to their communities and raise their families.

Senior Class President Charlotte MacDonald presented the Senior Class Gift to President Nunez — an annual Class of 2018 scholarship — and thanked her classmates’ families, friends and faculty for supporting the senior class in its journey. Recalling the Eastern tradition where freshmen toss a penny into a fountain on campus as they make a wish — presumably to graduate in four years — MacDonald shared her own three wishes with her classmates. “My first wish is that you go confidently in the direction of your passions . . . the education you have received at Eastern has prepared you for this.  My second wish is for you not only to better yourself but others around you. Contribute to your community, offer things you no longer use to those in desperate need, volunteer your time . . . My last wish is that you find a path to happiness. . . your willingness to conquer challenges is what will separate you from the majority.”

Meléndez, former vice president of government and community alliances for Hartford Hospital, spoke on behalf of the Board of Regents for Higher Education, expressing gratitude to all who had supported Eastern’s graduates — parents, family, friends and especially Eastern’s faculty. “Their commitment to your success is what makes this university so special. Today is a significant milestone.  We hope today is merely a catalyst for a fulfilling life as each of you pursues your goals.”

Michele Bacholle, Distinguished Professor of the Year

 

Ojakian also offered remarks, commending Eastern President Núñez, her administrative team and “an exceptional faculty that guided you onyour journey to get to today.  The journey is now yours. It is your own path and your own truth that will motivate you . . .  Trust your instincts . . .  You have an obligation to leave this world a better place.  Take charge!”

This year’s graduation ceremonies again reflected Eastern’s Commencement traditions, ranging from the Governor’s Foot Guard Color Guard, to the plaintive sound of the bagpipes of the St. Patrick’s Pipe Band and the pre-event music of the Thread City Brass Quintet. University Senate President Maryanne Clifford presided over the commencement exercises; seniors Halie Poirier, Michael Beckstein and Hannah Bythrow sang “America the Beautiful”; Senior Nathan Cusson gave the invocation; and French Professor Michèle Bacholle was recognized as the 2018 Distinguished Professor Award recipient.

Eastern Makes “College Consensus” List of Top Colleges in Connecticut

Written by Ed Osborn

WILLIMANTIC, CT (01/26/2018) College Consensus, a unique new college review aggregator, has recognized Eastern Connecticut State University in its ranking of “Best Colleges in Connecticut for 2017-18.” Eastern was ranked in the top 10 schools in Connecticut, and was one of only two public institutions chosen, the University of Connecticut being the other.

To identify the Best Colleges in Connecticut for 2017-18, College Consensus averaged the latest results from the most respected college ranking systems, including U.S. News and World Report among others, along with thousands of student review scores, to produce a unique rating for each school. Read about the organization’s methodology at https://www.collegeconsensus.com/about.

“Congratulations on making the list of Best Colleges in Connecticut for 2017-18,” said Carrie Sealey-Morris, managing editor of College Consensus. “Your inclusion in our ranking shows that your school has been recognized for excellence by both publishers on the outside and students and alumni on the inside.”

Part of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities System, Eastern began its life in 1889 as a public normal school. Today the University is recognized as one of top 25 public universities in the North Region by U.S. News & World Report, and has been named one of the nation’s Green Colleges eight years in a row by the Princeton Review.

Eastern is Connecticut’s public liberal arts college, with a student body of 5,300 students; more than 90 percent of Eastern’s students are from Connecticut. Eastern’s size gives its students an uncommon degree of individualized attention, aided by a 15:1 student/faculty ratio and a strong commitment to student success.

In addition to a strong liberal art foundation, Eastern has many opportunities for students to engage in practical, hands-on learning, ranging from internships to study abroad, community service and undergraduate research. For instance, Eastern has sent more student researchers to the competitive National Conference on Undergraduate Research in the past four years than all the other public universities in Connecticut combined. In 2018, 41 of the 44 students from Connecticut who will present their research at the conference in April are from Eastern.

With its history, Eastern is also one of Connecticut’s foremost educators of teachers, and its professional studies and continuing education programs have made it an important institution for Connecticut’s working adults.

To see Eastern’s College Consensus profile, visit https://www.collegeconsensus.com/school/eastern-connecticut-state-university.

Eastern Police on Community Relations

Written by Jordan Corey

•Eastern Police Lieutenant Thomas Madera converses with students regarding police brutality and the department's standards for hiring new officers.

• Eastern Police Lieutenant Thomas Madera converses with students regarding police brutality and the department’s standards for hiring new officers.

WILLIMANTIC, CT The contentious discussion of police brutality that has dominated American conversation in recent years has not been overlooked by the police department at Eastern Connecticut State University. Last week, University police officers emphasized the importance of maintaining a strong relationship with Eastern students by participating in National Coffee with a Cop Day and Eastern’s monthly Blackout Day. Eastern’s campus police used the two events to continue their open dialog with students regarding law enforcement practices.

•Eastern Police Officer David DeNunzio interacts with members of the Eastern community.

• Eastern Police Officer David DeNunzio interacts with members of the Eastern community.

Originating as part of the 2016 National Community Policing Week, National Coffee with a Cop Day (Oct. 4) has evolved into an international forum giving officers and citizens a chance to interact outside of hostile situations — over a cup of coffee. Eastern’s Coffee with a Cop event took place in the Student Center Café and featured Chief Jeffrey Garewski and Lieutenant Thomas Madera, along with officers Jennifer Murphy, David DeNunzio and Sergeant Steven Schneider. Garewski and Madera began by explaining how much the department values community relations, especially the connection between officers and students. “A lot of the students know us on a first-name basis,” Madera pointed out.

The officers stressed that the goal is not to get students in trouble. They also described the type of person they seek when hiring new officers. One thing they look for is amicability, someone who grasps that they are working on a college campus and not on the streets. Because of this, the department takes its time reviewing applicants and hires new officers carefully. “I would rather go short-staffed than hire someone who won’t work well with this population,” said Garewski.

A group of Eastern students and police officers take a photo for Black Out Day in a show of support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

A group of Eastern students and police officers take a photo for Black Out Day in a show of support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

Garewski and Madera addressed questions regarding the ability of police officers to do their jobs as well. “A misconception, not just here but countrywide, is how we’re trained,” Madera commented. He elaborated by informing students that Connecticut is one of six states accredited by The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA). Qualifications needed to be an officer are not taken lightly. It is the only occupation in Connecticut where a polygraph test is mandatory, they also mentioned.

The officers additionally wanted attendees to know that the divide between law enforcement and the public taking place nationally is not lost on them and that they understand people’s hesitation in talking with police at a gathering like Coffee with a Cop. Nonetheless, they hoped to highlight that while bad officers do exist, the media plays a large role in public perceptions and may focus on negative police work more than the positive. “People look at individuals as a group,” Garewski said. He and Madera conveyed that above all else, Eastern police will continue to perform ethically and with the best interests of students in mind.

Later in the week, Eastern’s Blackout Day created another opportunity for discourse between police and students, with Madera and DeNunzio as speakers. The event was organized to jumpstart conversation about police misconduct in a safe, comfortable environment. Statistics were presented concerning the number of people killed by police in 2014, particularly people of color. Students inquired about where the Department of Public Safety lands on the issue of racism affecting police work.

“Everybody shares the same rights,” Madera said, affirming that the University’s officers treat everyone equally. “Those are the types of officers that we hire.” He explained that students are the ones who count more than anything else, reiterating that the department is selective in its hiring process for that reason. Not only do they look for officers who are able to unbiasedly work with a diverse group of students, but the department as a whole follows strict legal policies about racial profiling.

One student brought up the impact of frequently watching videos of police brutality in the news, drawing attention to the emotional toll that comes with it. The officers discussed the news media and its power, arguing that it often focuses on what will sell. “The video you’re seeing is only part of the video,” DeNunzio commented. The two stressed that while there are undoubtedly “bad apples” in law enforcement, as in any profession, it is a necessity to do research in these situations in order to have all the facts.

Madera and DeNunzio provided further insight on how Connecticut law enforcement operates as opposed to other states, touching on its in-depth police training process and the many procedures that must be followed when employed as an officer, from diversity training to practicing lethal force. Though the presence of racial profiling in the overall system is undeniable, the officers acknowledged, and while fixing it is a work in progress, Madera made the department’s stance clear: “I will tell you this: not here. Not at Eastern. That’s one thing I do not tolerate.”  ###

 

Eastern Breaks Into List of Top 25 Public Regional Universities

Written by Ed Osborn

eastern_front_entranceFor the first time, Eastern Connecticut State University made the list of the top 25 regional public universities in the North in this year’s U.S. News and World Report’s 2018 edition of “Best Colleges.” Eastern was the highest ranked university among the four Connecticut state universities. The annual rankings were released on Sept. 12.

•Theatre students perform Cervantes' "Pedro, The Great Pretender," as the first production in the Proscenium Theatre of Eastern's new Fine Arts Instructional Center

• Theatre students perform Cervantes’ “Pedro, The Great Pretender,” as the first production in the Proscenium Theatre of Eastern’s new Fine Arts Instructional Center

Regional universities such as Eastern are ranked on the basis of 16 criteria that include peer assessment, graduation and retention rates, faculty resources, admissions selectivity, financial resources and alumni giving. The North Region includes colleges and universities from New England, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland.

•Biology major Elizabeth DelBuono '17 is in the graduate program in Genetic Counseling at Sarah Lawrence College.

• Biology major Elizabeth DelBuono ’17 is in the graduate program in Genetic Counseling at Sarah Lawrence College.

“I am gratified to see Eastern ranked in the top 25 public institutions in the North in this year’s U.S. News and World Report’s 2018 Best Colleges report,” said Eastern President Elsa Nunez. “Our commitment to high standards, our focus on providing students with personal attention, and the introduction of new academic programs have resulted in our favorable ranking. Students and their families turn to the Best Colleges rankings to help decide where to attend college.  These newest rankings reaffirm that Eastern is providing a relevant and high quality education on our beautiful residential campus.”

This year’s U.S. News and World Report rankings included reviews of 1,389 schools nationwide and are available at www.usnews.com/colleges. They will also be published in the Best Colleges 2017 Guidebook, published by U.S. News & World Report and available on newsstands on Oct. 10.

For the past 33 years, the U.S. News and World Report rankings, which group colleges based on categories created by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, have grown to be the most comprehensive research tool for students and parents considering higher education opportunities.