GOP Senators Push for Greater Transparency to UConn Budget Process [Courant]

June 26, 2015

Hartford Courant

Republican senators are pressing for greater transparency in the University of Connecticut’s budgeting process.

“Over the past four years, tuition at UConn has risen 26 percent,” said Sen. Kevin Witkos, R-Canton. “That’s a major concern for students and families across Connecticut. If there is a way we can make the budget process at UConn more open, we should explore it. Certainly the process should allow for public input and discussion, since it directly involves taxpayer dollars.” Witkos is the ranking Republican on the legislature’s higher education and employment committee.

Witkos and fellow Republican Senator, Michael McLachlan of Danbury, were dismayed by reports that UConn adopted a $1.3 billion budget without a word of public discussion.

“The governing board for Connecticut’s other public college system — the Board of Regents — holds public meetings to discuss their budgets, so why doesn’t UConn?” McLachlan said. “It’s an interesting question. UConn officials say ‘That’s how it’s always been done’ at the university. Well, maybe we can improve upon the way it has always been done. We are talking about more than a billion dollars in taxpayer money, and these budget decisions are being made in private? The public deserves better.” McLachlan is the ranking Republican on the legislature’s government administration and elections committee.

The Republican lawmakers said they hope to craft legislation next year that will require both UConn and the UConn Foundation to be more open and transparent regarding their finances. Efforts to pass a bill this year opening the UConn Foundation’s books to public scrutiny fell short.