Things to know for Mon.
Published: Thursday, August 22, 2013
Updated: Friday, August 23, 2013 16:08
While college students across the country finished finals and returned home to summer jobs, internships or even just long days by the pool, the newsreels kept turning. Students will return this fall to a few completed construction projects, a jump in enrollment, new professors and plans for more changes to come as the Connecticut government continues to invest in UConn. Here’s a look back at all the changes the summer months brought to UConn, Connecticut, and the U.S.
- In June, the Connecticut General Assembly approved a plan to allocate $1.5 billion in state bonds to the university over the next 10 years as a part of Next Generation UConn: a construction and expansion project geared toward expanding the university’s science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programs.
- Gampel Pavillion underwent a makeover as the mascot and logo overhaul made its way into UConn’s iconic sports complex. Jonathan’s new look can now be found on Gampel’s refinished hardwood floor as well as in the recreation facility.
- The Board of Trustees continued their monthly meetings while students were away. In July, the board approved a $1.1 billion budget that included a $28.5 million deficit.
- After over five years of planning at UConn’s Office of Environmental Policy, the Board of Trustees endorsed a plan in August to bring an additional 2.2 million gallons of drinking water per day to UConn. The plan would require a five-mile pipeline to connect the university’s current water system with infrastructure owned by the Connecticut Water Co. Water expansion was deemed a critical issue by the university in light of planned expansions related to Next Generation UConn and the technology park.
- Also at its August meeting, the Board of Trustees considered plans to build a new recreation facility at UConn. They board discussed a variety of options for a complex and estimated the costs to run as much as $101 million. If a plan is approved, the board considered a fee increases for both undergraduate and graduate students, estimated to run about $488 and $361 respectively.
- UConn opened the doors of its $25 million water reclamation facility. The waste water treated at the facility undergoes a three-step cleansing process before it is transported to cool turbines at the university’s central utility plant. The plant was built in order to save the university up to 450,000 gallons of drinkable water per day.
- The university adopted a new harassment policy that explicitly bars romantic relationships between students and faculty, as well as between employees and their superiors. Previously, these relationships were only “strongly discouraged.”
- Storrs Adventure Park, a unique aerial obstacle course, opened to the public in June. The course is located on Storrs Road, about three miles from campus.
- In July, Connecticut became the first state in the nation to pass a law that would require labels on genetically modified foods (GMOs). However, before the bill goes into effect, at least two other northeastern states must pass similar legislation.
- Access Health CT, a health insurance marketplace put together to put the state in compliance with the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, was pieced together and is ready for its launch in October.
- In May, a local task force in Newtown approved plans to build a new elementary school to replace Sandy Hook, the site of the shooting in December 2012 that left 20 children and six educators dead. The new school will be built with the help of a $50 million grant from the state.
- On May 23, the Connecticut House of Representatives gave final passage to a bill that places an outright ban on children under age 17 from using tanning beds anywhere in the state of Connecticut.
- In May, Robert Braddock Jr., former Connecticut House Speaker Chris Donovan’s campaign finance director, was found guilty of three counts of conspiracy to hide the source of a $27,000 campaign donation. Braddock is expected to be sentenced for his crimes on August 27, and prosecutors are seeking a prison sentence.
- In June, the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act: a law that barred the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages. In the wake of the ruling, foreigners in a same-sex relationship with an American have been permitted to apply for marital-based citizenship.
- The Supreme Court also struck down a key component of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The portion of the law required some southern states where racism caused low minority turnout at the polls to seek federal approval to changes in their voting laws.
- On July 3, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi was ousted by a military coup. The takeover has spurred riots, protests, and mass killings as Morsi-backers clash with the military. President Barack Obama’s administration has until September 30 to decide whether to continue to give aid to the country.
- George Zimmerman, a Florida man who shot and killed a teenager, was acquitted on grounds of self-defense.
- Edward Snowden, a computer specialist who formerly worked for the CIA and the National Security Agency, leaked confidential information regarding the NSA’s data collection programs to the British news organization, The Guardian. Wanted on espionage charges, Snowden is currently hiding in Russia where the government has agreed to grant him temporary asylum.