CHAIRMEN: Senator Bye

Representative Willis


SENATORS: Boucher, Cassano


Bacchiochi, Candelaria,

Haddad, Hurlburt,

Janowski, Lavielle,

LeGeyt, Maroney, McCrory,

Sanchez, Sawyer, Sayers,


REP. WILLIS: Good afternoon. Welcome to the Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee. This is our public hearing. We have a very full calendar today, so my Co-Chair Senator Bye is -- will be joining us shortly.

With that I will call Barbara O'Connor from UCONN Police.


REP. WILLIS: Nice to see you again.


REP. WILLIS: It's been a long time.

BARBARA O'CONNOR: I hope I'm not wearing my welcome out in the Capitol.

REP. WILLIS: It's always a pleasure. We're so glad to have you at UCONN.


Co-Chairs, Ranking Members and members of the Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee, thank you for allowing me the opportunity to testify on Bill 6655, AN ACT CONCERNING CAMPUS SAFETY AND SECURITY.

The University of Connecticut appreciates the legislature's ongoing interest and commitment to the safety of our colleges and universities. As you may know, I'm Barbara O'Connor the chief of police and director of public safety at the University of Connecticut. I have over 30 years law enforcement experience and have served at the -- as the chief of police at three large flagship universities.

Towards that end, like most major universities the University of Connecticut has long had mechanisms in place to recognize and respond to members of the community who may be at risk for harming themselves or others. For the past month UCONN's behavioral threat assessment team has been working to enhance UCONN's threat assessment procedures and to ensure that the process in place meets or exceeds the best practices nationwide.

UCONN therefore, supports the legislation required trained us -- threat assessments teams in each of the state's institutions of higher education as the legislation coincides with UCONN's efforts to update its own threat assessment procedures, provide additional training and implement a unified process for assessing or responding to potential threats to the university community.

UCONN has a trained team and in the past -- it is currently in the process of scheduling a nationally -- has trained people in the past and we're currently scheduling a nationally recognized expert to provide additional training to our team. UCONN strongly recommends that the responsibility for identifying the composition of threat assessment team be given to the administration of each institution as they're in the best possible position to evaluate the members of their particular institution where most appropriate suited for inclusion on the institutions threat assessment team.

Moreover, given the complexity and confidentiality of the issues involved in behavioral threat assessment UCONN opposes the inclusion of the student on any threat assessment team and I'll elaborate on why that is.

Threat assessment teams necessarily review and discuss some of the institutions most sensitive information, including mental medical records of faculty, staff and students and records of performance and evaluation. It would be extremely difficult, if not impossible to engage in such discussions without including individually, identifiable information that simply should not be shared with students.

These essential conversations will -- will be significantly curtailed if they occur in the process or presence of a student. These essential conversations are also protected in some sense by state law, labor agreements and other personnel -- access to personnel records, medical records and educational records.

In addition, internal institutional investigations and even criminal investigations could be severely compromised if the -- if this information were leaked out. Since the mass murders at Virginia Tech colleges and universities across the country have implemented some form of behavioral intervention team. They are recognized best practices on the composition of such team and I'm not aware of a recommendation that includes a student on those teams.

Student input into safety on the campus is critical and colleges and universities should have avenues in place for their students to share their concerns. How the campuses do this across the state varies and most of that information is published in their annual security report.

Campus safety is a complex task and the work that you are engaging in will lead to positive reforms. As it relates to behavioral threat assessment teams I would urge you to explore Connecticut law to determine if there are any legal barriers that prevent the full disclosure of information and the context of those threat assessment teams.

As you know, one of the issues of Virginia Tech incident was the misunderstanding and misapplication of the law within many -- many -- from many within the Virginia Tech community. It is imperative that individuals engaged in the threat assessment process be fully aware of the ability to share information as necessary, as well as any legal information -- legal limitations on that ability.

And I thank you for your time and I'm happy to answer any questions.

REP. WILLIS: Thank you.

I -- I do want to make a few comments to everyone who is here today and those who are listening about this legislation. When the bipartisan task force was formed on gun violence and school security colleges and universities were to be included in the task force work.

It was Senator Bye and myself and Representative LeGeyt served on the task force -- the school security piece and what happened was we spent a lot of time looking at pre-K through 12 and it really became obvious to all of us as we were working on it that we needed to carve off the -- the college piece or else we would have needed a lot more time, so that was an agreement made with the chairs of that committee and hence, both of these bills are before us today as opposed to the bipartisan task force.

Clearly campus security and behavioral health were a major charge for that committee. In -- in fact, Senator Boucher just came in. She was the co-chair of that and we had those discussions with her -- and with her and Representative Fleischman who co-chaired that task force that they agreed -- subcommittee task force they agree that it would be best for us to handle these issues here today.

I also want to say that when you look around the country at all the different incidences that have happened sadly a lot of them have been on college campuses and a lot of them have been even when they're not on college campuses involve someone who is in college or should be in college -- a college aged student, you know, the -- the 18 to 24-year old - the traditional age, so we know that the behavioral health issues sometimes percolate to the surface during those -- during those years.

So with that I will just comment that we fully agree that students should not be included in this, so that is something that we didn't catch before, but clearly we will make those changes because it is not appropriate to have students on those -- on those panels and the reference to student government also should be taken from the bill.

So with that I will turn this over to my colleagues who may have questions or comments. Yes, Representative Sayers.

REP. SAYERS: Thank you.

One of the questions and concerns I always have, does your staff or even some of the educational staff -- do they have any type of training in recognizing symptoms of mental illness so that they might see symptoms early on before it's exacerbated to the point where it really became problematic?

BARBARA O'CONNOR: Thanks. I think that's a great question and we're actually having those conversations at UCONN. There's new programs out there that actually roll out and teach folks how to recognize the signs and symptoms and we're about to engage in the police as well our health -- not the health counseling center on how to go out -- about that doing that, so I think that that is -- is an absolute must. It's very complicated.

Folks within the training -- the team are trained on that and then we, you know, share that information publicly, but I think to go out and have conversations about recognizing the signs and symptoms of behavioral health issues I think is important.

REP. SAYERS: And actually there is a 12-hour curriculum that was developed in Scotland and --


REP. SAYERS: -- and it was a bill I introduced four years ago, but it didn't go anywhere, but I think it has actually some legs this year.

BARBARA O'CONNOR: And yeah, that's exactly the program we're looking at. It's a 12-hour program.

REP. SAYERS: Thank you.

REP. WILLIS: Any other questions or comments?

Oh, Senator Bye.

SEN. BYE: I -- I just wanted to thank you for all your help with this because it -- at the informational hearing and -- and today I know you've put in a ton of time. We had no idea when we hired you what a resource you would end up being --


SEN. BYE: -- for us and sadly we've needed your expertise in -- in a multistate prospective you bring, so I just want to make sure I thanked you so much, because I know how busy you are.

BARBARA O'CONNOR: Thank you. My pleasure.

REP. WILLIS: Boucher would also like to speak.

SEN. BOUCHER: Thank you, Madam Chair.

And I would like to add my voice to the chorus here on this for sure and I understand that you made some important testimony and I have heard your comments, particularly with regards to the student participation and the involvement in security issues that -- that your expertise should weigh heavily on some of the final language that we do entertain for this, so we thank you very much on -- on the many committee meetings that you've attended so far.

Thank you.


Okay. Have a great day.

REP. WILLIS: Thank you.

Dr. Phil Austin and Dr. David Levinson from the Board of Regents.

Boy, you're moving better, Phil. Got rid of your crutches.

PHIL AUSTIN: I become inspired when I come to this building.

REP. WILLIS: Or he used the crutch for something else, right? Beat us into submission.


PHIL AUSTIN: Madam Co-Chairs, members of the committee, thank you for having us here today.

I am Phil Austin. I'm currently serving as the interim president of the Connecticut State University and Community College Board of Regents.

You have I believe the brief testimony -- written testimony and since I have appeared two or three times already this session on this issue or you've given me the opportunity to comment on this issue, perhaps it would be most efficient just to summarize and -- and take your questions.

It has to do with the term of office of the permanent president of the Board of Regents. As you may know, we are now down to three finalists for the permanent position; a very strong pool of candidates. And the first question that each of them asked me about -- and I know the members of our board was, what's the business with the co-terminus nature of the term of office of the president and that of the Governor, and, of course, this has nothing to do with the incumbent Governor, and (inaudible) Governor Malloy is -- is strongly supportive of this, but I could not urge you more strongly to please allow the Board of Regents to negotiate a contract with the person that they recommend to the Governor as their recommended appointee.

It doesn't remove it somewhat from the political process even though the person who will be chosen is sensitive to the authority of the elected leadership of the state, but this would somewhat insulate from the partisan political arena and so I -- with that I would be happy to answer any questions, Madam Co-Chairs that the committee might have.

REP. WILLIS: Yes, Senator Bye has a question.

SEN. BYE: Thank you, President Austin and for your -- I know this -- you've been working on this for a number of weeks and for your persistence and -- and how hard you're advocating to make sure we get a great leader.

PHIL AUSTIN: Thank you.

SEN. BYE: One of my questions is the -- the structure that we had in place does have some of the challenges you just addressed, like the political challenges being co-terminus with the Governor. Do you think those sorts of things impact it, or sort of suppress applications for the -- for the position?

PHIL AUSTIN: I don't know that it reduced the pool. I do know that it was one of the -- as I suggested, it was one of the first questions for clarification that anyone who was -- got to the point of serious consideration asked for clarification -- interpretation.

Because of our conversations with several of you on this committee at cognizance and the Governor's representatives, we were able to say that there seemed to be broad support for fixing it and so many people who were ambiguous with respect to their intensity of interest stayed in the pool.

Obviously, many people we -- we would have very much liked to have had a more diverse pool. We aggressively instructed the search consultants to seek out the people of color and -- and women candidates. Some were in and then dropped out. I don't know that that -- that that subgroup of applicants were anymore effected by this and the white males, but I think there were 39 individuals who were nominated or applied for this type of a position off a campus. I'm told by the headhunters that it's about what they might have expected.

REP. WILLIS: I have a follow up concern, I mean, it -- it does concern me that we didn't change this process sooner. I do think that -- that it's a low number of applicants to be receiving for a position like this that's been, you know, in talking to people who were in the higher education field think it's -- we didn't get a large number and this could have been a deterrent for people applying for the job.

But -- but that being said, you know, we do -- we do have concerns about the process. Obviously we've had concerns for a while and I just don't know if -- you know, I know you went with the headhunter kind of -- is there other models out there in terms of advertising as opposed to relying on one firm to do a search. I'm not that familiar with it so.

PHIL AUSTIN: Well, I think it -- in the most abstract level it's either the -- the board of its designee heads the search internally or once seeks an outside professional because we -- we've talked at length about some of the challenges and some of the potential strengths of this new system. It struck us that it would make sense to engage a professional in it. The senior members of which had contacts in all segments of higher education and I believe we had that with the Association of Governing Boards Group that had headed this search.

They were in contact with 10 or 15 of the National Association in -- headquartered in Washington, D.C. They asked that the head person in the consultants firm ask me to put in calls to people that I knew around the country to encourage people to apply and you may be quite right, Representative Willis that -- that the nature of -- of what we're here talking about today could have had an impact.

My sense is that it's a special kind of person that has an interest with -- in the system coordination job leadership job as opposed to being on a campus and I had done both over the years and frankly if you're in this line of work it's better to be interacting daily and directly and intimately with professors and students as opposed to this very important line of work, but it's more organizing and representing in the public arena and elsewhere and much less close contract -- much less close contact with the students and the faculty and I -- my sense is that probably is a greater limiting factor than -- than the co-terminus nature.

Though people are, you know, you -- you want to be evaluated for the work you do by the oversight board to which you report rather than the next political election and that's the way the thing is set up right now and I -- I've been gratified that people on -- on both sides of the aisle in both the House and Senate with -- with many of you in this room have indicated support for this and I -- I think it's the right thing to do and -- and with all respect, the sooner you can do it the better because we're now at the point I believe where the board will be making a decision and entering negotiations.

REP. WILLIS: Did -- did the search include -- did people from Connecticut apply? From -- through any in-house applicants, is that an appropriate question?

PHIL AUSTIN: I will tell you that I strongly urged a couple of people from Connecticut to apply and in one case he and then one case she decided not to, but I don't know whether -- there were no people from Connecticut in the final eight -- seven.

REP. WILLIS: No that in the -- in the final what?


REP. WILLIS: Seven. Okay. I thought you were tougher than that, Phil. I thought (inaudible). If I got a call from you I would have caved.

PHIL AUSTIN: Send money then.

REP. WILLIS: Other questions or comments?

Yes, Senator Boucher and then after that Representative Ackert.

SEN. BOUCHER: Thank you very much, Madam Chair.

And we can see by your answers why you did so well over so many years through a multiple administrations and -- and you answered so diplomatically as some of us often do not, I'm afraid.

And I -- I think from -- I -- I can gather from some of the comments from yours and others that in fact clearly this was a factor that affected the recruitment process if the very first question out of the top candidates mouth have to do with the process. It certainly plays into that factor and I know that having sat on multiple boards myself, having chaired local boards of ed and being on board -- state boards and so on, the process is very important.

It's one thing to be appointed to a board and go through the executive nomination process and being approved by House and Senate. It's another thing altogether to be recruited and chosen by your board, either for a chairmanship or for recruiting a commissioner or a president and to have it be an appointment by anyone from any political party in a position where their term is not certain. It's not based necessarily on performance sometimes. It's based on politics, numbers and we all know what the -- the challenges of those -- that process is very clearly ourselves.

And I often would get the comment when I was on the state board of ed, boy, Connecticut really does it well. Wish ours functioned like that on the state board of ed. You choose your own commissioner. It's not a political appointment and they -- they wished for that kind of -- of wonderful where -- you know, less political process so I'm -- I'm glad that at least we're addressing this now.

It is unfortunate that it wasn't done sooner and thought about and in as far as what good government's practices are and employing good governance and having a level of independence so that the very best, most qualified individuals could come forward and then hold that spot while they are still doing the best job possible.

And again, we thank you for being here and for taking the helms during a turbulent period. It's become your MO I'm afraid, Dr. Austin, but hopefully we'll still see you around once this process is completed to help us in the next event, hopefully a more positive one.

Thank you very much, Madame Chair.

REP. WILLIS: Representative Ackert.

REP. ACKERT: Thank you, Madam Chair.

And it's good to see you both, Dr. Austin and Dr. Levinson.

Just a question, is this more traditional way -- the new bill the way it's written now? Is this the more traditional way that a president of a Board of Regents would be picked?

PHIL AUSTIN: Are -- are you speaking of a consulting firm?

REP. ACKERT: No, actually the -- actually the Board of Regents actually picking their own president. Is that a more traditional way than the way that's listed in our -- in our bill prior to this -- to this Bill 6502 going through?

PHIL AUSTIN: Yes. I -- I believe it is the governing board would -- would -- would make the selection; however, the last time I appeared before this committee I -- I made it very clear that you would -- in a public university setting you would have the wrong president if he or she was not aware of the importance of the elected leadership of the state.

It's one thing for governance and choosing someone who's actually to lead and manage. It's quite another to obtain the resources to run the place and so there are different sets and types of responsibilities than would be at the peril of a university system or as president to fit because the board is making the decision that you can ignore other people with authority and responsibility.

REP. ACKERT: Okay. And then when the president is chosen, does the president bring forward -- I know that the Board of Regents from what I've read on this, brings forward ideas and the president's -- and I've looked at your left final three candidates and very impressive by the way in terms of what I've been reading on the three of them -- three gentlemen.

When they bring forward their -- his ideas in this case, brings it to the -- come so the Board of Regents for a consensus vote on it, or is it kind of his will?

PHIL AUSTIN: Oh, no. I -- it would be with the approval -- any big policy change or initiative would be with the -- at least the agreement if not the formal vote of a Board of Regents and of course what I mentioned to you the last time was when -- when I was asked to assume this responsibility the understanding was that we would try to stabilize the situation, prepare for this legislative session, get the budgets started and make some -- Dennis Murphy and I would make some decisions to make an easier transition from -- for the permanent president.

All of this was with the understanding that once there was a president who would -- we hope be here for five or ten years. That that person would then sit down with this committee and with the Governor and his designees to come up with a large initiative for the 17 institutions to pursue its role in -- in the state's economic expansion and economic development area and I fully expect that that's what will happen once the decision is made.

REP. ACKERT: And -- and thank you and final point, I -- I guess and I don't think this would have to happen, but if there's a vote of no confidence would it be the Board of Regents that would -- would also be involved with the -- if need be now, if I don't think that would ever happen, but would the reverse process be the same that you believe for the removal of a president or the Regents -- Board of Regents?

PHIL AUSTIN: Technically yes, but with the same proviso. If it ever, God forbid, got to the point where a Governor or the Co-Chairs of Committees of Cognizance or C-Chairs of the Appropriations Committee didn't like the tie that a male happened to be wearing and it's three males, the Board of Regents will not be immune to that type of information.

REP. ACKERT: Thank you. Appreciate it.

Thank you, Madam Chair.

REP. WILLIS: Thank you.

Senator Cassano.

SEN. CASSANO: Yes, I've seen no testimony, but there is a bill here concerning graduation requirements of study I guess of the both the unvirsity system -- community college system, what is the -- the goal or the purpose behind that?

PHIL AUSTIN: The -- I'm sorry, Senator, behind what?

SEN. CASSANO: We have this -- a Bill 1045 and there's no written testimony on it, AN ACT CONCERNING GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS FOR THE CONNECTICUT STATE UNIVERSITY SYSTEM AND THE REGIONAL COMMUNITY COLLEGE SYSTEM. What is it that we're looking at there? I hadn't seen anything so I'm just curious?

PHIL AUSTIN: Senator, I'm informed that this is a committee bill not our bill.

SEN. CASSANO: Okay. We communicate well.

And finally, on the president's position, I assume that is now a year round position?

PHIL AUSTIN: I'm sorry?

SEN. CASSANO: Full-time. Thank you.

REP. WILLIS: That was good, Senator. It was one of the more clever things I've heard from the Senate in a while.

Yes, Representative Candelaria.

REP. CANDELARIA: Thank you, Madam Chair.

Just a quick question, Dr. Austin. Based on your -- on your -- I guess your years of service to the state and your expertise within the work in the university system, this change in the Proposed Bill 6648, do you agree with the board appointing its own president? Have we had an issue in the past that -- within the history of -- based on your knowledge, where we had an issue with the board and the president itself?

PHIL AUSTIN: With this board, I -- I can speak with modest confidence with what happened from last roughly September, Representative --


PHIL AUSTIN: -- and I -- I really was not involved prior to that.

REP. CANDELARIA: So you support this concept of the Board of Regents appointing its own president --

PHIL AUSTIN: Yes, sir.

REP. CANDELARIA: -- and not the Governor?

PHIL AUSTIN: Yes, sir. I do. Because it's not as if the elected leadership of the state is giving up any authority since the board itself, by and large is appointed by -- by the elected leadership. It's simply a matter of removing it somewhat from the partisan political environment and I strongly support that for academic reasons.

REP. CANDELARIA: And since I have you here, not regarding to this, do you believe that the authority to increase tuition to the students should -- should rely solely on the Board of Regents?

PHIL AUSTIN: With -- with the proviso that I mentioned earlier, Representative, that no one operates in isolation and I can tell you that this board and other boards to which I've reported probably would not be in the business of public higher education if they didn't want to provide the best quality education at the lowest price, so there is a natural instinct to people who are involved in this as careers to -- to equalize opportunity, to do our role in economic expansion, create jobs and so on throughout the state, but it is also the simple reality of arithmetic so that there are two or three sources of revenue, one of which is state appropriations, private donations and tuition.

And of one over time has systematically decreased the pressure if you're going to keep class size manageable. If we're going to maintain quality than the revenue has to come from somewhere and, as you know, under our C-Back (phonetic) agreement we've had a couple of years of no raises and now it's in the next fiscal year we're going to have a couple of years of five percent increases and that money has to come from somewhere and so there's an --

REP. CANDELARIA: So that's -- so that's somewhere should come from the -- from the students -- the pockets of the students?


REP. CANDELARIA: So you're telling me that -- I understanding that raises need to happen, but those raises need to come from the students who are trying to get an education. You don't need to respond. I'm just trying to quote what you're saying, correct?

So do you believe that -- I'm sorry that I'm putting you on the spot, but this is something that's very critical to me, so do you believe that there shouldn't -- so you don't believe there should be some oversight by this -- this body -- the General Assembly in regards to the recommendation -- a recommendation from the Board of Regents to increase tuition where this body should rectify it since we are the ones that appropriate the dollars to the -- to the Board of Regents and the Committee of the Colleges?

PHIL AUSTIN: Well, of course, Representative, you're not putting me on the spot because you're singing from the same hymn book that I'm singing from, so -- and I would tell you that the pressure for tuition increases would not be there were the money to have come in the prior instance from this organization, so it's circular and it's at what point do you wish to engage the issue.

REP. CANDELARIA: Thank you. Thank you for those answers.

Thank you, Madam Chair.

REP. WILLIS: That was putting it right back in our lap, Phil. You know, give us enough and this is what happens. The message was received.

I just -- okay. Did you want to -- are you sure? Because I'm going to ask a different line of questioning.

A VOICE: (Inaudible)

REP. WILLIS: Okay. Then Senator Boucher.

SEN. BOUCHER: Thank you very much, Madam Chair.

In that same line of questioning, I have a deep concern about tuition rates, as well, as I'm sure that you do, particularly at our community college and state university system where so many of our local students get their higher education, and access to higher education is critical for this group, and they are so price sensitive at -- and that is really the great equalizer, because -- between the haves and have not's and a way to elevate a person's status and -- and place in -- in our economy and our society, so it is of great concern to me.

But the dynamics there you well, you know, explained, and I think that we can talk about that five percent waive increase, but who in fact negotiated that and often times the very institutions that must deliver that increase, if I'm not mistaken, are not a party to the negotiating process. Is that not true, President Austin? So in --

PHIL AUSTIN: Depending upon which contract you're talking about that's -- that is --

SEN. BOUCHER: Well, say the state university system, or even the community college, it -- those individual schools -- or even system wide do not negotiate. It's done at the executive level, if I'm not mistaken, and then ultimately supposedly approved by this General Assembly through its Appropriations Committee or subcommittee of collective bargaining; is that not the process as I understand it?


SEN. BOUCHER: So essentially this General Assembly is putting a stamp on those wage increases as though it's negotiated by the executive branch and so those five percent increases therefore are foistered on the individual schools and they translate so that outcry by students and so forth and venting towards their schools is probably not well founded. It's probably more directed to this body that is considering -- I'm -- I'm just wanting to be clear that I understand the process well.

PHIL AUSTIN: Yes, you do, Senator, and I appreciate your brining the issue up. You all know where I come from, where I spent the first 15 years I was in Connecticut and I absolutely respect the University of Connecticut and (inaudible) but not one day during those 15 years did I not understand and respect the importance of the community colleges.

For access as you suggest. For the equalization of opportunity, for not youngsters, people of all ages to -- to improve their lot in life and from the state's point of view to have a more educated population that would not opportunities were it not for those schools and also the research university to provide all the PhDs and basic science and MDs and dentists.

Without a technically qualified population that can support them in the laboratories you have nothing, so for a variety of social and efficiency reasons and the economic expansion of these -- these community colleges are fundamental to the state's aspirations and the student -- many of the students who gain access through those community colleges are the most vulnerable in the population and that speaks I think not only to maintaining low tuition levels, but also need based student aid.

SEN. BOUCHER: And I appreciate that. I think part of the concern is not only is there a 5.1 or 5.2 tuition hike, I understand that there's a commensurate increase in fees that are not voluntary, but mandatory and have actually brought those numbers up much higher. Was I wrong in interpreting that to be maybe a five and four or a five and a five together could ultimately be almost a ten percent increase in cost of do you not get into the detail of that or do we have someone here that could answer that question?

PHIL AUSTIN: President Levinson I think you all know is president of Norwalk Community College and he speak from the community college perspective.

DAVID LEVINSON: Yeah, from the community college professor -- perspective there is going to be a commensurate fee increase. The fees in the community colleges are relatively low, for example, our student activity fee is now $5.00 per semester, so there will be a commensurate fee, and my understanding is that the state university there's going to be some variation depending upon the actual institutions.

SEN. BOUCHER: I think I did read that maybe it was Southern and West CONN that had some of the highest increases in --

DAVID LEVINSON: I believe so.

SEN. BOUCHER: -- fees as well as tuition, so it could add up to about a ten percent increase, so no wonder there has been quite a -- a outcry from the student body on that and it is certainly a concern and I appreciate your honest assessment of that. It -- it makes one wonder -- I am particularly concerned about the state university system that in my long time here on the House side had seen double digit increases of tuitions in the past, though not so much in the last few years, but a run up for some time and my particular concern about our cost being slightly higher than even Massachusetts and some of our neighboring states, so I think we need to have an eagle on this committee.

We have great members on this committee that hopefully will be keeping their eyes open going forward on that precipitous climb.

Thank you very much.

PHIL AUSTIN: Thank you, Senator.


REP. WILLIS: Thank you.

Any other questions or comments on this particular aspect?

I -- I would like to switch for a moment to Raised Bill 1045, which has to do with the graduation requirements and that actually grew out of the concern that Senator Bye and I had as we looked at college completion rates and what we noticed was that there was discrepancies between the different community colleges and the CSU system in terms of requirements for graduation and even within a same field.

For instance, engineering had a higher graduation requirement from, you know, say Norwalk would have a 130 credits -- excuse me 60 -- 60 and then 66 let's say -- this is a just -- for a pre-engineering or engineering pathway, so we were trying to get our hands around, you know, again, the college completion of having a level playing field, particularly maybe even looking at lowering all of them to 130.

And so I wondered if -- if you could speak to that why there is a difference and what, you know, again, with the goal being college completion?

DAVID LEVINSON: I can certainly speak to that from the community college perspective. There really -- there is an effort at the present to standardize those requirements. In fact, I was in a conversation just earlier today about nursing programs and the sometimes variation in nursing requirements amongst the six colleges with nursing programs and there is a desire to have a more standardized credit requirement and also to lower it so that it is doable within two years of full-time study by a student.

One of the things that we've done at the Board of Regents this year is we have agreed to a transfer articulation process where there's now going to be a 30 credit general education core shared by all 17 of our colleges and as part of that is what we are doing is taking major by major and articulating it between the community college and also the state university -- a branch of the state university.

And one of the things that we are doing in that process is examining just that, is looking at the variations and nursing was the one I was discussing earlier today so we want to make sure that there is commonality amongst all of the 12 community colleges so that a student is not disadvantaged or advantaged by going to one community college compared to the other, so we are very concerned and mindful about that and we're addressing that at a system level.

REP. WILLIS: Then do you think we should put this -- you know, should we proceed with this or this something that you already have plans to do because obviously we would really like to have a report on what you're doing and how you're trying to standardize graduation requirements across the -- across the system.

DAVID LEVINSON: Sure. No, it is a commitment for us to that across the systems and I believe that we are certainly doing that on our own as -- at the board level.

REP. WILLIS: Well, as I said, that is a concern of ours and we really would applaud efforts to, you know, achieve this so --


REP. WILLIS: -- thank you.


REP. WILLIS: Yes, Senator Cassano.

SEN. CASSANO: Thank you first of all for that explanation. I -- I hope you proceed with the bill because that's a stick that -- that is important.

My question on the other end of the scale is that are we looking at the quote (inaudible) receiving institution, the state university systems an example, how many -- how many courses can be transferred in a major area as an example. I've seen too many times at community colleges with students who will take four or five -- six courses in their "major to be," but on six credits or 12 credits are transferrable and that message never gets delivered and so they have to retake those courses.

And so if you look at these articulation agreements I think one of the things that needs to be communicated to the community college student particularly is as you build your program to transfer watch out for the limits as to what's acceptable in your major and -- and if that's a part of this that would be very helpful, because I've -- I've heard too many times and I've seen too many times students have to retake courses in their major because they needed 24 at the receiving institution.

DAVID LEVINSON: I -- I agree wholeheartedly. I think one of the issues -- and this is one of the beauties of our consolidated system, is to articulate that and so that verily easily what is often called admission creep on the part of the community college going beyond the associates and to articulate that with the state university, so that is something that we are doing in earnest and are very concerned about because I too have had similar situations --


DAVID LEVINSON: -- where, you know, because of -- of the community college a desire could be that an overzealous faculty member or department willing to offer courses in the -- that would typically in the junior or senior year of the state university program. Doing that and the student is disadvantaged, so I think one of the things that is very important is rationalizing and coordinating those requirements so that does not happen and that's important to us.

SEN. CASSANO: Very good. Thank you.

REP. WILLIS: I have another question too. I don't know if you have -- I haven't seen testimony on AN ACT CONCERNING CAMPUS SECURITY, you know, safety and security and I wondered if the Board of Regents had reviewed that and whether it felt that this is something that -- that they could do or maybe have already in the works?

DAVID LEVINSON: Actually, I was going to comment on that as part of my other testimony on House Bill --

REP. WILLIS: Okay. Well, I'll --


REP. WILLIS: Okay. I will -- we will wait then. I just didn't want you to leave before we got that answer.

DAVID LEVINSON: No, it's very important to us and we will comment on that.

REP. WILLIS: Okay. Wonderful.

Seeing no questions on these, thank you very much, gentlemen, always a pleasure to see you.

DAVID LEVINSON: Okay. Good afternoon, everyone.

Senators Bye and Boucher, Representative Willis and LeGeyt and members of the Higher Ed and Employment Advancement Committee, I'm David Levinson. I serve as the vice president for community colleges under the Board of Regents and also president of Norwalk Community College.

And what I would like to do this afternoon is to testify on behalf of House Bill 6562, AN ACT CONCERNING ADULT EDUCATION AND TRANSITION TO COLLEGE and also at the end of my testimony, as suggested and requested by Representative Willis to testify on House Bill 6655, AN ACT CONCERNING CAMPUS SAFETY AND SECURITY.

We support House Bill 6562, which provides an important opportunity for high school students with diplomas to seek additional remedial support from adult education programs, if such remedial education is needed in order to provide a streamlined, effective, and efficient approach for a transition to post-secondary education.

As you are aware the Board of Regents for Higher Education has been working collaboratively across our 17 institutions during the last year to provide a framework and foundation in support of Public Act 1240 that was passed last year reforming the way in which we provide remedial education.

Representatives from all of our institutions have worked together to create regional teams to review, discuss, analyze and create potential approaches to support imbedded remedial instruction at the post-secondary level rather than separate and distinct remedial course work.

We support the need for external partnerships to assist in the collaborative and creative solutions to this issue. Eastern Connecticut State University President Elsa Nunez, who also serves as vice president for the state universities, and I met with a number of our key state wide partners, such as representatives from Workforce Investment Board, adult education, community based partners and organizations and industry associations.

Only through diligent efforts supported by all concerned parties can institutions be successful in creating and implementing a model that most effectively provides remedial education services and increases student achievement completion and other important parts of our student's success initiative.

In late April the Board of Regents for Higher Education and the Connecticut Employment and Training Commission, CETC for short are co-hosting a conference entitled, Collaboration Conference on Returning Adults Partnering to Meet the Requirements of Public Act 1240.

This conference will feature presentations by many of our external statewide partners on the subject of current remediation efforts and successful programs and will also allow or regional institutional teams the opportunity to meet and to further discuss approaches to collaborative efforts that will benefit all of our students.

I would say at the meeting that recently had Dr. Nunez and I were very impressed with the amount of remedial work going on by CETC partners, especially in terms of this embedded remediation often referred to as I-BEST. And we are very excited and energized by the interest and support of our partners in this effort and we believe that legislation such as HB6562 will help our students to be better served in supporting their transition to all 17 of our institutions hopefully with little or no remediation.

In addition to this I do want to comment on House Bill 6655, AN ACT CONCERNING CAMPUS SAFETY AND SECURITY. Two of its most critical crisis preparedness needs are planning and communication and we heartily endorse the importance of both of those aspects; however, we do request some small changes to the bill.

Section Three requires the Board of Regents to consult with the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection to study the effectiveness of converting campus security to campus police. We request that the language be broaden to allow the board to study and report the most effective method of providing a security (inaudible) on campus and the cost of doing so.

We can imagine a scenario where some campus safety functions would be best operated by campus security and others by campus police and broader language in the bill would allow for such a scenario and that is the case at some of our colleges today.

We also request that language in Section Six be modified to allow for the Board of Regents to access state funding to pay for the cost of conducting such an evaluation. I also want to add that we concur with Police Chief O'Connor's testimony with respect to not including students on the threat assessment team and then our chief pal at the Connecticut -- Central Connecticut State University has articulated similar concerns.

So thank you very much this afternoon and I'm happy to provide any answers to questions that you have on my testimony. Thank you.

REP. WILLIS: Thank you.

I have a question following up on the campus security. Is it different for the community colleges versus the state university system because the state university obviously has dorms, which when you have residential halls it's a whole different level of -- of security than in a community college I assume?

DAVID LEVINSON: I believe so. I mean, my -- the -- the major difference is that there is a police force at each of the four state universities. At the community colleges there is two of our 12 institutions that have police force as part of their security teams and I believe that in large part that is due to the non-residential student population at community colleges.

REP. WILLIS: Okay. Do you think we should therefore carve -- put a different section for the community colleges, you know, standardized -- for instance, the University of Connecticut obviously has security police presently -- campus police and you're saying the state university has a campus police, so you fit more into their model, but the community college is sort of present their own unique situation because it -- there's not residential halls.

DAVID LEVINSON: Right. And also I would say that the community colleges given the tremendous difference in where they are located in the state and what is going on in their surrounding communities. The needs are quite different, so I think some flexibility would be good because in the community colleges I -- I highly doubt that there's one model that's going to serve all 12 institutions.

REP. WILLIS: Okay. Well, that was -- that's very helpful to hear.

In terms of conducting the audit, much of what's in this bill mirrors what we're doing for K through 12 and I believe our subcommittee, Senator Boucher, on campus security put in for the cost of audits and also what grants -- so there's an existing statute that hasn't been funded and so maybe we need to put a component into that for our universities when we do the -- do the omnibus bill.

DAVID LEVINSON: That would be very helpful.



REP. WILLIS: Thank you.

Oh, Senator.

SEN. BYE: Thank you for your testimony.

DAVID LEVINSON: You're welcome.

SEN. BYE: Couple of questions. Thank you for your testimony about adult education. I know we've had a number of conversations about what are the combinations of different stakeholders who can be a part of this remediation --


SEN. BYE: -- you know, workforce development boards, adult ed, and -- and such. What -- what has been adult ed involvement to date and where do you see it going forward to help us sort of think about what we need to be doing?

DAVID LEVINSON: Yeah, I mean, in -- in terms of adult education there has been no systemic involvement. I mean, different institutions have different relationships with the local school districts who are providing that.

I think what would be very good would be to looking at our efforts to reform remedial education to look at adult ed as a really key component in that and again, you know, I've been very impressed with what I've been learning going on and it's some adult ed programs and also at our -- our workforce investment boards.

I think it would be really critical to engage them and to have something which would allow us to expect some commonality amongst the, I guess, 147 some odd different school districts, which is always the challenge.

What would be very helpful is for adult ed to play a component of that, because one of the things and of course they need resources too, but relatively speaking those are low cost, non-credit bearing alternatives that I think is very useful especially for the non-traditional populations that are attending our community colleges, because what I would really recommend is a largely (inaudible) to really one of adult literacy and adult degree completion which adult education in our school districts can really provide a very important part.

So I would really recommend a greater incorporation of their role in that process.

SEN. BYE: Yes, I mean, we -- I -- I've seen the value in -- in my community. I'm sure others here do as well, so my hope would be that somehow these regional groups that are strategizing would -- would include adult ed in those regional, even host the meeting for the adult ed and the workforce investment boards -- I think I said workforce development before -- there's so many things to keep straight.

So I would just --


SEN. BYE: Okay. So that's my first question. The second question is we are -- you know, as we are talking about this school safety and campus safety and I think the past few weeks have brought this to our attention even more, what do you think the cost would be per campus to do some sort of assessment like you're talking about? I -- I think I'm remembering from a public hearing that it was about $200,000 per campus, but that -- that might not be accurate. That's --

DAVID LEVINSON: Yeah, the -- the risk figure I thought I saw it would be maybe 200,000 for all of the campuses.

SEN. BYE: Oh, that's what --

DAVID LEVINSON: Yeah, I -- I think --

SEN. BYE: -- that's way better.

DAVID LEVINSON: Yeah. That -- that would -- from the estimates I've seen that would cover, you know, the visits and the assessments at each of the institutions.

SEN. BYE: Okay. So I think what Representative Willis said makes a lot of sense and Senator Boucher was speaking about which is to look at ways that we can incorporate this into a bond package that's about school safety.

We have to make sure that higher ed isn't left out because so many of our students at such a vulnerable age are on -- on your campuses, so thank you.

DAVID LEVINSON: Great. Thank you.

REP. WILLIS: Thank you.

Hearing no other questions, thank you, Dr. Levinson.

DAVID LEVINSON: Great. Thank you very much.

Oh, wait, there's a question.

A VOICE: Representative Walker.

REP. WILLIS: Oh, Representative Walker, sorry.

REP. WALKER: Thank you.

REP. WILLIS: You moved down.


Thank you and good afternoon.

DAVID LEVINSON: Good afternoon.

REP. WALKER: And thank you for -- for your -- your testimony.

I wanted to talk to you about the -- the one from House Bill 6562. I was -- I was -- it was kind of hard, but I was listening to the testimony upstairs and -- and trying to rush down here to answer. You mentioned the fact that you were in support of it, but to -- to this point you did not know about any really systemic programming that they've been doing and I know that the adult educations have been doing a -- a PIP grant -- program improvement grant for the last six years, which did just that.

They did remediation between the community colleges of which I know New Haven does it -- we've been doing it and I know Manchester has been doing it and I believe Norwalk has been doing it. Stanford has been doing it with -- with Norwalk Community College, so I know we have some statistics to demonstrate that these programs have been established and there has been some sort of history.

I think what -- what I've seen in these evolutions is the fact that it's not -- it's been driven by the administrative forces as opposed to being driven by the actual adult educations in collaboration with the community colleges, but it has worked in -- in many, many areas and I think it's an -- it's a pretty obvious area for us to go in trying to address, especially with the expectation of reduction in the remediation courses that we have.

It's better to put it in those institutions because they can do -- it's like -- it's like post-secondary high school or something to that effect, so I would ask that you look into some of those programs. I know I've talked to Elsa Nunez about some of these too and so we do have some out there so I don't --


REP. WALKER: -- want us to just assume that there's not there, but just look at what our statistics are and sort of maybe build from that, so I hope that we do that.

DAVID LEVINSON: Yeah, sure I would be happy to.


DAVID LEVINSON: That's very important. Thank you.

REP. WALKER: Thank you.

Thank you, Madam Chair.

REP. WILLIS: Thank you.

Thank you, Dr. Levinson.

DAVID LEVINSON: Great. Thank you very much.

REP. WILLIS: Sharon Palmer and after Commissioner Palmer goes we will switch to the public list.

Good afternoon, Commissioner.

COMMISSIONER SHARON PALMER: Good afternoon, Representative Willis.

REP. WILLIS: (Inaudible)


REP. WILLIS: You look very springy.

COMMISSIONER SHARON PALMER: Thank you. Thank you. I wish.

REP. WILLIS: I don't think -- you didn't bring it with you.

COMMISSIONER SHARON PALMER: (Inaudible) outside though.


COMMISSIONER SHARON PALMER: Thanks for this opportunity.

Sitting with me today is Kathy Marioni who is the acting director of the Office of Workforce Competitiveness, who has more knowledge than I do about this program, so she'll help me out if I get stuck.

I'm here today to talk about 6563, AN ACT CONCERNING OFFICE OF WORKFORCE COMPETITIVENESS. I'm testifying today against the bill. I've got a lot of information here for you so I'll try and highlight.

In 2011 the Office of Workforce Competitiveness was moved from OPM to Connecticut Department of Labor, so it's been with us less than two years -- a little over a year and a half. This made the Labor Commission the principal advisor to the Governor on workforce development policy and I certainly did -- don't do that alone. It is the folks at the Department of Labor that support this work.

I serve on P20 Council with the CETC Chair -- and I'll say a little bit more about that in a moment -- Don Shubert who is a volunteer and chairs all the work of -- of CETC -- and I'll skip the rest of that.

Following the move of OWC to DOL Governor Malloy appointed Don Shubert and CETC, which is the Connecticut Employment and Training Council under the Office of Workforce Competitiveness, was reconstituted and seven committees were formed.

Let me just stop for a moment so that it's clear the difference between OWC and CETC. OWC is the agency -- or the division of the Department of Labor which supports -- is the administrative support to the Connecticut Employment and Training Commission.

The Connecticut Employment and Training Commission is comprised of volunteers and a little later in my testimony you'll see who those folks are. They are not honorary chairs. They are working chairs. These seven committees are -- are very active in doing a lot of work.

We also work with the WIBs, the Workforce Investment Boards and those are in arm also of the Department of Labor. I think they were mentioned earlier when you had the discussion of adult ed. And we must some regulations of the federal government under the Workforce Investment Act, because that is what forms the WIBs.

The workgroup has developed a whole list of goals and activities that they're undertaking and have undertaken over the last year and a half. Let me skip over all of this and -- and take you to the part that talks about what we do, which is probably the most important part.

And there's a bulleted list that talks about Subsidized Training and Employment Program, which is the STEP-UP program that I'm sure many of you have heard of, the Jobs Funnel Initiative, the State Energy Sector Partnership, the Connecticut Manufacturing Job Match, the Connecticut Conservation Corps Program and we also work with Dol's Employment and Training Division.

I'm proud to say that this month Connecticut was recognized by the US Department of Labor during and extensive monitoring review for having best practices in our comprehensive approach to workforce planning and development of effective partnerships between DOL, Office of Workforce Competitiveness, the Employment and Training Commission, Employment and the WIBs and that's what we do try and bring all those work -- workgroups together to the benefit of Connecticut.

We've done a bunch of studies in the last year and a half and so let me highlight some of those. The Health Workforce Policy Board Legislative Report, Workforce Investment Strategies in Healthcare, DOL-Administered Training Programs Relevant to Advanced Manufacturing, Career Advancement for Low-Skill Adults and this is where the I-BEST program comes in -- we also heard about that earlier -- and the Green Jobs Workforce Report and Recommendations.

And I want to call your attention to some of the footnotes that are in the back of this testimony. You'll find first of all a list of all the folks who serve on the Connecticut Employment and Training Commission. These are all volunteers. They're all -- all folks who are working hard to make this a success and then followed by a list of the workgroups and who co-chairs them and what they're doing.

And after that -- I know this is a lot of information, but we felt it was pertinent for you to understand all that's been done by this group in a very short period of time. And then you have a list of items that we have been focusing on and developing to align Connecticut's workforce and talents. That's -- that's a lengthy list.

And then key products for 2012 for your information and recommendations for future attention and action -- lots of those for you to peruse as well. Let me just close by saying we're proud of all that's been accomplished in such a short period of time. We think that it would detrimental after such a short period of time and establishment of all these working groups that are producing for -- for our economy to move this back to OPM.

So we would ask that you not pass this legislation. We don't think that it will benefit our state and with that I'll take some questions.

REP. WILLIS: Questions or comments from members of the committee?

Thank you very much.


REP. WILLIS: I made an error. I apologize to Jane Ciarleglio. Sorry, Jane.

JANE CIARLEGLIO: That's okay. If you want to go to public (inaudible).

REP. WILLIS: You sure?


REP. WILLIS: Okay. Because it was all these arrows.

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Yeah, I know. (Inaudible)

REP. WILLIS: Judy Greiman.

JUDY GREIMAN: Good afternoon, Senator Bye --

REP. WILLIS: Good -- good afternoon. Nice to see you, Judy.

JUDY GREIMAN: Thank you for having us here.

So I am here with Michelle Kalis and I'm Judy Greiman from the Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges and Father Von Arx who is president of Fairfield and the chair of CCIC sent his regrets. He -- he did submit written testimony but was unable to come today.

I'm really just going to speak very, very briefly and then turn it over to Michelle Kalis who is the provost at the University of Saint Joseph. I have submitten (sic) written testimony that gives you just a sense of what's happening in other states on the issue of program approval.

It's -- you know, we've been here before on this issue. It's an issue we care deeply about and have been working with the administration to come up with a streamlined process that will reduce regulation, but also give the Office of Higher Education what it needs for oversight.

We hope to bring you proposed language as soon as possible and we thank you very much for raising this bill and keeping the concept alive (inaudible) we are working hard to come up with something that we can agree to, but we thought it useful to at least give you the background on it to, you know, outline what is happening in other states and Michelle is here to really give you a sense of how the process works in another state -- she's worked in another state and also to outline how programs are approved on her campus, which is a fairly similar process on -- on other campuses and we're obviously available for questions.

MICHELLE KALIS: Thank you, Judy, Madam Chairs and committee members.

As Judy said, I'm Michelle Kalis the president at the University of Saint Joseph and thank you for the opportunity to speak on the approval process for new programs in the state of Connecticut and to support the concept raised by Senate Bill 1139, AN ACT CONCERNING CHANGES TO PROGRAM APPROVAL FOR PRIVATE COLLEGES.

I'm pleased to hear that the Office of Higher Education is considering adopting a more streamlined process for independent colleges and universities. I believe a streamlined process will be -- will be able to ensure quality programs and allow institutions to respond more quickly to the needs of our students.

Before becoming -- coming to Connecticut I worked for ten years at a private, non-profit higher education institution in Massachusetts that was excluded from the state approval process due to its historic nature. This institution did not have to seek approval for new programs or program modifications as long as the programs were covered by the charter of the college.

As a result, the institution was able to respond to the need for new programs to meet workforce demands and expand into emerging areas in a competitive and aggressive manner. The college responded by creating new and innovative programs. These programs responded to the workforce needs and provided the college with a competitive edge that included the ability to recruit students from other states.

Examples included accelerated formats, which were mainly four-year baccalaureate degrees that were completed in three years, allowing the students to enter the workforce more quickly. We also developed new programs or modified existing programs to include the use of technology in the delivery methods. These included both online and real time video linking between multiple campuses.

These delivery methods improved access to the academic programs for students. As the needs of employers changed we were able to meet the demands by developing programs to increase the level of education of the workforce. For example, we created BS programs for fields with high numbers of associate or certificate trained workers.

These programs were often the first in the state and the region and provided graduates with increased career possibilities. Because the institution was well established the quality of the programs did not suffer. There was extensive internal and external review. All of the programs were subject to approval by the regional accrediting body and many of the programs required specialized accreditation.

Similarly, the University of Saint Joseph has an extensive internal approval process for all of its new programs. A complete program proposal is developed. The proposal includes a feasibility study with a financial pro forma, the resources required, a timeline for implementation, analysis of competitor programs, analysis of job prospects for the graduates, curriculum outline and new course syllabi.

The proposal is approved by a department and school and it is reviewed by a faculty curriculum committee and often revisions are required. Once approved, the curriculum committee -- it is -- once approved by the curriculum committee it is discussed by the faculty committee as a whole, which is the governance system at the university.

Following approval it is reviewed and approved by the provost and then by the president. Revisions are generally made throughout the process. Finally, it is presented to the academic affairs committee of the Board of Trustees and based upon a recommendation from the committee it is voted on by the full Board of Trustees of the unvirsity.

This process generally takes one year or more. New programs must also be submitted to NEASC, the regional accrediting body and are usually reviewed at the time of a full accreditation visit, unless it is considered to be a substantive change, which usually means an institution offering a higher degree. Many programs require specialized accreditation which entails a multiyear process usually with several milestones along the way.

Site teams consisting of experts in the field visit the university for two to three day visits, usually several times during this process. Once approved there is extensive reporting requirements. In my experience in Connecticut state approval for new programs and program modifications for private, non-profit institutions requires different documentation than the regional or specialized accreditors, therefore, additional time and money is spent on creating these documents, and then the approval process itself adds time.

This causes a delay in responding to the needs of the market as well as the students. Further, the value that the current process adds to the development of new programs or program modifications is limited. I currently serve as a member of the Advisory Committee on Accreditation.

I believe all of the members of the ACA due to their -- do their best to provide helpful feedback to new programs and to uphold the standards; however, beyond the input provided by OHE staff during the process I do not believe the ACA members provides input that's significantly increases the quality of the program coming before the group.

Thank you for the opportunity to testify today and I would be happy to answer any questions.

SEN. BYE: Thank you. Thank you for your testimony and I appreciate -- I really appreciate the summary of other states and really succinct how they're managing it.

I have a question -- I think it's for you, Judy, because you're sort of have a national perspective on this, we have -- I would say the committee has a lot of concerns about institutions that -- that maybe aren't like all the institutions in your independent college agency or, you know, where -- where students -- they're very low graduation rates, where students are losing their Pell Grants, et cetera.

And in the past what we've tried to do -- what -- I think what you're trying to establish is, you know, for the non-profits that have been around for X number of years that they have a different approval process.

What's to prevent other institutions that are new or that -- or a different format from saying we think we should not have to go through program approval either? Like how -- you know, does this open the door to some of the folks that we're trying very hard to regulate do they then have a leg up on not being regulated?

JUDY GREIMAN: Well, I think that in any conversation that -- that I've had with the Office of Higher Education or the Governor Malloy's representatives in terms of looking, for example, a new institution coming to the state. I don't think anybody thinks that new institutions coming to the state should have some period of time in which their programs are reviewed.

You know, the other issue that comes up often is whether proprietary or for-profit institutions should be regulated in a different way than not for-profit institutions and they are in most other states -- or any other state that we've asked that questions and so you can certainly have different -- differing review and review standards.

So in -- in our conversation with the -- and you know, Dana is here and, you know, we've been talking about non-profit institutions, not for-profit and I don't know what that process is and it's not been a part of what we've been talking about.

SEN. BYE: So in our state -- I mean, in other states they do this regularly? They -- they split it and they say, you know, you regulate -- this is how we're going to regulate the proprietaries of for-profits and this is how we're going to regulate non-profits and there aren't challenges for that?

JUDY GREIMAN: So you have a list of whatever those 36 states where there's no -- no regulation of independent, private, not for profit, independent college academic programs. That -- that list of 36 and then there's, you know, those other accreditations of review. So all of them we have asked certainly what is the not -- what is the way you deal with a not for profit colleges and university programs in your state and that's what -- how we got that information.

We have separately asked over the course of time do you regulate -- does your state regulate for profits in a different way and I don't have the number, but in most cases states are regulating for profit programs in a different way.

SEN. BYE: That's help -- that's helpful to me because I'm very -- we are very concerned about making sure that there's a regulatory environment that protects students.

JUDY GREIMAN: If I could just say -- I guess I can say that another -- if you look at the list of 36 for -- use them as an example, I know -- I mean, I could rattle off, but I could probably get you better information if you wanted, I certainly know that of those 36 that do not have independent not for profit programs come before them that I can name several of those that I know for a fact do on the for profit side, so I don't think -- I don't think there are states where there's no regulation on for profit. There may be, but I don't know of them.

SEN. BYE: Any questions?

Thank you very much. Thanks for coming.

JUDY GREIMAN: Thank you.

SEN. BYE: Next is Jane Ciarleglio. I almost skipped you again.

A VOICE: Those arrows.

SEN. BYE: Welcome.

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Good afternoon, Senator Bye, Representative Willis, Senator Boucher, Representative LeGeyt and distinguished members of the Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee.

Thank you for the opportunity to offer testimony on Senate Bill 1139, AN ACT CONCERNING CHANGES TO PROGRAM APPROVAL FOR COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES. I had hoped to come before you today with a compromise proposal regarding the program approval process.

For those of you who have been on this committee for some years and for those of you who are serving for the first time this is an issue, as you've just heard, of the utmost importance, not only to the institutions, but to the students, and to the families of the state of Connecticut, as well as the colleges and universities. And we are, I hope, getting closer to an agreement.

I just think it's really important and, you know, you -- you do have my written testimony so maybe we should just talk a little bit about your questions that you asked. I guess I come to this in a little different way. We have a recent example of -- of Rhode Island and you -- you were very involved in the Butler Sawyer school closure there.

Rhode Island has little or no regulations compared to the state of Connecticut. Rhode Island students, in my humble opinion, Butler and Sawyer students really were disadvantaged by the fact that they had little or no regulation. In Connecticut we have, as you know, in the last two weeks helped up to 87 of the students that were enrolled and disenfranchised by that school closure.

So for me, I think that it's not the idea of regulation that is bad, it is that quality and standards for students and to the point of Saint Joseph's there's a very long review in -- in most colleges and universities and under this new plan I think that we're -- we're pretty close to.

The university who has an excellent program that they present would be able to be approved probably within, you know, 15 to 30 days, so that it's not the -- you know, you have to be very, very careful that all institutions, I believe, are treated in the same fashion and -- and this -- and the institutions that do in fact have good programs that are up to snuff that have the quality of the professionals that are able to sit for licensure exams -- we've had those -- those instances that have come before us in the last couple of years that's all we're trying to avoid is to make sure that everybody has the students and the families in mind.

And to that, you know, I've attached some examples. I don't -- I'm not in the business of calling out institutions and I -- and, you know, -- but it's -- it's for student protection and for transparency and that's what I think the focus of this work together with CCIC and the administration is so -- so just so everybody is clear, you know, we want to do things faster too. We absolutely want students to be able to have programs and to turn -- and to be able to graduate and -- and enter into the workforce as soon as possible.

So I think with a little more work hopefully we'll -- we'll get there. I would be more than happy to answer any of your questions.

REP. WILLIS: Thank you, Jane. And thank you for your comments. Obviously, as you pointed out in your testimony we've been a long time at struggling with doing this and it's hard. I mean, it's -- it's a tough one to get our hands on. One the one hand, we don't want to burden schools who have great programs to offer, slow them down, disadvantage students who are waiting or need these programs, and at the same time you want to make sure that our students are protected.

Most of your review on program review in terms of criteria what you looked for is it -- its faculty --

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Yes, we have academic standards that are currently in regulations, so that it's important to note that every -- every standard then -- every institution is measured by the same academic standards and so -- and I think that's important.

REP. WILLIS: How do you answer when they say -- the independent colleges say but -- Wesleyan and Yale and Trinity and the long standing, they've gotten grandfathered as apparently they have in Massachusetts?

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Well, that's correct. That's a historical fact. Again, without -- I'm not trying to -- to call any universities out, but there have been institutions that we have reviewed in the last several years that if they -- under an arbitrary date -- and there's been two or three of them I think over the years that we've had issues -- some that you know about -- that would have been exempt, and I -- I think that that's a problem, and I don't think that students are served and that's the only reason that we think that every institution should be measured under the same standards and they're high standards. There' no question about it.

Connecticut has very high standards. We do. And -- and I guess I've never apologized for that. Should we make the process easier and faster? No one thinks that more than I do believe me and I think that that's what's important, but I do -- I do think that -- that standards especially, you know, faculty curriculum, financial where with all is important.

REP. WILLIS: Thank you. I know this is not part of program approval, but one of the things we did hear last year -- or we did at legislation was aligning, you know, Department of Labor sharing information with our state universities so when they developed these programs they're clear with students and families that there's actually jobs in those fields here in Connecticut.

That's not something that you ever look at to see if someone is offering a program in their schools that there's no jobs for in Connecticut? Do you?

JANE CIARLEGLIO: We -- that's not a standard we can actually --

REP. WILLIS: Yeah, no --

JANE CIARLEGLIO: -- you know, but --

REP. WILLIS: I -- it has been brought to my attention recently and I don't know how we get our answer. That's a different issue in legislation. I think maybe going forward in the future, but, you know, I think that it's irresponsible of -- of schools -- private or public -- to be having someone pay for an education and there's no hope for a job.

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Sometimes we do scratch our heads and say -- but, you know, in -- it's -- you know, it's certainly for the independent institutions whether they're for profit or not there's, you know -- that's really not our business, that's their business.

REP. WILLIS: Oh, and that's -- I don't know how we get our hands around that so.

Okay. Any other questions or comments?

Yes, I almost called you Senator Walker. Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER: Thank you. Thank you.

And thank you for your testimony.

Can you just -- I -- because I'm trying to get my hands around what is it that's broken here? Can you just explain to me what is broken?

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Well, I -- I think that if you ask independent colleges they -- some institutions want to get out from under regulation by the Office.

REP. WALKER: So this bill is for the benefit of the independent colleges?

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Yeah. And -- and having said that though, there is -- I will certainly acknowledge there is a faster process with a statutory change that we could go through that would probably benefit everybody.

REP. WALKER: But the -- the testimonies that I'm hearing is that -- that from the independent colleges is that they don't want it, so that's why I'm trying to figure out --

JANE CIARLEGLIO: No, I'm saying we -- we are in the midst here of perhaps having a solution and a compromise that we can present to you. We're not there yet apparently, so we're still continuing to work with them.

REP. WALKER: Okay. So then let me go back to my question again.


REP. WALKER: In your mind --


REP. WALKER: -- not in anybody else's --


REP. WALKER: -- what is broken?

JANE CIARLEGLIO: I believe that we can have a more efficient program approval process for independent -- for all institutions in the state of Connecticut.

REP. WALKER: So the approval process that we have now is inefficient?

JANE CIARLEGLIO: I think -- yes, I think it's fair to say that.

REP. WALKER: And that's your department?

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Yes. Having said that though, I -- that does not include, to be fair, having anyone get out from under regulation. I think we can have a faster, more efficient process and not give up program approval, quality issues and standards along the way, so I think we can do both.

REP. WALKER: And the way we approve CSU and the Community Technical and UCONN is the same way?

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Well, each institution -- much like the independent institutions that you just heard, and that goes for the CSU system, have different processes for how they develop programs and bring them to --

REP. WALKER: The Office of Higher Education.

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Right. So they can still -- they would still have their own processes -- we -- that wouldn't have anything to do with us. It's that -- it's that final determination with standards that we would -- we would look at.

REP. WALKER: And the -- I guess the other question I have is that the fee that we have in there is placed on the institution that tries to do a program -- or an improvement of their -- of their program?

JANE CIARLEGLIO: New programs -- it's brand new institutions coming into the state, there's not array of fees are in there.

REP. WALKER: But for the -- the institutions that are existing now for them to, let's say, improve their -- their bioscience whatever class?

JANE CIARLEGLIO: You would put a new program in place?

REP. WALKER: Right. To -- to adjust to the stem that we're -- we're trying to do --


REP. WALKER: -- they would be charged a fee to improve their classwork?

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Well, they would be charged a fee for any new program that they bring before us, yes. Much like I think all but five or six states.

REP. WALKER: And you don't see that that's charging a fee for any new programs would not be a negative because we would be --

JANE CIARLEGLIO: But for the institution, sure. I'm just -- you asked me the question about the fees, that's what that fee structure that's in that bill would do. This is sort of separate from that. This is actually the whole process.

REP. WALKER: Okay. I guess, when -- when I asked what was broken that was -- you said the process.

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Well, that's -- that's the significant -- that's what we're talking about in Senate Bill 1139.

The Governor's bill -- that's what I think you were talking about had the fee structure in it. That's a different bill than this. That's what I was trying to address.

REP. WALKER: 1139?

JANE CIARLEGLIO: 1139 doesn't talk about fees. The Governor's Bill 844 does.



REP. WALKER: But 11 -- 1139 is just --


REP. WALKER: -- the process?


REP. WALKER: Okay. Thank you.

Thank you, Madam Chair.

REP. WILLIS: Thank you very much.

Questions from Senator Cassano.

SEN. CASSANO: Just out of ignorance and curiosity, we're seeing development of many of the "online college and college programs." How does regulation fit into their programs?

JANE CIARLEGLIO: Well, our regulations state that anybody that -- that can offer a degree in the state of Connecticut has to have an online process -- I mean, an online process -- an on ground presence and you have to adhere to our standards, so they cannot award a degree in Connecticut without going through the regulatory process the same as anybody else.

SEN. CASSANO: But they can offer courses?


SEN. CASSANO: And if they can offer courses and they can say they're transferable to -- are they?

JANE CIARLEGLIO: That's -- that's the issue that we're trying to address and we really -- you really have to do that -- as you know, through -- through the federal government or through the states having contracts because, you know, it's deemed all, you know, anywhere.

SEN. CASSANO: Okay. I -- I just -- you see so much about students getting burned by these --


SEN. CASSANO: -- programs that --

JANE CIARLEGLIO: That is why we -- we say all the time the license and accredited institutions in the state of Connecticut are all on our website and students ought to beware that's where you go to make sure that you have an -- that you go to an institution that has quality standards.

SEN. CASSANO: Thank you.

REP. WILLIS: Thank you.

Any other questions or comments from members of the committee?

Thank you, Jane.


REP. WILLIS: And talks will continue on this.

Moving to the public list is David Downes followed by Jeff Asher.

SEN. BYE: Hi, David. Welcome.

DAVID DOWNES: Thank you.

Madam Chairs, members of committee, my name is David Downes. I am the director ad adult education for West Hartford Public Schools and vice president of CAACE, which is the Connecticut Association for Adults and Continuing Education. I have submitted testimony on three bills. The key one is the 6562 bill having to do with providing adult education transition to college remedial services and I'll start with that.

The other two are -- are kind of quick, but I do want to bring up -- it's kind of a devil in the details kind of thing for us in adult education programs in that the bill as it is put forward in changing current legislation wording does a couple of things. It -- while it does attempt to provide a less expensive way for students attain standing in a community or a state college, it adds college preparation classes to the other mandated programs that adult education provides as a mandated service.

It just adds it in there as -- as a fifth one. Currently adult education is required to provide services having to do with citizenship, having to do with basic skills, some form of diploma, those kinds of very basic programs. This would add another one to that.

If it is added in there then it is something that is funded with the -- the monies that we already have. The problem with that is that the monies we already have barely cover the services that we're trying to provide and so we feel that this bill as it's written would stretch current -- current funding too -- too thinly for us.

If we are going to provide it -- we have provided these services. It's been mentioned that it's been provided with other funding, mainly Nellie Mae funding in the past. It's been funded with STEM grants. It -- we've shown that we can do remediation for folks intending to go on to credit bearing courses in college.

It's more the way that it needs to be approached. What we are trying to do, as mentioned in my testimony, is we are trying to work with the community colleges, with the Workforce Investment Boards, as was mentioned by Dr. Levinson's presentation in more a regional kind of group so that funds can be leveraged, federal funds, state grants -- state grants perhaps, but more likely private grants, major funders that have met with us, including United Way, including the regional foundations that are in the area, such as Hartford Foundation.

Those are the ways -- coming together those are the ways -- those are the ways that we could get the funds. Another way that we could have funding is through our -- what's -- continuing ed, which is a broader term, but those are the courses that include the things that we offer in catalogs that you might get at home having to do with all sorts of things -- foreign language -- learning a foreign language, gardening, and all the rest of that, but in that system we can offer at a fee for service basis adult ed courses, but we would do that as a part of a solution because clearly there are folks that can't afford that kind of charge, but it would be considerably less than what is going on now for remedial courses.

It would also allow us to be a part of a solution with community colleges, so it's -- that's what we're looking for is a more -- more nuance type of approach to this so that we're not draining current funds.

The other two bills I understand that 904 will be substantially changed. That it was kind of put together not in a way it was supposed to be.

And the final bill 6430, it's a broad bill. It -- it says some good things about putting things together so that technical education is coordinated with local needs and services that can be provided.

Basically, that's my testimony and I certainly open to answering questions.

SEN. BYE: Thank you, David. And thanks for the time you give outside of here on policy matters and the time I know you've taken with me in West Hartford as I come to try to understand this and so I think what you're saying is that as the bill is currently worded you're required to provide college readiness not sort of enabled to do college readiness, which I think was the goal?

DAVID DOWNES: Right. Yeah. We're -- we're currently enabled to do it, but we can't attach -- we can't access adult ed funding for it and, as you know, adult ed funding is a mix of local and state funding. If we start bringing out that funding for remediation, local folks would see that as not what they intend their funding to go for -- or what the agreement has been for local funds so that concerns us.

SEN. BYE: So -- so as I understand it from previous conversations with you, and correct me if I'm wrong, because really what we're looking for is other sort of hands on deck to help us with this issue of remediation that -- that aren't costly to students who are currently burning up thousands of dollars in Pell Grants and loans for some of these remedial classes.

As I understand it works say you're West Hartford, you would say to the State Department of Ed we expect that it's going to cost $100,000 this year for adult ed. I know it's more than that, but I'm just making that up. You would then get a percentage of that from the state based on your estimate and then the state would contribute their percentage -- or the town would have to contribute the rest that the state doesn't, so it puts a little bit of a drag on it, but explain to me --


SEN. BYE: -- if works that way?

DAVID DOWNES: Yeah, we -- we provide the -- each -- each district or its cooperative entity if it's a regional group provide -- provides to the -- the local boards their budget -- total budget -- the amount total it would take to run their program, understanding that part of that is going to come from the local district, part of it is going to come from the state.

The state -- the locals would approve that budget with the understanding that the state percentage that is going to be reimbursed is roughly what the state says it will be when they publish the most likely percentage that's it's going to be, which varies slightly year to year. It's based solely on more or less an ability to pay kind of thing. Similar to special ed that each -- each district from essentially nothing to 65 percent if funded. It's sort of the same thing for adult ed.

So if we submit and entire budget of $100,000 and the state percentage for us is 30 percent then the town expects to pay 70,000, the state will pay the 30,000.

SEN. BYE: Okay. So -- so where I was going with this -- and because it's dependent on a fixed appropriation it probably doesn't matter, but so if -- if you determine and -- and Board of Regents could tell you that X percentage of students leaving West Hartford Public Schools are likely to need remedial education and you would say, oh, X percent so now we know we need to add 20 more students, this is what that costs us.

You go to the Board of Ed and you say, instead of 70 we need 80 and -- or instead of 100 you say 120, but then I think what you're saying is if that happened across the state the appropriation percentage to each town would go down?

DAVID DOWNES: It would be the amount the -- yes -- well, the pot of money is -- is pretty --

SEN. BYE: Is set.

DAVID DOWNES: -- solid -- at locally too, so that they would say, well, yeah, we'll give you 85,000, but and -- all that rest of the money that's got to come out of what you're already spending for citizenship, learning to speak English, getting your high school diploma, and so it would just -- it would mean I would have less money to pay for the services of the other things that I already have to do --

SEN. BYE: Right.

DAVID DOWNES: -- is -- is one problem.

The other problem is that local boards would really look a stance at why are we paying for higher education's problem, essentially is the way it's been (inaudible) --

SEN. BYE: Well -- well, I -- I would say if I was higher education I would say that they have been paying for the town's problems because they're getting students who aren't prepared from those districts. You know what I'm saying? So --

DAVID DOWNES: I know what you're saying, but I think it's also the two-way issue that the locals would say, what have we been doing to -- with our -- with our teachers, with -- with what we are teaching, how we are teaching. We've changed. We've spent a fortune in professional development to make our teachers able to deal with a wider range of kids that are coming to us had they done the same at the higher level.

I -- the -- the thing goes on and on and on.

SEN. BYE: Well -- well --

DAVID DOWNES: All I know it's a lot of blow back --

SEN. BYE: Right.

DAVID DOWNES: -- from the local district.

SEN. BYE: Well, right. Right. I -- I just think local districts do hold some culpability when students arrive at college unprepared and they -- they have a diploma and sometimes a, you know, a 3.4 average and they're not able to pass the ACCUPLACER, so -- but that's not -- that's not why you're here.

I -- I ask these questions because it's a complicated morass.

DAVID DOWNES: Absolutely.

SEN. BYE: And I just think you guys have successfully gotten students college ready with your diploma work and with some of the work that you do, so when we originally talked it was trying to find ways to work collaboratively so, like I said, to -- to President Levison, I hope that you all become part of these regional planning or regional -- regional think tanks, if you will, so that we can come up with some regional solutions and local solutions to this challenge of students arriving unready, but I -- I think that your point about the mandate that is not what we intended.

As -- as we understood it you weren't able to provide these kinds of services so we wanted to make sure it was clear that you could with this bill, so that was our intent, but I'm happy to talk to you further and I'll stop in your office when I'm in Town Hall and -- and we can --

DAVID DOWNES: And -- and my -- my understanding --

SEN. BYE: -- (inaudible).

DAVID DOWNES: -- is that in Eastern Connecticut there has been some of that cooperation happening already. We would like to see it state wide. We're hoping this April conference that's happening -- which we have just found out about -- would -- is -- is a good step in the right direction.

SEN. BYE: Well, I'm glad you found out about it.

Senator Cassano.

SEN. CASSANO: Yes, just one question. Historically, adult ed has prepared students who haven't graduated through the "normal" process of high school to reach that same equivalency. If they reach that same equivalency haven't they gone through a "college prep" program? Because if they have the equivalency of a high school diploma they should be able to go on.

DAVID DOWNES: I think, you know, you have all kinds of variations on that. You have students that have through IEPs have -- have received a high school diploma that perhaps allows them to graduate, to take the courses necessary, but may have difficulties, particularly in passing an ACCUPLACER test, which is kind of been called into question anyway.

And as well, we -- we have a lot of folks that have come up through our ESOL program and then have gotten a diploma so they've gotten to a standard, but then the college standard may be higher for what they want to do and it's that -- it's that gap and that's why the -- the GED is being changed because over time they've seen it -- what's required of high school students have grown.

We're -- we're kind of -- we're still kind of aiming at this level and the new GED will make us aim at that level, make the students aim for that level, that will improve things. A similar thing is going on with the external diploma program is another way this -- students can get their diplomas.

So part of it is -- part of it is, you know, what are we aiming at and do we need to aim higher, but generally if you're talking about preparing somebody for college education it goes beyond what GED is in terms of being able to take notes, write extensive essays, being organized, it's a whole different process, because even the students that are semi-well prepared, let's say and -- and gotten their regular high school diploma with their programs with a B average, still can have a -- an awful difficult time with some programs.

I think part of our other discussion will be with community colleges and to the state colleges as well, is what other programs do you have that allow people to -- instead of stepping up here, step here in terms of certification programs and in terms of the programs that are kind of looked at or talked about in Bill 6430. Things that allow people to slowly stack up some qualifications so that then they get the training or they get the education that they need.

So we're kind of looking at it both ways. What -- what's on the other side that might be changed a little bit as well as us bringing up these -- these folks to a higher level?

SEN. CASSANO: I'm concerned that the term college prep is probably altering this in a probably a negative way, because I know -- I'm from Manchester. I just went to their graduation for adult ed. They had students who had gone through the GED, which wouldn't be that same level and ed students that had gone through a different program within adult ed that basically brought them to the equivalency of a high school diploma.

Those students I would assume are ready to try to go to college and so you're doing that in adult ed with these various programs you already have and I'm wondering if the term college prep is throwing things off because you are successful in providing students a level of -- of education that they can go to college.

DAVID DOWNES: Right. Yeah.

SEN. CASSANO: And -- and I just don't want to see so much emphasis on those two words that -- that it takes away from the program, because the program is working and I've seen other towns doing the same thing. It is working and they are prepared for college through adult education.

DAVID DOWNES: Yeah. Keep in mind the one thing that -- that's current in the -- in the legislation is that we -- we work -- or the policies -- we only work with -- with students who don't yet have their diploma unless they're coming in for ESOL, in which they might have a diploma from another country and -- and so that's a difference, but we do it because the colleges are talking about people who already have a diploma, but aren't ready. They may not have come through our program. They may have come from another state or another country, so it's a -- it's a multilevel issue.

But I -- I appreciate and agree with you that many of our students are ready because our teachers are certified teachers and they give all of themselves in order to make these students be successful.

SEN. CASSANO: Thank you.

REP. WILLIS: Thank you very much.

Oh, I'm --

REP. WALKER: I'm going to yell from now on.

REP. WILLIS: I know -- yeah, exactly.


REP. WILLIS: No shrinking violet down there.

REP. WALKER: Good -- good afternoon, David. How are you doing?


REP. WALKER: I -- I also want to echo what Senator Bye was saying. The purpose of the bill was not to spread the -- the programming through the same dollar. It was just to allow the adult eds to have -- be able to do it without having to go through other sources because according to the statute it is limited to the things that you specified, but I also think that we at adult eds have the ability to do that transition better.

We can do the articulation a little bit more -- in a different way than its done through the K-12 system. Many of the adults that we work with they're not really adults, they're kids that have been displaced from the -- the main school system and I think we have an opportunity to continue that.

So I think this was not done in that purpose to -- to try and spread the -- the dollar a little thinner, it was just to broaden this so that when we (inaudible) that we do things and people don't say well, you can't do it because it's in statute we are limited by certain areas, but you're right, Nellie Mae started this about 12 years ago with grants that we did and then we did some program improvement grants that we did.

And then we now -- other state fund, but (inaudible) and I think we do a very good job. Manchester is one that -- that I know has one and a few others that are -- that are pilots and I think that's a -- the purpose is to allow adult ed to evolve a little more than just keeping it at the same level because we are part of the community and it needs to evolve so I think maybe we'll just have to say, allow that and give you a little bit more flexibility.

But thank you very much.

DAVID DOWNES: Thank you.

REP. WALKER: Thank you, Madam Chair.

SEN. BYE: Thank you.

I think this is -- this is really interesting and, David, we'll probably call on you again for your expertise, but it -- I think Representative Walker put it well. We want to sort of have everybody working together. Everyone has the same goals for the students and you do a wonderful job in West Hartford, so thank you for coming today.

DAVID DOWNES: Thank you very much.

SEN. BYE: Jeff Asher followed by Bob Trestman.

Hi, Jeff.

JEFFREY ASHER: Good afternoon, Representative Willis and Senator Bye and distinguished members of the committee.

I want to thank you for the opportunity to talk from my testimony in support of the Senate Bill 1044, which is AN ACT CONCERNING MY AGENCY, THE CONNECTICUT HEALTH AND EDUCATIONAL FACILITIES AUTHORITY. I'm executive director of the Authority.

There are two important changes in the statutes -- two of my agency statutes contained in this bill. Both changes are intended to assist CHEFA in meeting capital financing needs and reducing the cost of securing capital for hospitals in Connecticut.

The first change requested would permit us to finance capital projects in contiguous states for health care institution that is owned or controlled by an entity or a hospital that is domiciled in the state of Connecticut.

The second piece of legislation has to do with the expansion of the state's special capital reserve fund program, which was created back in 2004 by Public Act 04-1, which authorized the creation of a special capital reserve fund to finance equipment for certain health care institutions. What we're asking for -- for there is a change in the statute which would allow us to finance construction as -- and renovation in addition to equipment.

Authorization of this reserve fund to purchase the certain additional construction renovation would be subject to the approval of the Secretary of OPM and the State Treasurer. To date that authorization has not been used -- $100 million in state scarf funding -- has not been utilized because we were able to meet the needs of the hospitals through other equipment financing programs that we had established.

With regards to the financing of capital projects in -- in contiguous states, Connecticut has seen a lot of consolidation activity in the health care industry, including acquisitions by Yale-New Haven Healthcare System, Hartford Healthcare Corporation, Ascension Health of Missouri is proposing to purchase Saint Francis Hospital.

Ascension Health currently owns Saint Vincent's Hospital in Bridgeport and then a proposed acquisition of Waterbury Hospital and Bristol Hospital by Vanguard out of Tennessee.

We've also seen a hospital in Connecticut moved into a contiguous state. Lawrence and Memorial Hospital located in New London has commenced the process to purchase Westerly Hospital in Rhode Island and we expect this trend will continue.

We are requesting this change so that we can continue to assist Connecticut hospitals in meeting their capital financing needs and to streamline the process and also help to cut the cost of financing for these hospitals. Using Lawrence and Memorials as an example, if they were to issue debt currently on behalf of both the hospital and for Westerly Hospital they would have to issue debt in two separate states to through two separate authorities. This, as I mentioned before, would streamline the financing process.

The second piece of legislation -- the expansion of the use of the special capital reserve fund is particularly important for some smaller hospitals in the state of Connecticut. Many of the smaller hospitals don't have the -- the same access to capital as the larger institutions who have a much more -- much larger revenue base.

Many of these smaller institutions don't have ratings from the three rating agencies; Standard and Poor's, Fitch or Moody's, because of the size of the hospital, the number of patients and the financial strength and many of them would probably have to issue debt if they did below investment grade.

We think that these hospitals need to have ability to issue debt via a public offering, which would be afforded to them at a much more favorable cost and lower interest rate. I did recently have the conversation with a smaller hospital -- actually it was Day Kimball Hospital in Putnam, Connecticut and Day Kimball Hospital is in the process of trying to obtain financing to expand and renovate their emergency department which is now handling double the number of patients that it was designed to handle.

We've been working on that financing for a very long time and Day Kimball Hospital is having great difficulty accessing financing to do that. Without some affordable level of financing Day Kimball Hospital might not be able to complete their emergency department project. We're in fact in the market -- today we issued a public -- a direct placement in the market to see if there was any interest in the market for this debt. We are not sure that there -- it will it actually happen and if it does it will probably be at -- be at a very significant cost.

If Day Kimball Hospital were to access the financing via the special capital reserve fund program the credit behind that would be the state of Connecticut with a contingent liability with a special capital reserve fund guarantee, which would give the rating on the bonds the same rating as the state of Connecticut.

We heartily endorse approval and recommend approval by the committee of this bill and I would like to thank the committee for the opportunity to present testimony and I would like to answer any questions that you might like to ask.

SEN. BYE: Thank you, Jeff.

I -- I have a couple of questions. So when you -- when you talk about going to contiguous states, what -- what happens if you fund a hospital and then the hospital goes under and the state of Connecticut has invested in a sense in a hospital that -- that's challenged and there's some?

JEFFREY ASHER: That is a -- a good question and it's something that we would hope to be able to avoid, but it is a very real possibility. I think that having them issue the debt through us under one debt instrument and the -- the term of -- or the term of art that we use for it is called an obligated group.

Hartford Healthcare Corporation, Yale-New Haven, even Western Connecticut Health Network all issued a debt using obligated group format. That means that it's all under one umbrella and is a very tight control over the amount of debt that they could potentially issue.

Lawrence and Memorial can go into Rhode Island and acquire Westerly Hospital only seeking the approval of the Attorney General and the regulatory process in Rhode Island. There is no control in Connecticut over what hospitals were able to do in other states.

We think that this will help to preserve the assets of those hospitals because as we structure these documents and these financing in an obligated group format we have much more control over how that money gets spent. There is a very real possibility that they could purchase a hospital that might go under.

One could also ask the same question from the other perspective of -- an entity like Vanguard coming in here from Connecticut and purchasing Waterbury Hospital and Bristol Hospital, making them for profit hospitals. I think they're looking at the demand that there will be for services. I think that hospitals are much better off being in an affiliation status with some other hospital rather than standing on their own.

There is that real possibility and it could drain the assets of the hospital in Connecticut if in fact they bought a hospital that went belly up in another state.

SEN. BYE: What would it mean for them paying back the CHEFA obligations?


SEN. BYE: What would it mean for them paying back their obligation to CHEFA, right? You're loaning them money --

JEFFREY ASHER: How would they do that?

SEN. BYE: -- (inaudible) and if they went under, yes.

JEFFREY ASHER: In case of having a special capital reserve fund guarantee on this. If there were -- weren't sufficient assets to pay the debt service and the hospital went under -- if it didn't affect the obligated group financial status it wouldn't affect the debt and the debt could be repaid, so we have to make sure that we carefully structure these transactions so that we ensure that the debt service is paid, and make sure that even if the hospital goes under the debt will be paid by the obligated group, but again, it does put a financial strain on those hospitals.

SEN. BYE: So when you said obligated group, you mean the group that's financing it and --

JEFFREY ASHER: Yeah and -- and --

SEN. BYE: -- not --

JEFFREY ASHER: -- if you use Hartford Healthcare Corporation as -- as an example, Hartford Healthcare Corporation did an obligated group financing, which included Hartford Hospital, Mid-State Medical Center, the Hospital of Central Connecticut, Wyndham Hospital and now Bacchus Hospital is also a member of that system. So when they do a financing it's a joint and severable obligation of all of the entities involved in the bond issue, so everyone is obligated on the debt of everyone else.

SEN. BYE: Okay.

JEFFREY ASHER: That's part of the --

SEN. BYE: Okay.

JEFFREY ASHER: -- obligated group system.

SEN. BYE: So it's sort of like it spreads out the risk, if you will.

Okay. The -- the second part of my question is I know that in other states for example there have been a lot of concerns about outside entities and for profits coming in and buying hospitals whose mission sometimes change and the services that they provide change. I know that in -- I think it was Carnie Hospital in Dorchester. There was a for profit that came in and it was a huge organizing effort with probably their Office and Healthcare Access or something like that to assure that whoever purchased it met these unique community needs.

Is there a way that the CHEFA process could be used to ensure that if -- if say an entity -- a hospital came to you and said we want to access your funds that there could be some kind of rider on there that says -- an rider's probably the wrong word, but something on there that says, okay if you access CHEFA funds you agree that you will continue to provide these vital services that may be not be profit making in this community?

JEFFREY ASHER: Entities from outside of Connecticut can't do financing through us, because we can only do financing associated with an entity which is a little hospital in Connecticut. A for --

SEN. BYE: Are -- are there for profits in Connecticut who are hospitals that --

JEFFREY ASHER: There is only one for profit hospital today in Connecticut and that's Sharon Hospital. There will soon be Saint Francis will become a for profit hospital. Waterbury will and Bristol and those entities are coming in from out of state and the reason they're going for profit is because these for profit investors are providing capital that they very desperately need and they will not finance through us.

The control on those things is really through the Attorney General's Office and the certificate of need process through the Office of Healthcare Access and that's really the more appropriate place for it to be.

SEN. BYE: Yeah, thank you. I just had that idea while I was sitting here, but -- and what's your -- why do you think that this special fund that was put aside just for equipment should be shifted to also pay for renovations?

JEFFREY ASHER: Because we have some very small, very good healthcare providers in this state and as of this date, they've decided we want to stand alone. We don't want to be swallowed up by another facility.

Day Kimball Hospital has a very niched type of facility up there. They serve a really wonderful patient population. It's very well respected in the community and as of today, they're looking at saying well, we really don't want to be swallow up by somebody else, but we need to improve our facility. They're disadvantaged.

They -- they need access to affordable capital to their projects and that's why.

SEN. BYE: Yeah, that's very helpful.

Thank you for your patience.


SEN. BYE: Yep, Representative.

REP. ALBERTS: Thank you, Madam Chair.

And thank you, Jeff, for your testimony particularly as it relates to Day Kimball. I -- I represent five small communities, three of them are served by Day Kimball and I -- I guess my comments really relate to, you know, what would be the net effect if this program were in place today with that one example that you gave on the emergency room financing, because I know that -- that hospital has been caught up as, you know, most hospitals in the state with declining contributions from the -- from the state recently.

You know, what -- what are we talking about in terms of -- and I won't hold you to this -- just in terms of a guideline in terms of how much that affiliation with your program if this were to be enacted. What -- what type of discount in terms of an interest rate might we be seeing in the marketplace?

JEFFREY ASHER: The private placement rate really depends on the nature of what's going on in the market at the day -- on that particular day. I would expect that doing a -- a private placement for a credit of this type and the size of the facility might cost them north of five percent.

I think if they were able to do a 30 year financing on a tax exempt basis with the state's credit rating associated with it that their interest may -- interest rate might possibly be in the low three's or even lower than that.

REP. ALBERTS: And I -- and I -- from the digest that example, that's huge change. I mean, that's a huge savings potentially for a facility like Day Kimball, which I think you represented well with, you know, it's a local community hospital that is struggling to remain independent with all the same pressures that all the hospitals have. In fact, because of the patient mix that they've worked to -- to serve in many ways they have -- they have more burden than other smaller hospitals.

I do appreciate the testimony and, you know -- are you confident that the -- the funds that you have access to would be able to serve projects like this without putting anything else in -- in jeopardy?

JEFFREY ASHER: Well, since the funds haven't been used they wouldn't really put any other project in jeopardy. I think the single, biggest hurdle that we have to get over is to demonstrate to the Treasurer and to the Secretary of OPM that Day Kimball Hospital -- using them as an example -- would have the ability to pay the debt back.

It's a significant amount of debt and one of the things that we had talked to Day Kimball Hospital about -- and actually when we met with their Senator about this -- Senator Williams -- we had a conversation about structuring in a way that we would access their Medicaid payments and have them paid directly to the Trustee so that the bond holders and -- and -- would be paid and then we would put a layer of insulation and protection between the hospitals debt service payments and then trying to virtually eliminate the possibility that there would ever be a draw on the special capital reserve fund.

REP. ALBERTS: I appreciate that and I think that sounds like a sound strategy so this sounds like a very workable bill and I -- I think we should be supporting it.

Thank you.

Thank you, Madam Chair.

REP. WILLIS: Thank you.

Since there's been so much talk of -- first of all there's -- Senator Bye had mentioned Connecticut does have a hospital conversion law that protects -- has many protections in place through the Office of Healthcare Access and the Attorney General's Office as -- as you cited.

The Day Kimball -- how much are they -- that seems to be they're seeking -- do we have -- we have to approve this bill in order for them to -- to access capital from you?

JEFFREY ASHER: In order to access the special capital reserve fund this bill would have to be approved. I encouraged them to pursue every avenue that they possibly could. I know that they have talked to Senator Williams about the possibility of getting some state general obligation bonds to fund the project.

They are also in the market trying to secure private placement financing and I encouraged them to look at -- because the project is so critical to look at every avenue. I think that if they can get access to the special capital reserve fund and if this -- it makes it and gets approved in this legislative session because they're doing a private placement we would have the ability to refinance that debt essentially and take out the private placement debt at the very high interest rate and give them financing at a much lower price.

REP. WILLIS: I -- I think you said this, how much are they looking to bond?

JEFFREY ASHER: I believe it's around 10 to 12 million specifically for the emergency department expansion.

REP. WILLIS: Okay. And -- and how big of a hospital are they?

JEFFREY ASHER: Bed wise I think they're around 100 staffed beds. They're probably down around 60, but they do have a very large outpatient business and I think they have about five or six regional (inaudible) care facilities in northeastern Connecticut.

REP. WILLIS: Okay. Thank you very much.

Any other questions or comments?

Thank you.


REP. WILLIS: Nice to see you, Jeff.

Bob Trestman from UCONN Health Center.

Welcome, Mr. Trestman.

ROBERT TRESTMAN: Thank you very much.

Co-Chairs, Ranking Members and members of the Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee, my name is Robert Trestman, a professor and executive director of correctional managed healthcare at the University of Connecticut health Center.

I'm here today to thank you for raising Senate Bill 970, AN ACT EXEMPTING THE ADDRESSES OF CERTAIN UCONN HEALTH CENTER EMPLOYEES FROM DISCLOSURE UNDER THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT. And ask for your support in passing the bill out of committee.

The bill expands the categories of employees whose residential addresses are exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act to include similar staff employed by the University of Connecticut Health Center. Connecticut General Statute Sections 1-217 exempts from disclosure the residential addresses of certain similar categories of public employees; for example, the Department of Correction and the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, among others, who provide direct care to patients under the Freedom of Information Act to ensure the safety and security of employees at the University of Connecticut Health Center who provide direct patient care to inmates and patients receiving mental health services.

UCHC requests the same protection afforded to other public employees who provide direct patient care to these populations and respectfully request the exemption from disclosure of residential addresses be extended to its employees. UCHC is responsible for delivering healthcare services to inmates housed in all DOC facilities statewide and at the halfway houses that are managed by DOC.

As of June 2012 services were provided to an average of over 17,000 incarcerated inmates a thousand inmates residing in the halfway houses. The care is provided directly on site in these facilities as well as at the John Dempsey Hospital in a secure unit there and in the clinics of the University Medical Group and University Dentists.

In addition to the inmate population the University of Connecticut Health Center provides mental health outpatient and inpatient services to the general public. In fiscal year '12 UCONN Health Center provided over 12 -- 17,000 outpatient psychiatry visits and had 743 inpatient psychiatric discharges.

The employees who provide these services work in potentially dangerous and or sensitive positions. There have been instances where inmates in custody of the Department of Correction have requested personal information of Health Center employees who do provide direct care.

We also know that there have been instances in the past where individuals with psychiatric disabilities and/or substance abuse disorders have obtained personal information of state employees and have used it, for example, to make harassing phone calls to the home of a member of their treatment team with whom they felt dissatisfied.

Passage of this extension to the stated category of UCHC employees would provide a level of security to those providing care and may assist in preventing such harmful or harassing behavior from occurring. We therefore, request your support for Senate Bill 970 and thank you for your continued support of the University of Connecticut Health Center.

REP. WILLIS: Thank you. Thank you for your testimony. It's pretty straightforward.

I have on the -- you -- 17,000, is that over how long a period?

ROBERT TRESTMAN: I'm sorry which --

REP. WILLIS: Service -- it says as of June 2012 services were to an average of 17,590 incarcerated inmates.

ROBERT TRESTMAN: On any given day -- on the -- June 1st of 2012.

REP. WILLIS: On that day?

ROBERT TRESTMAN: There are -- that -- that's the number of people who are incarcerated in active medical care on any given day we have approximately 3,600 in active care and for medical services and approximately 3,200 in active mental health treatment of that population.

REP. WILLIS: And is this security level, you know, like Connecticut Valley Hospital they have this protection?


REP. WILLIS: Those who are (inaudible) --


REP. WILLIS: -- but you don't -- but you don't?

ROBERT TRESTMAN: That's correct; we do not.

REP. WILLIS: Okay. Thank you very much.

Any other questions or comments? That's pretty -- yes, Senator Boucher.

SEN. BOUCHER: Yes, thank you so much for your testimony and for highlighting this important issue, no question about it.

Do you also -- would you intend to also -- or will you be required to provide services for those inmates that may be moved out of our correction facilities into possibly nursing homes? There's been some great amount of notoriety recently around that issue.

ROBERT TRESTMAN: If someone in that nursing home would require in-patient medical care as they are still under the commissioner of the Department of Corrections, then yes, they would also come to the medical services of John Dempsey Hospital. That is my understanding, unless of course it's an -- an emergency potential cardiac arrest, they would go to the nearest emergency room as they do now.

SEN. BOUCHER: Very well and so you might be called upon then therefore -- for those services if they should end up in that new location?


SEN. BOUCHER: Thank you very much for that answer. Appreciate it.

REP. WILLIS: Thank you very much.

Thank you. Thank you, sir.

Oh, excuse me.

REP. SAYERS: I'm sorry; I wanted to just clarify what Senator Boucher had just asked you. The nursing home -- the new nursing home that's going to open is that -- that's going to be under management by a management company and there's a company that comes in and does management for nursing homes?

ROBERT TRESTMAN: Yes, that's correct. It's my understanding.

REP. SAYERS: Those -- the names of a lot of the employees that are going to be employed there are already out there.

ROBERT TRESTMAN: I can't speak to that. I'm sorry.

REP. SAYERS: So you're saying they would be covered by this?

ROBERT TRESTMAN: I haven't addressed that. I don't know the answer to that.

REP. SAYERS: Okay. All right.

ROBERT TRESTMAN: Although they are not employees. Under our request those individuals who work for the corporation who would be providing those services are not employees of the state.

REP. SAYERS: Correct.

ROBERT TRESTMAN: They're a contractor, so they would not be extended this protection as we are requesting it.

REP. SAYERS: Could the type of services for the people who will -- who are going to be in that home would they require that services -- I mean --

ROBERT TRESTMAN: That -- that's a great question --

REP. SAYERS: -- that's a real concern because if in the hospital setting and I can -- I fully understand that that's an important thing, but also in this community setting it could be very possible that it could be problematic.

ROBERT TRESTMAN: While it's possible, my understanding is we have been preparing for the eventual transition of some of our patients who are currently incarcerated to that nursing home. The individuals who would be eligible are severely impaired and many would be severely demented as one category of individuals, so the risk that they may pose would be substantially reduced compared to the average risk that we may be exposed to by the average population who are incarcerated.

So I -- I would see that as a somewhat diminished risk for the purposes of FOIA, as we're addressing it here.

REP. SAYERS: But also there is -- there is a potential for 90 beds, 45 of which will be Department of Corrections then and 45 DMHAS beds?


REP. SAYERS: So are you saying also those in the DMHAS beds would have the severe dementia and not mental --

ROBERT TRESTMAN: I -- I can't --

REP. SAYERS: -- health problems?

ROBERT TRESTMAN: -- speak to that because I -- I have not been directly involved.

REP. WILLIS: Thank you.

Any other questions or comments from members of the committee?

Thank you very much.

Jane Fried.

JANE FRIED: My name is Jane Fried. I'm on the faculty of Central Connecticut State University where I manage a program that -- I run a master's degree program that trains people to be counselors to college students. I'm speaking in reference to Raised Bill 6655 with a request that one -- that we expand our understanding of the nature of campus safety and security to include the mental health and behavioral aspects of safety and security as well as what we typically think of as policing issues.

Most students with mental health issues do not constitute a danger to anyone, but they are in very serious danger of failing to achieve their educational goals. In order to support students with mental health issues and the best estimate of this age population is that 25 percent of these students have some kind of mental health issue.

The entire campus environment must focus on improved services for students' success. One thing that we know is that students who are -- are frustrated and under a great deal of stress in achieving their academic goals are far more likely to engage behavior that is disruptive and/or violent than students who feel like they're making satisfactory progress toward their degree.

This generation of college students is bright, troubled, and surprisingly incompetent in areas that we would not anticipate. They are used to taking psychotropic medications. Many of them come to campus already on psychotropic medications and going away from home and living in a residence hall is the first opportunity that they have to live unsupervised whereupon many of them stop taking those medications and become difficult.

If any of you have children I'm sure you're familiar with what your average 18-year old thinks about when they think about leaving home and it's not making a meaningful contribution to society, it getting away from adult control.

The demands of college and adulthood are far more complex today than they've ever been before. They require increasingly sophisticated levels of judgment and much more self-reliant than this generation of students has been able to develop.

In order for students to succeed at college they need four types of -- four pillars to support their academic achievement. We tend to think of academic achievement as purely and intellectual process, but that's actually less than a quarter of what the process is.

Most students who leave school do not leave school because they're not smart enough to stay. They leave school because of the other three elements that I'm going to mention to you briefly. This generation of college students in general has often not developed the necessary study skills, willingness to take responsibility for their own behavior, they expect to negotiate with their teachers about grades, or have their parents negotiate for them.

When they run into difficulties they tend to give up rather than try harder. And if you've ever read the comic strip Zits, I think you have some idea what that looks like.

The second element, which really is the major element of college successes, psychological resilience, and there's been a great deal of mention about mental health problems. I want to talk about resilience.

College counseling center directors report that this generation of students has shown a significant increase in mental health issues from previous generations in such areas as anxiety, depression, learning disabilities, hyperactivity disorders and it just goes on forever.

In addition to that we have two other serious problems in this college population; post-traumatic stress disorder, which is -- can be a result of having served in the military, having grown up in very violent communities and some veterans return from their recent deployments with minimal brain damage, which causes tremendous difficulty in concentrating.

The National Association -- National Alliance on Mental Health reports that 75 percent of all mental health issues appear in people between the ages of 18 and 24, so college aged students are the at risk population for mental health problems, even before they go to college and then my definition of attending college is that it in itself is a mental health problem because in a situation that provokes anxiety beyond anything that most of us can comprehend. It just is different now than it's ever been before.

Our students also need -- excuse me -- financial stability and they have a tremendous amount of difficulty with that because we have a perfect storm when it comes to financial aid and they worry about money all the time. We have a three-part problem here.

Number one, they have trouble finding jobs and a lot of them are working 30 to 40 hours a week just to pay their bills. Number two, their parents have often lost their jobs, which means they can't support the students and number three, the homes in which their families live are often under water and that diminishes the ability to provide the support for college loans, so those three things together have really messed up paying for college.

The last issue that I want to bring to your attention is that in order to succeed in college you have to have community and peer support and we have two very high-risk populations in our colleges right now. One is the first generation college students, which at Central which is where I teach, is easily 50 percent of the population.

They come to college with nobody at home to help them figure out how the system works. They don't understand the financial aid process. They have no adults who can help them with that and frequently they have to disclose family finances to an officer of the university from a family that doesn't typically tell anybody about their finances.

They often have parents at home who don't speak English and that also causes a problem. These students just don't have the social capital to succeed at college without the support of mentors and faculty members and they can't get that support without knowing who to ask and where to go to get it.

The second group of students who are at risk right now are our returning vets. They have their own set of issues and colleges and universities are preparing, but are not yet prepared to support those vets and of all groups on our university campuses the vets are the ones who deserve the support the most.

They are not comfortable in crowds for perfectly obvious reasons. They are not comfortable in unstructured situations and they are basically moving from a collectivist organization where they're in a group and told what to do every minute of their day to an independent organization where nobody is telling them what to do.

They are having trouble finding advisors. They're dealing with medical situations and the universities simply are not in a position to help them succeed because they're not used to developing those kinds of resources.

So what I would like to ask you to consider in future bills is that we enhance our staffing for the learning centers where there are academic coaches and counselors who help our students succeed and give them the support and the skill they need to do work at the college level. That we increase or support our staffing for counseling and career development centers so that our students have a place to go and they really feel overwhelmed and they have career counselors who can help them make reasonable decisions about jobs rather than having everybody think they could be a doctor or a lawyer when most people can't, aren't prepared, and we already have at least enough lawyers. I don't know if we have enough doctors.

Third thing I would like to suggest that you consider is improvement in the various advising functions for students so that every student has at least one university employee who is, in effect, their college guidance counselor, because students who come to universities and don't know how the system works and don't have families who can help them don't know where to go for help and if we had designated people who were helping and supporting those students they would be in much better shape and much more likely to persist.

Next to last is we need additional training for faculty in understanding how students learn. There's been huge increases in cognitive science and the knowledge of how people learn that most of our college faculty are completely ignorant about.

Faculty members see students more often than anybody else. They're in the best position to help them learn and to spot mental difficulties if students are beginning to experience those things and then help those students get the help that they need.

And finally, we need training for all campus employees about the demographics of this generation of college students and how to identify students who are at risk for succumbing to the stress that they experience and that those students can be referred to -- excuse me -- to appropriate sources of help.

We need to mobilize the entire employed campus community to help our students because our students need it. It's just that simple. This is not the era when only a third of the students went to college. Everybody had more or less enough money and they mostly went to school and that's all they had to do.

Our students are working 30 to 40 hours a week. They're coming out of families that do not really understand what they're going through and they are struggling to succeed and our graduation rates within six years at Central are barely 50 percent. That is a waste of everybody's time and money. It's a tragedy and it needs to be cared for.

So when we think about campus security, please think about all of that. Don't just think about who's shooting anybody, because the people who shoot people are the people who can't think of anything else to do to make their lives better and that's not what we want here.

Thank you very much.

REP. WILLIS: Thank you.

And we do think about all these things and are frustrated because they do cost, you know, and -- and just going back to your -- the stresses, I think that -- my husband went to Central -- graduated from Central. I think it was 50 or 100 dollars a semester.

JANE FRIED: When I went to college it was $50 a semester. I'm very old.

REP. WILLIS: He's not that old. I don't consider him old, but I don't consider it that long ago and -- and you know, it's within a generation that we've changed. We had a meeting here last week with Denise Merrill Secretary of the State and she was talking about how it was free when she was a student at -- in California you went -- there was no tuition in California at public universities.

So -- so look at -- so you talk about stress that we didn't have, I mean, they had -- they worried about living expenses because you weren't given, you know, necessarily money for living expenses so you did have to work, even at 50 or 100 dollars a semester, but it really is a problem.

I don't know if you were here when I talked about how these young men have -- who have committed all of these acts of violence, you know, are by and large college aged students or are college aged students, you know, and that speaks right there to your point about this is the time that all of it percolates to the surface.

You've given us some -- about the -- the enhanced staffing -- we actually had a conversation about this this morning, about the need for more college counseling because the ratio at our schools is -- what do you -- do you want the ratios for counselors at -- support staff at Central are per -- like is it one --

JANE FRIED: I don't. I know that it is a constant struggle. My background is as a trainer and I know we need more counselor therapists, but my preference would be to say train everybody who's interested to know what healthy looks like, especially train the faculty because they see those students consistently and if they see that a student is starting to deteriorate all they need to say is wait a minute, what's going on with you, how can I help you and where's the counseling center.

They need to be able to refer, but at the moment I don't think we do a whole lot of training. We train faculty who are interested in identifying students who are at risk for suicide, but there is so much more than that.

And if we did -- if I were going to invest some money -- I would invest some money in training faculty to identify students who are in trouble, because I think you would get more out of the money you invested and then in addition to that we could use a few more therapists.

But colleges are not therapeutic communities. They're educational communities, so what we want to do is help students succeed academically and if what we -- the way we do that is for the people who are aware of students on a daily basis -- the learning center people, the tutors, the coaches and the faculty to know when something doesn't look right.

REP. WILLIS: Part of the problem also we've -- this points to is the fact that there's so many adjunct professors so you may identify a student, but you may not even have an office on campus. You're -- as -- you're a little removed and that's particularly true of our community colleges where the number of adjuncts is -- is huge.

Well, thank you so much.

Is there any other questions or comments from members --

A VOICE: They all have some.

REP. WILLIS: Oh, boy. Representative Maroney.

No, that's all right. I had a question today. Okay.

A VOICE: (Inaudible)

REP. MARONEY: Thank you very much, Madam -- Madam Chair.

And thank you, Dr. Fried, for coming to testify and especially for those suggestions at the end and I know the -- the issue of having -- having a designated advisor so every student feels connected on -- on campus that's -- I've heard of Dr. Richard Ley talk about this. He had done studies on the success of students and that's one thing he had suggested was that having a connection with at least one adult on campus.

JANE FRIED: It's one of the major predictors of persistence to graduation was just that.

REP. MARONEY: Seems like not too difficult to implement, but in theory at least.

The last thing I -- I would like to touch on, you talk about identifying -- or training the faculty to identify students. My father is a professor at Northeastern University and they have a -- a program there called FACT, Faculty Advisor Communication Tool, where they are able to identify students who they feel are in need, right, who -- who may be showing trouble, they need support of some form and they are able to report them -- I guess not report, but -- because you're trying to get them help from the counseling staff --

JANE FRIED: Refer is the term we use.

REP. MARONEY: Refer, thank you.

Refer them for assistance. Do we have anything similar to that within the Connecticut State Universities?

JANE FRIED: I would say it varies and it depends on whether or not faculty members are interested. There are ways for faculty to go through certain kinds of training. We publicize the resources, the counseling center, the learning center, and that sort of thing, but we don't have anything that's as systemic a program that all faculty are informed of and since I formerly worked at Northeastern I will go find out what that's all about.

REP. WILLIS: Representative Sayers followed by Representative Lavielle.

REP. SAYERS: Thank you.

And I'm going to ask you the same question I asked earlier today. Does -- will Central or in -- or the state university system or the community colleges -- do they do any training of staff on recognizing early symptoms of mental illness, because as you indicate -- and it's very true, a lot of times that 18 to 24 age group they're at risk for that first break and sometimes if people are able to recognize those symptoms early on sometimes you can get them into treatment before it comes --


REP. SAYERS: -- a full-blown psychotic break.

JANE FRIED: Yeah. We -- the one program that I know about is the central access and student development program, which is funded by DMHAS and we have a full-time counselor whose job it is -- she goes around and talks to faculty wherever she can. She's got information where she publicizes her program and she is the -- she's the advisor referral social worker for all students who are in recovery from mental health or addiction issues.

That's the program we have at Central. It's funded by an outside agency. I don't believe there's anything else like that in the state, but NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, has college branches. It has college groups where they run support groups for students on many different campuses. I can't tell you any more than that, but I do know that that's the program we have at Central.

REP. SAYERS: I might mention there is a program called Mental Health First Aid, which does exactly that. It's a 12-hour curriculum that's been developed in Scotland.

JANE FRIED: Yeah, that's -- that was mentioned earlier.

REP. SAYERS: Yes. And it's the curriculum that's already out there and it has really had very good success and it's really meant for lay people to recognize early symptoms of mental health problems.

JANE FRIED: Thank you.

REP. WILLIS: Let's see. Representative Lavielle.

REP. LAVIELLE: Thank you, Madam Chair.

Thank you for your testimony, which was very informative and very comprehensive.

I just would like to be sure that I'm clear on one thing. The implications for the actual bill, were you talking about with all of the information that you've given us -- were you talking about possibly amending or adding to Section One?

JANE FRIED: I don't have the bill in front of me, so I can't refer specifically to --

REP. LAVIELLE: Well, that's the --

JANE FRIED: -- one --

REP. LAVIELLE: -- that's -- I'm sorry -- but that's the -- the part that discusses trained threat assessment teams and so on because I -- you -- you talked a great deal about how to help students in the higher education institutions succeed, which was -- which was all very pertinent and I just wanted to be sure that I was clear on what you thought we might need to do to improve the bill itself?

JANE FRIED: What I'm asking you to do is to think beyond the bill because I think that this bill deals with the consequence, but what we need to do is take a look at the much broader root, so I wouldn't presume to interfere with this bill, but I certainly would urge you to consider the broader context and yes, of course train the assessment teams, but we also have to train everybody else and it's a lot cheaper to train peer people to connect than it is to hire four million counselors with doctorates who want to get five percent pay raises.

We can do this thing with current employees and it would be equally effective I believe.

REP. LAVIELLE: Okay. I appreciate that clarification.

Thank you very much.

REP. WILLIS: Representative Haddad.

REP. HADDAD: Yes, Dr. Fried, thank you very much for coming in to testify.

I will just inform the committee that as a resident of Mansfield you've done great work in Mansfield to help our community deal with community issues that arise related to students, having so many students in our -- in our neighborhoods.

We -- we had paneled a committee on the quality of life in Mansfield at which Dr. Dried worked very hard on and developed a list of comprehensive -- a comprehensive list of strategies for -- for dealing with -- with students who were living in our neighborhoods and -- and that has proven to be very successful.

JANE FRIED: Thank you.

REP. HADDAD: There's still some work to do, but thank you very much for that work.

You -- you do also talk here about training campus employees about how to identify folks with emotional -- or with emotional needs. I -- I -- and most of the time you referred to faculty members or staff members, but I'm -- but I'm curious to know what kind of training currently exists for -- for other students to help do that kind of assessment? In -- in particular RAs and -- and other folks involved with residential life, because it seems to me that those -- that group of people, like professors, are the folks who are likely to see those students on a regular basis in the place where they are living and -- and might be able to spot issues much sooner than other -- than others.

JANE FRIED: Yeah, and that's very true and for the -- that varies by campus, because resident assistants have more training than any other student group and they do exactly that and they do it very well, but UCONN is something like 90 percent residential. Manchester Community College is a completely different situation.

So there are all kinds of peer helper training programs. We've had them at Central. We could also do them. Counselors are trained -- are qualified to trained people in those things, but you would have to take each school and institution by institution figure out how to train people who know a lot of other people how to develop a system so everybody knows who to talk to and then you could go ahead and do that, but it -- it takes a while.

We have peer sex educators. We have peer alcohol educators. We have all kinds of peer educators. We have loads of student peer tutors, which maybe that's the group you start with because students who are in trouble academically might get themselves into other kinds of trouble.

So if you added that to the peer tutor training you would probably get a lot of benefit out of that, but every school would have to do an analysis of the best way to deliver that kind of service and it would be an excellent thing to do. Peers are very effective with this.

REP. WILLIS: Thank you.

You've been most helpful.

JANE FRIED: Thank you very much.

REP. WILLIS: Sorry for keeping you longer, but we did have -- this is important issue for us --

JANE FRIED: I think so too.

REP. WILLIS: -- as we move forward.

JANE FRIED: Thank you.

REP. WILLIS: Thank you.

I made a mistake and I called out of order again. Steve Caron, I hope he's -- will forgive me.

STEVE CARON: You are forgiven.

REP. WILLIS: Your bill passed. You can go.

STEVE CARON: Good afternoon, Madam Chair, committee members.

My goal is to beat the bell.

I want to thank you for the opportunity to speak on the proposed legislative bill, House Bill 6655, AN ACT CONCERNING CAMPUS SAFETY SECURITY REGARDING SECURITY PROTOCOL PLANNING.

I believe that much -- what is being proposed is already in place. Each higher institution was required to develop threat assessment teams on their campuses in 2009. On our campus we called our team the community assessment team, CAT for short -- (inaudible) and threat assessment.

I believe that the teams that are situated on our campuses are multidisciplinary and are functioning fairly well. While I believe the proposed legislation is honorable in its intention, there's some wording the bill that causes me some concern. More specifically, on Section B, line three, it states in part, "include not less than one member of its special police force or campus security personnel, administration, faculty, senior and mid-level staff, student government."

This language does not allow institutions to comprise their own multidisciplinary teams to fit their particular organization. I would recommend each constituent unit and independent institution of higher education shall comprise a threat assessment team in such a manner as to see that the representation on that team will include individuals that will most likely give the institution the best perspective in identifying possible threats, problems or service needs.

On our team we have detailed discussions about students, staff and faculty who are exhibiting signs of distress. Including several student government representatives on this team could cause a breach of confidential information. In Section (b)(2) it states, "receives comprehensive training in identifying potential at risk students, other potentially at risk individuals on campus and any other potential threats to campus safety."

Comprehensive training is a loaded and ambiguous standard to place into a bill. A better option, in my opinion, would be, shall be able to identify potentially at risk students, other potentially at risk individuals on campus and any other potential threats to campus safety.

I would also like to mention that our independent colleges and universities are doing in terms of emergency management in DMHAS region three. We signed a memorandum of agreement in 2007 that included CREPC, Wesleyan University, Trinity College, Goodwin College, University of Hartford and the University of Saint Joseph.

We joined together to develop a resilient all hazards approach to emergency management. CREPC has designated our group as a regional emergency support function 21. Goddammit -- darn it. Sorry.

I have the honor of sharing that regional --

REP. WILLIS: You just said that on television.

STEVE CARON: -- function -- I'm sorry. Edit please. I missed my goal. I apologize.

In June of 2012 we updated out memorandum to include Lincoln Technical Institute. We are not actively developing regional emergency support functions at our institutions. We have our facilities, residential life, health services, public safety, IT and food service groups developing a regional plan to support our institutions in a time of need. The RESF-21 group is also working closely with the region to assist the larger community in a time of need.

I have the honor of working on the executive team as a -- of the Connecticut Incident Management Team Three. We have deployed to assist in many emergencies in the past few years. We responded to the Kleen Energy explosion, factory fires. We've provided funeral support for fire fighters. Most recently our planning section deployed to Sandy Hook to assist in the coordination.

I serve as the public information officer of that team. Our RESF-21 group believes that planning beyond our individual silos is essential to true risk mitigation.

Thank you for this opportunity to speak to you today.

REP. WILLIS: I want to thank you for your testimony and thank you for your service. It's pretty impressive. Obviously, pretty much of your own time to commit to help and assist in that.

You made some very interesting comments that are helpful. I do want to let you know that we are cognizant of the makeup of -- of this committee -- whatever we call it -- community assessment team -- or threat assessment team, that it should be may as opposed to shall, so schools can make a determination of who they feel should be served on that and we also in discussions with the UCONN chief of police removed student -- student representative because that also is -- is not appropriate for multiplicity of reasons.

But we certainly will take the rest of your comments under advisement.

Any other comments or questions?

SEN. BYE: I just -- I just want to thank you and I know you were frustrated with your testimony, but this could be a lesson on how to give testimony. Very specific, you gave us the background information and the specificity that we need and I think it's going to improve the bill, so thank you.

Senator Boucher.

SEN. BOUCHER: Thank you very much, Madam Chairman.

And I likewise want to thank you for coming to testify and giving us your perspective and your vast experience in this as well. What I really liked in your testimony was the fact that you all worked in a very collaborative way with very much -- including all of the other universities in your planning process, which is really outstanding -- really very outstanding so if the private universities and colleges can do it, we certainly could try to have our public universities do the very same and your suggestions, as was just mentioned by our Chairs, are -- are excellent.

In fact, we all really -- very much liked your recommended language that you proposed under Section -- in number one under Section B. Additionally, your comments about student government representatives was well founded and was mentioned, as was said, before.

So again we thank you very much for bringing this before us and probably hope to tap your resources again in the future.

Thank you very much.

STEVE CARON: Well, thank you.

The region actually reached to me recently to work with the secondary schools, who are also interested in looking at regionalization and collaboration. It's just a matter of finding time to assist to kind of start the plan B on their silos because we talked about risk mitigation. It really is about regionalizing, leaving your ego at the door and being able to work together collaboratively.

SEN. BOUCHER: Might I add just as a parting question, what do you charge for your services?

STEVE CARON: I do it for free.

SEN. BOUCHER: And that's something for everyone to think about that there are a lot of resources that we have -- excellent resource in the state that might not require a lot of additional funding.

Thank you so much for that. We really appreciate it.

STEVE CARON: Thank you.

SEN. BYE: Thank you, Steve.

Zulynette Morales.

Thank you for coming.

STEVE CARON: All right. Thank you very much.

SEN. BYE: Yep -- yep. Thank you.

STEVE CARON: Sorry I didn't make the time for the bell.

SEN. BYE: That's all right.

Welcome, Ms. Morales.


This is my first time. I'm nervous and excited.

Good afternoon, Honorable Senators and Representatives. My name is Zulynette Morales. I am a resident of Hartford, a second year student at the University of Connecticut School of Social Work and an intern at Service Employees International Union District 1199.

I am here to state my opposition against Raised House Bill 6430, AN ACT ESTABLISHING A REGIONAL COUNCIL TO SUPPORT WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT. This bill explicitly states that it will be targeting low-income youth, first generation college goers, English language learners, students of color and so on. Basically, it will be targeting marginalized students.

The one piece of this bill that sticks out to me the most is the accommodation for better meeting the needs of current and future employers. What about the accommodations to the needs of our neediest students? Has it gotten to the point now where we are trying to create workers instead of learners?

I went to school here in Hartford before there were all of these different academies and so many magnet schools. I went when students were put onto learning tracks, such as basic, general, honors and AP based on how well they read, wrote and so on. I have seen good intention cause more harm than good.

In 2002 I was in a freshman class of approximately 500 students. I graduated in 2006 with a class of 123. I have also worked in a middle school here in Hartford where certain students are removed from classes because they cannot learn the way that other students do.

This bill suggests small learning centers and academies for students who are considered hard to serve. I can understand the intention behind offering alternatives to students who may not be able to fit the school mold as it currently exists, but separation does not give one a sense of community and labeling does not give a child a sense of control over their future.

There are schools that already separate their disruptive students out into the no man's land portables, or hold their students into the auditorium while CMTs and other testing is going -- excuse me -- is going on so that their scores will not skew the results. I believe that separate but equal did not work in the United States on race for a reason. It was not equal and I think it goes for the same for this bill.

What are the hidden messages we'll be sending with a bill like this. I believe the latent consequences of this bill will be a false sense of choice. Truly where is the choice for them in all of this? What I read is alternative learning, alternative pathway, career improvements, but what I know is steering, imposing, control and get them out of our classrooms as quickly and as quietly as you can.

I have worked with youth from Hartford for many years and something I have always known is that if you want to know what children need and what adolescents need it's very similar to how you would approach an adult, how can I help you. What do you need? They will let you know sometimes without you even having to ask.

In summary, I would like to repeat that I oppose this bill and would hope the members of the committee make drastic changes to an idea like this. I would like to thank the committee for the opportunity to speak and for the committee's time and respect. I will gladly take any questions, comments, high fives.

SEN. BYE: Wonderful job, Ms. Morales.


SEN. BYE: I can't believe that was your first time. You did -- you did a super job and I think that that was not the intent of this bill, but I think your concerns --


SEN. BYE: -- are well taken and we will take them into consideration. What a wonderful thing to stand up for students.

So I appreciate you coming today.


SEN. BYE: Okay. Any -- okay. Thank you very much.

ZULYNETTE MORALES: Thank you so much.

SEN. BYE: Liz Dupont-Diehl.

LIZ DUPONT-DIEHL: Good afternoon, Senator Bye, Representative Willis and members of the committee.

I'm Liz Dupont-Diehl and I'm policy director of the Connecticut Association for Human Services. CAHS seeks to end poverty and empower all families to build a secure, economic future. We produce research and analysis on child poverty and other issues as needed to drive advocacy and we work to create fair opportunity and economic success for all families.

CAHS -- CAHS also operates a number of programs to help people become self-sufficient, such as the voluntary income tax assistance program, financial literacy classes and helping people connect with eligible benefits.

I'm here to talk about Bill 6502 and to touch on 6430 and 904. The first would allow adults with a high school diploma to use the adult education system as college preparation and the others would, in part, establish councils and working groups to design and develop contextualized learning opportunities and career pathways.

We want to support the intents of all these bills, but urge caution in implementation and say also that resources will be needed for these programs to succeed and prepare workers and learners effectively for jobs.

As advocates devoted to the family economic success CAHS sees a lot to be concerned about lately. We reported this year that the number of working poor families in Connecticut -- that is families earning 200 percent or less of poverty, that's $45,000 for a family of four, rose in Connecticut five percent since 2007. That was one of the fastest increases in the US.

Now 21 percent of our 389,000 working families are low income and we know that education correlates to income. Connecticut has 597,000 adults aged 16 to 64 who do not have a high school diploma or equivalency and our adults ed systems serve some 24,000 students in 2010 to '11.

We want to support collaboration between the adult education and community college systems believing they have much to learn from each other, but we do not support adding more students to the adult ed system without careful analysis and additional resources to handle them.

We also want to reinforce the 2009 adult literacy leadership board's strategic plan as an excellent analysis of our workforce in adult education and literacy systems and echo its call for coordinator leadership amongst these three systems. Much of this is already occurring and should be supported and reinforced.

We applaud the goals stated in the bills before you that would articulate and develop pathways between adult ed, higher ed and the workforce investment system. These systems are serving many of the same people and it's imperative that they share best knowledge -- best practices and local knowledge about emerging jobs, employer needs and required training and education.

This must be consistently communicated to adult students as pathways that are clear and articulated and there are a lot of role models as to how to do that. We've testified before you about the current outcomes for many of the adult learners who enter the community college system and don't progress beyond developmental education. Reforms underway have prompted a welcome and thorough analysis of student need and achievement and also spurred coordinating between the three systems mentioned.

We need to continue to this work and keep the focus on access to education for all adult learners and also ensure that it remains affordable and continues to design a system that clearly connects higher ed and work -- to workforce investment and adult education.

Finally, we want to call for publicly accessible reform processes and for data and analysis of these systems, programs and outcomes. This needs to be tracked and reported on a way that is accessible to both the public as well as to all of those working on reforms.

Thank you and I welcome any questions.

SEN. BYE: Thank you, Liz.

That was -- that was very helpful. It touched on a lot of bills.


No, there goes the bill. Thank you.


SEN. BYE: Sam Hollister followed by Richard Strauss.

Sam, you've been very patient today.


Senator Bye, Representative Willis and members of community -- the committee, my name is Sam Hollister and I am student campaign coordinator with the University of Connecticut Public Interest Research Group. Thank you for the opportunity to testify today in support of Raised Bill Number 6604, AN ACT CONCERNING STUDENT FEES.

I am a sophomore at the University of Connecticut studying economics. I first got involved with UCONN PIRG last fall as an intern working on our new voters project campaign.

This semester I am coordinating my own campaign and plan to run for leadership within the organization next year. Being involved with UCONN PIRG has been important to me because it has given me the opportunity to work with causes I am passionate about.

UCONN PIRG was founded by students at Trinity College and at the University of Connecticut. From the beginning our organizational model has been students making a democratic community decision to assess themselves a non-mandatory fee and use those resources to form a non-profit organization and higher staff to advocate on issues of student concern.

This is one of the important functions of student fees, to foster an active marketplace of ideas on campus. At the University of Connecticut we worked over a number of years to establish a funding mechanism that worked within university rules, or organizational model and mission and state law.

We established a working model in 1978 through the use of what the law now calls trustee accounts. Unfortunately, over the last two years we have had significant trouble working with the division of student affairs. Last year the DSA unilaterally removed our fee in a manner that was not as transparent, nor fair.

Last year -- sorry -- excuse me -- our challenges have continued into this year as we have worked to reestablish our fee. DSA staff changed the rules governing trustee accounts in a manner that directly affected us without our input and in fact without any student input. Based on this experience, we think it is important that students have the option to establish and maintain a fee independent of direct university administration.

Currently if a student organization wishes to establish a fee independent of the university administration it is required to win a campus referendum with 40 percent voter participation. If it does, administration of the fee is then given to the recognized student government on campus rather than the university administration.

Replacing university oversight with student government oversight does not make sense. First, this is a significant responsibility that the student government may have no interest in taking on. Second, if the goal was to give certain student organizations greater autonomy over their funding, this does not provide it.

Under Raised Bill 6604 this administrative oversight would be given to the student board of directors of the organization receiving the fee. It is important to note that the organization would still need to meet all the oversight standards currently in place for trustee accounts.

Raised Bill 6604 also clarifies the turnout standard for establishing such an independent fee. We respectfully suggest that this provision be changed, not just clarified. This bill would require that a student referendum gain the affirmative support of 20 percent plus one of the student body. We believe this standard is too high.

Turnout in student government elections is normally around 10 to 15 percent. This would require 30 to 40 percent turnout. Current rules for trustee accounts at the University of Connecticut hold that a ten percent turnout be considered successful. We recommend that the turnout standard be a higher turnout than the last student government election, or than the average of the last two to three student government elections. This standard ensures that the campus community is engaged in the decision, but it is also achievable.

In conclusion, Connecticut state law intends to provide two mechanisms for students to establish fee funded student organizations. One with the university administrative oversight and one with the independent student oversight; however, because the second mechanism is not viable the law only gives students one option. Raised Bill 6604 clarifies the law to allow for greater student autonomy should they seek it.

Again, thank you for your time today and I'll be happy to take any questions you may.

SEN. BYE: Thank you.

That was fabulous and I think you made some excellent points about turnout and looking at how they do things now and for their institution, so that was some Cracker Jack research.

Representative Haddad.

REP. HADDAD: Yes, thank you very much for coming and testifying.

I appreciate your perspective on -- on what has happened on campus to your own organization. The bill though deals with just all organizations in -- in general, correct? Any organization that wants to create a waive able fee structure -- I mean, and that -- and that's a process that's open to any organization; is that correct?


REP. HADDAD: Right. And so currently -- I just want to understand about the changes that you're suggesting. Current -- currently, there has to be a student referendum and the administration has to essentially agree to -- to collect and distribute the fee to the organization?

SAM HOLLISTER: Yes. So currently the two methods are either through a student referendum and then under university administration and that's what we -- our organization is currently doing right now.

And then the other option is to win with a 40 percent turnout and -- but then the administration -- the -- the administration of the fee gets turned over to the undergraduate student government and this bill would mean -- would say that the administration doesn't get turned over to the undergraduate student government, it gets handed over to the board of directors of the student organization applying for their fee.

REP. HADDAD: Great. And -- and so -- so rather than -- I'm sorry -- again, so -- so the fee rather than going -- being passed through the undergraduate student government would go directly to the organization that -- that successfully waged and won the campaign?


REP. HADDAD: All right. And then that second -- in that second option, does that -- does setting up that option also require administrative approval, I mean the -- the university's administration's approval?

SAM HOLLISTER: Well, it would just mean that the administration was not administering the collection of the fee and the spending of the fee itself.


SAM HOLLISTER: I -- I don't know how exactly it would be collected. It would probably be collected on the fee bill as it usually was, but it wouldn't go towards like the university. It would go straight to the student organization who decides --


SAM HOLLISTER: -- what to do with the money.

REP. HADDAD: Right. And -- and so your specific organization has had a waive able fee for how long on campus?

SAM HOLLISTER: Since 1978 for -- so -- so for 35 years.

REP. HADDAD: Right. And -- and that streak has been uninterrupted until the last two years?

SAM HOLLISTER: Yeah, that's correct.

REP. HADDAD: Right. And -- and in the recent election, can you give me an idea about how well supported your organization was on campus? What were the results of the vote?

SAM HOLLISTER: So we actually we had the highest affirmative vote in the last several years to our student organization in the undergraduate student elections. Turnout was around 15 percent and we won by a margin of about 1,000 votes, if that clarifies things.

REP. HADDAD: Yeah, and what percent of that -- of the vote was that?

SAM HOLLISTER: It was -- it was about 65 percent of the vote.

REP. HADDAD: Right. Thank you very much. I -- I appreciate the -- your coming to testify today and it's helped me to understand what we're doing here. I appreciate it.

SEN. BYE: Thank you so much --


SEN. BYE: -- for coming.

And we have one last speaker, Richard Strauss. And then we will -- so committee members are aware, then we will immediately convene the meeting after this speaker.

Yes, and move over in a bit.

Okay. Thank you, Richard.


Good afternoon. My name is Rich Strauss. I'm the executive director of the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering.

Senator Bye, Representative Willis, members of the committee, I'm here to testify on House Bill 1139, AN ACT CONCERNING CHANGES TO PROGRAM APPROVAL FOR COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES.

As you may recall, the Academy provided a briefing on our workforce study -- or your workforce study on January 17th and the study included a recommendation dealing with elimination of program approval. Following presenting the briefing there were discussions regarding the recommendations so the purpose of the testimony is just to clarify the recommendation in -- in the report.

Basically, the recommendation suggested that you consider eliminating program approval for independent colleges, but also wanted to make a point that the issue of consumer protection also needed to be considered in your decision making process. You have the testimony. If you have any questions I'm more than happy to answer them.

SEN. BYE: Thank you very much.

REP. WILLIS: Hi, Rich.


REP. WILLIS: How are you?


REP. WILLIS: I -- I just have one question and I never asked this before, but when CASE was doing its study and looking at, you know, workforce needs -- skilled workforce needs and so forth, how did the program approval get on your agenda? I mean, it just seems like a -- who brought that to the attention of the CASE board?

RICHARD STRAUSS: Well, actually, I think there were a series of different aspects of the study that -- that resulted in that. One, as you're aware, we conducted interviews with many of the major players and organizations in the state that have to deal with the workforce issues and higher education issues, so there was an interview with Judy Breiman at CCIC, so that's where that aspect came up.

But additionally, myself -- I participated on several committees as a part of the process so we were involved with the National Governor's Association Policy Academy on Advanced Manufacturing and the subcommittee work on workforce development within the Connecticut Employment and Training Commission, and during -- during the -- the meetings that we had it was continually raised about the -- the ability of universities to respond to the needs of business and industry, so that tied in with what we were hearing from CCIC.

And then also the -- the aspects of then how do you build in the issues of consumer protection, so that's --

REP. WILLIS: Got -- got it.

RICHARD STRAUSS: -- that's really how it came about.

SEN. BYE: Thank you. I have to call the meeting -- the public hearing to close, so if there's no one else here to testify. There's no one else here to testify then the hearing is closed.