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Updates From President Nuñez's Presidential Breakfast

Mathew Biadun | Staff Writer


Eastern's President Nuñez held her second-to-last President’s Breakfast on Thursday, February 22nd. This meeting, held twice a semester in the Johnson Room, is a chance for the President to update the campus community on what’s going around. This meeting gave major updates on the ongoing Presidential Search, the Barnes-and-Noble Contract, as well as current-and-future construction projects.


The Barnes-and-Noble Contract, which has recently caused major discontentment among the student body, was given clarification. President Nuñez emphasized that there is an opt-out option, and that this was not an Eastern decision. While Eastern did send representatives, it was the state-level Systems Office that negotiated a contract for all four state-schools and Charter Oak. She admitted that the deal would not work for many students, encouraging everyone to do the proper research, and for the SGA to spread the word when it comes time to opt-out.


On the topic of her own successor, President Nuñez and several others spoke on the topic of the Presidential Search. LaMar Coleman, Vice-President for Equity and Diversity, gave clarification on how the search works. At its basis there are two committees involved. The Search Committee has the final say on the matter. It has seven members; two of which being from Eastern. The Advisory Committee provides feedback on candidates and other decisions, along with being able to interview candidates themselves. It consists of twenty-seven members; all of which being from Eastern, and four of which being Eastern students.


A timeline of events-to-come was also provided. There were initially over a hundred applicants, which were narrowed down to twelve for a series of interviews. Initial interviews with candidates began on Tuesday. This initial round of interviews are set to conclude on Monday, with follow-up interviews recommencing the week after. The four students on the advisory committee will have a chance to interview the candidates themselves. Final interviews will be held in March, with a candidate probably announced in April.


Jim Howarth,Vice President for Finance & Administration, gave an optimistic review of the budget. A 2.2 million dollar surplus is expected. This is a great outcome in comparison to the other state universities, which are either barely expecting to break-even (CCSU and SCSU) or are at a deficit (WCSU and the community-colleges). However, not all is good. Seventeen million dollars of the budget come from federal funds, which are expected to halve next year.


The Student Cafe was reopened on the weekends this year as a trial-run. However, it has not been profitable, losing about $3,000 a month. The cafe will remain open on weekends (1-5PM) for the duration of this semester, but may close next year if present-trends continue.


Finally, an update was provided for several ongoing-and-future construction projects. The external restoration of the Capital Project (an old residential-property across from the CCE House) has been completed. The renovation costed Eastern two-million dollars. The purpose was to provide visitors a nicer entry-point to Eastern, compared with the previously-rotting building. The interior sits empty, and will for at least two-more years, as it also needs costly renovation.


Many more projects are to come. New flooring is planned for Burr, Noble and Low-Rise. Sidewalks across campus will be replaced in the summer. Additionally, Eastern Hall plans to be torn down and demolished. While its replacement has not yet been decided, one idea excited all students in attendance; a collection of hammock-racks for all to enjoy


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