UConn Students Protest Hogan's Office Renovation, Tuition Hike

STORRS - University of Connecticut students, unhappy with next fall's tuition increase and with costly renovations to President Michael Hogan's office, were treated to an impromptu walk on the president's $4,215 rug Monday.

The office tour occurred as the students who call themselves SCORE — the Student Coalition on Reprioritizing Education — were delivering their list of grievances and demands to Hogan's office.

After patting the cream and rose-colored rug, Katlin Tyrol, a junior, pronounced it "beautiful" but said, "At the same time I'm disgusted really — $4,000 is the cost of a class I won't be able to take next year."

Anna Brennan, a sophomore, said, "I really don't think the rug is worth $4,000."

However, Hogan wasn't there to greet them. Stephen Rhodes, executive assistant to the president, told them that the president was away — at the Husky Women's Final Four basketball tournament in San Antonio — and asked if the students had watched the game against Baylor University Sunday night.

Jason Ortiz, a senior and a member of the group, said he was too busy doing homework that night, but asked if the group might have a tour of the office.

Ortiz said the group's main concerns are increasing tuition and decreasing quality. "Classes are getting bigger, [teaching assistants] are being squeezed out. It's harder to find the classes you want," Ortiz said.

The students gathered on the lawn in front of the Wilbur Cross building Monday afternoon to speak publicly about these concerns. Shaking their fists and chanting "chop from the top" they marched the short distance to Gulley Hall, where Hogan's office is.

They brought along a letter addressed to Hogan stating four main grievances: "unsubstantiated tuition hikes, the growth of class size and reduction in available classes, a lack of transparency, and a student affairs department that treats students as a liability to the university image."

The university has approved an increase of almost 6 percent in tuition, room and board for the next academic year. The students also are upset with the university's lack of receptiveness to their suggestions for revamping spring weekend.

Once inside the building, the students climbed the stairs to Hogan's office where they were met by Rhodes, who said he would give Hogan the students' materials. Records produced by the university and detailed in The Courant last month showed that about $35,000 worth of Kimball International furniture was ordered for Hogan's office and conference room. Renovations to the second floor of Gulley Hall cost $475,000.