Dear CSCU Community,

Welcome to a new and exciting academic year! It is wonderful to see all of our campuses come alive with the optimism and energy of new and returning students, faculty and staff coming through our doors.  My hope is that by now everyone is settling in and looking forward to the coming year.

As the school year unfolds, CSCU students will engage and grow both as students and residents on our campuses and members of our larger communities.  They will have opportunities to learn how their actions can impact their lives as well as the larger world around them.  

Lately, our world has been filled with tragedy and uncertainty. In Texas, we witnessed homes and entire communities washed away in a matter of minutes. Seeing Good Samaritans act fearlessly to assist others in need is a rare reminder of kindness that has been missing of late in our country.  This is what communities do in times of disaster- they unite and become stronger together. All of us can share in this opportunity to help either through our local campus efforts or by giving to organizations like the Red Cross. 

These images of unity are a stark contrast to the lingering feelings of shock and sadness from the recent tragedy in Charlottesville. The commitment to free speech and the open exchange of ideas are not just protected by the First Amendment, they are fundamental to who we are as Americans and as higher education institutions.  We don’t shy away from difficult topics—we embrace them. While everyone has the right to voice their opinions, we all have a responsibility to speak out against violence, hate, discrimination and injustice. To that end, I encourage all of us to organize, participate, or join events where discussions of race and social justice occur.

We at CSCU reject all racism and bigotry. Violence and hate have no place on our campuses, in our communities or in our country.  And with yesterday’s devastating news about the elimination of the DACA program, we once again pledge our commitment to our students who feel targeted based on their immigration status. 

Thanks to the dedication to learning at our institutions, students not only prepare for careers but become engaged and informed members of society.  Working together we can find or create solutions to the problems gripping our country while maintaining a strong commitment to community, inclusion and humanity.   

I am excited to join with all of you as we progress on this journey together.




Mark Ojakian


Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU)



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