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Tuesday Campus Update

Dear Members of the University of Bridgeport Community,

On this sunny, yet chilly day in Bridgeport, I joined fellow college and university presidents in Connecticut in a conversation with U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal about federal funding for higher education. The amount that is being discussed is too little and not necessarily directed toward private institutions. The senator advised campuses and their communities to contact their federal representatives to advocate for support. I urge you to join me in raising your voice on behalf of UB:

  • U.S. Representative Chris Himes: 203-333-6600
  • U.S. Senator Chris Murphy: 860-549-8463
  • U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal: 203-330-0598

We continue to receive guidance from the U.S. Department of Education and the Connecticut Office of Higher Education that enables us to develop and communicate our contingency plans with students and employees. Please note these very important updates:

  • Remaining Federal Work Study funds will continue to be released to students as needed
  • Only student ambassadors and counselors will continue to work and be paid for their respective on-campus roles
  • Graduate Assistants will receive full funding on their awards

If you have questions or concerns about financial aid or student employment, please do not hesitate to reach out to them directly:

As I have previously shared, my administrative group and I have worked to eliminate the institutional deficit that I inherited in July 2018. After many months of budget reductions, vendor negotiations, and more, we have been forced to take more drastic action in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to COVID-19, all NCAA, East Coast Conference, and UB athletics events and championships were cancelled for the remainder of the academic year. Most student-athletes moved off-campus and athletics activities were cancelled until the Centers for Disease Control updates its recommendations regarding social distancing and limitations on gatherings of 10 or more. Unfortunately, many athletics personnel in the Athletics Department were temporarily laid off effective March 19, with some head coaches effective as of April 3. While we hope that these layoffs will be temporary and that staff will be called back by August 3, 2020 or sooner, everything will be dictated by our continued response efforts to COVID-19.

Each head coach will reach out to their respective student-athletes, as will Interim Athletic Director Kate Smullen, with additional information and instructions. Plans are in place to ensure that prospective and current student-athletes maintain continuous and direct contact with the UB during this time. Let me eliminate any potential for rumors now—there are no plans to eliminate athletics. It is a vital part of our campus and contributes to the richness of the UB student experience. We hope to return to normal once the pandemic subsides. Please do not hesitate to reach out to athletics@bridgeport.edu if you have any questions or concerns.

Finally, there was misreporting in the local media regarding UB’s relationship with our food service vendor Sodexo and we have asked for a retraction. Sodexo’s voluntary decision to no longer service Café Scribe and Fresh Tossed did result in Sodexo job losses. At this time, our redefined contract with Sodexo remains in place and they continue to provide dining services for UB in Marina Dining Hall for the remaining students on campus.

Sincerely yours,

Laura Skandera Trombley
President