Our View: Give Casamento a Chance

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As Utica College’s most trusted news source, The Tangerine has devoted considerable attention and coverage to the months-long presidential search to locate Dr. Todd Hutton’s successor.

On Feb. 8, the Utica College Board of Trustees announced Executive Vice President and Chief Advancement Officer Laura Casamento would take over effective Aug. 1. While the board certainly believes they made the correct decision, it has not been met so warmly throughout the rest of campus.

Once the news came out, numerous faculty trashed the decision, calling the entire process a farce. It’s been said that Casamento is not qualified and that she will not be able to develop strong relationships with those on the academic side. Many professors have acted like her hiring is the end of the world.

Well, how about you give her a chance?

Casamento has played an instrumental role in many of the school’s financial initiatives over the years. She co-led the team that developed the tuition reset strategy. She secured nearly $2.5 million in gifts and support to fund the Todd and Jen Hutton Sports and Recreation Center and the relocation of the business school to Clark City Center, located in downtown Utica. Reports say she was instrumental in obtaining the $2.5 million grant for athletic upgrades announced just two weeks ago.

Simply put, Casamento has a strong financial background, and if history is any indication, that will only help Utica College continue to grow.

As for her relationships with students and faculty, as she admits, they have been pretty non-existent in her current role. But in her new role she has promised a series of “listening sessions” and says it is one of her top priorities to establish and strengthen those relationships. She says it is her hope that she meets with each and every professor.

She has promised these things, and it is our belief that she will come through. Communication is a two-way street and for this relationship to work, Casamento, as well as faculty, must put their best foot forward. Instead of complaining, or thinking about what might be the better option, the different constituencies should work together to make it work.

Casamento has been criticized for her lack of an academic background. It’s true she does not come from the academic background, but from a financial background. However, she is in the process of completing her doctorate program at the University of Pennsylvania, a degree that will put her on par with many presidents of similar institutions.

As she said in our exclusive interview with her, “No I didn’t rise up through the academy. But I believe that just because you do not come from the academy doesn’t mean that you can’t have enormous respect for it. And I do have enormous respect for it.”

She has an extremely experienced provost in John Johnsen, and we believe, together, the two of them will make it work.

Laura Casamento has been a trusted and valued member of Hutton’s staff for over a decade. The Tangerine believes that UC has made great advancements over the past few years, from the Welcome Center to “The Hutt,” to the highly-publicized tuition reset.

As it’s been said many times, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Laura Casamento will not be Todd Hutton. She has different strengths and she has different weaknesses. But she will continue his legacy of growth, expansion and improvements for the college.

We just have to give her a chance.

By The Tangerine Editorial Board:

Matt Rogers, Co-Editor-In-Chief

Rashida Patrick, Co-Editor-In-Chief

Nicholas Souza, News/Online Editor

Amanda Paladino, Features Editor

James McLaughlin, Sports Editor

Courtney Klepfer, Layout Editor

Featured Photo: Photo by Matt Rogers.

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