HARTFORD — School loyalty is not what it used to be — in Connecticut politics anyway.

At least a dozen Republican House and Senate members — and one Democratic senator — who graduated or earned advanced degrees at UConn voted for a GOP state budget the university says slashed $300 million from the school.

Click through the slideshow to see which Connecticut politicians with UConn ties voted 'yes'

“This would simply decimate the university,” UConn President Susan Herbst told the university in a message.

So how do you defend voting to “decimate” your alma mater?

State Sen. Toni Boucher, a Wilton Republican who earned an MBA at UConn, said her vote was difficult, but stressed solving the state’s financial crisis overrode her concern.

“It was not something I was happy about,” Boucher said of the UConn cut, which Republicans say totals “only” $240 million — nearly a quarter of a billion dollars. “But they have to share the pain too. We are in crisis.”

Boucher noted she is a contributor to the UConn Foundation and as a legislator voted to pour money into the university.

“We have added billions over the years, not just to UConn but the state university system,” Boucher said. “I’m one of the most loyal legislators.”

State Sen. Kevin Kelly, R-Stratford, said his UConn law degree had no influence on his vote.

“We have to look at what is in front of us,” Kelly said. “We have a very dire fiscal situation and we can’t be everything to everybody anymore.”

UConn claims the Republican state budget, passed by the House and Senate with the help of eight Democrats, slashed more than $300 million — Republicans say $240 million — from the school’s budget.

The cuts came as the school was recently ranked the 18th top public university by U.S. News & World Report.

The GOP budget became a moot point Thursday when Gov. Dannel P. Malloy vetoed the legislation.

But that left lawmakers on both sides of the isle back at square one, with no budget in place, a pressing urgency to find a compromise and the need to obtain big savings from state programs such as UConn.

Loyalty test

Hearst Connecticut Media looked at a small sample of the 77 House members who voted for the GOP plan, including five Democrats, and the 21 Senators who favored it, including three Democrats.

Only one Democrat, State Sen. Paul Doyle, D-Wethersfield, voted for the GOP budget and also has a UConn connection.

Doyle holds a B.A. in history from Colby College and received a J.D. from the University of Connecticut School of Law in Hartford.

In addition to the 12 Republican UConn alumni who voted for the budget, at least five other Republican legislators who voted to cut funding either once worked for the school or attended or taught classes. One serves as government representative.

State Rep. Mitch Bolinsky, R-Newtown, voted for the GOP budget. Although he is not a UConn graduate, Bolinsky’s House website notes that his “26-year-old daughter, Rachel, completed her undergrad work at UConn in 2012.”

Bolinsky could not be reached for comment.

A spokeswoman for UConn, Stephanie Reitz, declined to discuss loyalty and college alumni who vote to cut their school’s funding.

Asked if the university would consider revoking their degrees, Reitz said that would not happen.

“Tug of emotion”

The UConn alumni lawmakers said their votes were difficult and stressed there were many tough decisions to make.

“I’m sure there isn’t anyone who didn’t wince about something,” said state Rep. Gail Lavielle, R-Wilton, who holds an MBA in finance from UConn.

Lavielle said she supports many of the programs and services targeted by the GOP budget, such as the Citizens Election Program, which was eliminated. The program provides public money for campaigns.

“But you have to be cognizant about how bad the situation is,” Lavielle said. “There were a lot of decisions to make and it does not make anyone happy.”

State Rep. Arthur O’Neill, R-Southbury, and a UConn graduate, said the vote was difficult.

“There was a tug of emotion as a graduate of UConn,” O’Neill said of his vote to cut funding. “I’ve supported putting a lot of money into UConn. I’d love to shout ‘Yes’ for UConn, but we have a responsibility to the rest of the state.”

Not exactly a rallying tribute to the lyrics of the school’s fight song heard at big games:

“UConn Husky, symbol of might to the foe.

Fight, fight Connecticut, It's vict'ry, Let's go.”

But O’Neill said he believes the university can absorb reduced state funding without impacting students.

“There are lots of places they can economize without impacting education,” O’Neill said. “And there are lots of examples of inefficiencies at UConn.”

Kelly said despite the UConn cut the Republican budget still sent $1 billion to the university.

“It’s not like we treated it like a red-headed stepchild,” Kelly said. “You have to make tough choices.”

Boucher noted the Republican budget closed a $3.5 billion deficit, sent municipalities a fair share of revenue and would keep the state operating. “You split the baby,” she said, referring to the UConn cuts.

UConn President Herbst said the cuts could close UConn Health, eliminate majors and graduate programs and reduce scientific and medical research.

“That level of cut is unprecedented and would be devastating for UConn, higher education in Connecticut, and the state as a whole,” Herbst said.