Faculty protests changes at CSCU Board of Regents meeting

HARFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — A tuition hike is already in place for the next two years in the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system. Now a consolidation plan is drawing the anger of faculty across the state, as the Board of Regents struggles to close a budget gap over $30 million.

It was an overflow crowd at Thursday’s Board of Regents meeting in Hartford. Faculty from state colleges and universities across Connecticut came out in protest.

“We are concerned that this is wholly designed by the system office and being dumped on the state universities,” said Dr. Sue Holt, a professor in the Psychological Sciences department of Central Connecticut State University.

She’s referring to a cost-saving plan put in place by Mark Ojakian, president of Connecticut State Colleges and Universities. In attempts to close a budget gap, back-office operations will be consolidated between all community colleges and the universities will now all fall under one president.

Educators worry this will strip the individuality from each school in separate regions of the state.

“We are concerned that these plans seriously affect the quality of higher education, because they homogenize the education system,” Holt said.

Concerns were also that faculty wasn’t given enough time to review the plan. And they claim their input wasn’t sought during the planning phases.

“Talk to the faculty and get our advice on issues,” said Julian Madison, a history professor at Southern Connecticut State University. “You don’t have to necessarily have to do everything we ask them to do. But talk to the faculty, we’re on the front lines.”

President Ojakian said he hopes the faculty felt heard today and that they’ll be part of the process moving forward. A statement reads in part; “We may respectfully disagree on some ideas but we do not disagree on the critical value of the education and services we provide to our students. That is what is at stake if we continue to do business as usual.”

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