Faculty and university president call a truce

Faculty and union leaders said Friday they have reached a temporary truce with the president of the state’s largest public college system.

Angst among professors at the Connecticut State Colleges & Universities system had grown in recent weeks after President Gregory W. Gray released “roadmaps” for changes he was considering making at the schools.

Faculty leaders of the Connecticut State Colleges & Universities during a meeting at which they condemned the system president's plans for the future.

The CT Mirror

Faculty leaders of the Connecticut State Colleges & Universities during a meeting at which they condemned the system president’s plans for the future.

During a meeting Friday in Hartford, the faculty leaders and Gray set some parameters for decisions the faculty would control and also found some common ground on how to move forward.

After their two-hour private meeting with Gray, faculty leaders said that the president had agreed that decisions about curriculum and which courses to offer online would remain with the faculty. Concern had been mounting that the roadmaps focused too heavily on achieving savings through rating metrics, regionalizing programs, and forcing classes to be taught online.

“It was very ambiguous,” Vijay Nair, the leader of the faculty unions for the four regional Connecticut State Universities, said about the initial roadmaps.

The faculty leaders said the meeting ended with the president asking them to submit a proposal by Christmas on ways to improve the system and promising that faculty they would be more involved in crafting plans this time around.

“We are cautiously optimistic about working with President Gray,” said Nair.

Daniel Barrett, president of the University Senate at Western Connecticut State University, said he is hopeful the faculty can have a more productive relationship with Gray.

His university senate and leaders on other campuses have all expressed serious concerns with the “roadmaps” released by Gray’s office.

“It’s a good sign that we are seeing something different in Gray. We are talking about a fundamentally different process going forward,” said Barrett, an associate professor of psychology.

No one from Gray’s office was immediately available to comment Friday afternoon.

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