Chairman of state’s largest college system steps down

Lewis Robinson Jr. -- who chaired the governing board of the state's largest public college system through a series of missteps -- has resigned.

In a two-page letter Thursday to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, Robinson said after "dealing with serious challenges" that surrounded the system in the past year, he would be stepping down from the post immediately.

"After reflecting on these significant achievements, which were accomplished during a period of considerable disruption and public scrutiny, I have concluded that it is an appropriate time for me to step down and let others move the system to the next stage. Therefore, I hereby tender my resignation effective immediately," he wrote.

Robinson has chaired the Board of Regents for Higher Education since July 2011. The system was hit by a series of controversies last fall that included the improper granting of double-digit percentage pay raises for central office staff and disclosure that the community college presidents were being offered expedited separations. These events led to the resignations of the president and vice president of the 100,000-student system last October. A new president of the system, Gregory Gray, took office July 1. Several top-level positions are also vacant, including a budget chief, chief information officer and spokesman.

Robinson was not immediately available for comment Thursday.

In his hand-delivered letter to the governor's office, he noted several accomplishments the 17 college system has accomplished over the last two years; including creating a strategic plan and implementing changes to how students not ready for college-level courses are educated when they seek enrollment in a community college.

Yvette Meléndez, the current vice chair of the board, will assume the role of acting chair until a new chair is appointed by Malloy.

The governor wrote Robinson to thank him for his volunteer service.

"I would... like to take the opportunity to thank you for the dignity, professionalism, and compassion you brought to the role of the Chairman -- a combination of traits that set a positive tone in what was no undoubtedly a time of transformative change," Malloy wrote.

 

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