Just a few months on the job as the first president of the recently merged state and community college systems, Robert A. Kennedy told the governor Tuesday it’s like working in a cemetery.

“You have a lot of people under you but nobody is listening,” he joked during the monthly state commissioners meeting with Gov. Dannel P. Malloy of his progress. “This is the land of steady habits.”

Following Malloy’s lead, legislators agreed to merge the Connecticut State University System and the community colleges — which collectively enroll 100,000 students each semester — into one system in an effort to shed administrative costs. The regents have eliminated 24 positions so far, which Kennedy expects will save $4.3 million.

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Jacqueline Rabe Thomas

Jacqueline was CT Mirror’s Education and Housing Reporter, and an original member of the CT Mirror staff, joining shortly before our January 2010 launch. Her awards include the best-of-show Theodore A. Driscoll Investigative Award from the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists in 2019 for reporting on inadequate inmate health care, first-place for investigative reporting from the New England Newspaper and Press Association in 2020 for reporting on housing segregation, and two first-place awards from the National Education Writers Association in 2012. She was selected for a prestigious, year-long Propublica Local Reporting Network grant in 2019, exploring a range of affordable and low-income housing issues. Before joining CT Mirror, Jacqueline was a reporter, online editor and website developer for The Washington Post Co.’s Maryland newspaper chains. Jacqueline received an undergraduate degree in journalism from Bowling Green State University and a master’s in public policy from Trinity College.

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