Responding to concerns among faculty about plans for the future of Connecticut’s regional universities, the president of Eastern Connecticut State University in Willimantic said she knows they have the school’s best interest in mind, and she called for more dialogue between faculty and administrators.

“Their motivations are always how can we improve for the students,” ECSU President Elsa M. Núñez said during an interview.

Faculty on Wednesday evening voted to give a failing grade to the plan for ECSU and the 16 other schools in the Connecticut State Colleges & Universities system — Transform CSCU 2020. The system includes the four regional universities and 12 community colleges.

They also decided to “proceed with organizing and exploring” the possibility of a union vote on a resolution of no confidence in the college system’s president, Gregory Gray. (Read about the concerns of the faculty at the other schools here.)

Gray’s office is responsible for crafting the plans for the universities.

Faculty had proposed their own plan that called on state and college officials to invest in hiring more professors so students can get courses they need to graduate and class sizes can be reduced.

It’s an admirable plan, Núñez said.

“I have to respect them for that,” she said, pointing out that the system’s central office staff needs to meet more with faculty to talk about, and come to a consensus about, what changes are possible.

“I think we need many more campus meetings,” she said.

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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