Opponents of the Board of Regents for Higher Education ill-conceived “Students First” plan are organizing, educating, petitioning, and testifying.
The legislature is holding hearings. The new governor is establishing his administration.
Meanwhile, Connecticut State Colleges and Universities President Mark Ojakian proceeds unchecked with his “half-baked” (as described by the accrediting agency) plan to consolidate the community colleges.
For example, the interview process for the regional president of Housatonic, Gateway and Norwalk Community Colleges is underway.
At Asnuntuck, the Information Technology and Institutional Research departments report that they were informed that the consolidation is moving forward and that both departments, as of July, will report to Ojakian.
Who’s the boss?
In the 1960’s, the Connecticut community college system was created by the legislature and subject to legislative control. In 2011, the legislature gave-up its historic control over public higher education and created a Board of Regents for Higher Education and gave it the power to close or merge colleges without legislative approval.
The Board of Regents is a bloated bureaucracy that costs $35 million a year — and growing. There have been five presidents and one failed plan after another with misleading names such as Transform 2020, Go Back to Get Ahead, and Students First from the Board of Regents at a cost of a quarter billion taxpayer dollars.
Eight years of failure is enough. We must restore legislative control to stop the far-reaching decisions being taken by the insulated and unaccountable Board of Regents.
The governor can intervene, and the legislature can take back its crucial control of public higher education before it is destroyed by Ojakian and the Board of Regents. Demand that it be done.
Charlene LaVoie is Director of the Office of the Community Lawyer in Winsted.
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