Mark E. Ojakian, the political operative who became president of the Connecticut State Colleges & Universities system, persisted where academics failed.
Ben Barnes, who has overseen Connecticut’s state finances for eight years as Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s only secretary of policy and management, was named Monday as the chief financial officer for the state’s sprawling system of community colleges and regional state universities.
The state of Connecticut claims that it has a large deficit and it needs to cut the budget for higher education – mostly through cutting the number of faculty positions at the Connecticut State College and University system. However, one questions its higher education priorities.
A letter to the Board of Regents: It has come to our attention that the Civil Engineering Technology program at Three Rivers Community College is in grave danger of being terminated. Also, the Environmental Engineering Technology program is being threatened by being changed to an “Environmental Science” program. These changes will be a huge mistake for the TRCC administration to make. Here’s why:
The Board of Regents for Higher Education, the governing board of the state’s largest public college system, is planning for the departure of its embattled president, Gregory Gray. It is unclear if the board intends to force his departure, but sources say they already have identified at least one candidate for interim CEO.
The Connecticut Board of Regents for Higher Education needs to take heed: Students at Manchester Community College and many other Connecticut State Colleges and Universities are livid at how their tuition has increased and critically important programs, many of which are required to graduate, are being cut.
Some would argue that the CSCU system has already exhausted a first and second chance to overcome the mistakes it made since its formation four years ago. But what if the CSCU System was given a fresh start, with new leadership? Would its governing officials learn and not repeat the past mistakes?
The potential closing of Middlesex Community College’s Meriden Center is terrible news. Nevertheless, there is one very good thing that has come from the decision to close the campus: attention. Ultimately, the conversation that needs to happen is not about the Meriden Center; rather, it is about the necessity — and obligation — to properly manage and adequately fund Connecticut’s state colleges and universities.
However well-meaning CSCU President Gregory Gray’ appears, it doesn’t change the most important dynamic that impacts funding for higher education in the state: legislators don’t trust the Board of Regents for Higher Education that Gray heads and are leery of giving more money to a central office that can’t seem to do anything other than increase administrative costs, grow an already bloated management core, raise tuition rates, and continually demonstrate the debilitating results of bureaucratic paralysis.