Many assumed the next president of the Connecticut State College and University System would have an extensive background in education. Some are disappointed with the recent news, but, the appointment of the Gov. Dannel Malloy’s chief of staff as interim president for the Connecticut State College and University System has nothing to do with education. My read of the tea leaves is that the appointment is based upon the primary strength of the appointee which is collective bargaining experience and budget and finance expertise.
Gregory Gray, the embattled president of the state’s largest public college system, notified his board Friday in a one-sentence resignation letter that he will step down on Dec. 31.
State senators have approved a bill forbidding state officials from demanding that employees sign non-disparagement agreements when leaving their state jobs — a move directed at the state’s largest public college system.
Faculty at four of the state’s public colleges have passed resolutions expressing no confidence in the system’s president, Gregory Gray — an unusual move that puts pressure on the system’s governing board just as the embattled president’s contract comes up for renewal. The contract decision will force the board to evaluate Gray and his plans for the 90,000-student system.
Heeding pressure from the state Capitol, the community college programs in Meriden will remain open after all, the college system’s president announced Wednesday. But he said he’s depending on the state to fund the campuses.
In a clear show of displeasure with the leader of the state’s system of community colleges and regional state universities, the state House of Representatives voted 86 to 56 Tuesday to block the system from closing a campus without legislative approval.
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.
Faculty unrest at the state’s four regional universities and community colleges is once again rising, and faculty leaders are asking the staff at each institution to consider taking a vote of no-confidence in the system’s president, Gregory Gray.
As public protests mount against the unexpected announcement that Middlesex Community College’s Meriden campus will close this spring, students and the public can brace for many more sudden cuts at the state’s community colleges and four regional universities.
Enrolling in Connecticut’s public community colleges and regional state universities will be getting more expensive, and students are concerned. The Board of Regents for Higher Education voted Thursday to increase tuition and fees next school year by 4.8 to 5.3 percent, and is also considering staff reductions and layoffs.
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.
The projected budget deficit facing the state’s community colleges and regional Connecticut State Universities has grown from $38 million two weeks ago to $48 million today – a 4 percent structural deficit from what is needed to continue providing existing programs and staffing levels, school leaders said.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s budget proposal cuts support for the state’s public colleges and universities, provides level funding for state aid to school districts, offers financial aid to undocumented students, and would fund four new charter schools.
A group of distinguished professors notified legislators Monday they have lost confidence in Gregory Gray, the president of the state’s largest public college system.
Top state legislators are concerned about how much officials of the state’s largest public college system are spending on administrative costs. (Photo: CSCU President Gregory Gray answers legislators’ questions.)