BOR

At the November 15 BOR meeting, President Ojakian will be presenting a draft of a white paper that serves as a primer on our college and university system for Governor-elect Lamont and other interested parties. The report looks at both the value of our system and the challenges we collectively face.

One aspect of the paper that is worth noting is the “Policy and Funding Solutions,” which outlines legislative initiatives that the system may seek moving forward, including:

  • Free or Reduced Tuition Models for College
  • Student Support Investments such as $13M for advisors and $25M to hire over 200 full-time faculty at the community colleges.
  • Establishing a fund for publicly supported work-study
  • Expanding partnerships with K-12
  • The same authority as UConn to administer its own construction projects

Read more at:

November 15th, 2018

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The BOR May meeting is now available for viewing at http://ct-n.com/ctnplayer.asp?odID=15289.
A significant portion of the meeting was dedicated to discussion of the consolidation. As described by NBC Connecticut, “Despite some calling it a failure, Ojakian said he will continue to move forward with Student First.
He said he doesn’t believe the details in the plan were rejected but rather the timeline and path to implement the changes need work.
He admitted the path forward might take longer than expected.
He said he plans to meet with the New England Association of Schools and Colleges again and present the board with a more detailed proposal in June. He said that he expects work over the next year on ways to implement it and that students will not see any changes this fall” (https://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/local/Faculty-Takes-Board-of-Regents-to-Task-Over-College-Consolidation-Plan-482299981.html).
More coverage of the meeting and the opposition to Students First can be found below.

Community Colleges: A Resource Worthy of State Investment (Opinion)

May 17th, 2018

Posted In: BOR, Consolidation

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BOR is meeting this morning for its May meeting. CT-N is scheduled to film the meeting, so it will be available for viewing later this week at http://ct-n.com. You can find the agenda here.
Late in the session, several amendments were filed by members of the Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee, notably Rep. Haddad, Sen. Bye, and Sen. Flexor, requiring the Board of Regents to hold public hearings if they recommend closing any college and the General Assembly would retain the right to reject the closure plan (read amendment here). While the amendments did not go through, it is likely that they will return as legislation next session.

May 10th, 2018

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As you heard last week, NEASC did not approve the CSCU plan to consolidate the community colleges. While many of you breathed a sigh of relief, others may be more fearful after President Ojakian threatened to close campuses if funding cannot be secured for the system. Regardless of how you felt about Students First, it is clear that the system needs money to continue to operate while determining next steps. As faculty and staff, we certainly hope to influence the next steps. But there is one thing we all need to do right now:
CALL YOUR LEGISLATORS and ask both your state representative and state senator to support increased funding for the community colleges. Calling is best, but email is better than nothing. 
There is one week left of the legislative session. You can find your legislators here. You can use this data to show your legislators how many Community College faculty, staff, and students live in the cities and towns they represent and why their investment is so critical. They cannot allow the BOR to double tuition for our students and state employees have done their part to save the state money by the SEBAC 2017 Agreement. (As you will see below, we also ask that you call legislators about not attaching any bad amendments regarding your collective bargaining rights to legislation).
Please take the time to do this one ask of calling your legislators. The more people they hear from, the more attention it will gain from legislators.
Your Rights Under the Contract
While we cannot predict what the state budget will bring next week, we want to assure you of the job security rights under the 4Cs Contract.
  • Job Security: There shall be no loss of employment for permanent employees hired prior to July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2021.
    • Protection from job loss does not apply to:
      • Expiration of a temporary or special appointment (in 1st year),
      • Nonrenewal of a non-tenured employee for performance-related reasons,
      • Termination of grant or other outside funding specified for a particular position; and,
      • Less than 20-hour per week part-time employees.
    • Employees in the 2nd or subsequent special appointment year on the effective date of this Agreement shall be covered by this provision.
    • It does not prevent the BOR from restructuring and eliminating positions provided that the affected employees shall be reassigned or transferred to an existing comparable job in the
      system for which the employee possesses the requisite qualifications and experience. Salary and tenure status shall be preserved. An employee who refuses an offered position shall not be considered a layoff.
What’s Next?
The General Assembly adjourns on Wednesday, May 9, so we will have an answer to whether the state is making this crucial investment in our state’s neediest students. More information to follow next week.
Please feel free to contact us if you are hearing anything about the consolidation. For example, a member heard this week that Goodwin College was buying Tunxis. The BOR cannot sell a campus; it is state-owned, not BOR-owned. The Department of Administrative Services is in charge of all state property. But the 4Cs was able to reach out to the BOR and get written confirmation that this was not true. Again, please feel free to contact the 4Cs office at 860.296.5172 with any questions or concerns during these uncertain times.

May 3rd, 2018

Posted In: BOR, Consolidation, Contract, Political Action

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On Tuesday, January 30, the Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee of the Connecticut General Assembly held a forum on the proposed Community College Consolidation, known as “Students First.” The forum can be watched on demand from CT-N here.
CSCU President, Mark Ojakian, was questioned by legislators for nearly two hours about the proposed consolidation. President Ojakian shared the following PowerPoint Presentation with the Committee:
A representative from NEASC also testified and answered questions for over an hour. The Standards for Accreditation are shared here.
Several faculty and staff from the 4Cs, CSU-AAUP and SUOAF-AFSCME attended to testify against the consolidation, along with students from the community colleges and representatives of the various community college foundations.
While 4Cs President Bryan Bonina was not able to testify in person, he submitted testimony electronically, which can be read here. Other testimony can be viewed here.
Many media outlets covered the forum:

February 1st, 2018

Posted In: BOR, Consolidation, Political Action

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The 4Cs is encouraging our members to attend the BOR meeting on Thursday, December 14. The meeting will take place at 10am at the CSCU System Office, Regents Boardroom, ground floor, 61 Woodland Street in Hartford.

Leaders from the 4Cs have been working on op-eds in addition to letters to the editor that will likely appear in the media next week. These communications share our concerns with the consolidation which include concern that the rationale for the consolidation is based solely on finances, not on student needs. 

We know that many of you may have conflicts on December 14 because it’s finals week, but we hope that many of you can attend the BOR meeting. We will have t-shirts for all our attendees! We will be meeting around 9:30am before the 10am meeting.
 
Get your 4Cs t-shirts (slogan above) on 12/14!

December 12th, 2017

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As you know, President Ojakian held forums for faculty, staff and students last week. Video is now available for those who were not able to attend.
Video from the Faculty & Staff Forum on November 7

 

Video from the Student Forum on November 8

 

Also, read this article from the Connecticut Post about the student forum.

November 16th, 2017

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On November 4, the 4Cs Delegate Assembly held its first meeting since the CSCU Restructuring proposal was presented at the October 19th BOR meeting. The Delegate Assembly voted to oppose the Students First plan as proposed. Concerns were voiced by the elected representatives from our twelve community college campuses; all of the concerns centered around the fact that while the plan may be named “Students First,” in reality, it does not appear to put students first. The plan seems to add layers of bureaucracy, potentially moves services further from students, limits local faculty curriculum oversight, and contains components of failed “no student left behind” concepts. Further, we need to preserve the “community” – the unique identities and local autonomy of our colleges.
The 4Cs is working on a more comprehensive statement that will be submitted to the BOR. If you would like to submit a comment that you think should be included in our statement, please send it to Ellen@the4cs.org.
In the meantime, we urge all of our members to attend the “Students First” presentation by President Mark Ojakian on Tuesday at noon; President Ojakian will be presenting from Capital Community College, and it will be webcast simultaneously to all campuses. If you plan to travel to Capital Community College, and we urge you to do so if possible, please let us know.
 
Together We Rise, in Solidarity! 

November 6th, 2017

Posted In: BOR, Consolidation, Unions

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As you know, at the recent Board of Regents meeting, President Ojakian proposed a significant restructuring of the community colleges. Video of the Board meeting is now available through CT-N.
Michael Rooke, President of Northwestern CT Community College, makes the presentation about the consolidation (beginning about 55 minutes into the video). If you have questions about the consolidation and the process, it is worth a watch.
Also a reminder that the Board is seeking public comment on the proposal by November 20; you can fill out the Board’s survey here.
The BOR will also be hosting an interactive, online “briefing to discuss the proposed consolidation plan for the community colleges.
The details are as follows:
  • On Tuesday, November 7, from 12pm-2pm, the Students First community college forum will be hosted at Capital Community College and simultaneously transmitted to the 11 sister campuses via WebEx
  • Faculty, staff and students from the 12 colleges who can attend the session at Capital Community College in person are welcome
  • Each college is providing a room to simulcast the event so as many people as possible can participate from their home campuses
  • Participants will have an opportunity to watch the session live and submit their questions via the Chat function
  • We will also be gathering questions in advance – please send to CSCU-President@ct.edu by November 6
  • The forum will be recorded and posted on the CSCU website and the link emailed to all employees for future viewing
Your individual campuses will be providing you with additional information on how to participate on-campus or via Facebook live prior to the event.
The goal is to maximize the time allotted to solicit suggestions and address concerns related to the consolidation of the community colleges and changes to each local campus structure. In particular, we will address questions raised through the feedback survey on changes in leadership positions, new coordination of enrollment management, processes for developing system-wide academic programs and more.”

November 1st, 2017

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At the BOR meeting on Thursday, President Ojakian will be updating the Board and public on the CSCU Restructuring plan known as “Students First.”
Yesterday, CSCU President Ojakian met with 4Cs President Bryan Bonina and other union presidents around the same time that he announced the latest update to both the media (read Hartford Courant article here) and the CSCU community (letter here).
At the face-to-face meeting President Ojakian recognized the collectively bargained SEBAC layoff protection language and stated there would be “no reduction of unionized workforce.” However, sharing resources between the campuses will likely become more common as state resources continue to decline and our enrollment percentages stay flat or decrease.
Our primary responsibility at the 4Cs is to make certain that our members’ jobs are safe throughout this process; we also know that our members’ focus is on the students – making sure the programs and support services that the community colleges offer remain first rate and affordable. The 4Cs will continue to keep all of these factors in mind as we monitor this process moving forward.
Please use this link to complete the Students First survey. There is also other background information including the draft reports from the planning teams on this page.
The BOR meeting will be held on October 19 at 10am at 61 Woodland Street. The agenda can be viewed here.

October 18th, 2017

Posted In: BOR, Consolidation

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