by Analisa Novak
In a defying motion against Connecticut State Colleges and Universities System Board Of Regents, the faculty senate of Central Connecticut State University voted for the no confidence resolution during an emergency meeting this past Monday.
The no confidence vote was made during a secret ballot out of fear of retaliation, and passed in an overwhelming 39-10 vote. Although CCSU voted no confidence, it did vote to participate in the proposed implementation plan with 65 in favor and two opposed.
“CCSU will participate in the implementation of the plan in order to advocate for and assert that our rights as faculty [AAUP and SUOF-AFSCME,] the rights of students, and the institutional identity are respected and to offer the needed expertise of faculty on the CCSU campus, even though we oppose the proposed plan as unfounded, nontransparent and undemocratic, and consider the plan an assault on the integrity and autonomy of the institution of higher education forced to be part of CSCU,” said the faculty senate.
The faculty senate is openly resisting BOR President Mark Ojakian proposed Student First plan that is looking to remove student services for all four CSCU Universities and consolidate them to one central one.
“This will eliminate redundancies across our campuses, leverage the expertise of our talented staff and allow better coordination and consistency of non-student facing activities,” Ojakian said in a statement released on April 3.
The proposed measure would save an estimated $13 million in administrative cost. Another proposed action from the BOR under the Student First plan, would be to centralize all 12 community college operations into one. The measures are estimated to save an estimated $41 million, according to Ojakian.
The faculty senate felt as if this counterbalances the Student First title and would actually hurt students.
“Centralization of functions will remove needed staff from campuses, beginning with human resources, and potentially affecting other departments and even faculty in later phases, preventing them from working directly with students, faculty and campus administrators,” said the faculty senate.
“This isn’t Student First, this is putting the Governor first,” said David Blitz when opening the “no confidence” debate.
If the proposed Student First Plan passes, each CSCU university would lose student services such as human resources and information technology on their campuses, & would have to travel to a central location for administrative services.
CCSU faculty senate found out about these measures when the general public did earlier this month. The faculty senate was not offered an explanation or breakdown of how these savings would be applied, having to resort to a presentation that was attached to the statement to see how the BOR decided this plan.
“He has not told us how, he has told us to guess how these numbers will be reached,” said faculty senate member Dr. Sue Holt. “It was not even a written plan, the board did not even ask one question about a massive cut to the system.”
Although last week the support for the no confidence plan seemed unanimous, the conversation on whether or not to table the motion was raised.
Some faculty members argued to get support of other CSCU universities and to inform more students of how this proposed plan would affect them.
Faculty senate members said that voting no confidence would show the BOR that they are ready to fight on behalf of all that would be affected.
“We have been cut to the bone, look at the years and years where we have been funded less and have had students bear the burden,”said Holt when voting for the resolution.
CCSU is the first university in the BOR to stand against Ojakian.
“This vote here is about leadership,” said faculty senate member John O’Connor. “Someone has to take leadership and vote with conscious.”