© 2024 Connecticut Public

FCC Public Inspection Files:
WEDH · WEDN · WEDW · WEDY
WECS · WEDW-FM · WNPR · WPKT · WRLI-FM · WVOF
Public Files Contact · ATSC 3.0 FAQ
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

CSCU professor and staff union voice concern over planned budget cuts

English Professor Cindy Stretch of Southern Connecticut State University called attention to a lack of input solicited from teachers and staff, a point which CSCU System President Terrence Cheng acknowledge as a fault in the process.
Tyler Russell
/
Connecticut Public
Saying the qualities that advantage students and set CSCU campus apart are at risk, union vice-president and SCSU professor Cindy Stretch speaks at a meeting of the CSCU Board of Regents.

Members of the Connecticut StateUniversities, American Association of University of Professors union, showed up to a Board of Regents meeting to say they don’t agree with the planned budget cuts to Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU).

Professors and staff say the planned cuts could lead to more than 650 full-time faculty and staff layoffs, the elimination of 3,000 part-time positions, and a tuition increase by thousands of dollars.

They are also worried about the elimination of high-subsidy programs and broader educational opportunities. The cuts may eliminate some classes.

Currently the university system serves about 85,000 students across 169 towns in Connecticut. It’s the largest public university system in the state.

Cindy Stretch, the union’s vice president and an English professor at Southern Connecticut State, says cutting programs and raising tuition will prevent students from taking the classes they’re genuinely interested in and getting what they want out of their college experience.

“This culture of really being student centered is what sets us apart. The fact that we are regional means that we are in the places where our students are,” Stretch said. “The idea that they can come to us and we know them and care for them as individuals and for their futures. Those are the things that are at risk right now because the governor just doesn’t seem to care whether working class folks get a good education in this state.”

Stretch says that the university wants to fund classes that are focused on workforce development but students want different opportunities and to explore what their true interests are.

Louise Williams, president of the union and a history professor at Central Connecticut State University said CSCU needs to take into account what the faculty and students need. She came to the Board of Regents meeting to make sure all voices are heard. She’s concerned about the quality of education CSCU will be giving its students.

“It's the fact that programs they’re interested in might be cut just because they’re not related to workforce development. I don’t think opportunities for students should be closed because of that.”

Terrence Cheng, chancellor of the CSCU system says he doesn’t want tuition cuts or layoffs, that’s why they’re avoiding using a consultant.

“One of my primary goals going into the next academic year is to increase transferability within our own system and to increase retention,” Cheng said.

“I don’t want to raise tuition, none of us do. We don’t want to talk about layoffs. We value our people. But this is reality folks, if we don’t embrace reality and understand the facts of the situation together, we’re just going to keep spinning our wheels.”

Lesley Cosme Torres is an Education Reporter at Connecticut Public. She reports on education inequities across the state and also focuses on Connecticut's Hispanic and Latino residents, with a particular focus on the Puerto Rican community. Her coverage spans from LGBTQ+ discrimination in K-12 schools, book ban attempts across CT, student mental health concerns, and more. She reports out of Fairfield county and Hartford.

Stand up for civility

This news story is funded in large part by Connecticut Public’s Members — listeners, viewers, and readers like you who value fact-based journalism and trustworthy information.

We hope their support inspires you to donate so that we can continue telling stories that inform, educate, and inspire you and your neighbors. As a community-supported public media service, Connecticut Public has relied on donor support for more than 50 years.

Your donation today will allow us to continue this work on your behalf. Give today at any amount and join the 50,000 members who are building a better—and more civil—Connecticut to live, work, and play.