In an almost unanimous vote on Monday, the Faculty Senate at Central Connecticut State University called for Connecticut State Colleges and Universities President Mark Ojakian to step down.
“I was pleased but at the same time disappointed we have to do this,” said David Blitz, CCSU Philosophy Department Chair.
The resolution which calls for Ojakian to resign is largely symbolic.
But faculty hope others follow their lead and that it puts pressure on the president to act.
Blitz and other faculty blame Ojakian for pushing a consolidation plan called Students First.
They worry the proposal could harm students and campuses across the state.
“That’s the first time in my 29 years at CCSU that we have called for the president of anything to resign,” said Blitz.
The response from Ojakian was direct.
“President Ojakian is not resigning," a spokesperson wrote.
Instead on Monday Ojakian offered to work with the New England Association of Schools and Colleges to find a way to move forward with Students First, possibly in phases.
Ojakian has argued the effort would save the system tens of millions of dollars and without it, students might face campus closures and tuition increases.
“It could completely dishearten people and make them not want to go to one of their favorite schools because tuition is out of hand,” said CCSU senior Matt Balogh.
“I would say affordability is a really big part of it,” said CCSU freshman Caroline Daria.
Faculty think closures and tuition increase could be avoided if the state invested more in public higher education.
They’d also like to block any more merger ideas and get rid of the Board of Regents, which they believe would save money and maintain the integrity of each school.