Connecticut State Colleges and Universities President Mark Ojakian says he’s not giving up his plan to consolidate the 12 community colleges into one regional campus. The Regional Accreditation Commission recently rejected the consolidation plan known as “Students First.”
“What we’re trying to do is take the guidance we received last Tuesday from NEASC [New England Association of Schools and Colleges], and come up with a modified plan with how we move forward,” President Ojakian told NBC Connecticut.
President Ojakian told the Board of Regents’ Executive Committee Friday that the proposal’s rejection doesn’t mean the plan itself has reached a dead end.
“They clearly indicated that they didn’t say no to a single accredited community college,” Ojakian said. “Just wanted it maybe to proceed down a different path.”
This first failure has faculty and staff questioning his leadership.
On Monday, the faculty senate at CCSU voted unanimously on a resolution to have President Mark Ojakian step down.
“My response is I’m not resigning. A university that really has no stake in the outcome of a community college consolidation plan, so I intend to move forward,” he said.
President Ojakian insists “Students First” will save the university system about $20 million, cut tuition costs and save campus locations. To students, he says, “I’m in your corner. Too many times, they adapt the way they go to school based on what we do, and it needs to be the other way around.”
President Ojakian will go before the full Board of Regents on Thursday, May 10 at 10 a.m., to begin specifically detailing his next proposal.