State University Professors, Students Upset With Proposed Labor Contract

Dec 3, 2015

Roughly 100 college students and professors gathered in Hartford on Thursday to protest proposed changes to the state's higher education system.

The protesters rallied outside the offices of the Board of Regents, which governs the state's 17 colleges and universities. The board has suggested a number of cost-saving measures that protesters say would reduce the quality of education available.

Professor Kathy Hermes is chairman of the history department at Central Connecticut State University.

“When we make our university system more diverse, we don’t want to devalue them, we want to increase that value,” Hermes said. “We want more creative curriculum, we want more professional development, because every student matters."

The Board of Regents has suggested that professors be moved to other campuses without notice. There's also less state money for research, as well as more part time professors. These ideas come as enrollment across the state's colleges has declined, and state funding has also dwindled.

CCSU student Chris Marinelli said the proposed changes would hurt thousands of students.

“It’s important for people to realize that I’m just one of 14,000 stories at Central,” Marinellis said. “We’re not statistics, we’re stories and we’re all trying to get somewhere and make something out of our lives, coming from these rough backgrounds.”

The board has emphasized that none of these changes are set in stone, but that everything should be on the table as the system tries to deal with financial problems. Contract negotiations remain ongoing.