On December 1, the Connecticut State University American Association of University Professors (CSU-AAUP) exchanged contract proposals with the Board of Regents (BOR) of the Connecticut State College and University system.
CSU-AAUP put forward a set of proposals that benefit our students, our members, and our institutions. They build upon the transformative work of our full and part-time professors, librarians, counselors, coaches and trainers on students’ lives: work that opens minds, work that opens doors. They are based on core values of family, equity, inclusion, diversity, free inquiry, and community.
We envision the State Universities as essential engines of post-pandemic recovery. Connecticut residents will need more and better education as we rebuild our economy and society. The contract proposals we received from BOR destroy that vision.
Not only are the BOR proposals draconian, their consequences will be dire:
- Public higher education in Connecticut will be compromised and state university accreditation will be at risk because the BOR proposals undermine the education we can provide. Attacks on academic freedom and on the ability of faculty to create and transmit new knowledge will do nothing to prepare students for a new post-pandemic world.
- Support systems and relationships necessary for student retention and success are being gutted. Lessons learned during the pandemic about student well-being are disregarded by proposals that would eviscerate time and resources for meeting students’ needs.
- Collective bargaining in Connecticut is being attacked. The BOR is undermining the right to union representation by denying the union time and resources to serve its members.
- Funds are being siphoned away from the core mission of the universities as the BOR continues to take student and public monies to build a top heavy system that is unnecessary and beyond public control.
The four regional state universities serve many students who need their help the most — first-generation college students, racial minorities, immigrants, veterans and those from underserved communities and ethnic groups. The majority of our students are from Connecticut and stay in Connecticut long after graduation to build businesses, raise families, volunteer, and contribute to their communities and to the state.
Rather than defund these institutions, diminish the quality of the education they can provide, and attack the faculty who directly support and serve Connecticut students, the BOR should be working to build up our institutions and strengthen the faculty ranks. Connecticut and Connecticut students deserve nothing less.