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Williams Not Among 3 Community College Presidents Appointed Friday

by Christine Stuart | May 30, 2014 9:25am
(18) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Education

Board of Regents President Gregory Gray

The Board of Regents named three new presidents to three of the state’s community colleges Friday morning, but Senate President Donald Williams was not among those appointed.

Williams was one of the three finalists for the presidency at Quinebaug Valley Community College. There were questions raised about whether the Board of Regents could even make him an offer based on the state Constitution, which prohibits an individual from simultaneously serving in two branches of government. Williams announced his retirement from the Senate earlier this year, but his term doesn’t expire until January.

There were concerns among some, like the Rev. David L. Cannon of Preston, who sat on the community college board for 34 years, that it would violate the Constitution even if they made the offer to Williams prior to the expiration of his term in January. As recently as Thursday, Cannon thought it was a foregone conclusion that Williams would be offered the job.

Hugh McQuaid file photo But he was wrong. The board hired Carlee Drummer, who is currently the executive director of college advancement at Oakton Community College in Illinois.

“I was honored to be considered and want to congratulate Carlee Drummer on her appointment and wish her great success,” Williams said in a statement. “I also want to thank the students, faculty, staff, and the foundation of Quinebaug Valley Community College for their participation in this process and their work for the continued achievement of the college.”

Board of Regents President Gregory Gray did not take any questions after the meeting, but said in a press release that “Drummer brings an exceptional portfolio of scholarship and experience to her new position, and impressed everyone involved in the search process with her seasoned leadership, imaginative ideas, and high energy.”

Board of Regents Chairman Nick Donofrio, who conducted the meeting by telephone, said that the board received 269 applications and whittled those down to three finalists for the three presidencies at Asnuntuck Community College, Three Rivers Community College, and Quinebaug Valley Community College.

James Lombella was selected president of Asnuntuck Community College, Mary Ellen Jukoski was selected to head Three Rivers Community College, and Drummer was selected president of Quinebaug Valley Community College.

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(18) Comments

posted by: art vandelay | May 30, 2014  10:29am

art vandelay

I’m surprised. I’m sure Senator Williams will land on his feet.  He’s intelligent, articulate, and has an excellent resume. I wish him the best even though I disagree totally with his political point of view.

posted by: RogueWriteInPeltoReporterCT | May 30, 2014  12:19pm

RogueWriteInPeltoReporterCT

Here’s my tinfoil-hat-wearing conspiratorial take on the whole thing, and I offer grains of salt up front: During the 2014 term of the Connecticut General Assembly, House Speaker Brendan Sharkey tried to pass a tax-grab bill that would affect hospitals and colleges. That bill would have wiped the fastest growing (and most financially stretched)career colleges, like Goodwin and Quinnapiac(sp?)off the map, just like the Malloy Administration’s changes to student CICS grants drove University of Phoenix, Butler & Sawyer and Sanford-Brown fleeing from this state. What all of the colleges mentioned here have in common is that they are the main competition against the Connecticut State Universities in terms of student enrollment. Since Malloy gave control of QuinebaugCC to the Board of Regents, the same overpaid mentirosas whose sole concern appears to be maintaining enrollments at State Universities, Williams probably never stood a chance. After all, he stood up for fair competition in the higher education marketplace, and fair competition seems to be Kriptonite as far as the ethos of the Malloy Administration is concerned.

Just saying.

posted by: GBear423 | May 30, 2014  1:28pm

GBear423

This is a good day for Connecticut. 

Mr Williams should join the rest of us and find a private sector job, or better yet, start a business in Connecticut and create some jobs.  Somebody needs to pay for all those laws he passed!

posted by: dano860 | May 30, 2014  8:19pm

Well S.J., I guess we never would have believed that they would follow the law. As Rev. Cannon though too, we thought it was a done deal.
It’s really nice that we can expect someone with new ideas and energy! Wahoo!!
Donny boy will end up with a great job no matter what direction he chooses to go. We can’t worry about him unless he lands in a lobbying function that doesn’t serve us very well.

posted by: DrHunterSThompson | May 30, 2014  9:36pm

DrHunterSThompson

Bummer dude.

posted by: LongJohn47 | May 31, 2014  7:39am

Art—very gracious.

Rogue—I thought Williams opposed Sharkey’s bill, thereby protecting non-profits from local property taxes. But in any event, I don’t see the relevance or agree with the assertion that the state is favoring the universities over our community colleges.

Perhaps you could explain.

posted by: GBear423 | May 31, 2014  10:55am

GBear423

This article may <a >Illustrate</a> Rogue’s Point.
I agree with the cuts and would support more. Though it is an interesting connection that is drawn with the competition between State Schools vs Private.

posted by: RogueWriteInPeltoReporterCT | May 31, 2014  12:30pm

RogueWriteInPeltoReporterCT

LongJohn, I apologize if I was unclear. Yes, taxing the colleges was Sharkey’s bill and Williams’ opposition helped (mercifully) de-fang that one. President Mark Sheinberg of Goodwin College believes that had the original bill passed, Goodwin would be looking at going belly up, and my impression is that Quinnapiac is in even worse shape.

Again. Goodwin, Q, Lincoln, Sanford Brown et al compete for the same pool of students as CCSU, ECSU, WCSU and SCSU. (pause for Breath).

These four state Colleges also compete, in some programs, against the Community Colleges. Only the Community colleges have a huge tuition advantage, like the difference between $400 and $1400 for the exact same 3 college credits.

Now here is the memo that the last part of your question indicates that you did not get:

posted by: RogueWriteInPeltoReporterCT | May 31, 2014  12:31pm

RogueWriteInPeltoReporterCT

Dannel Malloy and the CGA merged two competing systems: The state universities and the community colleges. The State Universities quickly came to dominate the Board of regents and began tearing the community colleges apart:

PA 12-40 was written to divert students out of the community college system. Sound like a paranoid claim? I have scheduled a job interview at the Center for Latino Progress, where many of Hartford’s high school graduates will be heading instead of Capital Community College.  According the Connecticut Mirror, in an article written by Jacquline Rabe Thomas, put the number of students so diverted at least 2000. The Mirror reported this week that 300 part time instructors in the community college system will not have their contracts renewed.

(Sip of Coffee)

Dr. Elsa Nunez of the Connecticut Board of Regents of Higher Education, President of Eastern Connecticut State University, after having received a $48,000 raise, spent a great deal of time talking to reporters and members of the Connecticut General Assembly about what Act PA 12-40 would do. As part of those efforts, she concealed/denied the fact that minority community college students would be diverted away from Community Colleges. These denials were also documented in CTMirror.

When the fact of the student diversion was presented to Rep Juan Candelaria (D - New Haven) at a hearing of the Black and Latino Caucus, his immediate reaction was: “Wait. I thought Elsa Nunez explained all this to us. Why would Elsa Nunez lie to us?!” (I still have this on tape).

posted by: RogueWriteInPeltoReporterCT | May 31, 2014  12:38pm

RogueWriteInPeltoReporterCT

So, if I have not just handed you a smoking gun PROVING that the highest leadership of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities are acting to weaken the Community Colleges, then, well, I’ve got nothing.

So, having been privy to the extraordinary lengths that State University executives have gone to weaken competing interests in the public sector, I had to consider the following.

CICS grant reductions drove the private-sector career colleges fleeing from this state (let me know if you need convincing of that. You would be in good company, ie. the letters guy at the Hartford Courant who refused to print that assertion).

Brendan Sharkey is gunning for legislation he knows full well attacks some of the most robust employers in the state. Why?

So here is where I put back on the tinfoil hat, and attempt to make a connection that, in reality, can never be made.

Donald Williams clearly likes community colleges and would be an extremely powerful and well-connected advocate for them.

He has effectively curbed legislation that would have hurt nonprofit colleges, which I reiterate, are the main competition against the State Universities.

SO the Board of Regents, Controlled by the Connecticut State Universities, denies this benevolent, scholarly individual this post, instead, giving it to an out of state-er who knows neither the physical nor political landscape of Connecticut, someone who could never be the effective advocate that Senator Williams has shown himself to be.

posted by: RogueWriteInPeltoReporterCT | May 31, 2014  12:40pm

RogueWriteInPeltoReporterCT

The weather on Corsica is nice this time of year, much better than that stinking, burning Moscow. More frogs legs, Josephine?

posted by: GBear423 | May 31, 2014  1:28pm

GBear423

well it certainly appeared to work in the preview… lol

maybe y’all can cut and paste

http://articles.courant.com/2012-02-21/news/hc-school-appropriations-0222-20120221_1_scholarships-for-connecticut-students-private-colleges-college-scholarships

posted by: RogueWriteInPeltoReporterCT | May 31, 2014  2:58pm

RogueWriteInPeltoReporterCT

Bear, if you could get a good link up, I would love to see the article.

posted by: Common Sense | May 31, 2014  7:32pm

Don Williams was simply “not politically correct” for the job.

posted by: Joebigjoe | May 31, 2014  8:12pm

He wasn’t qualified for that job. Millions of Americans deal with that every week.

posted by: RogueWriteInPeltoReporterCT | May 31, 2014  11:23pm

RogueWriteInPeltoReporterCT

Okay. One more and then I will try to shut up…thanks, Bear. I knew I hadn’t been imagining this. I worked for Lincoln when that all happened, and cuts to CICS grants were all anyone could talk about. I think that the round of cuts that affected the for-profit sector started the year before. Lincoln changed its pay policies, mothballed its Suffield campus and started a series of layoffs that has continued to this day. The reason I feel the CICS grants were decisive were that in spite of a universally bad economy around the country, and changes to Pell Grants, UPhoenix and Sanford-Brown did not go bankrupt; they simply chose to leave Connecticut. At the time, this sector was drawing a huge amount of bad press. I distinctly remember having my torch and pitchfork out. Now I feel really bad about that, because these were real employers and they granted students real degrees. They were so vilified at the time that given what has gone down since, now I just think of them as Gypsies, whom everyone agreed to hate…the first ones they came for.

More frogs legs, Josephine?

posted by: LongJohn47 | June 1, 2014  10:45am

Gbear—thanks, I must admit I wasn’t paying much attention to this issue.

A $200 million endowment for a private college is quite small considering how much student aid is already given out.  Few students pay the full tuition rate, and even if they did, in some cases even that much revenue wouldn’t cover annual operating expenses.

A further issue is the long term need to retain young, highly-educated people for our work force.  CT has a very high outflow of young people who leave for college and don’t come back, and many of those who remain get less higher education or none at all.  So supporting our high quality private schools makes sense.

But the real issue is the rising cost of state schools.  I believe we should sharply reduce out of pocket expense for all in-state students at public universities and colleges.  I would make the first year free (or nearly so) for anyone with an “A” average from any CT high school and half price for a “B”.  Get an “A” average as a freshman, come back for free.

Yes, you would need controls for grade inflation, but the point is that you’re placing a bet on the long term potential of our kids, and even if it costs $200 million a year that’s less than 1% of the total budget.

We need a highly-skilled workforce if we’re going to attract new industries, and this should be the number one focus of the state’s higher education establishment.  This is where we need to invest.

posted by: GBear423 | June 2, 2014  7:05am

GBear423

RogueReporter, you really should see about doing a column here if you do not already have one.  Lots of Information here and it is all intriguing.