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    Saturday, March 02, 2024

    Opponents of community college merger put up sign to Gov. Lamont

    Community college professors have come together to put up an anti-consolidation billboard, the first of its kind.

    "Governor Lamont: Please HELP our students! Stop the consolidation of our 12 Community Colleges," reads the billboard on Interstate 91 north in Hartford heading into the exit for the Capitol Building and near the old Colt Factory.

    The consolidation process is designed to bring all 12 of the state's community colleges under one centralized administration, called the Connecticut State Community College, through the CSCU's Board of Regents and its accrediting body, the New England Commission of Higher Education. Supporters and administrators argue that the consolidation will make it easier for students to take classes between schools and will cut excess costs.

    Since last year’s legislative session, unionized professors have increased pressure on the state government to step in and stop what they say is a flawed consolidation process.

    Seth Freeman, president of the 4Cs union, which represents more than 4,000 Connecticut Higher Education employees, said professors have been vehemently opposed to this merger for four years. "In this time Governor Lamont has refused to meet with us to hear our concerns," Freeman said in a statement.

    "The merger of our community colleges is a massive transfer of resources and decision-making away from faculty, staff and administrators who are closest to our students," Freeman continued. "This plan is already hurting our students and failing our state. We need Governor Lamont to get on the right side of this issue and support legislation that reins in the Board of Regents and reestablishes legislative oversight of our community colleges."

    Dennis Bogusky, president of the Federation of Technical College Teachers, AFT Local 1942, also released a statement.

    “Neither our community colleges’ students or the dedicated faculty and staff that educate and support them have been heard,” Bogusky said in the statement. “Every college senate and faculty caucus including the advisory committee to the Board of Regents is on record opposing this. … We have commissioned this Billboard hoping to get our governor to listen to us and STOP THIS CONSOLIDATION.”

    The billboard coasts $7,137 and was paid for by the AFT and the 4Cs. It can stay up for a month unless the professors decide to keep it up longer.

    s.spinella@theday.com

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