Students and faculty are in an uproar over possible tuition hikes and moves that could impact professor pay.
Professors and the state are in the middle of contract negotiations, and while there is still unknown information, proposals that are being thrown around are not sitting well with many who teach and learn.
On Thursday, the protesters were loud and filled the public space at the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities Board of Regents meeting.
“I'm paying more and continuing to get less,” said Wyatt Bosworth, who is a junior at Central Connecticut State University.
In his two years, he said he has already seen a 12 percent tuition hike, which is around an extra $400 per year.
“We have such a diverse, middle class, working class student body, so people have families, mortgages, car payments,” Bosworth said.
Professors are also wondering about their tenure if they happen to get transferred to another state university.
“They'll just take me from CCSU, but I won't get tenure or I won't be guaranteed tenure over there,” said Katherine Hermes, who teaches history at CCSU.
In the end, she said it would affect the quality of the education, arguing that if excellent teachers don’t come because of the pay, the students won’t enroll and will choose the universities that have the best teachers.
“If we pay less than other universities, we're not competitive within our own field,” Hermes said.
Mark Ojakian, president of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system, heard the protest loud and clear, and insists the board isn’t looking to take tenure away.
He said the decisions made during negotiations will impact everyone in the state.
“People forget that taxpayers are in this equation. Taxpayers provide a lot of the support that goes to the colleges and universities,” Ojakian said.
The state is in the middle of negotiating all contracts, except for state police. It is a task that will end in June, so there are still many more months of negotiations left.
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