In Whose Interest Is No Confidence at CCRI?


The professors’ union at CCRI has voted “no confidence” in the school’s leadership.  Here’s the claim:

The motion said that Hughes, the vice president of academic affairs, Rosemary Costigan, and Dean Thomas Sabbagh have each “repeatedly failed in their leadership roles at the College to the detriment of our students.”

So what’s the underlying problem?

At issue is a plan for a three-week winter term that would start in January. In November, the chairs of the business, social studies, math and English departments said their faculty would not participate in the winter session without including the courses in the collective-bargaining agreement.

Ah… so the “detriment of our students” thing makes a leap from the professors’ interests to the students’.  That link is debatable, but it shouldn’t be assumed.

The statement asserts that the administration is “putting our accreditation and academic reputation at great risk,” which would certainly be a concern to all of Rhode Island.  Were this more of a looming possibility than some speculative rhetoric, though, one would think there would be more evidence.  For now, this seems to be the same old story in Rhode Island — all about labor.

  • Joe Smith

    The J-term issue is not the only complaint from the union. From the union perspective of more jobs, the RI Promise Scholarship would be a good thing. So why is the union protesting the push to expand the Promise scholarship initiative, or at least in its current form that seems to focus on quantity on inputs rather than the quality of education received?

    CCRI is up for its 5 year update with NECHE in 2019. The complaints brought forward do seem appropriate causes for concern with NECHE Standard 4 (and maybe others) in the accreditation world.

    I think it is just as likely the administration was doing an end run in order to satisfy the need for the Governor to promote her bona fides for a national level position – in line with her assuming the head of the Dem Gov’s Association – and consistent with other areas of state administration where good news is heralded and bad news or mismanagement is hidden or obfuscated.

    Given the Governor’s track record (UHIP, delyaing RICAS results, overspending at state agencies), I’m more likely to side with the union on this one.

    • OceanStateCurrent

      I’m not saying I think the administration is doing a great job. There is a long history, however, of unions’ conflating their own interests with the interests of the populations that they serve.

      • Joe Smith

        True, but in most cases unions don’t make (too much) of a pretense their interests lie first with their members.

        The more hypocritical aspect of this situation is the CCRI administration claims that the changes and governance actions are first and foremost for “students.” It’s far more questionable whether the administration’s interests are more aligned with the Governor’s self-interest than the students compared to whether the union’s no confidence vote is about themselves or the students.