NEW: CCRI President Strips Leading Critic of Free Tuition Program of Department Chair

Wednesday, January 23, 2019


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CCRI President Meghan Hughes (pictured) has stripped the leading critic of the CCRI's free college tuition program of his department chair.

The head of the Community College of Rhode Island Faculty Association — who has been an outspoken critic of the implementation of Governor Gina Raimondo’s “Rhode Island Promise” free college tuition program — has been removed from his position as Department Chair, according to an email sent to colleagues.

Late Tuesday night, CCRIFA President Steve Murray -- who had called for CCRI President Meghan Hughes' resignation in December after the faculty voted no-confidence -- sent the following email, after he said he had been informed of Hughes’ decision.

Faculty Members,

Please be advised that today (January 22, 2019), I received a letter (via email) from President Hughes informing me that she has decided, effective immediately, to remove me as chair of my department for alleged failure to fulfill my duties as department chair. She states that her decision is based upon allegations contained in a memo prepared by VP Costigan and a memo prepared by Dean Busby. In summary, the basis of their allegations are that I have failed to properly assign adjunct faculty per the adjunct contract and deans instructions, and that my behavior at meetings has been insubordinate and unprofessional.

These allegations are without merit and I have not been provided any hearing or other basic due process opportunity to contest these allegations. Before President Hughes made her decision, she did not contact me nor offer to hear my response to the allegations.

In my twenty six years at the College, I have never been disciplined at any time for any reason. I have spoken with the faculty in my department and I have their full support and confidence.

I have notified John Leidecker at NEARI and appropriate legal action will be taken on my behalf.

Steve Murray

CCRI responded with the following on Wednesday.

"It is the policy of CCRI not to comment on personnel-related matters. Any actions taken by the college are in accordance with the requirements of the collective bargaining agreement with the CCRI Faculty Association," said CCRI spokesperson Kristen Cyr.


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In October, Murray criticized the results of the first year of the free college tuition program.

READ: Head of CCRI Faculty Union Says Raimondo’s “Free College” Students Not Ready, Not Succeeding

"From what we have in this 'Enrollment Update' -- 38% of the RI Promise students failed to return for year two -- and of those that did return, we haven’t yet been told how many of the returnees failed to complete the first year successfully," said Murray, "I wouldn’t call RI Promise a success or a good use of the taxpayers money."

"I can’t imagine that of the 62% that returned that they all completed 30 credits with a 2.5 GPA. When the College finally chooses to release these numbers, I believe we will see that many RI Promise students did not successfully complete their first year," said Murray.

"I don’t think I would have offered free tuition and the other financial incentives they are giving to these students. I don’t see how it encourages academic responsibility and accountability, and it sends the wrong message to the majority of our students who are not eligible for RI Promise, that they are somehow not as important to the College and the State as those who are given the free money," said Murray. "Perhaps the money would have been better spent on preparing the 65% of high schools students who enroll at the College and are not ready for College courses, to begin with."

And as GoLocal reported January, after filing an Access to Public Records Act request, less than 45 percent of the students met the minimum standards of 30 credits and the 2.5 GPA to receive free college tuition in year two.


Related Slideshow: CCRI Promise Report March 2018


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