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Thursday, December 17, RIC's president announced that she will be stepping down from her position a full year before her three year contract expires. Carriulo stated in her public announcement that she made this decision in conjunction with the Post Secondary Council in order to alleviate on campus tension, and bring a greater sense of unity to the school.
Edward Kdonian - Editor in Chief
On December 2, the Post Secondary Education Committee convened on CCRI’s Knight campus in Warwick. On their agenda were a variety of referenda including the appointment of a new president to CCRI in replacement of Ray DiPasquale. After a lengthy executive session the council voted near unanimously to designate Dr. Megan Hughes as the college’s first female president.
Members of the faculty expressed trepidation over the decision to install the only of the three finalists for the position who possesses no direct experience working in a community college. While some students are concerned with the decision as a result her performance at the recent open forum where the candidates were introduced to the public.
The open forum, which drew in enough of a crowd that an overflow room was necessary, functioned as a place for students and faculty to officially meet the candidates and ask them questions. Among those present was the Editor in Chief of the college’s student newspaper, Edward Kdonian.
Kdonian inquired of all three candidates their opinions on performance based funding, block scheduling, and guided pathways. All three of these subjects have been the source of much contention for the students and faculty at the college. Meghan Hughes was the only of the candidates who neglected to respond to the question.
Immediately following the forum one student expressed that he had been compelled to walk out in disgust when she refused to answer the question. As a result Mr. Kdonian chose to speak at the open forum which began the committee’s meeting last wednesday night. In his speech he offered his personal support for Dr. Jean Wihbey as the next president.
“I may not have agreed with her answers to my question, the honest and thoughtful response she gave succeeded in garnering my respect.” said Kdonian.
While she may not have the same experience in the field of community colleges that her adversaries, Hughes does have an impressive resumé. After nearly six years working with the art department at Tufts University, she became the Executive Director of Year Up.
After almost six and a half years with the organization dedicated to providing accelerated learning programs to urban youths, she put her application in to become CCRI’s president. A title which she now officially holds.
After an exhausting search that included 41 candidates, the hunt for a new president of CCRI has come down to three finalists. While The Lens is admittedly somber at the thought of President Ray Di Pasquale vacating the office, we are excited at the prospect of meeting the new candidates at a meet and greet session on November 20, 2015.
Unfortunately, the search committee in charge has neglected to invite a majority of the faculty, as well as The Lens to meet these candidates. In fact, they have arranged a specifically confidential meeting in which only a selected few were welcome to attend.
Those invited to attend this meet and greet with the candidates included only a small selection of department chairs and deans as well as the Student Government Presidents and their Directors of Student Affairs. There are those among the faculty and student population that find this to be an atrocious lack of transparency.
In total, it appears that the list of invitees for the event numbers somewhere in the neighborhood of 33. Out of the thousands of students, faculty members, and administrative personnel, only a tenth of one percent were asked to attend.
This insistence on keeping the meeting a secret seems to have backfired. After their careful selection of who would be allowed to attend, they failed to account for whether or not those invited would be offended by the idea of keeping the forum a secret.
Steven D. Murray, the chair for Criminal Justice and Legal Studies, felt the exclusive nature of the meeting to be unacceptable. After composing a response in which he refused to attend, he proceeded to courageously forward his declination, as well as the original invitation, to the entire faculty e-mail thread.
However, in a surprising turn, as of 3:30pm on Monday the college transmuted their original “secret meeting” into an open forum. It is unclear if this sudden shift in the program is a direct result of the complete failure of any attempts to keep it classified, but it wouldn’t be surprising. Still though, if it was so easy to open the event to the public, why then arrange it so differently in the first place?
Knight Student Government President David Alden Sears is quoted saying "We are focused on participating and contributing fully and in a substantive manner to this important candidate forum. Our hope that those who are seemingly more concerned about the process do not dilute the substance with agendas and personal egos."
In order to demonstrate for these candidates that we are an involved, passionate, and dedicated assortment of students and faculty, The Lens' Editorial Board urges everyone who is free to attend.
The open forum will take place this Friday, November 20, starting at 1pm. It will be run as three separate 75-minute sessions where each candidate will be introduced, speak, and then answer questions from those gathered.
The Lens encourages that every student that is available show up with a paper in hand, to show that you will not be tread upon. Demonstrate your support and trust in your school paper, and more importantly your voice as a student, and be present. Show these presidential potentiates how strong CCRI students are.
Help them to understand that this is your school, and that its mission should always be to provide you with the standards of education we all deserve. In a time where terms like “block scheduling”, “performance based funding”, and “job placement” are being thrown around everyday, you can prove that you are listening and that you do care.
Do not let yourselves be taken in by the belief that you cannot make a difference. Do not forget that you as a student deserve to be heard. Please, stand tall, square your shoulders, and let the world know that you are an intelligent and zealous advocate for your rights and beliefs.
The Lens can’t help but to have questions regarding the reason behind keeping this meeting classified, and we shouldn’t be alone. The decision not to include the college paper, which functions as the students’ voice, or the majority of the student body who will be affected by this decision appears to be shortsighted, at best.
The Editorial Board at The Lens hopes that this meeting will not mark the beginning of an administration that continues such opaque practices. Transparency, honesty, and open communication are integral to the operation of an inclusive and functional college.
In this spirit we here at The Unfiltered Lens hope to see this meeting and any future such events open to the entire college community.
With an overwhelming majority, 73 percent, voting against it the Faculty Association has rejected the tentative contract proposed by the Council on Post-Secondary Education.
The Council has been notified of the FA's decision and will most likely release their response after their next meeting which is scheduled for December 2nd.
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The overall mission of THE UNFILTERED LENS© is to inform and improve the quality of student life at the Community College of Rhode Island. We strive to accomplish this standard by reporting and writing the truth in an ethical and responsible fashion that enlightens the entire college community, while providing information in an unvarnished manner that seeks thoughtful responses, dialogue and, of course, action. We fully understand serving students is our clear objective and recognize the impact and, more importantly, the importance of this endeavor. We realize we do not make news but cover events that stimulate our community, improve college life and strengthen our democracy.